Newborn Photography with the Mobile Phone

Newborn Photography with the Mobile Phone

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Want taking stunning newborn photographs with your phone?

Learn from the pros on how to improve yours skills with the minimum learning curve. You will be up and ready in just a few days. Whilst it will never be possible to achieve the same quality as with the professional studio equipment there are some easy tricks to instantly improve your photography. Even with a mobile phone you can capture some quality newborn and family photographs easily. What is required is just a little time to learn how to use your phone and its photography software. You will also need a bit of preparation and planning for your newborn photography. Finally, some time to edit the photos before publishing them online or saving to the phone’s photo gallery. By following these three simple steps you will dramatically improve the quality of your photographs. You photographs will vividly stand apart the rest of images taken straight from the phone which dominate the Internet today.

Below is a series of photos I took with my mobile straight from the phone, then edited a bit using the phone’s software followed by professional equipment and comprehensive workflow in specialised tools. The phone photos enjoyed just a combination of ambient light and two inexpensive ($350 each one) LED ceiling lights producing 5500K colour and sufficient luminosity. To produce the professional photos you’d need a several years of experience (sometimes $10K to 35K and a few years invested in education), about $25K worth of equipment in actual camera and lenses, lightning, accessories and computers/software to finalise the photos.

Please make sure you expand the photos. As you can easily observe, the straight from the phone photo on the left is pretty terrible (except the baby who is adorable) – it has a grey’ish/green’ish shadow all over with the baby’s skin is quite dull and unnatural. Babies are never green — they are lovely pink :). This is how the phone measured the light and colour saturation using own algorithms. The next photo is void of that with the baby having proper skin tones and good resolution of all details. Small crop removed the unnecessary background details so the focs is on the baby. Next two photos are taken with the professional equipment and  you can see everything is in balance, details are sufficient, colours are balanced and everything is just perfect. The last photo also shows the shallow background which really emphasises and draws the attention to the peacefulness and beauty of the baby at sleep. The similar pattern can be observed with the other photos in this article.

The only difference is that I could not use the phone and the camera at the same time. That is why the combination of straight and developed photos from the phone are made from exactly the same image while the photos taken with the camera have different composition. With the little babies everything can change in an instant. At the end of the day I had to deliver quality to my client, not gather the material for educational article.

Simply do not rush. Just follow these are the three simple rules for you. Learn, Plan, Develop.

Navigation

This is the 1st article in a series dedicated to producing good newborn and family photographs at you home or anywhere else with basic device such as a mobile phone. Use the following links to navigate through the series:

Part 1. Introduction to Newborn Photography with the Phone. This Page

Part 2. Newborn Photography with a Mobile. The Theory.

Part 3. Newborn Photography with a Mobile Phone. Adobe Lightroom.

Part 4. Newborn Photography with a Mobile Phone. Light and Composition

Part 5. Newborn Photography with a Mobile Phone. Developing and Editing Photos in Adobe Lightroom.

Setting the right expectations for your newborn photography with a mobile.

There’s a reason professional photographers like myself spend tens of thousands of dollars on cameras, lenses and proper lightning. Without going too deep into technical details that is required to achieve the best possible quality. The laws of Physics & Optics are pretty universal and apply everywhere. It is unlikely that a mobile phone will ever compete with the purpose built equipment.

The mobile phones’ cameras are very basic with virtually non-existent optics. The essence of photography is capturing light. That is why we need huge lenses. To allow a lot of quality light through it. The more quality light gets in quicker, the better the outcomes. As your can see, phone’s lenses are simply big not enough to conduct the require amount of quality light. Obviously, equipping a phone with a 1.2 kgs lens is not the most practical idea. The next best thing you can get is a Sony QX series. Or just spend several hundreds on a camera which is 100% camera, unlike a mobile phone which has only 5% of camera amongst the other components.

Proper photography set up is expensive.

While yours does not have to be. In this article I’m providing photos as shoot by my $999 Galaxy S7 Edge. Plus photos after applying some development techniques in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom application on Android. For comparison I’m also showing photographs from the same newborn session I took with my workhorse $3000 Sony A7 camera. My go-to lens is a $3500 Sony G-Master 27-70mm. The lightning setup including all controllers and accessories is another $6500. Adobe software subscription is $70 a month and a  computer to run it all fast is $5000 plus $2000 alone for a professional grade monitor.

As you can see, the cost quickly builds up. And this doesn’t include all the props, accessories and so on. Obviously there is no competing and if you want the absolute top quality for your newborn photography, engaging a professional photographer is the right thing to do. At the same time, you cannot have one by your side 24×7. And this means compromises to be made.

With the series above you can can see I was not able to achieve the pure white light with the mobile phone. The un-edited photo has the same grey/green shadow, while the second has a pink shadow (still preferable) which got carried over in the process of aligning the colours. The professional one is just perfect.

By following my advice you will produce very good photographs. The work you will absolutely love and be proud about. To put it simplisticly,  if I rate the professionally taken and edited newborn photographs in this article as 100% quality you will achieve about 30% with a phone. Which is a very good result considering the most mobile snaps you can see on Facebook are simply miles below zero. Just be aware about the limits of technology. I truly believe people and their memories deserve more. That is why I’ve decided to write this article.

In order to prevent this article from becoming to long I split it onto several parts, one per each topic. Learn. Plan. Develop.

Next Article – Learn the Theory of Photography

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