Photographing A Newborn With A Single Speedlite

Updated: Apr 6, 2018

During this session, I photographed baby August and parents using one speedlite and got creative with the Yongnuo YN-E3-RT radio trigger and 24" Neewer Softbox.


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For this shoot, I met baby August and family at their home. I started off taking a few candid photos while building rapport talking about baby August. To add light to the room I used the Canon 600EX-RT mounted on camera pointed up and pulled up the built in white reflector to throw some fill light forward onto my subjects.

GEAR: Canon 6D, Canon 50mm 1.8, Canon 600EX-RT

SETTINGS: 1/60 at f/1.8, ISO 200


Using the same setup, we moved from living room to baby room taking photos of both parents holding August as well as photos of the details of the baby room. Candid photos often have mixed colors and backgrounds, so making photos black and white eliminates those distractions.

GEAR: Canon 6D, Canon 50mm 1.8, Canon 600EX-RT

SETTINGS: 1/80 sec at f/2.8, ISO 200


For the three photos below, I turned off my speedlite and used the large window in the baby room.

GEAR: Canon 6D, Canon 50mm 1.8

SETTINGS: 1/60 sec at f/2.8, ISO 1600

GEAR: Canon 6D, Canon 50mm 1.8

SETTINGS: 1/60 sec at f/2.8, ISO 200

GEAR: Canon 6D, Canon 50mm 1.8

SETTINGS: 1/80 sec at f/3.2, ISO 200


I love dramatic, wide shots, so I had to remind myself to get in tight for some close ups.


Next I took some posed shots of baby August. I used the bounce flash technique to bounce the flash off the ceiling. I rotated the flash head to face the ceiling whether I was shooting forward or downward. I switched to my 28MM 1.8 to include the wood flooring to frame the portrait without needing to move farther away.


GEAR: Canon 6D, Canon 28mm 1.8, Canon 600EX-RT, wooden box, light colored blankets, and baby blanket

SETTINGS: 1/80 sec at f/5.6, ISO 200


For this photo, I brought a while fluffy rug and used one of August's baby blankets. The fluffy rug helps frame August. By pulling out one corner of his blanket, I added a little cute, creative interest to the photo. In this photo, I am shooting downward but my flash head is turned around and pointing at the ceiling to bounce the flash.


GEAR: Canon 6D, Canon 28mm 1.8, Canon 600EX-RT, fluffy rug and baby blanket

SETTINGS: 1/80 sec at f/5.6, ISO 200


In this last photo I used a popular technique of positioning August on a pillow or "Boppy" covered in a blanket I brought. I left enough extra blanket to use as a backdrop. I've seen some photographers use PVC pipe and bean bags to create this setup. Here I just used a recliner and pillow. The back of the recliner didn't hold up the blanket perfectly, so I asked August's dad to help hold it up for me. The trick is to keep the backdrop taught or arrange it in an appearling way. Here I am shooting forward and bouncing the flash off the ceiling. I opened my aperture all the way and made sure to stay still and focus on the eyes.


GEAR: Canon 6D, Canon 50mm 1.8, Canon 600EX-RT, Light colored blanket and baby blanket on pillow and recliner

SETTINGS: 1/80 sec at f/1.8, ISO 200


I love dark, dramatic portraits. After we finished taking the lighter photos that I knew my clients would like, I grabbed my Neewer 24" Softbox and Yongnuo YN-E3-RT trigger to move my 600EX-RT off camera.

GEAR: Canon 6D, Canon 50mm 1.8, Canon 600EX-RT, Yongnuo YN-E3-RT, Neewer 24" Softbox, Manfrotto 1004BAC light stand

SETTINGS: 1/125 sec at f/8.0, ISO 100


If you found this blog helpful, please comment below to let me know. Do you have any questions? What other photography situations can I help with?

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