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While I like using my lighting gear, sometimes mother nature gives us the very best lighting for our subject. I find this is especially true when photographing babies. Their soft, delicate skin begs for a soft enveloping, directional light to gently wrap around their rounded features.
Find a large window without direct sunlight (a north facing window in the northern hemisphere will always be a good choice). You want to avoid direct sunlight (the kind that forms sunbeams) because this creates distinct (hard edged) shadows and is not considered as a “soft” light. It will also be hard on the subject’s eyes, making them squint. Babies, especially, do not like direct sunlight.
Open shade can provide a similar type of lighting if you are outdoors. Just make sure you are nearer to the “edge” of the shade so that the light striking your subject has a sense of direction and provides a definable shadow.
Remember, the closer your subject is to the window, the “bigger” the light source becomes and the softer the shadows.
Play around with positioning your subject next to a window with indirect sunlight and see how you can vary the effect and style of the image. Who says you need to spend lots of money on lighting equipment?
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