Avnida Photography: New Jersey Newborn Photographer & Newborn Photography Studio » Avnida Photography is a New Jersey Newborn Photographer and specializes in maternity and newborn photography serving North and Central NJ.

How to get better studio lighting with two simple setups?

My Dear Fellow Photographers,

You passionate people who, like me, will happily discuss ratios, apertures, colors and contrast all day till the cows come home. This is Harshita from Avnida Photography. As someone who specializes in newborn, maternity and family photography, I wanted to share two simple setups for drastically better studio lighting. Without breaking the bank. Or having to install and maintain complex setups.

I was joined by Elmo and a little fox so this should be interesting.

But before we get into the fun, let me put it into context. High-key photography lighting is often used for maternity sessions to get the perfect back light for your model. You want the mom-to-be to look gorgeous and beautiful, which she absolutely deserves. With either of the two approaches I mention below, the goal is to create the effect that the light is coming through a HUGE window behind your model. This back lighting creates a silhouette, and makes your model look beautiful.

There are two ways to create such an effect:

1) Traditional or standard three-point lighting, where you have two lights focused on the backdrop and one as a key light on the model. Possible, but it is tricky. Not to mention the fact that the three lights and soft boxes needed could cost you between $700 – $1000. Add in maintenance costs and time. And that’s the reason why I won’t be covering this in detail today.

2) Lighting the way I describe below. The key to get high-key lighting effect is to ensure that the background is brighter than the light on the model. I used Lastolite’s HiLite with a strobe light (Elinchrome BX500Ri) or a large soft box. Both of these setups and their effect are shown in the pictures below. To illustrate the difference between SOOC (straight out of the camera) and edited images, I’ve posted both with the stage noted below each image. As far as strobe lights go, you can use one from Elinchrome BX500Ri, Alien Bees 400/800 or Einstein.

Note: The models are one to two feet in front of the soft box or HiLite. That said, you should try out different distances to get the desired effect for your models.

Another view of studio setup for high-key lighting tutorial by Avnida Photography, finest studio for Newborn Photography NJ.Pin thisimage

My regular studio setup for high-key pictures with Lasolite’s Hilite in the back and a soft box placed on the left.

Lastolite High-Key Lighting Studio Setup by Avnida PhotographyPin thisimageA closer look at the Latsolite’s HiLite softbox.

SOOC Newborn Photograph with High-Key Lighting by Avnida Photography, finest studio for Newborn Photography NJPin thisimage

SOOC photograph. Camera settings: 1/200 SS, 200 ISO, and 2.8 f

Usually one stop difference is ideal but the settings will depends on the circumstances.

Also, it is important not to blow out the background too much, or you will have spill on your subject.

Final Edited Newborn Photograph with High-Key Lighting by Avnida Photography, finest studio for Newborn Photography NJPin thisimage

Final edited photograph.

Corrected the White Balance, painted over the black panel of the HiLite soft box, and recovered highlights over the baby’s body.

I personally love this lighting for newborn and maternity photography sessions.
SOOC Maternity Photograph for High-Key Lighting by Avnida Photography, finest studio for Newborn Photography NJPin thisimage

SOOC photograph. Camera settings: 1/250 SS, ISO 800, and 2.8 f

Regular rectangular soft box with continuous lights. White wooden planks.

Natural light photographer can use huge windows to achieve this look. The settings have to be similar to the ones I used with continuous lighting setup.Final Edited Maternity Photograph for High-Key Lighting by Avnida Photography, finest studio for Newborn Photography NJPin thisimage

Final edited photograph.

HiLite Setup Explained with the use of Elmo by Avnida Photography, finest studio for Newborn Photography NJPin thisimageSOOC photograph with Elmo. Camera settings: 1/160 SS, ISO 250, and 2.8 f

Daughter was not happy at all parting with her Elmo! 🙂
Final Edited Image from HiLite High-Key Lighting Setup, Explained by Avnida Photography, finest studio for Newborn Photography NJPin thisimageFinal edited photograph.

Elmo’s look is like, “what’s going on?”High-Key Lighting setup tutorial by Avnida Photography, finest studio for Newborn Photography NJ. SOOC photograph with one soft box or window light and a reflector.Pin thisimageSOOC photograph. Camera settings: 1/250 SS, 800 ISO, and 2.0 f

Cute fox from Britches & Bonnets – Charlotte is awesome

Final edited image with a regular softbox to explain high-key lighting. Tutorial by Avnida Photography, finest studio for Newborn Photography NJ.Pin thisimage

Final edited photograph.

Large soft box gives the feeling of a large window with natural light streaming through 🙂

SOOC image with lastolite Hilite to explain high-key lighting for maternity setup. Tutorial by Avnida Photography, finest studio for Newborn Photography NJ.Pin thisimageSOOC photograph. Camera settings: 1/160 SS, ISO 250, and 2.8 f

Maternity Photography New Vernon NJ - This is why I love white on a mom-to-bePin thisimage

Final Edited photograph.

Precisely why the HiLite lighting setup results in a beautiful effect for Mom-to-be’s.

She loved the contrast of white with her red nails and maroon lipstick.

North NJ maternity photographer - blissful in whitePin thisimage

Another one 🙂 Final edited photography.

I hope this tutorial was helpful, and saves you the trouble that I had to go through during my experimentation to get these effects.

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Please feel free to comment to ask any questions you may have, and share how you were able to use these suggestions to improve studio lighting for your sessions.

Speaking of sharing, submit photos (SOOC or edited) on my Facebook fan page showing how you used this setup to get better studio lighting. I’d love to see the photographs and hear from you.

Perhaps our next blog will be a collection of some of these Before/After photos, with a little excerpt/contribution from each one of you? What do you think? 🙂

Love…Life…Lens

Harshita

Back to TopFacebookshareEMAILPOSTTweetPOSTcontact me
  • Kate - beautiful tutorial from an awesome new jersey photographer!ReplyCancel

  • Giselle - What a great tutorial, so helpful, thank you!!!ReplyCancel

  • Christine D - Such an awesome tutorial! This shows how much a photographer really works from set-up and equipment to editing extensively to get those stunning images! Your maternity and newborn work is always stunning!ReplyCancel

  • Nicole W - Wow such great tips on backlighting! Thanks so much for your tutorial!ReplyCancel

  • Melissa Yvonne - Love your back lighting set up!ReplyCancel

  • Ashley Eiban - Love this! Your images are always so beautiful and well lit! Thanks for sharing some of your secrets!!ReplyCancel

  • Shannon Dickson - What a great tutorial and I am such a huge fan of your work. It’s nice to see you sharing these tip with other photographers as so many hold these secrets in!ReplyCancel

  • Christine - So very helpful!! thank you! I can’t wait to practice.ReplyCancel

  • Anna Koko - Great tips, thanks! Pictures are beautiful!ReplyCancel

  • Kathy - Thank you for the awesome lighting tips! Your work is gorgeous!ReplyCancel

  • Courtney - Love seeing behind the scenes! Thanks for sharing!ReplyCancel

  • brenden - Cool behind the scenes tutorial in studio lighting.ReplyCancel

  • Monique - Great information! Will definitely keep this in mind.ReplyCancel

  • Ashley Short - It’s cool to see the way you achieve your studio portraits! Thanks for the lighting tutorial!ReplyCancel

  • Sonya - Great lighting tutorial. I am bookmarking this page.ReplyCancel

  • Becky - Thanks for all of the tips – I love the one with Elmo 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Aubrey - Great tips on studio lighting. I can’t wait to implement these into my own work! New Jersey is lucky to have such a talented newborn and maternity photographer.ReplyCancel

  • Corey - Great tips on studio lighting!ReplyCancel

  • Dawn - Great tutorial on back lighting! Thanks for sharing your knowledge and tipsReplyCancel

  • Cristen - Great post and tutorial! Love the outcome!ReplyCancel

  • Christina - Super awesome tutorial on backlighting! Thank you so much for sharing. I am going to save this post as reference for the future.ReplyCancel

  • Jamie - Great Before and Afters!!! I definitely think a tutorial would be great!ReplyCancel

  • Anna - LOVE your lighting, thank you so much for the tips!!!ReplyCancel

  • Heather - Beautiful! Thanks for sharing all your knowledge on your great photography lighting tips. Can’t wait to try it!ReplyCancel

  • Colleen - Great tutorial Harshita! Next tutorial, how you edited it? Thank you for sharing.ReplyCancel

  • Irene - What size softball are you using….it looks pretty large? Is this continuous light or strobes? I am referring to the maternity in the purple dress. And what did you use to light her from the front? Same question for the mama in white laying down.ReplyCancel

  • Connie - Harshita, Thanks for sharing your setup for high key lighting. I love the newborn and maternity high key. It is really stunning!ReplyCancel

  • admin - Thanks Maureen 🙂 Do share your photographs/thoughts please on the Facebook page.ReplyCancel

  • Maureen - Great tutorial! Thanks Harshita 🙂ReplyCancel