The Froggy Pose
The last segment, we went through you know, a composite image, or an image that you can clone out of support of hand, so we're focusing today on setups that are a little bit more complex. I'm all about beautiful simple posing when it comes to photographing babies in my studio, but there are certain poses that people do like to create in their studios, and that is obviously, you know, all about their studio. But what we're gonna focus on today is that because there are some poses that are more complicated and people do wanna try them, we're gonna show how to do them safely, how to read the baby whilst you're posing them in those positions, how to watch for their sort of, you know, their behavioral movements that are trying to tell you what's wrong with them, that they might not be happy. The next photo we're going to take is of the Froggy pose, something I used to offer in my sessions all the time. And it's funny, I used to offer it because all the photographers I admired were offering ...
it, and I thought to be a newborn photographer I would have to do it, so I did it for a long time. And I always felt, you know, that it was just that not every baby went into that pose, so it's like: well, why try and push every baby into it? Why not speed up my workflow and make it all about beautiful, simple posing for my clients. So I eliminated it, and in eliminating it I removed those images from my galleries, from my website, from all of that stuff and I focused on creating those more simple setups that are focused on that. We have a beautiful nine day-old little girl here called Eloise. She is nice and sleepy, but I am gonna say before I start that if at any point she is not comfortable going into this setup, I'm not going to force her. And that is the whole point of this class, it's knowing when to read babies' cues, and letting you know that they're not comfortable. With gonna work slowly and gently with her and explain everything we're doing and why we're doing it that way. And again, because I'm teaching, I need someone who is experienced out here helping me support the baby, so they know where to put the hands in terms of the different types of support the baby needs around its hands, its neck and the back of its head. And then obviously we're gonna make sure that the baby is positioned in the correct way, that's comfortable for them in their hips. If you're trying to put a baby into a pose and it's constantly moving, it's not comfortable, it's trying to tell you something. We all have our own comfy place, and I think that we forget sometimes that babies do, too. So let me grab Eloise. We'll leave her nice and snug. And I'm gonna place my hand here, at the back of the shoulders. Oh my goodness! So, prior to coming on set, we've put a little outfit on her, so we don't need to mess around too much with the clothing. We have our bag on a nice 45-degree angle, it's how we're gonna position her. It's nice and warm over here. I'm very aware of the temperature, though. I don't want her to be cold, because she's coming from a beautiful wrapped, secure environment here where she's got her body heat going, she's lovely and warm. When I undress her, she's going to react to the difference in the room temperature. Even though it is warm in here, it's different to how she's been, wrapped. I'm gonna make sure that my hands are nice and warm. Now before I start, we have a nice well in the middle of our bean bag. This is going to be where her bottom comes down. She's going to need support at the back of her lower back here, which is gonna help keep her in position. And then her little feet will come forward and then we need like a little bit of a shelf, I guess you could call it, for her elbows to go on which is where we're going to support her in terms of setting her up. It's important that a baby is never left unattended. I've seen a video of a baby in this position, and they were balancing in that position, the weight of their head was counteracting the lower half and the wrists were pushed so far back underneath the chin so the head would come forward for that balance, that it was actually pressing on their esophagus, restricting their airflow, their breathing. That is dangerous, so dangerous. Never ever try and put a baby into this position without supporting them at some point because it's just not (sighs) why would you put a baby in danger, just for the sake of getting a shot and not having to clone your fingers out? And I don't care how clever someone is, it's not worth it. It's not worth the risk or the injury. Okay, so underneath here we've got quite a few layers. I've got towels, lots of towels, so we've got it nice and thick. The bag is firm, but I do want something firmer for her elbows to go on, so I'm just gonna use one of my cloth nappies under here to create just that little bit more support. And if I need to I can curl it over for extra height. At the back, over my well which is back here, where her bottom's gonna go, I wanna create some support back here as well so she doesn't kind of slump back. We want her supported so she sits comfortably into this pose. There we go. So it's right there at the back, and now we've got a place for her bottom to go as well. Now that they're in there I can, once she's in position and she's nice and supported, we can adjust those cloth nappies to suit. Okay, she is nice and sleepy, but that could change! (laughs) And with a setup like this, you don't want to do it with a baby that's moving, that's wriggling, because if you don't have your hand in the right place they could push back and they could fall backwards. So you wanna make sure when you're doing a setup like this that the baby is nice and sleepy. In my studio, when I used to offer it, I would always say to my clients: If at any point the baby becomes unsettled or uncomfortable we'll move on and go onto something else. Because it's, you know, they're obviously not comfortable in that position and not every baby will go into this pose. Shhhhhhhhhhhhh. So I wanna try and get, when I position her down here, I wanna try and get her little legs in place first, and then we're gonna bring the elbows forward while we're supporting her. But it's important the head is supported throughout the whole process. If you work with an assistant, that's great. If you are working with your parents, you must explain to them every step of the way so they know what they're doing. So, this is the position that her hips need to be in, and when we bring her forward, you know, she's going to be nice and comfortable. It's very natural, when you see babies laying on their back, to have their hips spread like this. But what the difference is in this position is that we're putting weight on that area so we have to make sure that they're comfortable at all times. So I'm supporting, I have my three points of contact, down here, the hand, and my chest at the moment, while I bring my hand in underneath the bottom. So I'm just gonna let her relax here now, get her nice and sleepy again, 'cause we've moved her from a warm environment. The posing bag and the material on the bag is not warm. If you are working in a studio, like in winter, and it does take little while for your studio space to warm up, turn one of the fan heaters onto the posing bag, keep your hand there, feel it start to warm up before putting the baby down. But obviously don't make it too hot or the baby becomes (laughs quietly) unsettled. There's a half-smile there. Okay, so as we try to position her I'm gently bringing her forward, and I wanna push her bottom back now. She's wearing a nappy underneath this little outfit, which is great. So just adjusted there. Shhhhhhhhhh. Your alright there? Having a little gag. (laughs quietly) Okay, so we've got our little shelf here at the front. We're gonna pull these little feet forward and open up that space for her elbows to come into. And when we're bringing the arms up we want them to be nice and soft (laughs) and bent, so that when we position her forward she's going to be nice and comfortable. Alright, so we'll bring this hand up first because I'm able to hold the hand in place with my fingers over here. So I can just put a little bit of pressure, just there, not much, just at the back of that wrist. And that leaves this hand to be supported by me. Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. So I'm gonna support her top half now, I've got those elbows up nice and high, and what we're gonna do is, as she's stretching (laughs), she's having a good old stretch. Okay, Miss Eloise. Sh, sh, shhhhhhhhhhhh. While she's actually just settling there, I'm gonna lean her back. I'm actually gonna sit on the floor 'cause I can feel that I'm actually leaning forward and my lower back is straining. So I'll just put this blanket over the top of her, and I need to be careful while I'm working with her to make sure that she is fully supported the whole time, so that means I've gotta be grounded. Alright, and she's gone into a nice, soft heavy relax. She's really kind of relaxed back there now. What I might do with these blankets is because she's been so warm and snug I'm gonna keep them at the back here around her and that's gonna feel nice and warm for her little back as we position her. Shhhhhhhhhhhhhh. As she leant her head forward there, I just, it fell into my fingers, on my flat palm, which is why I'm always working with a flat palm. So I'm just pushing her backwards there as she's trying to lean forward. Shhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Shhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Shhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Shhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Sh, sh, shhhhhhhhhhhhhh. (baby gurgles) Do you use a pacifier? You do, do you have it on you? Would you be able to go and get it, just in case? So I'm just keeping my hands on the back of her forearm here, and giving then support while I gently rock her back into this sleep Every time I do move her and touch her arms, though, you can see that she's reacting to that. So it's gonna take me a while to get her into this pose. If it's not gonna work, we might resort to going into, like, the Taco pose, and we might attempt the Froggy with the next baby. But we'll see what she's comfortable with. (laughs very quietly) Okay, yeah, can I get you to bring that over to me? And I will let you pop that in her mouth. That's it, that's it. Perfect, thank you. Shhhhhhhhhhhhhh. (baby makes little sucking noises) When I went into the parents' room before and I put this little outfit on her, she woke up, had a big stretch while I dressed her. The minute I wrapped her and gave her back to her Dad she went sound asleep again. So I've already seen, you know, some of her kind of reactions, and know that she might possibly go back to sleep again. But if she doesn't that's telling me that she's not necessarily liking being in this position. So, Stephanie, can I get you to just bring that little foot forward there for me? Perfect. So we've got, the bottom half of her is backwards, so she's starting to come into that leaning forward position. And I'm just, every sort of couple of seconds, I just bring her forward a little bit more to where she's comfortable, with a gentle rock. So I'm supporting her jawline here, which is nice and strong. I'm supporting the back of her head, which is where we wanna keep it nice and stable. We've got one elbow down in position so far, and we're gonna bring the other one across. So I'm just gonna use my thumb at the back of the elbow here, underneath my hand, and bring that in together. But there's one little, can you pull her foot out for me? Perfect, thank you. Okay. Righty-o. So, are you nice and comfortable there? We're both so tall! (laughs) Right, I'm gonna get you to bring your hand in at the back here. And this is exactly what I would do with my parents. And just bring it around the back here for me, just while I lift up here.
Oh, okay, yep.
Yep, so I'm just gonna fix her little hands here underneath her chin. Now it's important that the thumbs are out from underneath the palm. We've got one hand in place. Stephanie has the weight of her head, so the weight of her head is not in her hands. I can bring those fingers out then, easily. And now what I'm doing is trying to bring those wrists together, those elbows together, and we're gonna wait for those fingers to relax. If you have a baby that likes to have a full fist, you are not going to try and get their fingers wide open, because they're gonna, you know, they're gonna scrinch all their fingers. Can I grab my camera? So while she's just settling here into this, she's nice and supported. We're gonna get those fingers perfectly placed around the cheeks. And she's spat the dummy. (baby gurgles) Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Okay, when you're ready to bring your hand down in underneath here.
You wanna do that one first?
Yeah, I'll come back. Okay, so I'm just communicating with Stephanie as to which image we're gonna do first, 'cause she's kind of wriggling those fingers still just a little bit. We wanna make sure that they're nice and soft. So are you okay if I bring my hand out? And the way that I'm communicating with Stephanie is the way that you should be communicating with your clients. I'm gonna come up nice and high, shooting down, making sure when you're doing a composite that you're in the exact same position when you take the shots. So before Stephanie does anything I'm gonna get my exposure right in camera. (click of camera shutter) Bring it down just a bit. Okay, I'm gonna get one shot now. (shutter click) And we can bring the first hand away. (shutter click) And back again. And when you're ready to bring the second hand away. (shutter click) And that's done. So three shots. I knew I had my focus on the one eye. Her face didn't move. And we're gonna be able to easily put those two photos together in Photoshop. Now to get her nice and comfortable out of this pose, what we wanna do is lay her down to her side, comfortably. So, with both supporting hands, what we're gonna do is just gently bring her over to the side here so that we're not putting any strain in any part of her body whatsoever. And we're keeping her nice and settled. From here, this is where you can go into like a side lying pose, and get a beautiful setup, without really having to do too much because she's already (laughs quietly) just so beautiful.