Newborn Only Shot List
Baby only shots, so don't forget baby only! Now this sounds funny. But, this has happened to me before. And I'll be at the end of the shoot, I'm like, oh my gosh, did we forget to take pictures of the baby? 'Cause we're so wrapped up in getting the family, right? 'Cause we assume family is number one, right? So we're doing family shots, we're doing kid shots, and this sounds so elementary, you know to even think this way, but have you guys left a shoot and you're like, "did a do a baby by themselves?" Like, I've thought that! And I had, I think the Lord! Otherwise I would've had to go back in! "Wait, we forgot to take pictures of your baby "on your newborn shoot day, right?" So don't forget to take pictures of just the baby, okay. Find the best light and move there. This was a couch in the middle of their fancy piano room, okay? It was not a room we were gonna be photographing in. The other siblings weren't allowed in there. We scooted this couch towards a window because I loved the ne...
utral tone of it. It was great for skin. There's no weird color cast. I laid the baby on a couch and took a picture. Simple, right? But effective. You don't need to be fancy, okay? You don't need to think about getting, remember we talked about this. You don't need to think about getting the website cover on every shot! Okay? Okay. Parents want pretty baby shots, they do. That is one thing that parents want. If you can, that's why you need to move babies to a window. A window that has soft, diffused lighting. It is a really good idea to carry around a frosted shower curtain with you at all times. Put that in your back pocket, remember this. Frosted only. Because you can hang that, if you have a house like we were in, you can hang that from the window, you're not shooting into the window, so it doesn't matter if it looks yucky, okay. But it diffuses, it's like a sheer. You can buy sheers, too. The frosted shower curtain I found works better, bring some clamps or something to put it on the window, or maybe have mom and dad hold each end of it if you need to. It works better to get rid of windowpanes. Okay? We run into a lot of homes in the Midwest that are full of windowpanes. Okay, I don't know about all over the country, but in our area, we have windowpanes. So we have these lines, you know, these shadows coming down. A frosted shower curtain, in order to get that beautiful baby shot, is a great way to put the baby down, you can bring a crate if you want to get one. You know, I tend to bring one crate with me to newborn lifestyle sessions, with some white blankets and some pretty things to give them one kind of pose, but not pose, shot of the baby. Parents really appreciate that. It kind of goes off of the whole lifestyle thought process, but it helps with your client and your sales. Okay, be okay with that. Don't feel like because you're doing a lifestyle session you're not allowed to do that. You're allowed to do whatever you want, okay? Take a box if you wanna bring a box. Bring a bag if you wanna do one gentle little wrapped pretty shot in their home, that's fine! Just because you're doing lifestyle doesn't mean you can't do something else too, okay? So that's what I'll do with the frosted shower curtain. Use creative composition. This was on the couch. Do you see how I shot this? So, here's the baby, and I was shooting this way, okay, on top of the baby. So I was shooting like the baby was looking at me. That's the back of the couch, okay? And then I turned the baby to look at me as well and I also shot this way, okay. Get creative with composition, you can take anything and make it look pretty, okay? As long as you have a little bit of light. And with harsh light, you just bring that shower curtain. Okay, and swaddle. We always swaddle. All of my babies are swaddled. If there's a sibling involved, that baby is swaddled. Because, what happens with the sibling? The baby goes "Bah!" and then what happens, the sibling wants to drop the baby and run, okay, that's not safe! So, if the baby is swaddled and calm, the sibling can remain calm and life is just better, okay? And then when you're ready with the swaddle, take the swaddle off and get those other shots. What you did not see, what we won't see, we're gonna talk about the mom in the minute, is I like to do the non-swaddled shots as well, and I'll go into that in a little bit.
I do have a question Marie Chaveur. Can you talk a little bit to the temperature in the rooms when you're dealing with the baby only shots?
Yeah, so, unlike posed newborn sessions, you don't have to have it 85 degrees, okay? You need to have it warm enough that the babies are comfortable, but cool enough that the parents aren't sweating through their clothes. That is a very different situation if it's in the summer or if it's in the winter, right? So, we keep our house at 70, and that's really warm. Where some people can keep their house at 75 and it's cold. So, I go there and I kind of feel in. I tell the parents, hey, can you just warm the house up a little bit, and if you wouldn't mind, can you get a space heater? There's a lot of old homes where I'm from in St. Louis in the city, and I'm sure it's like that everywhere in the big cities have older homes. And a lot of the nurseries are drafty and you can carry that space heater around with you in the draftier rooms so you don't have to crank up the whole house in order to get the one room warm, okay? Just warm enough that the parents aren't sweating, but warm enough that the baby is calm. Okay?
Okay! Some baby only shot ideas. Baby on mom's lap. I always do that. Where the baby is lying down on the mom's lap, on the mom's knees. This is a really good time for mom to lie the baby on the mom's lap, swaddled, undo the swaddle, let organically things happen. What could you do to direct mom? How do we connect? We look at the baby, right? We hold the baby's fingers, we play with the baby's toes, you can get a whole setup just by lying the baby down, okay? You can lie the baby down swaddled, so you get the swaddled shot to start, and then we unswaddle to get the movement. Okay, we're always trying to create movement with newborns, okay, with these shots. So the hands, holding the feet, holding the belly, sibling can come up and hold mom and baby's hand, anything can organically happen. Look what's around you, okay? What humans are around you, what dog might come sniff the baby's head, okay? I'm a sucker for dog pictures, as you all know. There is a dog, it's gonna be in the picture. Okay, so that can happen. Baby over dad's shoulder, okay. We're gonna show some examples of this in a minute. Dad's tend to hold babies funny. And so what I do is I take that and roll with it, because we need funny pictures too, because they're fun and they're lighthearted, right? So the dads will hold the babies here and I'll get this shot with dad holding the baby, 'cause his hand is so big on the baby, baby needs to look small, right, on dad, all the time. Then, because our newborn is closer to three weeks old, right, they're starting to hold their head up a little bit, everything is done for a reason. The baby can be pushed up a little bit if they're awake, and what happens? They can hold their head up and look at you over dad's shoulder, okay? So you're behind dad and you get that shot. That is a go-to shot that I always do at every session if the baby is strong enough to hold their head up for just a second to look over the shoulder. 'Cause it's just telling, 'cause you're like, there's dad, you're behind dad and like, "Oh, hello!" Right, it's like, cute. Like, the baby is peeking over, that's a really good go-to dad shot with the baby. Baby in the crib, okay. We always do babies in the crib. I wanted to show this particular one because the bumpers. Some people ask me do we take the bumpers off? Um, it depends. I liked the bumpers in this situation because of the white rod iron crib, the white sheets, the white swaddles and the white, it just, it looked pretty, okay? That's up to you if you wanna take the bumpers off. Sometimes what I'll do is I'll do crib shot, I'll take the bumpers off, and then I'll do the through the slack crib shot, you know, to get some varying composition and to fill your galleries, right? The through the crib shot is a really good way to get them looking at you, if they're awake. But remember, here's the crib here, what if there was a wall there? Would that be a very good looking at you shot? No, 'cause there's no light behind you. So you're gonna need to turn that crib, okay? When you're thinking about these poses, you have to also be thinking about lighting the whole time, okay? Luckily, there was a window and a skylight, so that room was ridiculous. It was fabulous. We all dream as a photographer to have, her mom's a photographer, their mom's a photographer, windows all over and windows above, are you kidding me? It was ridiculous, it was beautiful. Baby wrapped fun on a rug. You will see a lot of my images, did you guys remember that rainbow rug I showed you? That was in a client's home. I'm constantly looking for things that are fun, either a fuzzy rug, right? Or, and these are so simple and I feel like we forget about these things. You don't have to carry all this stuff with you. Ask your clients in your questionnaire. Do you guys have any fun rugs? When I'm on the phone with my clients, I always ask do you have a fun rug? And they're like, maybe, why? We have an idea, right? So, the siblings tend to have fun rugs, right? 'Cause kids just have fun, joyful things. Playrooms tend to have fun rugs. Get the fun rug, bring it to well-lit area, swaddle the baby and lie it down, okay? It's a good way, there's only so many ways you can photograph a baby by themselves, because they can't walk, they can't do anything, they can't sit, and you're not posing them! Right, so what do you do with a baby when it's by itself? Find cool elements and change up the composition, okay? It's gonna help fill your gallery, it's gonna help set you apart. Bring in a fun rug, shoot them on the fun rug. Okay, more baby shots. Swaddled, here we go! Swaddled on a rug we just talked about, swaddled on the couch, close up family lap and swaddled on the bed. I just wanted to show you this one, because this is his crib sheet, right? We turned the crib towards the window, 'cause it was not, so I was able to get catch lights in his eyes, he had really dark blue eyes, dark, dark blue eyes, so when I was trying to do anything without the light, they were really, really dark. But use that. And we were talking about crib sheets. Do you change it to white? No, no, no, that's fun, right? That adds a story. If that would have been on a white crib sheet, would it have been as like cute and playful? No, right? Do I love the white ones? Yes! But for a white one, I would have swaddled it and made it beautiful, okay. So you're always thinking about composition in terms of style, too, okay. Alright. Here's some more. There's the fun rug, okay? I'm gonna give you some stories about all these so you know. That's the bed, okay, obviously. (audience laughter) This is a wonderful way to get dogs and babies, okay? I lie the dog on their backs, 'cause dogs love their backs, right? And they like to look up, and then we kind of put the baby in there, and guess what dad was doing? Guess where dad's hand was on that dog? On his rear end, holding him there, okay? I did not allow that dog to stay put without dad or mom holding that dog, okay? Safety first! Not only that, not every dog will do this. You need to have the conversation with your parents first. Okay? We got the shot and the dog was done. Flipped back the other direction. But, isn't it funny, it cracks me up. This one, letting go of perfection. We talked about this earlier in the class. There's the fun rug! I pulled it into their play room. That baby would not leave her hand in there, okay! Typically, when I do twins now, this was a few years ago, I will swaddle them both, like how I super swaddle, and then swaddle them, Newbie Emily did not do that here, okay, and now I know better since I shoot so many twins, to make sure they're both swaddled underneath their first. I tried to clone the hand out, and I'm like, what am I doing, this is silly. I like the hand. (laugh) You know, I'm going against all my own rules. So, I left it, it was fun, fun composition. This one in particular, they were in front of a window, okay? It was black and white. Guess why this one looked better in black and white? It was like a neon green room, okay? You would never know it. If you get a moment, put it in black and white, as long as it can go in black and white, not everything belongs in black and white. We're gonna go over black and white in a little bit. This one, very, very dark home. Very dark home. We literally, I think the home is about 1,200 square feet. We had one room that had one window that was not covered with trees, okay? Everything was covered, it was so dark. And I walked in there I was like, oh my gosh, this is a challenge, this would be a great workshop house. (laughs) You know what I'm talking about? And he wouldn't go to sleep, ever. He was the most awake child I've ever seen in my life. Found a blue bench, took it next to the window and got the most fun shots of this little guy, okay? You can do anything with a little bit of light.