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Taking better Bubble Bath Photos

March 27, 2012

My kids love bubble baths! I really wanted to get some bubble bath photos that I love, however the lack of good lighting, cream coloured tub and walls made the task more difficult than I expected. I had tried a couple of times in the past and was unhappy with my results, so it was time to trouble shoot and try again.  I find that regular bubble bath doesn’t really make enough bubbles, so I added a little Ivory dish washing soap and voila, lots of bubbles! The kids were so… excited!  My kids are especially wild in the tub, they actually try to swim in the tub.  There is always water everywhere and it’s almost always totally crazy.  I had so much fun with my kids this evening.  My daughter doesn’t seem to mind getting bubbles in her eyes or pretty much anywhere, on the other hand my son will cry at the smallest bubble getting on his face.  Anyways, they had me laughing pretty hard.  I’m so glad I got these pics as they remind me of those happy moments at the end of a long day.  That’s what I love about photos, especially those of my family, they take me back to times and places, moments that I don’t want to forget.

At the beginning of each week Sonja and I are going to attempt to post a thematic blog post.  Photos from regular life with kids, from bubble baths, Easter egg decorating, colouring, to swimming at the beach.  We hope the posts give you some easy ideas and inspire you on your photography journey.

I took these photos a few weeks back when the days were especially long and dark.  It was evening and therefore there was no light from outside, just the bathroom lights above the mirror.    I put my ISO up to 800 and turned off my flash.  Due to the lack of light I went wide open and set my aperture to f/2.2 and my shutter speed to 160 s (Canon 50D with 50mm lense).   I could have used my flash, but the harsh glare was so bad and I try to avoid flash at all costs.  My shutter speed was a little slow for my active toddlers but I made it work, if I had increased it I would have had to bump my ISO as well.  Keep in mind that when you adjust one aspect of the exposure triangle, you have to keep in mind the other components as well.  I  took the photos in RAW and developed them in Photoshop CS5 (Lightroom would also work great).

I shot only in jpeg mode for the longest time but once I discovered the forgiving nature of RAW format I was hooked.  I always set my camera to RAW and Jpeg mode to give myself the most flexibility.  RAW files are digital negatives and allow you to adjust your exposure manually while post processing.  This is especially great in tricky lighting conditions.  We’ll talk more about editing and RAW later, however I thought I should mention it since I couldn’t have got these images if I hadn’t taken them in RAW format.  You may notice a little “noise” in the photos as well, this is due to the higher ISO setting.  I try to not go above 600 when setting my ISO, however, if I had gone any lower than 800 the images would have been really dark.  Sometimes I have to compromise with some noise.  I actually kind of like it in some photos, seems to add a bit of an artistic element.

I had fun playing with focus, trying to feature the bubbles.  Don’t forget detail shots.  I love these pics of my son’s hands and feet.  He was actually trying to climb out of the tub at this moment which provided a great photo opportunity.  I love how his fingers are becoming little “prunes.” Then it was “get back in the tub, it’s almost time for a rinse.”

My daughter was right in my face for the above photo. It isn’t as sharp as I would like, however her eyes are in focus (with small catch lights) and I love her expression.  Sometimes I have to remind myself that some photos are keepers even if there are some “issues” with the photo since the image captures an emotion or memory that I love.

Try different angles.  Our bathroom is pretty limiting due to size and the glass sliding door attached to the tub but there are still a few options.  For the above shot I stood on the bathroom counter and shot down.  I like how it captures a different mood and the idea of play.

This is my daughter at the end of bath time.  I’m not sure what she was singing but the whole scene was pretty hilarious.  Life with kids is busy, fun and crazy at times.  For me, it’s important to capture all of these moments, after all it’s real life.  These photos make me smile.  I like that.

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