I have had a lot of questions about this shot so I thought I would blog about how I created it and then you can create a similar shot with your own family!
The light source that I am using to illuminate the book is just a string of small, white indoor twinkle lights which I have coiled into a small, tight circle. If I was to do this shot over, I might actually tie a string around the lights, to hold the coil together. The cord of the twinkle lights is being hidden inconspicuously between my two girls.
When I first set up this shot, I placed the coiled lights into her lap, gave her the book and starting shooting. This did not give the look I was going after. The light from the twinkle lights was coming from the book but it was also spilling out under the book and illuminating her lap.
Enter tin foil. I knew that I needed something to prevent the light from spilling into her lap but it also needed it to be small enough to fit in her lap. I pulled a good size piece of tin foil from the roll and made a “pie dish” for the coiled lights to fit in. I used the shiny side up to help create a reflector and bounce even more light upward, towards their faces. I am sure that I could have used an actual metal pie plate but I wanted something flexible so the book could stay close to her body and look “natural”.
It took a little playing around with the angle of the book and this is where having an assistant or a really awesome, cooperative, supportive husband close by helps. I would have my husband move the book into place for my daughter, all she had to do was not move!
I also want to point out that I live in a very small townhouse. If you think that you don’t have the space, that just isn’t true. I removed all the furniture from my living area and put it in the kitchen. Yes, my husband loves it when I want to try something new!! It was a lot of work but it looks like I have a very large gorgeous room with expansive wood flooring. Wood floors, yes, expansive space, no.
I shot this using my 50mm and my settings were ISO 2500, 1/30 at f/2.2. I had my camera sitting on a few books on the floor to get low enough to shoot at such a slow shutter speed without using an actual tripod.
Hopefully this helps and inspires someone to create some Christmas magic with your own children!
Corrie Lindroos Photography