Above Image: Aperture: f1.8 Shutter Speed: 1/250th ISO: 280
Shot with a Nikon D300 and Nikon AF50mm f1.8 Lens.
I have used a wide aperture and photographed Noah straight on to keep his eyes sharp and let the depth of field fade quickly making his ears out of focus and keeping the eyes focused on his cute little face.
This technique is good for when you have a distracting background or when you want to create a portrait focusing on a specific part of the image. Usually the eyes.
Photographing babies and children can be a tough challenge when you are just starting out. To make your shoot go smoothly, always make sure you have a few key items to hand. Wet wipes, a variety of outfits, a rattle or other attention grabbing toy and a range of different coloured backgrounds or sheets to photograph baby on.
The most important part of setting up your photo session is making sure you get your lighting right. What kind of lighting setup do you want to work with? High key, low key, available light? Once you have your lighting set up decide what you want your aperture and shutter speed to be. (I always find that when photographing hand held or children who move quickly it is always best to use at least 1/125th as your shutter speed or higher. If you are using a flash then you only have 125th, 180th or 250th of a second to choose from before you start to get the dreaded dark shadow creep into your images as a result of the flash synchronization.)
Using a light meter will allow you to balance the aperture, shutter speed and ISO in different combinations at a touch of a button and are a useful tool in saving time when shooting. The down side of using a light meter is that they are expensive, alternatively you can look at your histogram when you view the images you have taken and make sure the highlights and shadows are balanced. I shoot all of my sessions by eye but it takes a lot of experience to be able to do this properly.
Next you need to check your ISO and Aperture. Think about your depth of field when choosing your aperture and understand that you will need to adjust your ISO when you change your aperture. The wider your aperture the narrower your depth of field will be which will give you a more arty feel to your images and allow you to let in as much light as possible. This will give you the opportunity to set your ISO to a low value therefore improving image quality and reducing noise. Again using a light meter will aid you in balancing the settings accordingly.
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