Safe Posing Using Props
It's funny, there's so many props out there and there's lots of prop shops and they sell all the different props and things like that and a lot of props require composite images a lot of props are very basic in the form of balls and crates. There's so much variety out there and I think that as photographers you know I'm always saying, find what makes you unique why clients should book you. It's not because you're creating the most difficult shot out there that's making you standout from everyone else it's unique in form in terms of your style and your brand. So for me, when it comes to props I actually like to make some of my own props so that they are different to everyone else's but I'm making them with a lot of safety involved. I don't buy a lot of my props from prop shops because I want my props to be different I'll buy them from antique shop or secondhand stores or things like that, but when I am looking for a prop to buy there are so many things that I want to make sure. You know...
, they're not breakable they're not gonna fall apart, they're not gonna smash or shatter if they come into contact with something else. You know if they are nice and sturdy and solid if it's a nest with twigs and things like that how I position the baby in them is gonna be, I'm gonna focus a lot of attention on that because if their little arms or legs come out and hit the edge of a scratchy kind of nest with twigs and branches and things like that or the side of a wooden crate that could potentially splinter them they're gonna get hurt. So the way that I use props in terms of posing is all about protecting the baby from that surface. And you know what it's like when you look at a image of a beautiful soft baby posed beautifully, on a hard surface. Like I like to make the babies look comfortable so I have everything soft around the baby I'm not gonna have them on the hard surface I want them to be, you know to look comfortable to have that feel of comfort and we don't want them hitting their little arms or legs on any surfaces. So, when I'm using props, again always having a spotter near by and never leaving a baby unattended. I don't care if they're on their back wrapped in something. It's really if you have an assistant to just say "OK, I'm just gonna grab something, can you stay there?" If you have a family, a couple in your studio "Can I just get you to sit here?" I would say to them, "Don't touch though" cause they all want to touch like, you might wake my baby up. And don't put babies into glass or breakable objects I'm gonna repeat it, again and again and weights, using hand weights if you've got a prop that's more upright and a baby's positioned upright they're top heavy they're heads equate to 25% of their body weight if they're slightly coming out of the prop it's gonna cause it to topple so you've got to make sure that the babies are positioned carefully in there and that there are weights in the bottom. I actually use a hand weight, not a great photo but you can see that's a I think that's a seven pound weight in my hand that's going into the bottom of that bucket. That doesn't not replace a spotter though. There's still a person sitting there with their hand because at any point the baby's head or arms could move but that's just to keep the base of that prop nice and sturdy. Let me go back. And be careful with rough surfaces like I just said. You know, using cloth diapers or any type of fabric around the outside of a prop while you're positioning the baby in there when you protect that, leave those around the outside and when you're ready to take the photo take them off when you know that the baby's nice and secure in there and its little arms or legs aren't gonna come out and hit any surface. I always have a hand in there if the baby this is quite a low prop, it's only about that big which doesn't necessarily mean that you shouldn't have a hand on the baby but the hand is on the top of the baby's head. I have my clients sit kinda up the front next to me so they've got they're back to me I don't have them sit anymore back here watching me cause they tend to watch me and some are like, "Did you get that shot?" "Did you get that shot?" I have them watching their baby and I tell them don't take your eyes off the baby. They're legs go out to the side so that while I'm shooting they're not in my shot. If the baby's not stable in there their hand stays on the baby and I will clone it out or do a composite in terms of that but basically what I'm doing with props is I'm not really putting them in I would never put them in there if it was too complicated. Easy setups. I line the inside of my props so I create a nice you know space for them and then once they're in there I'll tuck a lot of that fabric in around them to make them feel nice and secure and then the hand comes in and I'll get my exposure while the hand is on them and then I'll say to my clients, "One, two, three" hand goes up, click, down. Really really quick. So the baby, the hand is there don't take your eyes off that baby. Tell them what it is that you want. Being able to clone out a hand in Photoshop doesn't actually take that long I usually don't even clone it I use the lasso tool and copy and paste that's how quick it is. When you do a shot like this and you get the dads involved they have that sense of pride they see the photos and they're like, "I helped do that". Get them involved in the session make them feel comfortable explain to them why there's a hand on there when you take safety to that next level and they're aware of those safety factors they're gonna have so much more confidence in you when you're actually talking about all those safety issues. OK. Yeah.
Kelly, well we have a number of questions to try and get in here before we go to our next break let me know if we have any here.
I know, it's--
That was a lot of talking.
But that's why you're here, Kelly. That is why we're here. OK, so this is from Christy Gutierrez "Do you ever use a heating pad on the beanbag "and are there any rules to follow with that?"
I would never use one. I grew up in a cold town and we had electric blankets on our bed and the amount of fires that were started by those electric blankets were scary but even if you put your electric blanket on the lowest setting you would still wake up in the middle of the night overheated. If you were laying in the one spot like a baby is it's gonna overheat from underneath. We don't want to do that. That's why we have a consistent temperature around the baby because they will generate their own heat where they're laying. You only have to pick a baby up off a spot and put your hand there and feel that it's warm if you've got a consistent heat coming up underneath them they're gonna overheat. Also, if it's a power supplied plugged into a power point that's, no brainer. Babies wee, it's an electrical object you just don't, you would never put a baby near you know, anything or come into contact where it could be potentially very very very harmful.
Thank you. Another question that came in was from Jeanette Louise "Is it true that flashes are dangerous to newborns? "I don't have enough natural light in my studio."
It's actually not proven that a flash can damage eyeballs. Some people, there's been reports that have and things like that, I don't use flash because even though I say it's not been proven I had some photos taken of me the other day off of an iPhone and the flash went off and it took me a good 10 minutes to stop seeing the bright flash of light in my face. Like, these babies have undeveloped eyes. They're still developing. If they're awake and you've got a flash going off I can't image what that must be like. Also, when it comes to big soft boxes and things like that and that powerful burst I've been talking a lot about my clients when they come into my studio they're in a beautiful environment it's very warm, it's very comfortable it's created specifically for them to make them feel at home, to make them feel comfortable if I have a giant big soft box in my studio it's usually gonna be in between them or me. It's gonna be darker in there because I won't have the natural light and you're gonna have those powerful bursts going off continually. For me personally, and I'm not saying don't use them like I can't tell you to use them or not to use them I'm giving you my opinion. And I just don't think that it sets a nice sort of comfortable relaxing tone to a session. I went into a beautiful studio where there was natural light but it was quite harsh it was a direct sunlight so it was creating problems and a big soft box was brought in and they asked me what my opinions were and I said well your clients are continually going like this it's created a separation between the session and the clients. And they're so proud to be there those people watching their baby be photographed and how cute they look and how beautiful look they all pick up their iPhones and their like, "Ah". We don't want to create a separation between them. The other hazards with having big soft boxes and things like that in your studio are toddlers. We just saw what it was like to have two running around in the studio you need to have them sandbagged you need to have them stationary, things like that. I actually do have a large continuous light in the corner of my studio I set that to full ball if I need to but I don't have it anywhere near my baby it's actually off in the corner of the room and it spreads enough light into my studio. Getting the right lighting set up for your studio space is really important but there's a number of things to take into consideration that powerful burst and could it potentially cause damage there is no actual evidence that I'm currently aware of that it actually has. I did actually hear of one court case where someone tried to sue a photographer because of the, what they believe was damaging in terms of the flash but I think it was it didn't actually go through it was canceled. But the stability of the tripod having another piece of equipment in your studio with leads and stands and things like that I know it's really hard for some people if they don't have natural light but using a daylight balance continuous light, LED light and getting one of those for your studio might be a better option. And also, if you do have to use studio lighting I would recommend having a look at having it installed on your ceilings so that there are no tripods and things leads on the floor.
That's great. Kelly there are so many things to think about.
When it comes to newborn photography. And we have a lot of question that are coming in about more about posing, about business about your work flow. I know we're gonna talk in the next segment a little bit about some of the business considerations but as we said earlier this is your fourth time here on Creative Live so could you talk a little bit about for the person looking into marketing and business would it be your bootcamp that they'd be looking at and for posing, your newborn posing class, right?
Yeah sure. My very first class, I think we photographed 23 babies in three days, it was insane, there were babies everywhere so we did focus a lot on posing. We do do posing in the bootcamp group sorry, bootcamp class but it is more focused on business we did do a lot on marketing we did do a lot on sort of pricing and things like that so it depends on what it is that you need right now in business. You know for this, this kinda ties in with all of them doesn't it this class? It's great. And the hard thing is, when you're using you know a platform like this to share information you've got so much that you want to share in such a short amount of time you can't possibly share everything as well so yeah, if there are questions out there we've got a really supportive group on Facebook it's called the Kelly Brown Bootcamp Group and we're gonna put a link I think in the chat room aren't we? And we have such a supportive network in there of photographers that really help each other out so yeah, if you've got any questions and things like that it's so great to be able to ask them in there and share in a positive community environment.
Absolutely. Well this segment we have been talking all about the confidence and the communication and what I'm taking away is in order to be confident in the way that you communicate with your client you have to have a knowledge base you have to know what to say, you have to know how to answer the clients, the parents when they say "Wait why are you posing it that way?" Or to be able to say, no actually that particular pose isn't right for the situation that we're in right now and with this class, with this week of Kelly Brown classes that will allow you to give yourself that confidence so that you pass that on to your clients so that they go about and talk about you and your business thrives and this is critical, this is especially critical in this type of photography. Did you have something to add?
Yeah I do want to add. We talked about it when Stephanie was sitting up the front with me before about that continual education. You know it's taken a long time for me to learn all the aspects of my business and it didn't happen overnight I think a lot of people put a lot of expectations on themselves and they think, "Oh I'm gonna do that" and then when it doesn't happen straight away it's like "Oh, well I failed" or "I haven't done it" but we are continually working in our business we are continually changing the way that we do things based on the more knowledge that we get. I am continually educating myself and learning new things like when I first started speaking to people who specialize in a lot of these areas with newborns it blew my mind. I was like wow, I was thinking now I actually have a lot of this knowledge to be able to make my sessions flow better to be able to provide my clients you know, the images that they want. I don't want a client to come into my studio and if their baby is has got some of those behavioral things that we talked about or those conditions that we talked about I don't want to have to send them away and reschedule. I don't have time for that. I need to how I can service their needs right there and then and stop thinking about getting those big complex setups and those beautiful shots and just photographing the baby and without communicating with our clients we don't know what it is that they want. So it's asking the right questions continual professional development is so important.