Pet with Newborn Shot List
Do what you can do to get some fun dog photos. This is back to the very start of class, right? This is the shot that started it all. This is a shot that I took. Now you guys can understand how I did this. Okay? What I did was I put dad and dog down first. Okay, because dog wanted to snuggle dad. This is how I did the shot. I pulled mom in, and then I laid the baby down. In dog, okay? Dog was twelve. Old. Could barely get up on the bed, but the dog stayed still. I have tried to do this shot again to no avail. It just has not happened. This shot is seven years old, and it's still my favorite in the whole wide world. I think I had a 35 millimeter lens on for this one. I was standing over them on their bed for the shot. And the window was behind his head. So the light fell this way, okay? This was literally the very first lifestyle shoot I ever charged for. And I have this blown up huge. And I think I used an old Florabella action on here when I was teaching myself Photoshop. But it's stil...
l my absolute favorite because it shows connection. The baby. I was pretty proud of my focal plane because I didn't know I was doing that at the time. And it has a dog and a baby! So, this one is huge in my studio and it will never leave my studio. Some dogs are okay with the baby. Alone. But you need to ask, okay? If dogs won't stay still, opt for family with the dogs as the focal point, which we talked about in great detail. Here's some more dog shots. This one, you don't even wanna know how long this took. Mom said to me, "These dogs are my..." She's a single mom. "These dogs are my babies. They have been with me through college. They have been with me everywhere. All I want is a dog photo." The same ones up there, okay? The dogs were very interested in the baby. They weren't sure of the baby. They weren't dangerous. They're not biting dogs. They were licking the baby. But they weren't sure of the whole situation, you know. So mom was right here. Literally right here, holding the baby. And holding her hand by the dogs. And the dogs would creep up and then randomly lick the baby. It was the cutest thing you've ever seen. And I was standing over mom. It would've been a great pullback. I mean, mom was under here and I was standing here 'cause we were getting the dog shot, okay? And that happened. The dogs ran away, but we got the shot. And it took a long time to get this, but it shows what? Connection. They are connected. Everything that I shoot needs to show connection, okay? This one, mom was in here. We were setting up for mom to feed the baby. And the dog straggled in there. And the dad was like, hey, come on. Come back, come back, come back. This was a dog that they weren't sure was safe with the baby. So we never let this dog near the baby on its own. Ever. 'Cause they weren't sure. They thought so, but I'm like, no, no, no. We're not trying it today. So, the dog went in there 'cause he wanted to see what was going on with the baby. It ended up the dog licked the baby and some other things. The dog was fine with the baby, but I never left the dog alone with the baby. The dog was mom's baby, okay? So he came in there and I took this picture 'cause she was laughing at him 'cause he wanted to see what in the world was going on and why he wasn't being paid attention to. Tells the story. This one, we talked about this a little bit earlier in the class. The dog went over because this dog loved this baby. I mean, I think the dog thought the baby was his baby. Realistically, we had just laid the baby down there 'cause we had done this crib shot. You saw these crib sheets earlier. And this is the way the light was going. We tried to recreate it. I turned the baby a little bit closer to me 'cause I wanted to see the connection more. I wanted to see the baby's face. We could not, for the life of us, get the dog to do it again because moments can't be recreated, okay? That's the only thing that, to me, would've made this photo better. But mom's like, wait, what are you doing? It looks great to me, right? But as a photographer, I wanted the connection to be perfect. Let it go. Okay, it's still adorable. The dog loves the baby.
So, sometimes when I go to people's homes for newborns, in-laws are there, either staying or visiting.
Do you include them in the shoots? And how much time do you spend on that? And do you kind of give them their own one-on-one moment with the newborn?
This is a good question. It's a very good question. 'Cause this happens a lot. Typically, I'd say... No, always. They've told me that they'll have in-laws there. And they normally tell you, right? If the in-laws are gonna be there? And they'll say either... If they don't say can they be in a shot, I'll say, would you like them to be in a shot? Or would you not like them to be in a shot? If they don't want them to be in a shot, then I say, you know what? Maybe send them to the grocery store. Or do something, send them on an activity. Or if they want me to be the bad guy, I'll shove them into a different room, you know. Hey, we need the light in here. Would you mind just heading over there? Sometimes grandparents can be a really good distraction for siblings. Or they could be a distraction in a bad way for siblings. So these are all conversations that you need to have with your client if you know that they're gonna have their in-laws there. Now, you have to ask, are they good for my kids or bad? 'Cause some kids will just wanna be by grandma and grandpa. And not leave grandma and grandpa. And if that's the case, then grandma and grandpa need to go to the grocery store. If they want the people in the images, if they do want them in the images, or if you get there and they're there, and you know, you still want, I photograph grandparents a lot with babies. We'll do one...typically they want a family shot. So they want mom and dad and we know, we'll just get them all sitting on the couch and just looking at the camera. Grandparents don't want pictures where they're not looking at the camera. It's the generation. (laughing) You know, the grandma shot. And if we can't get everybody looking at the camera, 'cause of light, then I tell them, you know what, we don't have the light for this, but why don't we get you all snuggly and you hold the baby and we're good to go. And then we get the shot, I'm like okay, bye. (laughing) You know, nicely. Then we move on. 'Cause grandparents aren't around forever, so I think it's good to get them.
On the pet subject, what is the strangest pet you've ever included in a...
Yeah. They wanted the fish bowl in there. That was cool. (laughing) It was actually funny, so it was fine. Fish are fun. Like we've done a fish in the studio where I brought a fish bowl on the floor and then I had the little boy looking at the fish. It was the funniest thing.
How long, typically, do you spend doing... I know you said your whole day is open if it takes longer, but on average, how long do you take? How many pictures come out of it, and then how many pictures get edited?
So, that's a good question. So, typically, my sessions last between two and three hours. They could go two hours if there's no siblings. They could go an hour and a half. I had an hour and a half session one time. The babies were fed. Twins, that one mom. The babies were fed and things just went well, which, knock on wood, you know, happens sometimes. You don't know. I tend to take about... I probably shoot about 600 images. Then I edit about 150. 'Cause I batch. Sometimes I'll edit 100, if there's dogs, and like four extra kids, and we happen to have a million sibling pictures, I'll go up to about 180. Sometimes. And it used to, with my newborn pose sessions, it's closer to 50 or 60. That's why we're gonna talk about this in sales. That's why I always push albums or digitals with my lifestyle clients and then send them to labs that can make beautiful albums for them if their budget doesn't allow for me to make them an album. 'Cause professional albums are really expensive. We all know that. And they're beautiful, but it's not in everybody's budget. And I'm not trying to force somebody to feel uncomfortable with the purchase. So we'll talk about that during sales.
Several questions about troubleshooting, whether it's because it's too dark or what-have-you, do you ever go outside with the newborn shoot? Whether it's the porch, the back yard...
Do you have people get requests? Can we go to the park down the street? How do you approach that?
I don't ever go to the park down the street. Just because typically when I'm shooting, it's in the middle of the day. By that point it's noon, and then when we have raccoon eyes, that's not good for anybody. We do do front porch shots. We do do outside, as long as I can find some fall-off light. Right, a lot of fall-off light you can find from the edge of the house, depending on the edge of the house. But you also don't wanna take a picture of a family standing in front of siding. I mean (gagging), right? (laughing) So you have to be mindful of that. Front porch shots are beautiful, though, if somebody has a beautiful front porch. It depends where you live. You know, I couldn't do those between December and March, but other than that, yeah, you know. You have to be mindful of that. We get a lot of requests for newborn babies outside for like October, and I'm like, I'm not sure you want that 'cause it might be 40. You know, so you just be honest with your clients. If you don't think it's gonna work, don't do it. Don't do it just because they ask you to. Let them know that that might not be the best idea because, but I do have a good idea. You know, kind of thing.