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Sleeping Sonia
  • Sleeping Sonia
  • Published Around 7 years ago. Go to the latest photo
This is our almost three year old (her birthday is tomorrow), and yes... she is sleeping. Sonia is going through the stage where she will stay up quite a while after we put her to bed, but at least she stays in her room and plays quietly. Every now and then we find her asleep in some weird, un-natural position... like last night.

As soon as Laura called me I knew there was a memorable photo waiting to happen. As I got my gear ready (Nikon D300, Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 lens and SB-900 flash) I begun thinking about framing, lighting, etc. and I realized it would be very hard to take a plausible photo that shows the exact context Sonia was in. There is about one foot (12 inches) between her bed and an old chest, so I didn't have much room to play with other lenses, and that's why I chose the 11-16mm. The first photo I took was OK, but not convincing enough. You can see it here. I lit the room with a Nikon SB-900 flash, but there was too much light, too many details, etc. So I brought in an umbrella and set it up on the opposite side of the bed. This time the photo looked much more like what I had in mind, but there were still too many details and the light was still too bright in the background. I should mention that the flash was zoomed out at 200mm, relatively close to the umbrella. Here is the second shot.

What I really wanted for this shot to turn out perfect from start, was a softbox, but "with the way things are with the economy..." (you get the point). So I settled for an improvised snoot, since I am too cheap to buy a pre-made one. Usually when I am on location, I find the closest cardboard box and transform it into a snoot that meets my needs for that particular situation. In this case, there was no box around, or time to look for one (wife recycles...), so I grabbed my camera bag padding and improvised quickly something that proved to work quite nicely. You can see the ghetto snoot here. I promised the Wife (due to deliver any day now) that I will paint the baby room in our new house and I got her to hold the umbrella stand (support legs closed) above Sonia, and Voila! the photo turned out exactly as I wanted it. See the original here. A little curve adjustment, color balance, and pasting here and there, and the photo was all done.

And here I did it again... simple photo, obvious lighting, and long description. Sorry ;). I am getting to the stage where I know what I want my photos to look like, I have (somewhat) the necessary equipment, and I am beginning to get them right after several tries. That is huge! If you don't believe me, try it yourself :).

In any case, if you think my insights are helpful in any way, follow me on Twitter for daily, sometimes hourly advice on photography. I am not the greatest technician or artist, but I enjoy sharing my progress with people who are one step or more behind me. Follow @titusbartos.

Many thanks for stopping by! Let me know what you think about today's photo, or if you have similar photos, feel free to post a link in the comment area.


  • Very cute picture. We've seen the same thing with our daughter, once involving nodding off in her bed with a bicycle helmet on her head. (My photo of that has none of the artistry of this one though.)

    — Unrelated, it seems you've got something odd going on with your code for the email address entry you might want to look into. Looks like a type in the code splitting up the tag for autofilling in the address.
    Jim (365,000 words) - visit Website
  • Precious! and professional. Bless you for sharing your talents so freely. Great choices with cropping and lighting (in my oh-so-unprofessional opinion) that changed an ordinary photo of a priceless scene into an artistic, emotionally powerful photo of a priceless scene.
    Cindy Phiffer - visit Website
  • Very charming photo, really made us smile and remember what it was like... some years ago :-)
    Framed and Shot - visit Website
  • Excellent shot. Congrats on the noteworthy.
    TP @ - visit Website