Sweet dreamin

One of the reasons I decided to learn about lighting a photograph is because although "good light" is so important to making a nice image, it very rarely happens when and where you want it to. I hardly have the time and certainly don't have the patience to sit around waiting for it to happen.

Take this shot for instance: What I wanted was that nice, soft light-pouring-in-though-a-window look to gently light his face while he was sleeping on his mommy. Instead, what I actually had was the darkness of night outside the window, which didn't really matter anyway as the window was nowhere near him. And you just know that he would have awoken in a screaming, teary mess even if we did try to move him just to get a nice(r) photo.

The solution was quick and easy. I grabbed one flash and aimed it at the wall his face was pointed at, which was just (to my) left of where I was with the camera. By bouncing it off the wall, the harsh, nuked look you usually see in flash pictures is replaced by a nice, soft wash of light which even picks up a little of the beige wall-paint color as it bounces, warming it up a little. Having the light not coming from the attached-to-the-camera position also helps, in that it looks more natural to your eyes (unless of course you walk around with a giant miner's-style light attached to your forehead all the time!).

Strobist info: The only light in this photo was an SB-800 to camera slight left (almost right behind the camera), zoomed to 24mm and bounced off a nearby wall at 1/8 power to create a nice, big, soft light source.