Photographing in Hospitals: Achieving Good Photos In Any Light

photographing in hospitals seems like a daunting task.  the light is, well, not the most dependable and the space is usually small.  plus, you really have limited opportunity to see the hospital room you will be photographing in beforehand, so you have to prepare for any situation.  with all this being said, it’s really not that hard to achieve good photos in a hospital room.  you just have to think about light and how you are going to use it.  when we had our daughter, i was barely out of the operating room before i had my camera on her.  as i was simply gushing over her, i was equally accessing the light so i could photograph every single thing about her.  imagine this, laying in a hospital bed, nursing my newborn and look around the room while planning photos in my mind.  yes, true photographer here.  always looking at a room with a photographer’s eye.  no matter the light you are given, keep these things in mind so you can achieve good photos while you are either staying in or visiting a hospital.

are you trying to take your own newborn photos?  here are 10 tips for photographing your own newborn.

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Photographing in Hospitals : Achieving Good Photos In Any Light

Photographing in Hospitals : Achieving Good Photos In Any Light | Bethadilly Photography

1. The Bassinet Is Your Best Friend

that hospital bassinet is literally going to be your best friend.  why?  it moves!  you can wheel that little bassinet anywhere, which makes it great for positioning your newborn in ideal light.  i wheeled that bassinet around our entire hospital room, experimenting with different light, and even wheeled it out into the hallway as well because there were huge windows in the hall.  if you are a new mama, keep your recovery in mind and have someone push the bassinet for you.  being a c-section mama, my nurse was fine with me walking around (she didn’t see me squatting and standing on my tippy toes to get good photos, shhhhh!  my hubby was equally impressed and not impressed, but the photos are amazing.), but she didn’t want me pushing the bassinet on my own so i had my hubby help me with that.

Photographing in Hospitals : Achieving Good Photos In Any Light | Bethadilly Photography

2. Utilize Window Light Only

here’s the thing, natural light is simply better.  if you can, i recommend using window light only instead of the harsh overhead lighting in the hospital.  however, please don’t miss a moment because the light isn’t perfect.  if you need to turn on the lights to get the photo, do it!  an imperfect photo is still perfect because of the moment it contains.  all that being said, when possible utilize window light by placing your subject(s) near windows.  i love placing my subject in front of windows for backlighting, as i think it gives a beautiful and bright perspective on the moment.

3. Pack The Right Gear

photographing in hospitals is easy if you think through the gear that you bring.  i used my nikon d610, which works really well in low light.  i brought a 50mm lens with a low aperture capabilty, to capture details of my newborn, as well as a wide angle lens to ensure that i was able to get good photos in a small space.  wide angle lenses really help when working in tight spaces and are so appropriate for photographing in hospitals because they allow you to photograph the surrounding details of the hospital room as well, all within one frame.

Photographing in Hospitals : Achieving Good Photos In Any Light | Bethadilly Photography

4. Raise Your ISO

your camera is fancy for a reason, let it do it’s job!  when you need more light, be sure to raise your ISO to bring more light to your camera’s sensor.  don’t worry yourself with grain or noise, but focus on capturing the moment.  you can always apply a tad amount of noise reduction in lightroom during post processing if it worries you.  to be honest, you are going to love the subject in the photo too much to let the noise ruin it.

5. Use Lower Apertures

using lower apertures like f/2.8 or lower will also bring more light into your camera.  be sure to set your aperture appropriately so that you are maintaining focus, however experiment with lowering it to help bring in more light when photographing in hospitals.

6. Wait For Good Light

i am not telling you to only photograph during bright times of the day because irreplaceable moments happen during good light or not.  however, hospital rooms will be naturally brighter during a certain time of day, depending on the hospital and the room location.  if you notice that the room is naturally the brightest during a certain time, take that opportunity to photograph.  for us, our hospital room was really bright in the mid morning to mid afternoon, and i used that time to photograph.  i photographed throughout the entire day, but saved my “must have” photos for when the light was especially bright.

don’t let photographing in hospitals stress you out, it is easier that you think if you just take the time to think it through.  be mindful of the gear you pack and keep an eye on the light to make sure you are using it in the best way that you can.  if you remember one thing i write in this post, remember this: the moments you photograph are going to be perfect, no matter the light, the composition, the white balance or exposure.  the moments you photograph are irreplaceable.  focus on the moments and, when you can, photograph them in the best way that you can.  and for the moments when the light just stinks, bring your camera out anyways.  you will be happy you did.

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Photographing in Hospitals : Achieving Good Photos In Any Light | Bethadilly Photography

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