When my son just had learned how to walk, the studio sessions immediately got a lot harder to manage. He was running around all over the place, and my studio is not that big. So I tried a lighting setup that would allow me to photograph him without having to have him in that exaxt sweet spot.
Together with that, I wanted to create a light that mimicked sunlight a bit. Hard, crisp light with long shadows, almost like the light that is popular in bikini model photos here and there, but without having to have him stand against a white stone wall.
Most of the times, in my small photo studio, the problem is to get the light as high up as I would want them. But, when photographing a small kid that just learned how to walk, that is no longer a problem.
Profoto Beautydish as main light
To get the main light to be a little harder than a softbox or an Octa but not as unforgiving as a Magnum, the white Profoto Softlight Reflector seemed as a good choice. Without the grid and placed high, it gives a light I like and enough spread to cover the small model as well as the background.
The flash was on a boom stand 2.5 meters up and I was sitting under it, trying to catch the right moment. That might be the hardest part when photographing kids, catching the right moment, or maybe keeping up with their energy?
A rim light for shadows and separation
Trying to add to the illusion of hard sunlight with long shadows, I placed a Profoto Compact with a Magnum reflector 45 degrees behind the model aimed down to create some rim light and separate him from the background a bit. It also gave some sparkle to his blonde hair, which I think adds a little to the sunshine effect.
White seamless background as reflector
The background and “floor” was one long roll of white background paper, rolled out enough to create a makeshift cyc or seamless background. When photographing small children or people sitting on white, the paper also works as a reflector to give some fill light from below.
Some postprocessing in Photoshop to remove dirt and wrinkles from the paper and even out the light a bit, nothing more.
Lighting setup diagram based on Kevin Kertz design.
If you have any questions or comments, please add them.