In-Home Shoot: Newborn Only
We are gonna start with the baby photos now. So this video is gonna be when we were photographing the baby alone. We didn't do as many with this particular shoot as I would typically do. So after the video is done and we go over it, I will show you some other ideas about baby-only shots, but I wanted to show you this. When we got to the home, the first thing that we did was we needed to unswaddle the baby. And we talked about when we unswaddle the baby to be ready, right? And you will see why, okay? Cause this all happened, and this is when we got some of the best baby shots, was straight out the gate, right when we got there, okay? So a lotta times you're gonna get those baby shots. So, if in your mind you thought you were doing family pictures first, but you have to get the baby prepped, right? To go into the family, so what are you gonna do? Be ready, be ready for the baby, okay? So, be flexible. Everything is about flexibility with babies, always. So, when you're getting ready to g...
o to the family session, you're gonna do a handful of baby shots, okay? Then you can do the family session. So, we're gonna go ahead and watch that right now to see how this kind of organically unfolds. (camera clicks) She's thinking about waking up.
Mhm. (camera clicks)
You know what, can you do me a favor? And just put your hand on top of her. Kinda look down at her a little bit. (camera clicks)
Whoop. (camera clicks) Okay, can you do me a favor and kinda like stroke her face a little bit for me. (camera clicks) Okay, perfect. Let me see, get it wrapped a little bit.
She's so cute. Hold on one second. As soon as she comes out she's gonna stretch. And I wanna make sure I get that. (camera clicking) She's pink, yeah, she's pink. (camera clicks) She's gonna stretch. Start taking her swaddle off for me. Sometimes they stretch and I like to get, There we go. (camera clicks) (chuckles) (camera clicking) Got her. (baby noises) (chuckles) It's adorable, seriously, she's really cute. Oh, she's gonna yawn now. (camera clicking) Got her. (chuckles) Yay, oh I love her. She makes me want more babies. Okay.
I like to grab those while we are, when you unswaddle a baby they tend to stretch and yawn and that's the time to kinda capture all those.
I should change her real quick.
Does she have a poppy diaper?
Okay, we'll change her real quick. Okay, yeah, hands right there for me, okay? (camera clicks) Okay, I'm gonna go ahead and get the foot shots over here. Mhm, just like that.
Flaky little toe.
That's good I love flakes. Flakes are real.
Can you see your sistie's toes? Can you see her toes? Can you play with them? Can you touch them? Okay, tickle her toes. Here, sit over here by mommy.
Yeah, come sit right here.
Okay, let's go ahead and tickle her toes, okay? You know what I'm gonna do? I'm gonna, sorry hun. I'm gonna scoot your over here. Beep, beep, beep. There. Look at those silly toes. Do you think they're ticklish?
She has skins.
She has skin, look at it. Can you smell them? Are they stinky? Uh, stinky toes. (chuckles) (camera clicks) Perfect.
A big toes.
Do you think your toes are bigger? Or do you think her toes are bigger? Should we see? Take your sock off. (chuckles) Okay, put your toe next to her toe.
Just take them (mumbles).
He's like, yes please.
I know. (chuckles) Hey, lets put your toes next to her toes. Let's see who's toes are bigger.
Yeah, bring yours over here.
Get them over there. Here, I'll scoot you back over. Whoop.
Do you have bigger feet (Mumbles)?
Who's foot it's bigger?
Let's see, can you hold them up there?
Hmmm. Did you touch toes?
There we go. (chuckles)
Is that funny? (camera clicks)
Do we need to tickle you again? Do we need to tickle you again? All right, now look at her toes. (camera clicks) Okay, we're good. Come here nugget. You wanna give her a kissy. Okay, so we're gonna super swaddle her. Does she like to be swaddled?
Hm, somewhat yeah. (chuckles)
She's swaddled, we'll see how this goes.
We're gonna, I'm gonna do her individual shot first. Can we lay this down, let's just put it right here. Let's keep him out for just a minute. We're just gonna do the baby shot by ourselves since she's all, there's a heater back there just so you. Maybe right about here, let's see what's happening with the light. Okay, it's too harsh so we're gonna close a little bit of those, that way. Okay, that's good. Okay, let's see for a minute. I just wanna see what's happening with the light. Okay, I'm gonna pull it up a little bit. I think it's that picture.
Want me to close the other one?
Oh, I can move the picture.
Yeah, would you mind? I'm thinking that's what's blocking there that's causing a shadow. There we go, okay. All right, missy. It's almost too bright. I can't decide if I wanna. We're gonna move this. We're getting such strong light today. Which is crazy for Seattle. That's perfect, all right. Oh, you're yawning, oh you're so sweet. Okay. Okay. All right. (shushing) Okay. Okay. (shushing) (baby cooing) (shushing) (baby cries) You are trying to get out of this. (shushing) There we go. No more eating. (baby cooing) I thought you were just hungry today. (shushing) She likes that.
Yes she does.
She must love her swing.
Okay, you ready? Are you ready? Oh, no eating, she's trying to root. (shushing) Is she using a paci yet or no?
No. Not yet, okay. (shushing) Happiest Baby on the Block, stuff.
Best ever, okay. Let's try this again. All right, there you go. Are you okay? You are trying to get out of this like no other. (chuckles) A little escape artist. I'm gonna get my light. (camera clicks) Okay. So I'm gonna turn her. My mic there. All right, come here kiddo. Hey. (shushing) (baby cooing) Hi, hi. The baby shots by themselves can be the hardest. Specially when we have it with babies. (shushing) Just one, just one. (baby cooing) You were just awake. (shushing) Hi, can you see me? Hi, there we go. (camera clicks) Hey. (camera clicks) She's just trying to get out of this thing. You're not a fan of the swaddle. So we may end up taking her out. (baby cries) (shushing) Oh, you like that. Okay, let's try this again. One more. If not we're gonna move her into the bed. And we'll do it on the bed. Which might keep her, the bed is not as hard so she can't roll as well, you know.
Here she wants to roll. Cause she's looking at everything going on. All the windows, all the people. Hey, okay, no eating. Oh. (shushing) Hi, there we go. (camera clicks) Hey, hi, there we go. (camera clicks) This is why I like to do babies when they are a little bit more alert, for lifestyle sessions. Because we get all this connection that you can't typically get. (camera clicks) Look at that. Got her. Okay, we're good. Let's do one more for good measure but I wanna move on and get, (camera clicks) hey, you good? (camera clicks) Okay. As you guys see, it's not always easy to get a baby by themselves. We're gonna show you that shot that we got there in a minute. As we go on, during editing I'm gonna show you all those images. A couple things I wanna say. I used to work in an acute, right? And I used to swaddle babies. I used to just calm babies. Happiest Baby on the Block is a book. It talks about shushing, swaddling, swinging and sucking. Typically, I would have given that baby a pacifier. As you can guys can tell, it was just rooting and she had already eaten a lot. But mom wasn't using pacifiers so I don't push that agenda unto another mom, okay? Secondly, I asked mom before I did any of this. Are you okay with me swinging your baby? We're not shaking any babies, okay. Babies love significant swinging. So think about those mommy swings that we all get. They're kinda crazy, right? When a baby is in the womb, this is a very good calming technique. The babies are doing this as we are walking. You need to be careful that you're not obviously swinging that baby too much. You need to make sure the mom is okay with you swinging the baby to calm the baby. And she was totally fine. She's like, this is how we calm it all the time. That's why they have the swing, okay? And you can tell that baby loved it. Cause as soon as I stopped it was like, ah, swing me again. (chuckles) So, shushing, really loud shushing. Remember we talked about the sensory system. If you're shushing too quietly it's actually irritating to your auditory system. Okay? You want loud shushing. And you're gonna be teaching some new parents some tricks and they're gonna want to keep you there. Okay? I get a lot of love letters that say, can you come help me put, whatever back to sleep tonight. I can't get it to go to bed. (laughter) I'm like, don't forget loud shushing. Like, we texts in the middle of the night and it's pretty funny. Loud, loud shushing calms the baby. We talked about that baby shusher, okay? Swaddle, okay? Sensory, think sensory. Everything is sensory based with babies. Tight swaddle, okay? Really compress that sensory system. Okay, think about weighted vests for kids who have sensory integration disorders. They all wear weighted vests to compress that sensory system. The sensory system is the last system to develop. Now we have to think about your vestibular sensory system. We're getting a little medical but this is important to know. Your vestibular system, you need movement to calm when you're an infant like that. So you have the deep touch compression. That's the sensory for your skin. You have the sensory for your ears, which is that shusher, the loud shushing. Not quiet shushing cause it's completely irritating. You have the swinging. And not like baby swinging cause they're just gonna be like, what are you doing? I don't even feel this. Because their sensory systems are not as developed. The vestibular system in your ear, that swinging motion, is the very last thing to become developed in-utero. And it's the very first thing to go as an adult. Like you notice you're in an escalator and you get off and you're dizzy? And you're like, God, I'm old. I'm getting dizzy in escalators. Or like elevators right? And you can't jump on trampolines anymore. That's an actually medically proven thing. So if your parents are wondering about these things you need to direct them to the book Happiest Baby on the Block. It is all in there. The last thing in there is the rooting. The oral sensation, oral sensory. All of my OT friends are really happy with me right now, that I'm talking about this. Oral sensory, when you make that sucking motion it actually is calming. Many babies are rooting to suck. They're not rooting to eat, okay? When you're overeating, a lot of moms become a human pacifier. And they kinda had to learn on their own terms that they're gonna eventually turn to something else because they've become a pacifier themselves. Don't push that on them. If you can gently suggest it to them, that would have knocked that baby out right away. Okay? Cause we were trying to get a sleeping shot. I just wanted to touch on that because it's extremely important. A, baby safety. Two, you need to make sure that the parents are okay with all of these techniques that you're about to do. C, you need to one, two, three, A, B, C. You need to get that book, okay? And it's gonna help you. Okay, let's move on. Baby only shots. That's what happened when that baby was unleashed from the swaddle. (laughter) Right? It yawned. And I was like, thank you, you did what you were supposed to do. It yawned, that was when we were beginning to set up. That's why I said, wait a minute, don't unswaddle the baby, let me get set up first, okay? Making funny faces, this was on dad. It was just another one that we did later. Did you notice in the video, when we closed those shades, they weren't shears, okay? They were yellow shades, okay? Color cast, yellow color cast. I have a set, for Lightroom that I use for my lifestyle newborn sessions that I'm gonna show you how to use at the end of this class. And it's meant for newborn lifestyle sessions. Because more often than not, you're are gonna have color difficulties and you're not gonna be able to get that light white bright. You know, I have that Lightroom clean preset that I use all the time, the clean set. And that's what I use for the light bright images. I have all of these sets specifically for different lighting situations at homes. When I have a difficult lighting situation. When I have a difficult color situation. We just make the photos cool. Make it look film-like, okay? Mastin Labs, they sell some cool presets. Check them out too. You know, some of those other film places sell cool presets. I made a specific preset for how I shoot. And that's the lifestyle set, that's for Lightroom in there. And we're gonna show you how to use these. I'm gonna show you how to use your yellow saturation slider. Some of those types of things with added in. You need to let go of perfection, with newborn lifestyle sessions. You cannot control the color in the room. You can do best as you can with your white balance. But remember, white balance controls cool and warm. It doesn't necessarily control the magenta and the green tones, okay? And I know this is a big issue for many photographers. And it's only an issue because what? We're trying to make everything so, perfect. (chuckles) Right? Okay? I'm giving you information. Let it go. Okay? That baby looks a little red to me. But did it bother you? No, mhm. I kinda like the way it looks right? It's real. Did you hear me say to mom when she's like, oh we should have put some lotion on his feet, his feet are so flaky. No, we want the flakes. And I made her feel okay about that, remember? We talked about making the parents feel okay. Nothing it's gonna be perfect. So you saw that happen. This happens to me all the time. Tell the parents, no that's a real newborn. She goes, yeah, you're right. So I think she felt bad cause she thought I wanted perfect skin, right? I don't want perfect skin. I want real skin. That baby has flakes. There's flakes all over. Flakes right there, okay? Sometimes if there's a big one I'll take it out if it's bugging me. But I try to leave it, okay? Another thing you saw organically happen. What happened with little brother? Okay? It wasn't sibling shot time yet. Right? We have our flow list. Go with the flow, okay? We have our flow, let go of it. Go with it, okay? And that's what happened. So we got the cutest shot. So when they're doing toes and stuff I made him feel like he was in control, right? I'm like, oh my gosh, your feet. Go smell his feet. You know, you have to think like a boy. I'm a boy mom. So you make jokes about poop and you talk about stinky feet. And that's what makes them laugh. So girl moms just have to let it go and speak gross for a minute. And you'll get a little boy to laugh, okay? Or you'll get a little boy to participate. And this happens quite frequently. And so he took his sock off, I'm like, let's see whose feet are bigger. Because what happened? Detail shot right there and we're gonna show you that. And I'm gonna show you how to edit that too. Their feet were all together so it's showing a detail. Big and little, telling the story, okay? So all of that stuff organically unfolded. Did you notice I had all of my junk on the side of the couch? There's like stuff over there. We did all of this within this tiny little section. You do not need a big light and bright house to photograph a family. You can do so much with a little bit of light. What's crazy is, that house had so much light. That because we had to mute the light, cause it was too bright, right? We had to close the shades and then it got dark in there. So, these are real life situations. So I had my ISO cranked really high. And I'm gonna show you how to deal with that. I'm a JPEG shooter. When that happens, I'm a RAW shooter. Okay? Cause I know I'm gonna have to soften it in Lightroom. I know I'm gonna have to get rid of that grain. And you're not gonna be able to do that in JPEG. Shot what you want to be able to do that in, okay?
Okay, Stacy Gilmore.
You know Stacy?
Fantastic. (chuckles) Stacy asks, what do you do if you have a new mom or dad that won't let you try to calm the baby yourself? And they aren't able to do it on their own. So that same question of, the mom or dad wanting to get over-involved.
Yeah, and it happens and you do the best that you can with the situation. And you can keep gently making suggestions. Be like, you know maybe, why don't we try swaddling him a little bit tighter. Um, can I show you? It might help. And normally, if you're like, you phrase it that way, can I show you? Would you mind if I showed you a swaddling technique? They'll let you. You just have to gently guide your parents. You have to be careful cause there is a lot of parents that are very anti pacifier. I was like that with my first child. I tried to get him to take a pacifier after a while and he wouldn't. And I wish I would have just give it to him, earlier. Every parent raises their child differently and you have to respect every single type of family. Every single, you know, there's no right or wrong way to do anything. Everybody does things differently. And you just have to gently guide them. And give them suggestions. Be like, oh, I have an idea, you wanna try it? That's what I do.
And does that also kinda depend upon your own personal experience with newborns, whether you are a mom or not a mom. I know I'm an auntie, but, you know, I'm not, haven't had my own newborn. Because Heather had asked, whenever I do an in-home newborn session I always leave the swaddling, calming, general baby handling to the parents just because I assume that they would be more comfortable with that. Is that better? That I establish that I'm the one who would be doing it? Or does it matter?
You know, I think it depends on the photographer. Here's kinda what I recommend. New moms are no different, than a photographer without a child. Right? So, if you are dealing with a new mom. I think as a photographer it's really good to practice and it's why I wanted to show that video. Because people are very shocked when they see how, aggressive is not the right word, but you know what I mean? How assertively, and I take over and do the calming. Once you can get comfortable with that. Borrow some friend's babies to practice swaddling. Read Happiest Baby on the Block, it's a really good overview of sensory systems. If you know why things are happening. Why babies aren't able to calm. You're gonna know better how to calm them. Right? It's a very medical based thing. It's essentially their sensory system. You know, they're hungry, they need to go to the bathroom, or they need to be tight. Babies don't like to be naked. Sensory, cold air, not good. They want to be tight, and tight, like they were in their, in your womb. So to answer that question. If you're not comfortable as a photographer calming, don't. Cause they're gonna sense that. That's something, though, that needs to be practiced. If you're gonna want to be a successful newborn photographer. You're gonna have to be able to become comfortable with that. And I think you just borrow friend's babies and practice swaddling. And practice, and just watch. I think watching other people do it it's important. A lot of new photographers, I find, are very gentle and that's very irritating to a baby. I mean, you need to be gentle and careful. But you don't want to like gently pet them. You know, that's startling. You know those new babies have that startle reflex. You know, just like they have the Moro reflex. You wanna push down, kind of, so they actually feel the deep pressure. If you're working on hands, you know, you do whatever the opposite the reflex is. If you have a baby that's fisting, right? What happens if you try to open the hands? They refist, okay? Cause you are pushing on the wrong end of that sensory piece. This is medical based. If you have a fister, a newborn fister. Which happens quite a bit in newborn world. You do the opposite of the reflex. So you push on the back of the hand, which will open up the hand, okay? So a lot of people are sitting there trying to open fingers all the time. And the baby, you're like, man, this baby has a good grip. Opposite, touch it, okay? If you want the baby to hold dad's finger, right? They never wanna hold it when you want them to cause you're taking them like this and placing them. Don't do that. Put dad's hand in there and touch the hand and they'll (grasping noise) Okay? That's the reflex. These are all things you learn over time by watching, by listening, by reading by talking to parents. And these are all the things that make newborn photographers I think, succeed. Or, A lot of newborn photographers don't feel comfortable with soothing and those sorts of things. And, in that case, maybe family photography is what you need to do. Every, you don't have to feel like you have to be every sort of a genre of photographer, essentially, okay? You need to do what comes naturally to you. But you can practice for sure.