Newborn Photoshoot Props
So this is probably something I would set up predominantly for a boy, but I can, you know, I can use this a little bit later on. So I'm actually gonna keep it set up and grab something else off my shelf. You can stay there, if you like, Molly, 'cause I'm gonna need a spotter for the next one as well.
So, a question from Kat Lever was, "Why don't you always wrap around the diaper, "when you're doing the wraps?"
Why don't I wrap around it, or why do I wrap around it?
Well the question was, why don't you?
I think sometimes you leave it on, sometimes you take it off. What's the choice of leaving the diaper on?
Oh, with the nappy?
Oh, you know, that's a good question, because in that instance, it was a material nappy, which had clips, which would have been, would have been quite time consuming to take that off. So, you know, for the purpose of you guys at home to get through that as quickly as possible, and cover as much as possible in the short amount of...
time, I just left it on. And we can hide it with wraps and things like that. So you don't always have to take it off, but if you can, definitely. And I really wanted to lave it on while I was photographing him with his sister, just in case he did something on her pretty dress. (laughs) 'Cause she probably didn't bring a change of clothing. So yes, I'm gonna do something really pretty, here. She's sound asleep in there. So, more towels, these are wonderful to line our props with, because they're thick and they're firm, but they're also soft... Without having to use all your blankets all the time. So I'm just gonna grab those towels and place them in this particular basket. And I'm gonna use this... Okay. Now, this one here is really pretty. We'll use this. It's gonna go with our colors as well. I'm gonna go with sort of really brown-y tones, but with a little bit of splash of red, which I think is gonna be lovely, but keep it really neutral. I'll just take a few things over with me, and some extra towels. And I didn't turn on before, 'cause I got so carried away listening to everyone's stories, I didn't turn my white noise on. So I'm just gonna put it over there, because I don't want it to interfere with anything, and you can hear me. But a little bit of background noise. So I just continue lining this prop. And I want to, it's got a really great lip on it, where it goes down there. So I'm gonna continue to line it up like this, so that when we put her in here, she's sitting nice and upright, and I'll carry on with that particular pose that we were doing before, so you can see it again. So just making sure that it's nice and firm, and when you push down, that it doesn't sink too far down. So when you put the baby in, it's not gonna sink, with the weight. So what I want to do at the back here, is also create something for her to put her legs against, so she's not gonna slide backwards, because she is upright. Alright. So I'm gonna tuck that in. Alright. So now we can't see the white cloths. But we have some great texture on there, in some neutral tones. I'm gonna use the chocolate actually, because we've got a really deep color in there, and if I continue going with those lighter colors, I'm only gonna have that one solid color. But if I can add another darker color, it'll just break up, break it up a little bit as well. So I'm just gonna drape that on there, just so it's nice and soft. And then we're gonna pop the little beanie on her, little bonnet, and she'll be, she'll look great in there. And the white background. And we might even... Yeah we might add that on to the back, just to see what that looks like, for a bit of texture. Okay, I'm gonna grab our baby, Molly. Hi, let me take her from you. Okay. Oh, she just smiled. She's happy to be here. Okay, so if you could come just a little bit closer to the edge of that mat... And again, Molly's sitting with her back to the back, her back to the backdrop... (laughs) Feet out towards me, so she can reach over carefully with her hand, and not be in the image. Shh, shh, shh. Shh. So just while I'm taking this nappy off, I'm just gonna rock her gently. Shh. Shh. How many days is she today? 11 days old? It's like she's looking around. Shh. So I'm just gonna give her, she was nice and sleepy. There, she's just opening her eyes, 'cause I've come and collected her, and taken her nappy off, and I'm moving her. So I'm just gonna rock her gently back to sleep there. Shh. And just these gentle rocking motions, you know, they're really calming and settling to the baby, because when they're inside the womb, it's... They're constantly moving all the time. So they like it, it's very soothing to them. I used to notice when I was pregnant, the minute I laid down at night, and stopped, the babies would start moving, crazy. Shh. Shh. Shh. And because I know how I want to position her in this prop, that's why I have her arm upright. But do you have any questions, while I'm doing this?
Um, I just wondered, since you do so many sessions, through the week, how do you keep yourself from, like, burning out, and keeping your inspiration... You know, how do you keep that going?
You know, I think when you really love what you do, it's... It's easy to keep doing it every day. It's addictive, it really is. But I make sure that I don't book more than four sessions a week. So, my average is three sessions a week. And if I do start to fel tired, I just won't book so many babies in a month down the track. And I try not to work on the school holidays, so I do take time off, which is really important. It is important not to burn out, very true. Because the minute you start to feel like that, you're not going to give your clients the customer service that they need, and you're not going to be able to provide a product like a finished image, as well as what you could if, you know, you were in a good place at the time of creating it. Good question. So I'm gonna drag my prop here, a little bit closer to me, while we position her in the basket. So I'm gonna scoop her little legs with my hand on her shins. Is she waking up again, no? I can't see her face. So I'm just scooping her legs backwards, 'cause I want her on her tummy. I'm gonna keep this wrap on her back, not to sort of startle her with any coldness or breezes, or anything like that. And just to rock her gently back to sleep. Aw, that's a big yawn, sweetheart. Shh, shh, shh, shh, shh, shh, shh, shh, shh, shh, shh, shh, shh, shh, shh, shh, shh, shh. So I have my fingers at the back of her head, and my thumb is on her forehead, and I'm gently just rocking her whole body. My other hand is just keeping this other arm in place, because it's upright. I don't want her to pull it down, which is a natural instinct for babies. I want her to keep that arm up, so that when she is finally nice and settled, I can just move it up and underneath her chin. Where did I put that little hat? Oh, here. So I'm gonna get you to come just probably a little bit closer, just to help me here while I put this hat on. So I would have Mom or Dad, whoever was comfortable, to come and sit down on the floor with me to help me with all of this. And I just tell them where to place their hand. So I want you to put this hand just at the back of her head here, to support it, so it's not gonna fall downwards, that's it. Just relax. So, this gorgeous little bonnet was made by Monkey Moo Moo. Okay, so now I'm gonna put my thumb where Molly's hand is, and she can pull it away, and the baby's head's not gonna move, while I bring this down and under here. So I'm doing this now, before I've positioned her hands, because I need to lift her head to put this under, this little side bit underneath. But I'm also gonna, while I'm doing that, bring that hand in as well. So I'm not having to do two movements. I'm not lifting her head to put the strap under, and then I'm not lifting her head to position her hand, or hopefully not having to. So when they start to move like that, just wait for them to stop. I'm just grabbing her fingers here. I'm gonna roll her fingers out with mine, and then scoop that hand in underneath her chin. Shh shh shh shh shh shh shh shh shh shh shh shh shh shh. Oh, she's smiling. Okay, so I have her fingers open, and by doing this, when I lift her head with my other hand, I can scoop that hand in, up and underneath her chin. And I was able to bring that other side of that bonnet through as well, at the same time. Okay. So I am going to get you to place your hand back where it was before, just to stop her head from feeling like it's gonna fall backwards. We want her to feel nice and secure the whole time she's in here. So I'm just gonna tie that gently. I'm not gonna put it in a bow or anything, I'm just gonna let that hang down. Okay. So now while she's sort of fairly set up at the front here, I'm just gonna see what's going on at the other end, with her legs. And take her nappy off. And she's having a squirm. There we go. So we're just about ready to take our shot. I'm gonna move the basket by keeping my hands on her at all times, there we go. She's moving, I'm moving with her. Bring her arms back up to the top, that's a girl. Shh, shh, shh, shh, shh, shh, shh. Just move your hand away from me for a minute, Molly. Shh, shh, shh, shh, shh, shh, shh, shh, shh, shh, shh, shh, shh, shh, shh, shh, shh, shh, shh, shh, shh, shh, shh, shh, shh, shh, shh, shh, shh. By gently rocking them like this, it's a really really easy way just to settle them back into that position. So I want these back legs to make sure that they're positioned so that she's not gonna roll from the other side as well. I'm just gonna bring this leg here, just out a little bit. There we go. Okay. So we'll just slide this prop back, just gently. So I have my hand on her at all times. And that's perfect, just there. I'm gonna use this just to prop up her elbow here, because she's just falling to the side a bit. So I'm just gonna scoop my hand in underneath, and push this up under this elbow. We can see that's just given her a little bit of height there. Now, the only thing we need to do is just bring her little chin around to the front, and we're ready to take a photo. She's got her fingers all clasped over under here. I'm just gonna try and untangle them, so she's nice and comfortable. 'Cause the weight of her head on her fingers, if they're all tangled under there, it's not gonna be very comfortable, and she's gonna want to continually move to get comfy. Yeah, that's a good idea. She's wrestling with me. (laughs) Right, let's take that off. That's getting everywhere. So she is not squirm, like she is not screaming, she's not crying, she's just trying to get herself comfortable here. And I'm gonna readjust her legs again, because she's moved those, which means her top half has moved. I'm gonna bring her back feet out. I've got a hold of her shins. Shh, shh, shh, shh, shh, shh, shh. There we go. Shh. Shh. Shh. (assistant whispering) Hey? Pardon? (assistant whispering) She's got a tight grip. She grabs hold of everything. She got a hold of this knit wrap back here. So I'm just bringing that hand forward just a little bit, just to support the back of her head there as well. Shh, shh, shh, shh, shh, shh, shh, shh, shh, shh, shh, shh, shh, shh, shh, shh, shh, shh, shh, shh. Shh. She's a squirmer. Okay, so we're gonna get a safe shot. I'm not gonna bother tying the bonnet or anything like that, but I think it's gonna make a really good... For this particular shot, so I'm just gonna lay it gently over her, and just tuck it in underneath this hand. Alright, this is my safe shot. She has a fist under there. Fists, you know, can be sort of pulled out and things like that, but I'm not too concerned about that because this little face here is just adorable. Okay, so Molly, I'm gonna move back to take my shot. And when I'm ready to take it, I just want you to lift your hand, just carefully, just above here, so that it's easy to get rid of. It's gonna take two seconds, and then you can place it back down on her back where she's nice and secure. Okay, I'm gonna get an exposure shot first, so you can leave your hand there. (camera click) Okay, how does that look on the screen? I might come down just a bit more. Okay, and now just lifting your hand for me, Molly. Oh, great. And down. And that's how quick it is. So she looks pretty cute. If you wanted to continually, you know, work with her to bring those fingers out, you could do that. I'm pretty happy with the way that tuned out. So, I'm gonna move on to the next one. Are you happy to sit there for a second?
Did you get to see it on the screen? She looks beautiful, doesn't she? This I another great prop that's been brought in to us, from Pixie Props, it's really heavy. And I would have the baby on top of it, like we did yesterday. So I'll just do something very similar to that again.
Kelly, once again, seeing the parents', the family's, reaction, is just, it's so special.
It's so beautiful, and... When they see those final images, later, I just, it's gonna be so impactful. I just...
Definitely. 'Cause we have a beautiful little girl. We're gonna keep with this really light, airy, sort of, style of things. So what we're gonna do is to carefully just, just move. 'Cause this is so heavy, and I want to continue to use this. I'm gonna support, support her here. And we're just gonna slide the basket very carefully. So if you can just keep your hand on her back for me. I've got my hand in front of her head. And just move her down here, just gently. And I moved in a fairly sort of slow motion, because I don't wanna startle her at all. So just keep your hand up there, nice and high on her back. And we'll set this up. Oh. Keep it nice and soft, 'cause it's a little girl. Okay, I'm just gonna warm my hands again, in front of the heater, before I go touching her. So peel that little hat off. And I'm gonna slide my hands in. I'm probably gonna slide my hands in underneath this soft brown wrap. I can peel that off in a second. Only because it's gonna get tangled up anyway. Slide my hand in underneath her shins. Make sure I've got all the little feet and toes. (laughs) And just pull her out gently. So, I'm just gonna turn her. I'm gonna position her in my hands. It's a little bit hard to see, 'cause I've turned my back. Sorry. So I want to position her feet a certain way, so I'm gonna do that in my hands before I actually place her down. So I'm just gonna cross those over. Like that. And I'm gonna put her pretty much down in this position. So if we just spin this around, just a little bit, so... Actually, the other way. I'll peel this little brown wrap out. Make sure it's not tangled on any of her little fingers, 'cause if you tried to pull a bit of that knit, it could hurt her fingers. There we go. Okay, so she's in an amazing position here. Which is perfect for what we want to do. I was able to turn her. I didn't have to turn the prop, which is great. Shh, shh, shh, shh, shh, shh. So she's pulled her little legs out. But that's alright, we've still got her nice and settled. Can you bring your hand and put it on her lower back there for me? Great, just gently, not pushing down. Just so she knows you're there. Okay. Alright. Shh, shh, shh, shh, shh, shh, shh, shh, shh, shh. Shh, shh, shh, shh, shh, shh, shh, shh, shh, shh. You can slide a little bit closer if you like, Molly, if that's easier. Okay, so I'm gonna tuck her little legs up underneath her now. And by putting my fingers underneath her shins, I can lift her up, to cross these feet back over again. And this is a great way to see all the little toes. And to bring her knee forward, just a little bit there. And to stop her from sort of pushing out, we can just tuck up under there a bit. Okay. So I'm just gonna readjust her hand, underneath her face there. Because her face is kinda down a little bit, so I want to pull it up. And by pulling it up and by bringing her hand under her cheek, we're gonna be able to see more of her face. Just keep your hand, bring your hand back down here, and put your thumb just on her feet. And that'll stop her from pushing her legs out. So I'll slide my fingers underneath her head there, very gently, shh shh shh. Shh. There we go. And do you see the difference that made, being able to see her little face? Now I am just going to slide her back this way a little bit, because the top of this surface is slightly curved, and we don't want her head to be going down, because she'll come out of position. So I'll just bring her back to the middle, just very carefully. I'm just pulling the blanket back. And now she's in the center. Anything that's wooden has such great texture in photos. So just, keep your hand there, up on to the back. I'm just gonna adjust her little feet here a bit more. And by tucking this foot here, and crossing it over, we're actually raising her bottom a little bit as well, which is giving her a bit of a shape. She's not laying too flat. But I'm ready to take a photo of that, 'cause I think that's absolutely adorable and so soft. I'm just gonna turn her slightly. Okay, and I'm gonna get down nice and low, because she's so low to the ground. So I'm gonna take a tush shot again, and then I'm gonna get Molly to raise her hand for me. (camera click) And that looks pretty good. So, on the count of three, Molly, just lift your hand, not too high. One, two, three. (camera clicks) And back down. And that is it. I would come in, and get a beautiful little side profile shot of her face, because that's just adorable. And you can see all these little curves, of her shoulder, and her arm, and the side of her face. You could get as many close ups as possible in positions like this. And you could shoot it from as many angles as possible, to find your perfect angle and what you love doing. And that is it, we have finished... With this beautiful baby, now that she's sound asleep. (laughs) I'm gonna... Alright, thank you so much, Molly.
From A Thousand Words Photography, Kelly, do you ever photograph newborns with family pets? And if so, do you have any advice?
So do I even pose newborns with what?
With pets, family pets.
I do. I do, if they're happy to bring them to my house, most definitely.
And any advice on that?
Talk about toddlers being a challenge, but add pets in there. (laughs)
You know, that's a lengthy discussion with the parents. If they have an animal that they want their child photographed with, I need to make sure that that animal is okay with children. Even, you know... I love animals, I have a cat and two dogs. They're the most beautiful animals, but I don't trust my cat at all with other people's children. So I have to make sure that when I am working with animals, that the parents have control of that animal, and it can understand instructions, especially a dog. I recently did a photo shoot, which meant so much to me, because... They had been referred to me by a couple of people that I had already photographed. They were two police officers, and they had a 12 year old police dog. And he had been retired, and I was able to photograph this beautiful dog with their baby. And I can't show you the image, because I've kinda entered it into some awards that are happening next weekend. But the dog is in the photo with the baby, and it's absolutely beautiful. It's such a precious moment for them to have as well. So if you get that request, just make sure you go to all lengths to find out, and then make sure that that dog is suitable to photograph... Or I mean, cats would, I imagine, be a little bit different, because they just don't sit still. But yeah, dogs, get as much information about the animal and the family as possible before you even attempt it, to know that they're capable of doing it.
Absolutely. From Genevieve Photo and from Cali, how do you decide if a prop is best for a boy or a girl, and do you have specific poses you use for boys or girls, or is it all the same?
I tend to use the same poses for either a boy or a girl, doesn't matter at all. I think they all look so beautiful in every single one of them, so... But when it comes to props, for girls, I mean, I've used the same props for boys and girls. But, there are some things that are a little bit more rustic, and that have that kinda boyish quality to them, which is great, and you can dress it, you know, in sort of beautiful dark tones, and things like that, or even light tones and whites. But when it comes to girls, I like to keep it really really soft and simple. I think that's pretty. So, one more question?
One more question, um, this is from Katie Bell Photo, who said, "I've dealt with a few parents who are worried "about germs, especially those with preemies, even going "so far as to bring their own blankets to the session." I know we've talked about, generally, you don't have the parents bring their own, or sometimes they do, but... "Didn't want me to use any of my own props and blankets. "How would you handle a situation like that?"
Um, if they're happy to bring their own things, and you can use them, definitely. Because they're, you know, it's their session. I always reassure my clients that everything is washed, everything is sanitized. I go to the point of when they arrive in my home, to tell them, I'm gonna go wash my hands. So they know I'm going to lengths for sanity. No, (laughs) sanitizing, I don't know what I'm saying. But yes, I always, like, reaffirm them that everything in my studio is clean, I'm not gonna spread any germs, anything like that. And if at any point, I'm unwell, I'll cancel that session, because it's no point in risking a baby or a family with infection.