A new life

My first granddaughter was born today, at 03:22. Addison Margaret May Shepherd-Willems, weighing in at almost 7 lbs.

(1/125 sec, f/3.5, ISO1000, probably with flash assist)

I had to shoot these in a very dark hospital room. Today I used a combination of:

  • High ISO, large aperture, no flash (I had an f/1.4 lens and an f/1.2 lens, as well as an f/2.8 zoom)
  • Medium ISO, flash
  • High ISO, flash assist

(1/100, f/1.4, ISO3200, probably without flash)

The thing is: I am not sure which ones I used flash for. And that is a key lesson to take away from this: good flash photos can often look like no flash photos.

(1/125 sec, f/4, ISO 1600, with flash assist)

Another key lesson: exposing to the right makes for low noise. I call this Willems’s Dictum: “Bright Pixels Are Sharp Pixels”. Shooting at high ISO is fine as long as you expose brightly: exposing to the right is as important as ISO.

In other words, a dark shot at 1600 ISO looks grainier than a bright shot at 3200 ISO. Noise, like cockroaches and politicians, hides in the dark. Do NOT under-expose. Even worse, of course, is under-exposing and then pulling up (thus increasing the noise). Exposing to the right *(i.e brighly) is good; exposing to the right and then darking is even better, if you have that luxury.

(1/250 sec, f/1.4, ISO 1000, flash)

A final note: of course you realize that shooting at f/1.4 means that you have to focus accurately, and that you had better be sure what is important in your picture. But clouds have silver linings: I use the shallow depth of field as a benefit. It allows you to choose one subject to emphasize and to blur out the rest.

Toronto residents: Saturday I teach at Vistek. Studio lighting and portrait lighting. Join me there, a great opportunity to get small class help from me! https://www.vistek.ca/events/ and sign up now: limited space.


7 thoughts on “A new life

  1. Michael,

    Congratulations on the new addition to your family! Little does Addison know that she is now your most favorite model. Happy shooting.

  2. Congratulations on the new addition. These tips are very timely for me since my daughter is expecting our second grandchild next week.

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