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Concept Shoot: On the Ground with Newborn

Lesson 20 from: Family Photography: Capturing Connection

Julia Kelleher

Concept Shoot: On the Ground with Newborn

Lesson 20 from: Family Photography: Capturing Connection

Julia Kelleher

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Lesson Info

20. Concept Shoot: On the Ground with Newborn


Class Trailer

Day 1




Psychology of Parenthood


The Power of a Story


Composition and Color


Psychology of New Parent and Connecting


Pre-Session Questionnaire


Posing Basics for Connection


Lesson Info

Concept Shoot: On the Ground with Newborn

This is a very personal project, but I and I'm I have to admit that I really questioned hard if I want to do it on creativelive or not. But then I also said I would be a complete. I also kind of thought I would be a complete hypocrite if I couldn't do it, because here I am. I am asking you guys to be vulnerable to your own life and if I can't do the same thing, then you know that's not cool. So many of you know my story. I gave birth about 3.5 years ago to my son Dean, and for probably 6 to 8 weeks, suffered from very hard core postpartum depression. And it is a very real thing, and one in five women who give birth suffer from it. It is in society, something considered very shaming, and women who have it and me at the time thought there was something wrong with me that I am not good, like I had done this to myself. Or why couldn't I just snap out of it, that kind of thing and that's the social stigma associated with it. But when my doctor finally told me, You know, this is just like ha...

ving the flu. It's not something you did to yourself. It's a chemical reaction in your body that's messed up and we to fix it and you didn't cause it. You're not the one who could get yourself out of it. I have to help you with it. And he did, and I was fine and no, I love my boy's death and I'm I hope I'm a good mama. Don't always think that, but try to be and life goes on as normal. However, what really struck me over the last three years is how little people are willing to to talk about it. And I think it's really important to bring that message fourth, and as an artist, that's how I do it. So, yes, I'm going to take an experience that happened to me and turn it into an image I am stealing like an artist in a the hard core way possible. Okay? And I think even my production staff here knows that I doing that because the person who inspired me for this images Brooke shaded okay and Temi Blevins they're both photographers who have used water to convey a message, and the water has always been the right thing. This image has been in my head for about three years now, and it's one of those things that's been shelved. Its been played with It's been shelved. Its been played with I've test shot it tried things and it's just not with other weather elements. And it just didn't work. I tried fog on dso are really This is an attempt to be to practice the five piece of creativity, passion, persistence, patients practice keep going no matter what. Okay, so this could work. It could not. We'll come up with an image of some sort of it s oh, my My thinking was the water symbolizes both life giving and drowning. Okay, And that's what postpartum depression really is. To me, it's this feeling like you have just done the most beautiful thing with your life and created this child. But you feel trapped and like you can't escape and like you're drowning like it's going to suffocate you. And so the I've thought about my process is okay. I could have mom standing in the water with her baby them like, but that looks like she's gonna want to drown her kid. That's right. So that's the methods that will be implied. So, really, it was a matter the mother needed to be in the water, but not the child. Because there was never a time in postpartum where I wanted to hurt my child at all. I just wanted to escape from the feelings. And so I was very protective of my child. I loved him dearly, but I was I was very much suffocating in my own inability. And so that's the message that I was trying to that I want to convey with the water. So now, before everybody freaks out, this baby will never, ever, ever be in the water. Okay, I do not do this without being extremely safe. So it is going to be a composite. You will not see the finished image until we start working on it tomorrow. And post processing. Okay, but I'm first gonna follow Britney. This wonderful mother here just had her little baby girl Alice, about 12 days ago. And then she is wearing what I provided for her. Okay. And I chose I went antique shopping just last week. Actually, and found this vintage antique clothing that I. Then last night in my hotel room, died. Okay, I died. I just put rit dye in the in the hotel sink with hot water, and I dipped everything in there and died it so that they would match and be warned looking that e crew color that cream that dirty Dungy feel. And I love the fabrics, their linen and cotton, and there's a lot of stuff going on. It's a very simple shift. It's just a tank top and a skirt and very almost ratty looking but still feminine and somewhat innocent, because I want to convey the message that the mother is innocent in this. It's not something that she did to herself. It's something that happened to her. So I'm using the soft tones of the cream to convey that I could have used white meat meaning an innocent color. But to be honest to goodness, it was too stark of a contrast against the black pool. So you ask, What's the vision in my head? I don't know if it's going to go there, guys, but I'll tell you anyway. The image is a long, skinny mama is on her back in the fetal position, in the water, half submerged with the baby down at her hips. And it's a profile. She's looking away from the child. Okay, that's a very simple image. There's not much to it. It's just the symbolism of the water, etcetera, etcetera. That's gonna make the image powerful. And there's a darn good reason I'm putting her on that lower left power point of the image. Correct. We all know why. Now it's going and I'll flip it tomorrow and show you how the difference between putting it on the lower left on the road lower right is going to be how it's gonna make the image feel different. So the first thing that we're going to do, we're gonna try this a couple different ways because I have this this pose in my mind on her hip and baby's gonna be wrapped in some rugged looking fabrics. But I want to make sure, but if this doesn't work, I want a back up plan, right? So I have both our little bowl here, and that's underneath this way we can use and I also have a nest that I got from J D printers props and that nest can have certain connotations with it as well. Its new life. It's birth, giving its nurturing. She's still nurturing the baby in the nest. But yet she's drowning in this water. So the nest may actually be a more powerful image than just with the baby alone. So we're gonna try a couple things were to shoot it dry first. So the Onley thing I'm worried about right now is getting the arms in position with the baby, lighting the baby correctly and doing the bulk of the two buckets with it so that I could get some variety. OK, so then what I'm gonna do is take the baby out of the scenario and put the mother in the water and shoot her by herself in the same positions with the bull with the with the nest and why by herself. So I have different options to play with. Okay, there's a I've never shot on water before. I have never shot someone in water before, so I was looking at this and realizing when I put the light over here. My gosh, I've got all these reflections to contend with in the water, but a cool little happy accident. But I think it's gonna make my image better if we can see it in the image. I'm not sure we're going to see it yet, but you can see the reflection of the brick wall in the water. Okay. And the boy is that brick wall. Have some meaning, doesn't it? Symbolism. So it could work. It could not. So we'll see what happens. So how is little Miss, uh, Alice doing? She out, like a light? Perfect. Okay, Britney, I'm gonna have you come on over and you can go and take your shoes off, sweetie, if you want. Perfect. Thank you. Okay, So I'm gonna go ahead and set Britney up That you didn't have a C section anything, did you, sweetie? You're You feel good. You okay to lie down? Okay, um, so I think I asked you that before, but I'm not remembering exactly that. All the sessions kind of run together after, Well, okay, so let's go ahead. And, um, What I'm gonna have you do is so I'm thinking about my lighting direction. I'm just gonna talk out loud while I do this. So you guys can, like, see my process if that works. Okay. So I'm thinking about my lighting direction. I want to make sure that the lighting on the baby is correct. So with that being said, I think I could put Mama face up towards me, which would have baby over here. Her head's gonna be over there, which will make ghoul lighting. I don't like that. So I'm going to spin around and put Mama this direction facing Let's see, where am I facing towards the light. So that baby has butterfly or short light situation on his on her face. Okay, So what that means Miss Britney is I want you to lie down on the floor like this in kind of a fetal position, your legs tucked up to your chest as much as you can. Okay. Like this. And then we're gonna play around with you. Okay. So good. I'll probably put a pillow under a towel on your head here, Feeling a little more comfortable. Okay. Okay. If this starts to wear on your hips at all, let me know. Because I know our hips love to expand during childbirth, and they don't go back for the White House and I need some help getting down. Okay, Awesome. Perfect. So go ahead. Let's go ahead and get tell or two, because right now, I'm gonna put this on your head. I'm not worried about Britney's head. It all okay? All I care about is getting the baby in the correct position. Okay? So I'll worry about Britney when I get in the water, I'm using lighting. That's a lot smaller of a light source because I want things to be a little more dramatic. Okay, so I need to wrap baby girl. What I'm gonna do is kind of give you the feeling of what this will look like by putting her skirt the way I want it. So in the water, that skirt is going to get wet and flow and do all kinds of interesting things. Okay, to try to pull your knees up as much as you can. I know it's hard having just given birth. You okay? Okay. Pull that down. Perfect. Okay, So I need to wrap baby girl, But I want I want to give you an inclination. What? This is gonna feel like first. Okay, so go ahead and turn your face to the side so I can see it. Can you roll over your left shoulder a little bit more? There we go. That's gonna be Yeah, And if you need some support there, do you need a bit more? Honey, are you okay? Okay. Perfect. So I have her almost in complete profile up here like this. Okay, so this hand is going to be around here, and little Alice is going to go in here, and this hand is going to be able to support her head. Okay, so let me go ahead. And Rapper, you can relax for a second by second. I wanted to give you the pose to think about for a couple minutes while we get all nice and snug as a bug in a rug. Okay, good. All right. Now for the rap, I had a couple of different ideas. Um, this wool is very has a rugged feeling to it. A very warn feeling. So I'm using a little bit of contrast of meaning in my image with the burlap and the will. This is extremely soft, is very soft, but it looks rugged. So this is what baby is gonna be mostly in is what will protect her skin and keep her comfortable. But then I'm going to wrap her up more raggedly in the burlap. I'm not sure which burlap I'm going to use yet. If it's not successful, I might switch to something else that I know works kind of thing. But we're gonna try this out and see how it looks. So, baby, we're gonna do a scarf. Bull rap. Okay? So babies could be all tucked in there, and then this is gonna go around the outside of it with tales and strings to go off into the water. Okay, That's kind of how I'm envisioning this being. Hey, so let's go ahead and ah, set this up correctly. So, um, what I'm doing is the bull was under here, by the way. Let me go ahead and put more padding on that, because it's a little bit like that. Perfect. So this is gonna be exterior. I'm gonna put her in there, and then I'm gonna wrap this around the edges. I have never wrapped like this little This is kind of a crapshoot, but we'll see what happens. Okay, So go ahead. Her head up here for me, sweetie. You know, let me get some cancer types. Remains. She's ground. Okay, my hands warm. Let's go ahead and get that. Okay. Always had soft and cozy. Speaker also settled. Keep those legs in. So right now, I'm just making sure that she stays nice and snuggled. I want her in That cute, snug as a bug was a rug feeling, you know, that we always have with newborns, and I'm thinking her head's gonna be over here with Mama. Okay, so I want to make the, um, but not and the extension out here so I can create flowing lines with mama skirt. That makes sense. OK, so I'm gonna wrap this around a little bit. Switch sides tighter. Yeah. Let's go do that. You're a good sport, Britney. Being down on the floor. You comfortable home? Okay. Thank you, My dear shot stays nice and tight under. Okay, Okay. She's happy with her like this. Okay, Mama, are you ready? Okay. Well, in this little, um oh, we're okay, sweetheart. All right. So, my dear, this hand's gonna like this. This is supporting her head the entire time. Okay, That might have to be a little high. You definitely could be holding, or she's not gonna be resting on you all the way. Okay. Like that. And then I want to turn her face like that over here a little bit more so you can support her like that. You think you're gonna do that? Does that feel OK? OK, you can go ahead and drop her head back just a little bit. There we go. I need to get this out of you. Okay. So, sure she's She's also building a rug and love it. Okay, That's perfect. Don't move. Let me go. Grab my hand. Lauren's gonna be there to help you with her. Should you need it. Okay. I'm gonna go ahead and move around together side so I can see it from the front angle. And I'm kind of I want her hair good. Just cause I want to be able to see it, You know, I'm saying I want to be able to see the image you're doing. Awesome, sweetie. Okay. All I'm worried about is the baby. Okay. Can you flatten this wrist against her a little bit more? Here we go. Perfect. Here. Now, I want you to go in complete profile. Beautiful. I'm gonna need a taller ladder. And if you can talk your legs up a little bit more, you do that. Sweetie, you're gonna have to repeat this position in the water without Alice. Thank you, my dear. Awesome sauce. Exactly. I'm not quite over her enough, but that's OK. I might need a taller ladder. Wait, The cords gonna be in there? But all I'm like I said, all I'm caring about right now is, um is baby okay? Cause I'm gonna superimpose Thea image of baby over the wet one. Okay, so keep that in mind. You're doing great. Britain. Are you okay? Okay. I want to get your here. Oh, yeah, that's much better. Okay, sweetie. Can you drop her head back a little bit more so I can see her face a touch? Her chin is tucked. So tilt her head down towards you a little bit more. If we can. Little bit more. She might even feel like she's going downhill a little bit. That's actually really good. Perfect. Beautiful. I'm only worried about that baby. Can you flat on your wrist a little bit, honey. On the right arm. If you can't, it's OK. Okay. So all I'm worried about is the position of Mama's arms. The baby. Okay, the baby Little light on the baby's face can be straight now. Babies handle over her fingers. Perfect. It's kind of hold him down a little bit. Um OK, sh if she won't do it, it's all right. But there we go. Perfect. Give her a second and I'm gonna go ahead and even shoot baby close in a little bit, just in case I need it always gets a warm. It might just warm, cause I'm like, anticipating this image or am I just warm cause it's hot in here? It's hot here. Awesome sauce. So I'm not worried about getting all of Britney and the frame right now because I know I'm gonna be superimposing this. Okay, Let's go ahead and move on to the nest. That might be a little easier. Fact, um, maybe we should do so Let's go ahead and take her out of her arms when she gets a break. OK? Grubber headfirst. This might be a little awkward. Sure, if it's too big or not. Yeah, This might be a challenging for Britney to Can you put your arm around this on the inside? The little spindly. So keep that in mind. Yeah, I think it's a little too big. Don't you guys think? I think it's too big. Let's move on to the, uh, little bowl. Okay. Same concept. But this time, Yeah, that's much better. Do you see the difference? It's more in proportion to what she can hold. So I wanted to make sure this elbow stays a little bit. It's gonna feel weird. Okay, What Looks good? Always feels funny. So you keep that in mind. I promise. I'll make it look right. Okay. So yeah, kind of keep it low again. I kind of want like like it's away from you. Almost like it's not a part of you. And that's perfect. Your arms and hands look beautiful. And we're just gonna pop her in the bowl and do the same thing with bull. Okay. Oh, making squeaking noises. I love very calls. A girl. Oh, you are such an angel. Love with you already. E don't even know you. Oh, I love my job. I have the best job ever. You're because ever say that O e. Okay. I need a little work, like three wrappers. Just kind of Are you escaping? Are they all? Have you heard of the miracle blanket? Miracle blanket is, um um ah. Swaddle blanket that literally, like straitjackets them in place. My son is the only thing that my son would stay in. Oh, I e you doing such a good job, do you think? Yeah. So I just want I think that's the Her head needs a little bit of cushioning. Yeah. Good girl. Good girl. Okay, I'm waiting for She's doing that the whole room, I think. And that's a very good indication that they're exiting or entering REM sleep. That's what will get the smile when they go, they can't switch. That's when you'll smoke. Obviously we don't want a baby smiling in this image, but the that it tells me that she's going either in or out of a state of REM sleep and said she just woke up. I kind of knew it. She's going back to sleep. That's why I'm hesitating for a second. I want to get her back into that nice deep sleeping. Most babies cycle between REM sleep every 20 to minutes. Okay. Oh, e But her settle for a second. I'm waiting cause I'm gonna have to, um Let's go ahead. And can you hold the ball a little bit more like that? Perfect. I'm waiting cause I need to turn her head, their heads in the wrong position. I'm kind of waiting for her to fall back asleep, OK, I kind of like the bowl because, like, the bowl looks cool. Just breathing heavy to soak you beautiful girl. Okay, this I would like Teoh, honey. Smaller doing. Chances are small. Okay? Only will just use that to cover. Here we go. By the way, this little rap who's this from where I get this from? Oh, who's the designer? Um, so this hand, can you point your fingers towards the edge of the bowl? Yes. It's gonna feel kind of You're kind of like this. Yeah. There we go. Okay. Um, this time I'm going to shoot it from this side. Thank you, my dear. Uh, that's perfect. Thank you. I'm just gonna shoot baby overhead in the bowl with mama's arms. That's all I really need. Okay. Britney Lauren, I want you to support the bull when she changes position. I want you up on over your left shoulder a bit more. There we go. Beautiful. And can we bring the bowl a little bit back this direction? I don't want to turn the ball, though, that keep her head in the same there. We got the same position. There we go. OK, now, Britney, can you take your right hand and slide it back on the bowl a little bit? There we go. That's the way I wanted it. Okay, Beautiful. Gorgeous. It's when you look straight ahead, Brit, And can you lift your head towards me? Just a touch with Bring your ear up to the ceiling girl. I always forget to do that. Oh, that baby is just a snug as a bug in a rug. Look at her. I feel like I don't not tall enough. Yeah, I'm not telling a fighting a larger ladder. Is that okay? Yeah. Be awesome. Are you okay, Britney? Okay. You balanced? Can you hold on for just second while I get a taller ladder? I can take some questions. Why? We're doing this. Yeah, I just wanted to remind people people can only see certain angles. So about safety? Yes. And the fact that we have you put your strap on, we have your assistant down there, and then we have someone spotting you. Did you spotting us? Well, um, go ahead and turn it to the side. So all so I don't want the ladder over Britney at all. Perfect. Just like that. Thank you, my dear. Can I climb up? Uh, not yet. Thank you. Are you ready for me to climb up? Okay. Oh, much better. Much better. Now I'm leaning against that ladder with all my my It's not worth the safety risks, so just keep that in mind. But this is a much better angle, and I'm much happier with it. Lauren, I'm gonna have you take those burlap. Um, I'm shooting at 100. I don't want to do that. Okay. Those burlap ties and just pull them down there a little bit better closer to Britney. There we go. That's perfect. Too much. Here we go, but extended and then take the end of one and extend it out. The same angle is her dress. No, towards you. There we go. Beautiful. And then bunch of men closer to her. Perfect. That's good that I wanted. Needs closer to your chest, Britney, if you can. But, Lauren, can you be there with the bull, please? Thank you. Good. Needs closer to your chest. Good girl. And back away. Lauren. That's the shot right there. Okay, I'm gonna come in closer and get one of just the arms and baby, and we will be good to go.

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

BD Design Cards
Butterfly ClamShell Lighting Set Up
Newborn Posing Design
Newborn Prepartion Sheet
Standard Lighting Set Up
Studio Gift Card
Gear Guide
Downloads with RSVP

Ratings and Reviews

Natalia Malinko

This is the second course with Julia I have seen. And it's amazing and very inspiring in so many ways! I appreciate so much the honesty of Julia, her spirit for doing things she loves. Like a photographer and artist myself, I feel identified with her perception of world and the passion for artistic and family photography. This course is about never give up, it's about hard work, and also it's about cultivating creativity and honesty. I highly recommended this course to every photographer who want to grow and understand himself and the business of professional high-quality photography. Thanks, Julia and Creative Live, for this one!

a Creativelive Student

So glad I bought this class - well and truly worth the investment. This course has helped me realise why it is so important to make an emotional connection and how to use it to my advantage {while giving my clients the very best too}. I cannot wait to try some new printing/mounting glad Julia was kind enough to share this! I got a lot out of this course and would highly recommend it to anyone wanting to take their newborn photography business to the next level.

Jenny White

This class was amazing!!! Julia does a great job of showing her process, how she captures beautiful images from start to finish. It was worth every dollar I spent!!

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