Newborn Photography with Natural Light – Creating soft diffused window light

When you are a photographer who chooses to do newborn photography with natural light, you usually don’t have control over which direction your windows face.

You may find that the stream of light coming in from a window is just too strong or direct and needs to be softened so it doesn’t cause hot spots or harsh shadows on the newborn. This is called diffusion.

In the video below, Lisa takes us into the studio to see her solution for creating beautiful, soft natural light when photographing newborns. It really is as simple as choosing the a fabric to cover your windows and soften the light: it could be a total DIY solution using a shower curtain, or custom made drapes made from a ripstop fabric. The effect will essentially be the same: soft, beautiful light on your newborn clients.

Prefer to read about Newborn Photography with Natural Light? Read on…

Diffusing the light in your newborn sessions makes a massive difference in your photography. I want to show you how to quickly get some amazing results right away!

Why diffuse the light?

The goal with newborn photography is to have soft, natural-looking light. When you’re working with direct window light and you don’t have anything diffusing it, you’re going to have a stream of heavy light on your subject. That direct sunlight coming in is going to create harsh light and hotspots on the baby, and for sure not the results you want. The way to get around that is to use diffusion panels to soften the light.

soft natural light on newborn baby

A light duty diffusion solution

I actually have a double diffusion on my windows, because I have a east facing window, and a lot of the times I get direct sunlight during the day. My optimal solution would be to have windows that are north-facing, but I can’t decide where the windows are in my building! I had to find different ways to work around it.

Newborn Photography with Natural Light

What I have on my window here are just some sheer curtains that I picked up at Bed Bath & Beyond. They work wonderfully and I love them because I can use them as decorative pieces when I’m shooting as well!

A complete diffusion solution

What I have over the top of the window to completely diffuse the light is actually cut up pieces of shower curtain. It’s not the cheap plastic shower curtain – these are the fabric ones.

diffusing natural window light

You can also get ripstop fabric that you can get from fabric stores. I actually prefer the shower curtain because I find that they’re a little bit thicker, which really softens that light to what I need for my natural newborn shots.

What about camera settings?

On those mixed weather days where you have a sunny day, then cloudy, then sunny, then cloudy, your settings will be changing all the time too. That is super normal when it comes to working with natural light! On cloudy days, you may find you need to set your ISO higher than you normally would.

boy on bed next to window

Homework!

There is nothing like practicing and seeing the results for yourself. Get a doll set up your beanbag right against the window and do some test shots with a diffusion over your window, and some without, and see the difference for yourself! Newborn photography with natural light is within your reach!

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