In-Home Shot List
These are the shots we're gonna go over. Family, baby, mom, dad, sibling and pet. This is what's gonna be coming up in the future, the rest of the class. Family Shots. If there aren't any siblings, set parents up to connect with the baby, okay? So, you want to position the family, and then wait for the changes that the baby does. Capture multiple shots with the same set up, and don't forget that we're aiming for connection. Families are easier than one parent because you can experience more connection, and have them all touching in some way to show connection. When you don't have a sibling, the parents have to be the one interacting. What can we do with the baby? Dad kept eating his feet on this. He just kept doing it, so I had mom snuggle because that showed connection essentially is what this came down to. Anywhere you can find light, have the parents pile up and just be sweet. Have mom and dad snuggle. Some parents are just not lovey. I'm shocked all the time if I put mom and dad cl...
ose together, and you can joke like, "Well, you did make the baby. "You can snuggle for a minute." And, they laugh, you know? It's funny. Don't say that to everybody, but once you feel comfortable you can be comfortable with your clients. Have them get close together. It causes natural laughs and natural moments, and that's what happened here. Bring a white comforter. We talked about this a minute ago. If you feel like the house that you're gonna be going into has a lot of things that are neon, which happens, bring a white comforter just in case. So, set them in some nice light, guide 'em a little bit, "Hey, can you guys snuggle over here?" Just watch organically what happens. This is how you create moments. This is why you cannot duplicate a shot that you've done in the past 'cause moments just naturally unfold. Okay. I want to show you an example. We started here. I moved to here, why? They're more connected. This was purposeful. I gave them both images because it doesn't hurt their brain like it hurts mine, but for me I liked the connection. Did I add them both? Yeah, 'cause a thought the baby's face was sweet over there, but I brought them together and it caused more connection. Everything is done with a purpose. You set your clients up in a situation where things will happen and then it happens. I also want to talk really quickly about back lighting in this situation. Do you notice how I set them in between the window panes? Dad naturally did not stand there. When they went there I went, "Okay, let's go like this," and then I moved them over. I'm physically moving my clients all the time, and I can do that because I have on my 35 millimeter lens. I don't have to back up really far. If I were really far back in that bedroom I couldn't physically move them. I need to be close to my clients. I need to position them in a way. Remember, organic is fine. Don't let go of exposure, don't let go of composition. You're still in control, so here I did that, and did you notice why we did the side? Why are they not looking at me? What do you think was behind me? A wall, no window. We talked about this with back lighting. You do not shoot somebody looking at you into back lighting. You do not put somebody in front of a window and have them look at you if there's no light source behind you. You will have deep set eyes. So, what do you do? Turn them sideways. Back lighting works best in this type of situation. I'm gonna show you how to get around it in a minute as well if you turn them towards each other and not have them look at you. Family shots with siblings. Infuse newborns into a lifestyle shoot. Set the family up to do an activity. Take turns on the focal point. Siblings versus the baby. So, here what we did is I had mom and dad, and we talked about this a little earlier in the class, I had mom and dad pile up on the bed with baby, and I said, "Hey you two, "why don't you tickle each other on the bed?" And, I made the siblings the focal point because in the background they're just telling the story. Remember, we don't have to have the newborn in focus on every single picture. We're gonna do baby shots individually. They're gonna have plenty of baby. We're story telling. Give variety, not the same close up of family over and over. So, we could have this going on. You can come to the side, you can do it that way. We could have had dad grab one of the siblings and throw him up and do airplane, right? With the other people in the background, take a situation, change it up to give variety, okay? So, steps to the family bed shot. Set up mom and dad. Insert the baby, get them connected, then throw the siblings in there. If you're in small spaces, go vertical. Sometimes if the bed is narrow, and it's a twin bed, that's the only space you had with lighting, and you can't get it wide enough 'cause there's walls, who says you can't turn your camera? We always forget you can go vertical too, and this is such a simple thing that we forget. Most people think about shooting horizontally. There's a lot of times we'll go into our galleries, and our families will say, "Hey, do you have a vertical shot?" And, you're like, "Oh, shoot. "We didn't do a vertical shot," so think about this while you're shooting. Change your perspective even within your camera. Keep in mind focal plains, but don't worry about perfection. Do you see what I did with this shot? Where is everybody? They're on the same focal plane, so instead of going wider I went vertical, so not only can you turn your camera, you can position your clients vertical, okay? You will have seen in a lot of my images, siblings are on dad's shoulders. I went vertical to show interest. Our mind sees lines. When you see a line like this, that's another rule of composition back to photography 101. Those are vertical lines. Your eye follows those lines. We have a vertical line here. That was a purposefully done compositional technique. This didn't happen on accident. This is how you have to start thinking. Right now as a newer photographer, if there's any new photographers out there you're probably freaking out because there's a million rules to remember in the photography world. Right now worry about exposure, worry about connection. Once those things start coming natural to you then start throwing in some cool compositional techniques. So, don't worry about having to do all of this right now. Worry about connection, exposure. So, if the siblings are having a hard time, I just wanted to make a quick note, set mom up for mama shots first, and then call dad in with the kids. So, if you try to set this up, and it's not coming to fruition, send everybody out, do the mommy pictures, give the kids a break, and bring them back in. That's a real life trick that happens pretty frequently. You don't want to force the siblings. If they're feeling it, go for it obviously. Be child driven not photographer driven. You feel the child, what they're up to, what they're doing. Continue making suggestions, but let them feel as if they are in control. The siblings need to always feel like they're in control. Just be a teacher for a day. Say, would you like this or this? Don't say, "Do you want to do this?" Say, "Would you like to kiss your sister, "or would you like to hold your sister?" Not, "Hey, you want to hold your sister?" I mean, I say that sometimes because some kids will, but if you're having a difficult child you need to give them choices. This is mommy tips. Don't worry if the baby's face isn't showing. Remember you're telling a story. There will be plenty of close ups of the baby. If you can, try to turn the baby to get the grandma shot. Remember we talked about everybody looking at the camera? But, don't worry about it.
Question from KNGanga. How do you set up connection when you only have one parent?
So, with that you're gonna really... This is a good question because a lot of times people will photograph newborns when they're itty bitty. If there's only one parent, I always suggest for the baby to be closer to four weeks old because their eyes will be open. They're more likely to have awake time. I always encourage parents then to feed them maybe while we're there, and then they're awake after. Whatever we can do to get the babies awake. Don't make it so warm in there. Then you can have connection this way, and I have some images of that connection this way. You're gonna connect in ways where maybe the parent's gonna be tickling the toes, right? You can still connect with the baby. You don't have to have two people. You just have to think how can you connect with your eyes, with your hands, with toes, those sorts of things. Help families relax. Families feel your mood. If you walk in there, and you're all nervous 'cause this is your first newborn lifestyle session, and you're like, "Wait, what did we learn on Creative Live? "I completely forgot," pull up the app. No. Just relax. It's fine. Dads tend to be anxious and moms tend to be anxious for different reasons. Dads tend to be anxious because they're worried that their sibling is not gonna act well or they have to get back to work. "Are we almost done yet?" How often does that happen? "So, how long is this gonna be?" It drives me crazy, and it happens sometimes, and it happens to me too. They will feed off your mood. If that happens, and they're being harsh with you be like, "Don't worry, it's gonna be fine. "If you need to get your pictures done first, "Let's go ahead and do the family pictures. "Then we'll do the dad shots, "and then we can send you on your way." Change what you're doing. Be flexible 'cause half the time you're doing these pictures and it's at the three week point dads are back at work if they had any work time off to begin with. We're very lucky to be able to get them there, some dads, anyways. So, if that's the case these are discussions you need to have with the parents ahead of time or when you arrive there. If you sense dad is tense or needs to leave be like, "Hey, do you need to go back to work? "We can totally do you first. "Not a big deal." Help him relax. They feel your mood. Mom, she's gonna be worried about what? How she looks. So, you have already prepared her on what to wear. So, she's gonna wear something that she feels good in, first of all. Secondly, when you get there just wrap your arm around her and be like, "Oh my gosh, you look amazing. "You must have gotten a lot of sleep last night." Warm her up to the idea of her feeling beautiful. What angle are we shooting mom at? Selfie stick angle for lack of a better term. We all get it. Up here. It's a better angle. We never take pictures down here of ourselves. Why are we gonna take pictures of our clients down here? And, let mom know that. And, mom will say, "Hey, can we take some things in later?" Tell her we'll position you in ways that will be really really flattering. If you feel like liquefying her later, go for it. Don't encourage that ahead of time because what I've found is if I open my mouth, this happens, and I say, "Oh don't worry. "I'll fix that later in Photoshop," if she and I are really close and we're friends, and she feels like something needs to be pushed in. Once you open Pandora's Box you're gonna be shrinking 100 photos, so you need to be careful in letting her know that you know how to shrink anything, okay? You're risking it right there just by even letting her know that. Just make sure you're positioning her in a way where she feels comfortable. Pile families on a couch and let the siblings do their thing. Here mom and dad, they were all just sitting here, and they all wanted to touch the baby. And, the baby was like, "What is going on?" (audience laughing) And, I thought that was hilarious because literally what unfolded for this was dad did have to get back to work. This was one of those moments in this particular situation. The siblings just were all sitting there like, "I want to hold the baby. "I want to hold the baby. "I want to hold the baby," which happens too with older siblings. And, it's like, "We'll all have our turns holding the baby." So, instead of doing that I put the middle child in the middle. I'm like, "How about we all show your hands? "Why don't you all touch the baby?" Okay, that works for now. So, we're all constantly compromising and improvising with children. Just let organically what happens. She's out of focus. Do I care? No, that wasn't gonna be focus because it's ahead of the focal plane, right? Focus falls backwards. If the baby was gonna be focus that far away I would have had to shoot at five. Well, then it wouldn't have had enough light. We run into that quite frequently. When you run into situations like this, family shots, kids piling on the bed, you're gonna have to make a quick decision. Do I need everybody in focus or do I want to have enough light? What do you think more often than night needs to happen? Light. You cannot have a photograph without light. You can tell a story by selectively focusing, though. A lot of newer photographers are very concerned about having everybody in focus. Some parents are like, "Oh, but I wish she was in focus." Let that go. There's gonna be some parents that say that. We've all had them. Be like, "Oh, but the baby looks amazing. "Who cares?" Just change the subject. You don't need to explain focal planes and aperture to your client. I mean, unless they really want to know. The important part of the story was the baby, so I let that go.
Yes, Julie asks if clients ask you to see the images right after you take them on the camera what do you do or say? Is that something you see when people are wanting to relax or are really anxious about that?
I don't know if it's gonna show it in the videos. We were clipping them, but I show them all the time because I'm like, "Oh my gosh, look at this," because what happens when you get excited? They think they had an amazing shoot. There have been times where I'll leave my session, and I think it's the best shoot ever, and I'll get a text, "Do you think we got anything?" Because lifestyle shoots feel chaotic, they don't know what you're shooting. They don't know what you're aiming towards, so I try, I do my best to show images throughout the session, and when I don't I kick myself because then what happens? Parents are concerned that we didn't have a good shoot. So, that's actually a really good question. It makes you as a photographer feel less stressed out, too. You leave and you feel bad. You don't want your clients to feel like we had a bad session, especially when we had a good one. And, you know, we have sessions that don't always go so well. That's normal. It happens to me. Not all of my sessions are the best sessions in the world. Still, during that shoot I'm still showing them, "Oh my gosh," it might have taken an hour to get the sibling there but, "Look at this, we got it. "It's so amazing." And, it makes them excited, and it makes them feel relieved. We're always trying to appease our clients. Everything's okay. You do your best. That's all you can do. You do your best. You cannot force families to be overly lovey and dress amazing. You can't force your siblings to hold the baby and look at the camera and make the cover of your website. That's not realistic. The images that you see in people's portfolios are the best images that they take. Think about, I shoot about 20 to 25 shoots a month, and I don't put every single shoot on my website. We're not always trying to get the website shot. We're just storytelling. This is what happened. One set. This is all driven by mom having to come in the room to feed the baby. We were having a hard time getting him to want to be around the baby. He wanted to see what she was doing, though. So, she was in here feeding the baby. So, she was in there feeding, I took some pictures because I was obsessed with the blue wall, and I loved the light. It was extremely dark. I think my ISO was at 10,000 or something crazy, and my shutter speed was still really low, and I looked to my left and who's there? Dad and sibling. We talked about this. What had I done with them? Sent him away, remember? This is what always happens. We were trying to get the sibling shot, and he was like, "No!" Not having it, not having it, not having it. So I'm like, "You know what, dad? "Just take him away, go get him a snack, get some water." That's exactly what he needed. He needed a mental break. We need mental breaks. Two year olds definitely need mental breaks, and mom needed a little break, so she could concentrate on feeding the baby, so after they were done having their snack they came in there, and they turned, and there they were being cute. I was like, "Oh my gosh, he's ready to go," so I took the shot. I was taking pictures of mom, but there they were, and it's a wonderful shot, and people are gonna ask me, "But, what about the baby gate?" Leave it, who cares? It's part of the story, okay? But, old Emily would have taken it out. New Emily doesn't take it out. Can you take it out if you really want to, if the parents would want to? Yes, that's a very easy thing to clone out. Maybe not that easy 'cause there's the railing going down, but if you feel so inclined, take it out, but don't feel like you have to. Then what happened? Mom was feeding the baby, I turned around to see him, and I was like, "Hey, do you want to go see your mommy?" 'Cause we wanted to go see what she was doing, and he said sure 'cause you see how he's being so shy? He went up and just snuggled. Is this perfect? The baby's looking out the window because if there's a window and there's a baby, the baby will be looking out the window always. Babies turn their eyes toward the window because they can see the light. And, that's fine because we've got catch light in the baby's eyes. That was a very young baby. This baby, I think, was about eight days old, very little one. Littler than I typically do for a newborn session, but mom requested that. That's fine with me. I was excited that we had some eye open pictures at that age, but do you see what organically unfolded when sibling didn't want to take part? What ended up happening? Sibling still came. This is the same sibling that was in the tent. We had a really hard time getting him to be with the baby by himself, and that's okay. As a mom, I want that. The tent's fun and we got it, but moms think that they want the siblings together by themselves. Moms think that they want the siblings sitting on their white couch, holding the baby wrapped in the white swaddle, everybody looking, but what ends up happening, and I find this through all of my ordering session, that's the shot they want. As a mom that's what you want, sweetness, memories, moments. So, let go of you feeling like you have to appease your clients. As long as you are preparing your clients, guiding your clients, and letting them know, "You know what? "We're gonna get an epic shot "that you're gonna look back on. "It's gonna be timeless." They're gonna love it too, and I think a lot of times, this happens to me, we think that our clients want a particular thing, so we will work for an hour to try to get that one shot because we think that's what our client wants, but if we really take our time and talk to our client we will find that that shot that we're trying so hard to get, they the whole time assumed that we wanted it, and we assumed that they wanted it when really neither of us wanted it. So, communication with your clients, do you guys find, does anybody find? You're all nodding, yes. If you guys could see the audience, you're like, yes this happens. It's real. As long as you communicate with your clients this completely alleviates this problem. Another thing I want to touch on is when we leave a shoot you don't want to feel stressed. You don't want the parents to feel like things went wrong. You don't want to feel like you didn't get any shots. As long as you guys are in communication you're not gonna feel that way. You're gonna be like, "Yes, we did what we could with what we had available." And, when you're booking your clients, and you have a house that doesn't have a lot of light we are shooting in what we have available. You cannot create fake light. You cannot create fake white Pinterest rooms. We are shooting in their home to tell their story, so they can look back years from now and show what's real. You as a photographer are gonna take that and do your best to get everybody exposed correctly, right? And, everybody connected. Connection and exposure.
So, question we were talking, this is from Michelle B, and this is when we were talking about the siblings. How do you handle toddlers and babies that have a pacifier? What do you do?
We gradually try to get it out as best as we can. We're gonna get into siblings in a little bit. There's a whole thing on it, but it's hard. Pacifiers are hard, and if you arrive in a home, and there's a child with a pacifier it's probably because mom didn't want to have to deal with breaking the pacifier before baby arrived. It's like moms don't want to deal with potty training while they're pregnant. You're like, "We'll just deal with it later." It's mommy survival mode. With the pacifier we'll gradually at the beginning of the shoot try to randomly hide it, you know? And, sometimes I'll replace it with a lovey which can tend to work. You just have to pull out your mommy brain a little bit, work with them. It's not always easy.
All right, this one is from Kim Longman Flewing. I have done sessions where the walls are painted different colors and not exactly the best colors. What do you do in that situation? And, this again goes into the troubleshooting, troubleshooting.
Yes, so those are color casts and those are really hard. I try to stay out of the rooms that are that drastic, and I let parents know when we're planning. "Just so you know, your photos in here... "Do you like black and white?" (audience laughing) I'll say that because there's only so much you can do with paint, and it's funny because my best friend in the whole wide world had a house, she had a hot pink laundry room, she had a room that was bright blue. She used to live in Charleston, South Carolina, and saw these homes that had the blue ceilings outside, and decided that's what she need to do in her house. I was like, "Oh, so help me god if you ever have a baby. "We won't be doing it in here." You just deal with it. You move to an area that's a little bit less, and she's probably watching, a little bit less eclectic, or maybe those families love those paint colors, and you photograph in them. It might not be your style, but are we shooting for us? No. This is what letting go goes back to. Earlier in the class we talked in a lot of detail about we are shooting for our clients, so if our client has a home with crazy ugly colored walls maybe they're colorblind or maybe they just have a different style. That's fine. That is fine. You embrace it, and you also ask if they like black and white.
One last question. The question is when you first begin do you work from a written shot list? I forget all the shots that I should get.
It is not a bad idea to have it in front of you. And, you can tell your client, "You know, I had all these ideas that I wrote down. "Let me just check. "I want to make sure that we check them all off my list," so you don't feel like you're looking at the shot list. Those are ideas to get started, and then I feel like what happens is as long as you set up a situation or you set up an activity, things are gonna organically happen, so what I recommend is to think in your head, "Okay, we're gonna get up the family on the couch. "Let's see what happens." I'm gonna try to get some detailed shots during here. I'm gonna try to get some sibling, select a focus. We're gonna get some sibling shots. I'm gonna focus on the dog. I'm gonna show you that in a little bit. Some toe shots, also gonna show you that in a little bit. This goes into that. And, then I'm gonna do the mom shots in the bedroom. Let's just see what organically happens. I think you're better off versus having a shot list because I think that's gonna set you up for failure. I think you're gonna feel like you didn't get all your shots, so I think a better solution for that is to think about what rooms we're gonna go into, who we're gonna bring in there, set up the activity or set up the engagement, right? And, then let things organically happen, and I think you're gonna be a lot happier with your shoot versus feeling like you have to do a checklist because the shot list that is included in this class, I mean, there's a lot. And, there's no way. These are just ideas that you can think about. If these happen, just watch for these moments, types of shot lists. This isn't a must have shot list. My must have shot list is getting a dad picture, getting a mom picture, getting a kid picture, getting a family picture, getting a baby picture. Just think one of each person, and then a dog picture because dogs tend to be the first baby in the family, so I do my best if the parents want the dogs, somehow. We saw the dog on the couch. Dogs will always go to dad. Have dad snuggle the dog. That's a good technique for dogs.