Photographing Babies and Bubbles Against a Black Backdrop

I set out to photograph the growth of my beautiful daughter on a weekly basis over the span of a year.

This is week 15 and I wanted to experiment with my new 150cm Octabox.

An Octabox is an octagonal shaped softbox that produces an even quality of light with little drop off between the centre and the edges of the softbox.  You can pick one up for about $100.  Natural light will work too; all you need is a plain dark backdrop like a dark wall or wardrobe door.

Behind-The-Scenes Lighting Setup

For this image, a black backdrop was placed against curtains.  Notice the white buffet on the right serving as a soft reflector, creating gentle fill behind bubba.  Equipment: 300W Visico Strobe, 150CM Visico Octabox at 1/4 power.

 

Shooting bubbles against a black backdrop. Caon 6D, 1/125s, f4.5, ISO100
Shooting bubbles against a black backdrop. Caon 6D, 1/125s, f4.5, ISO100

Achieving Complete Blackness

If you are using studio lighting, you will want to ensure that the softbox is placed pointing slightly away from the backdrop into the subject.  I had the luxury of a big octabox which wrapped around the subject so that some of the area between the subject and backdrop is still light.  If you are shooting in natural light, you will want to ensure that there are no bright spots on the backdrop (plain dark wall / door).

Creating Bubbles

To create bubbles, you will need dishwashing liquid and a bubble gun.  This is absolutely necessary because you are not going to yield many bubbles blowing into a wand manually.  You could always photoshop in more bubbles by compositing but I prefer to get everything straight out of camera.  We purchased one from The Warehouse for $10.

The Final Images

I’d highly recommend recording the growth of your baby on camera.  I wish I could do this more often!

Shooting bubbles against a black backdrop. Caon 6D, 1/125s, f4.5, ISO100
Shooting bubbles against a black backdrop. Caon 6D, 1/125s, f4.5, ISO100
Shooting bubbles against a black backdrop. Caon 6D, 1/125s, f4.5, ISO100
Shooting bubbles against a black backdrop. Caon 6D, 1/125s, f4.5, ISO100
  • Aperture: ƒ/4.5
  • Camera: Canon EOS 6D
  • Flash fired: no
  • Focal length: 35mm
  • ISO: 100
  • Shutter speed: 1/125s

Zhi Lee

Award winning NZ wedding, travel and portrait photographer. Creating images for the enjoyment of others really gets me going. It is through photography that I get to connect with people and express a little bit of creativity.