Shoot: Baby Portrait
I would like first of all to introduce the most important person in the room and that's my associate photographer michael van auken michael is absolutely brilliant at entertaining children and helping to draw their eyes to the camera we have a mother and father and their two children there I think the oldest is three and the other group this about a year and a half year in half so you and rex the rexon and mia so I hope that you'll join us now and what I'd like you to see in this session is I want you to see the teamwork that we play, how we played with one another in and trying to get great expressions from the children remember we are not there to make them small we want to give him a reason to smile and let them enjoy the experience for those of you out there that can't have michael because he works for me and no, you can't steal him either don't go hijacking him. What you want to do is find some who's good with children and help and the thing I want you to notice is the way that he...
draws them right to the camera. Um the other thing is noticed the different kinds of toys that he brings up that he doesn't just choose one that uses a variety of different kinds of toys so that they know we keep their attention span it's gonna be a very fast paced segment we're going to start over in this area right here. We're just going to use natural or window light, which is the way we prefer to work if possible. So let's get started. Do you have any last words? Mike? Let's? Just have fun, have a great experience. We have awesome family to photograph and we're just gonna have a blast. Okay? Let's, get him. And by the way, after lunch today, you all are going to get the treat of of your lifetime because you're gonna get to see what we shot michael's going to go through our sales presentation and use some of the images that we shot this morning from this family. Go, I do. All right, let's, get you guys over here. Here we go. Okay, first of all, ray, I want to set you down first, and what I want you to do, ray, is you're just gonna put your knee, you can put your feet right on the on the couch. Okay, once you put your your knee down here and you're just going to get cozy and I want just to sit down here and just get like, this is where I want you to sit, okay? The reason I haven't put his knee down first is because it pulls it gets creates a center of gravity behind said that his but bottom so you won't be sitting backwards I wanted to be kind of sitting forward so putting the knee in the couch and then having him fall backwards will create and put the butt behind the body we'll know if I could just get the old lady out of the chair, huh? Okay, alright, right let's get you such a set up uh love it perfect and then you're just gonna turn this way a little bit perfect. Just scoot your butt booty back a love it love it right? They're gonna lean on this right here and now my dear princess marissa you're going to sit right here I want you to throw your legs across the couch right here and you're going to sit right up toward your honey yeah, just getting cozy and I want you to get real close to ray you know, we I have to tell you we had a really hard time finding a cute family and you know, we obviously tried our best and what I want you teo yeah, and then what we're gonna do is I want you to take him you're going to stretch out this leg crisscross applesauce no, you can't do that there's nothing that the kids can do that's wrong I know what way we want them to do what we want them to dio but we wanted to we want to make it like something that they want I'm going to do that in just a second let's scooch it right there there we go all right no did you wear your beeper shoes today? No, you didn't wear your shoes I think I think you want to be produced today let me see oh, hey I want to get her to set up a little bit more I want her dead rex and where his beeper shoes okay, let me see and all of you look at michael ray and me look I mean look it mike watch him no, I don't think he did oh, where were you? The oh, let me see if I remember where the beeper went before let's see where we were before oh, my nose my nose oh, there you go. You won't do it rex oh there's also your turn. I don't think so. Okay, wait a little cleaning or something? Okay. Oh, you see we've played this game before. No, you see me on the screen, huh? Now um I was wondering if you still had that magic ball behind you oh, and there it is. Rex stan there it is just under his chin under his mouth under there you go okay oh, and here comes one two and you're gonna get the magic cloak you blew it like that she blew it away it is where tio I don't know how the kids are looking but mom and dad are getting a big kick out of this you want to see it again but where did it go wait a minute wait a minute rex tin oh it was behind weston's here that time I want to shake it up a little bit can we get mea I want the big girl mia to stand upright between mom and dad hey ray can I have you sit up a little bit taller for me honey and right just going to put your feet all up on the couch just put both both your feet just threw him up there pal and I want you to see how let's put mia never stand right there oh there's the ball right let me go the other balls sculpture booty back love and you know I want you to put your feet behind your daughter right there actually you know what just that this term right across the couch you know while we're waiting on him t just before I just saw something that's beautiful ray move your hand right here a minute while we're standing here mike here let's go ahead and I want to get me a and mama lena nice clothes can you put your arm right around her and and tilt your head right into her beautiful tio bring your chin real clusters like love it oh you know what? Listen listen listen listen mia put your hand down sweetie put your hand on mommy's hand on her hand okay I want you listen listen listen friend flightless and becomes I want your chin ro cluster let him go okay now let's get let's get mom and her little boy what we're trying to do is we'll break it up and do a few we do the family then we'll come back and do more okay just happens doesn't it yeah actually you know what right let's let me have you lead until you're into your girl right here okay wait going with him right here yeah okay here we go ok alright rexon throw me the ball throw the ball oh, okay your turn there's a good reason why you don't want to use a real ball because it rolls all over the place and this one doesn't owe good catch oh that about that way wait and just kind of lean into her beautiful I love it but you know actually I would love it you know what you like got it wait five oh why you whore you got me it's your chair okay, give me five oh whoa that was a strong okay, give me five okay, here mom, it'd help off the couch we'll just do the two kids hate my commute let's left that pillar right there and we've got okay unless you rex in first actually mike I don't know yeah you know you see me he's playing to the other camera amy you want to play a fun game you're jumping I've got hundreds of oh yeah you know I need change if we're going to go up hey mia you wanna have some really fun big fun do you like to jump you like to jump she is a wild animal ladies and gentlemen I'm ready okay here's what we're gonna do stand up here is my exposure all right ready okay oh good okay we're doing all right okay sometimes it's not about either didn't just let them come up with their own stuff me uh while you're still a girl ready I'm going to get you ah good it's great uh are you the doggie? Are you there? Are you the r u the lion did you hear my sweet did you hear the squeak? Okay, here we go you ready to jump one, two, three jump I don't I don't think she can jump my thinks you can't either I don't think she knows how to jump she's probably not old enough to jump yet all right, I bet I know she hasn't know how to jump she can t rex that knows how to jump so mia, can we come over here please? Ok, alright you all right? We're gonna uh okay, here we go all right. Here. Remember what I told you about the, uh about the treasure box? Okay? Let's let's become situated here. That's ok, I love this. This is great. Can you put him up there? Yeah, he likes oh, that's. Good that's, gorgeous. Okay, mike let's get you put that right behind him. I think we got a great shot here. Ah, here we go. One, two, three big boy wade in the keep put the ball up on the couch. Yeah, he does let's see what's in here, let's. See what? Oh, no. Oh, no let's. See? Oh, here we go. Let's, do this. Excuse me. Watch your fingers. Okay? You always want to keep that closed because it will be all over once they get in their way, give him way. We play with him with one toy at a time, not a bunch. Okay, what's this vixen one, two aah! He's going to get teo ah ah ah ah ah uh, so this is just a little that was beautiful set was really cute. It's really cute. I like that all the way. Yeah. And you know what I'd like to do? Actually, yeah, let's do we're human ray and the kids come on, we're going going going going and you know actually want to put him on this side now okay so I said to the edge right here and I want you to put your feet up on the cat's just get comfortable and just oh yeah that's exactly what I want you to lean towards me this way ray that's perfect good job that's great that's what I always say wait hey you ready here it comes get you alright we'll bring your friend ok here we go way come on over here sweetie right wait wait the big daddy left just as much as the big strikes in that oh okay here we go one two three at some point you have to give it up oh oh you got it rest and rest in brest in did you get it right you put him on the other arm now you get me and right bring your face real close to his right there lean into him right there oh wait me haven't you bring it over here okay hey you want to help me get lex help get us in a way we're going to get brexton committing look at him a whole bunch and lean in really close touch her face to hiss can I see him when you see him here he goes right on top of her I got him like okay let's get daddy and her okay? All right wait get me is inside of you. Actually yeah put it on the other side if you can okay is he going to get me that's nice oh that's beautiful ray that's gorgeous oh okay I see him presented something you see magic I see magic we go from the watch ah me remember the crime you get the prize are you gonna get the prize no you're not gonna get the prize okay here's mr elephant you teo I got a little e they got me good I didn't see you know what I remember remember this little remember this trip here let's put your hands right here on daddy's going to show you a trick but remember this magic ball right here here we go one time I mean in the whole country two times three waiting man and it didn't work so I know you need to give it the magic blow can give medical oh wait a minute you made two of um how did you do that night? I don't know e I got it I got it I'm good okay yeah how about if we do we'll see a mom a dad let the kids just run for a minute we got her in that we have with each of them with the kids right yeah we got it yes I did get her a cup of that way her with him with yeah, we did both of them okay okay so now good throw your feet up there and now I'm gonna have you teo flip onto this hip right here I'm gonna take you just like that and uncross your legs and put your back foot up let's go the great thing about my count race you bernie up just like that good and now you're gonna sit right here between his like right there can I get you to curl in nice and cozy and oh yeah let's see how that looks right there and then you know what I'd love to get I'd really like to get my my dentist chair and bring it over yeah just getting cozy right there love it right there can I have you marisa turn your shoulders this way beautiful love it and just lean in real close right there honey uh lean towards me just a little bit marisa beautiful doll and then lean towards that gorgeous boyfriend years love it ah it's a mess cute I like that a whole bunch beautiful I'll tell you what love ray whatever you do don't you let me catch you smiling right there I supposed to do it humors and put your hand behind his head right there nice and with your chest just kind of getting cozy right there love mia with your cheek lean in real close touch your cheek with all that's beautiful ray that's nice that's, sweet honey sweetie that is very nice gorgeous very good okay let me have you guys hop off the cash we're gonna make changes set real fast and I just need my crew to just move our couch out of the way it's on wheels so we should be good to go yeah move it just that way not like towards us but I don't know if this is gonna work but I sure want to make it try I love this chair on I think that with the real contemporary family like this that we could create something that's very interesting to give this to you darling I just want to move it like right about there right there good job and I want to turn it this way just a little bit like that let me just move it so that the back is up okay mike I love love love love love to try to get one of the kids up in my chair okay look who I got mr monkey head I don't know why he's called that just is okay here I want you to see something cool come on come on mia check out this waking cool chair you're good safety first I said stay good dog ok mia here's what we're gonna do you want to see how this chair spins this is going and what's this doggie's name do you know how about wait how about we call him doggie doggie head this looks great for her. A lot of head does he fit in my head uh people oh, you blew him right off my head. How did you do that? Are you are you are these great? I'm telling you this is so no how about rex? Is he a magic boy do you want to see you want to see? I think you should give her a little ride a little ride wages were a spent three ways see why did you stop there silly don't look at uncle mike I think he's doing something crazy mia don't d'oh what what oh my god you got my cat looks awesome for her I knew that would work for her. I knew it. You want to go rex in now yeah let's go come on. We're gonna come down here you're gonna take a little doggy there you go. All right, come on over here, sweetie. Here we go. It's resting turn to get over. All right, mr reston and wear rex hey, can you get up in that chair here what you want to go look at him? Go reston you can do it. I e o he's going teo real careful like I want to fall out of that chair apple uh you don't want him to get you okay here watches uh uh uh tokyo you know be really cool for him michael can you turn the chair around this way so I can have a peek through the ladder of fashion looks so cute and actually love to have a parent really ray can you go stand really close just over on this side see you just go on the right hand side I just want you really close so he doesn't fall I see rickston uh right there perfect ray that's great you uh rex d rex comes the ball here comes the ball rexon I got it I got what I need are awesome okay so now I think we've got time to take a question or two and I think we're good with the kids I think I got what I needed so first of all can we have a huge hand for our models today are beautiful family like that that's cute um do we have some questions from our studio audience and thank you guys so much after lunch we're gonna bring you guys back so you can see the beautiful images that we took I forgot my you know we've got to do you forgot grandpa over there oh theo come for the session is not with the intention of actually the photograph but what better opportunity tow have them photographed with their grandkids how do they get so happened? We pass it up so this is chris this is grandpa chris and chris we're gonna bring you right over here buddy and we're gonna get right in here and look who's here look who's here oh could be in there that you could want okay hang on we're gonna pay chris turn your feet this way a little bit turn your feet that way the other way love it let's just go and get it I wanted to see what you look like in my chair right there love it all right here's your daddy an actress I love it I know I know what can I say we go really close to him okay no good sit up a little taller and just just like right there with your hands look at your grandson I got a can you just kind of kiss him on the top of his head right there dad graham but just just lean down just get my kiss right on the head right there are beautiful awesome awesome awesome awesome okay perfect has my baby showed up at my baby here yet yeah what time is it oh great good you actually you know what would be awesome mike I would love to have and you know what let's marissa let's put you and grandpa and the kids and together I think that'd be great summary someone have you stand by behind your dad just a little bit and if you want to hold your daughters I think she wants you to hold her. You know, one of the things I've noticed I'm working with children is that way work on their schedule and that we know we have about twenty minutes to get what we need to get and we're not goingto I'm not going to push them beyond what they're comfortable once they start where they're not happy anymore I don't want them to have an unhappy experience in the studio so you can't force somebody to smile and make them feel happy so we want to just give him time and let him just be kids are actually I love that mike that's cute actually I love that mike that's awesome way here we go one time two times on let's give it the magic blow you give the magic wo o u turned about oh silly marisa don't look at her look at right here well then we can get her in session way why am I god whoa what is he doing? Is he being silly there you go perfect okay rest I'm going to get somebody oh hey you know what mike here might take over and you shoot and let me play teo teo somebody I got tio okay you give me give me a high five can you give me a rh high five oh you got me I'm good get teo you scare me you okay ready oh, you got me oh, that was good too get teo I get it I get it, mike yeah awesome. Perfect. Okay, I think we're good on the kids let's do some questions thank you guys so much fantastic. Thank you, chris very, very much sorry I'm here I'm trying to drive a bus someone to drive that is all there is to drive first of all the internet just loved that and again a big round of applause for michael way have people who are saying I work at day cares and I can't do this just people are very much applauding your bill ready to work with children as you do so the first thing that I would love that people are a number of people are asking is if you could just review your lighting setup here and more so why you chose the lighting as it is for example the windows are open there's not that something on it defusing like we did yesterday and it's kind of the reflector people would love to kind of get into that. Okay, perfect. The lighting that we're using is just natural light from the windows it's an overcast day here in the bay area so we don't have direct sunlight um we have this windows you see when you look through you can see that there's a direction of light coming in so we have highlights and we have a shadow and then another highlight and then more shadows and they look at the way the light falls across my face so I was shooting at a fairly high I s o around sixty eight six hundred eight hundred eso my depth of field is about f four so that I can make sure to get you know make the people in the front been focus as well as those that are behind but this environment is so simple you can literally do this anywhere if it were a bright sunny day we get western light here in the evening so it would come right through the windows then we might take our plastic and we have these long sheets of white plastic that we put up in the winter that the same size as the window itself ah and that way we can defuse the light or spread the light out and soften it quite a bit so it's it's actually quite easy we like this kind of lighting set up because it's very friendly to the children I find that the more that you put them in an enclosed environment and you have all these big lights around this is so much more then what we would do like these lights right here could be a bit a bit intimidating so for us we find that if we just have him sitting on the couch and just getting cozy and and then playing with them and interacting them if we have an environment for that playfulness, then we can have a lot of free reign with them and they can be themselves a perfect example of that was when mia was on the carpet and was just rolling around on the carpet ling I actually got some great pictures of her when she was like, just just playing on the carpet and because the windows air fairly low, the light spills down this directions that we have a nice light source, a nice quality of light even on the carpet as well as fairly up high on the wall. So it's a very nice environment this is this is too much my perfect kind of lighting scenario and even the tonality of the walls of the warm gray noticed the nice big highlight we get on the wall and then it falls off. The lighting falls off, so we get a natural vignette um, of shade of a shaded area here for our portrait for a portrait session. Michael yeah, the other thing only other thing I would add is the reflector having a large reflector really help because you don't want to be taking the time to have to adjust it and all that you want to get it set and leave it alone because you can see there's a lot of movement in what we're doing here and a lot of action, so you don't want to have to deal with this sort of thing so preset this um this isa very highly reflective er reflector and you generally what I try to do is set it so that it's going to hit mostly that whoever is going to be over on this side because the rest a ll hit the people that are closer to it but what you don't want to do is is put it for the person that's closest to it because it's going to kind of blow them them out a little bit in the shadow area, whereas if it reaches across that it's going to skim across all the people in it and so this is a great product, we've actually even used insulation panels like you can get home depot they have a silver side already, so we've even used those but this is actually a a lot more professional looking on a lot more user friendly and you know you could put it on a light stand very simply so it's and it's a lot lighter weight than our our other panels are travels easier too andi my silver not white great question we sometimes do use the white side, but today especially because we have a cloudy day we need a little bit more power as it will coming from a silver side like the white side would probably just not give us enough of a ah highlight to give us that to give any sort of definition let me show you what we're talking about you and we've also made it really quick so if we do need to go to the white like if we are getting some direct sun then we can just simply flip that over and we're ready to go yes question maybe you think you like about twenty minutes with kids is that the entire length of your session or do twenty minute bursts are I have to say we do kind of like twenty minute burst we'll go for a little while and then you notice like with our family that we took a few pictures of the family together and then the then mia went over to her mom and just started getting cozy with her mother boy oh boy, if I can get images that I know are on my list in my head without having to manipulate children and put them in the scene again I know I want to do that. So do you notice how I changed what I was doing and said okay, we've got her with mom I know I want to get some photographs with with little mia and her mother so it was perfect without having to bring somebody else in or move the kids and I said, hey, dad, just scoot over a little bit and I was able to capture that so I try to maximize the twenty minutes that we have so in other words if we have I know that our window with children is very short I don't wanna wear them out and it's been my experience and I think mike too is that that we'll find that well like one of them will give us a few minutes of attention and then they're done for a few minutes and then we'll they'll go over and play with some toys and mom and dad maybe we'll play with them and then me and michael concentrate our efforts on the other child so we try to break up the experience a lot and then we try to find out what is it that they want to do so that we can make that part of the photographic experience so that you noticed like with mia that there were certain times when we've got a bit of assistance from her she didn't want to do what we wanted her to do so in that case you you're in my opinion your best bet is not to try toe force them to do what you want your better bet is so let them do what they want and see if you can find beautiful images within that confines and again if you're looking if you're photographing in an area where you have a wide a wide area for your beautiful light then you have a lot more flexibility michael, I know you want to address that cause you're yeah, another advantage to having a natural light studio to is that you can use other areas we have another area right over here that is camera ready. So if there was something else going on over here and say one of the parents is sitting there with the other child while we're working with the other ones and there's something going on it's really quick and easy to just, you know, maybe make a slight adjustment on the exposure, but we're ready to go, we're not setting up any lights were not having to lose that moment, and so having a natural light area really, really helps us a lot and being able to move around in different areas, the other advantage we have here, a tte the arsenal is that is that there's other areas to go into, so, like, for instance, we had a group of kids here they were all cousins, and we wanted to go upstairs so let's all go off into the a freight elevator and go upstairs. And so, you know, it was like a little adventure that they were going on, so it kind of breaks it up a little bit for them and and so by having different locations, I suppose you could do the same thing that somebody's home you could you know you could initially say okay we're going to set up in the living room in that but then have a plan b or an additional location in the backyard or outside or somewhere so it's really helpful to have something b beyond that just flat background and some lighting to have different different alternatives different locations, some variety and ultimately what we really like tio see our clients end up with is an album of images so you really need variety and we'll address that when we meet again this afternoon for the sales part I wanted you to talk about all of your tool but master's tools over here well, you know it's funny I have found that uh kids toys could be somewhat boring they see kids toys all the time when I found really works well is pet toys um this little guy you khun you can shoot him in the air he used makes a little noise but s so this is actually a dog toy and that and I normally don't like to use the bright colored ones because if they end up wanting it then it kind of shows up where's if if me or rex and we're holding this toy it kind of blends in and it's not going to be too distracting this is pretty distracting but but there he is but I like this one because if it's on me really good and that I can consort what he sort of did something and then I can make a move like that you know? So anything to be kind of silly thea the reason I like I like a softball like this is because when they throw it it doesn't go very far but something like this it's going to go rolling around bouncing around you gotta go chasing after it so the other ones there are a lot friendlier um another thing also is fighting toys that will blend in so if somebody's wearing white this little guy will blend right in with somebody's wearing white and won't be too much of a distraction uh this is actually not a toy this is actually a pad. So sometimes when you have a dad that's when dad sometimes they sit down they're shorter than the wife so he's slipped this underneath them and this is just a little thing you get a garden stores put your knees on when you're gardening but it gives a datil nice little boost I mean silly little be surprised what makes people kids laugh and uh another pet toy you know that makes noise and it's on your head does all that so I just have all this old bag of tricks but this is really cool we did this in another session. This is like an old camera just picked up like a antique store so sometimes you want somethingto keep the kids active something for them to hold in their hands something for them to do and oh, I don't normally get to play with this this is cool yeah, well knobs and buttons and stuff so they really dig that and this looks very photo friendly on actually even could be a little storytelling photo you can have one child take pretend like they're taking pictures of the other child so you could do a pictorial type photographed with that so uh and you can find these little cameras for ten twenty dollars maybe um and uh and then if they dropped or whatever it's not a big deal so uh you know, again more pet toys I'm going to get you over here. I'm going teo so a little cat toy you know? And that so you could be a little careful with this one because it's a little creepy looking to some kids you know, nightmare before st first and michael, can you also address about why you have so many toys? Oh yeah that's great yes think you can see they get tired of the same thing over and over again so you really need to have a lot of variety and things that are going to can keep their attention because they're going to get tired of things really quickly it's also important that you have a a secure place to put your things, because as you could see, they just kept wanting to go in there and get stuff, and if they could actually access your stuff, it's all going to be ripped out all over the floor, and then they're going to be tired of it really quick. S o that's that's really important that you have have your your thing's secured and you so in other words, you're saying to hide them and take out one at a time. Exactly, okay, you know? And then if you really want, if all else fails, get the little particular and tickle him under the chin, but when he says draw their attention back, though that's that's the nice thing about this being so bright as you can go in and do the little staying under the chin and then drop back and make sure you get their attention back to the person is helping you gets attention back to the camera. Um, now the best thing I ever came up with. I'm all mixed up right now because we were just shooting, but the best thing I ever came up with was the magic ball trick, and I'm revealing a little too much here, but may I have an audience, members may have a volunteer come on, ok, andrea turning face the camera now we have here a ball number one and number two I would like for you to tell me which one do you like the best number one or number like number two number two okay, we're going to my lovely assistant bambi here whole ball number one we have you to thank ball number two and hold it in your hand really tight don't let the waiter but not my figure but just hold on to that ball right now you've got one and I've got one right okay, now watch this my fingers never leave my hands when I do this okay no safety net here now what I'd like for you to do is I don't think it's that magic well, can you get the magic? Well that the magic spirit theme magic club and whoa, how about that now let's take a look in your hand see what we have and there we have ball number one and number two, huh? Very good. Now can you see how many opportunities there were just in that to get a photograph every little step of the way it's an opportunity to get expression, bewilderment, amazement, laughter you know, I always say that oh, not the magic spit you know little boys especially well that's pretty funny and so, you know, learned some magic tricks and that and and get somebody as an assistant to do that and I'll tell you that crazy magic ball trick is the best thing in the world so I can't say when we're photographing like especially from like four to six year old children literally because he asked for the magic dust and ask her to take the magic dust it's amazing that it worked without the magic dust and so usually you he'll go okay I need some magic dust bambi and so I have to give him the magic dust and then you'll see these little kids going like this with their hands when they're leaving their going trying to make the magic ball appear it's so adorable it was time again and the parents when they come back for the premiere they'll be telling us things like uh they've been looking for that magic ball behind their ear like for a week now so uh it's uh it's really fun so it's a very very involved type type trick and that another one I have found this is like actually a tape measure and so actually you kind of get somebody else is a volunteer I think it's because we're entering turn wait what heather this is heather everybody okay so heather I need to do a little measurement tio teo get the photo just right you know just hold that for me on ok if you could just let go of that for me there oh, no they worked a didn't get a great smile from heather. Thank you, heather. So, anyhow, there's, a lot of baggage tricks you, khun. You could find a lot of common things that you could get so, but I wouldn't use a regular tape measure because it's sharp funds of sites and safety is always first.