Newborn Shoot: Baby with Down Syndrome
A lot of people who have been watching Creative Live for a while, know that my daughter has Down's Syndrome. Pepper was born about 13 years with Down's Syndrome. And when Kelly and I were talking about this workshop, I asked you early on, how would you feel about having a newborn with Down's Syndrome as one of the models on this, of course? And you... You were very interested in that.
Yeah, yeah, definitely. I would never turn away any baby, I would love to photograph every baby.
And so, I thought the odds would be astronomical this could come together because... The babies we're working with are only 14 days old. A lot of parents don't discover they're going to have a child with Down's Syndrome and when they first find out, it's a difficult process. And so, not a lot of parents are ready to share that child with the world. But we put out a blog post and we asked for any parents that were expecting a child with Down's Syndrome, if someone would be willing to come and allow us to sh...
are the beauty of that child with this workshop. And we had a lot of support from our audience who put out our message to... blogs and Facebook and everywhere. And Wendy and Alan, I think ran across the blog post on one of the sites that they were visiting, and this is Alyssa, who was born... 14 days ago?
14 days ago, and this is a really special... Thank you very much, all right?
Thank you, Craig.
I am always touched when Craig talks about the fact that Creative Live would not exist today if it weren't for Pepper. And so Pepper really represents the entire community. And so, Kelly, over to you.
Wow, this is really exciting, this is such a special thing for me to be a part of. Not many people know that when I was pregnant with my twins, at 21 week, we were told during one of our scans that both of our babies had very strong markers for Down's Syndrome. So, we went through a range of emotions that you would more than likely understand, and we went through a lot of counseling sessions, and we were also given a lot of options to find out, you know, with further testing how evident this was. We actually decided against any further testings because we knew from the get-go that we would love our babies regardless and they would just be the most special thing in the world to us. And they were born healthy, they were born fine. But when they were born, they were actually born the same day as a little baby in the hospital that had Down's Syndrome. So my six-and-a-half weeks in special care, my babies were right next to a little girl that was the most precious little thing, and her name was Trinity and she had bright red hair, and I will never ever forget her. It was really special for me. And so, I don't know and I could possibly never understand, what it is actually like to raise a child that has Down's Syndrome. But, I can assure you, I think that you being here is one of the most amazing things for me, personally. So I appreciate it so, so much. Definitely. We're gonna pose little Alyssa on the bag and I'm gonna make it really soft and really beautiful 'cause she has the most amazing set of hair. A bit like, it's a bit styled like mine. (laughter) So, I'm gonna to put some little headbands on her and make it really soft and pretty for her. So, I'm just gonna drag my bag out. And then, I'm going to photograph Alyssa with her parents. So I'm just angling my backdrop back towards the light and I'm gonna use a pretty little blanket in here that's nice and soft. I tend to have favorites when it comes to picking my blankets, so unless the client sort of directs me with their color choice, I love my neutral soft tones. Righty-oh, she's so sleepy. I went and saw Alyssa in the other room just before and she was giving me little windy smiles, so we might be in for a treat. Because none of our babies, or a couple of them have smiled, but not many. All right, nearly ready to go. Now because I don't have the opportunity to work with a baby like Alyssa very often, and I don't know her, I haven't spent much time with her, I've just met her five minutes ago, I'm gonna treat this session like any other session. And that's what I would normally do anyway in my studio. So any baby that came to me with special needs, the session would be treated exactly the same. I would just go with the flow, work with the baby, slow and steady, and whatever they're comfortable with. Okay, I'm just getting a few things together here so I don't have to get back up. All right. My hand under here, I'm gonna bring my hand under her bottom. I'll try to keep her nice and sleepy. And she was only five pound?
Oh, she's tiny! But I am a big fan of her hair (chuckles) It is divine. She's so little. We've got a nappy on under here so I'm just gonna take that off without trying to wake her up too much. And you have other children, so what do they think? Like have they been cuddling her and helping you? Because you've got an older daughter, do you?
Yes, yes. They adore her right now.
Oh sorry, I asked you a question without a microphone.
Oh, sure sure. Yeah, no, they adore her. And so... They've changed a few diapers, maybe not as many as we'd like them to. (laughter) Despite all the promises, "We love changing diapers!" Yeah, well... But so far they just love hanging out with her and watching her. My youngest, who's seven, says, "When is she gonna wake up and play?"
Oh god, that's so cute.
Not yet, maybe a couple more years (laughs)
So I'm just gonna drape the little knit wrap, just across her bottom half here. And that way we don't have to worry about her kicking her legs out. Oh, you're a wriggler. Okay... And, bend your toes, here we go. So what I'm gonna do, is I'm gonna position her on her back and then we're going to transition into a couple of other setups. But I'm gonna use some support props underneath her to hold her legs in place, just like I've been doing all along. Make it nice and curly in here for her so she's really comfortable. Her little toes are cold. Okay, so I'm gonna lift her head also. And we'll just put this little headband on. (Kelly chuckles) Here we go. Okay, I'm gonna come and stand around here, just to position her again. Sh, sh, sh, sh, sh, shh... Sh, sh, sh, sh, sh, shh... Shh... So she's just kicking back against my hand at the moment so I'm just gonna keep it there until she relaxes. See, she's strong, for a little thing. Just gonna turn her head towards me because when I take my photo, I'm actually gonna be over here looking in. (baby fusses) Sh, sh, sh, sh, sh, shh... Shhhhhhh... Shhhhhhh... Shhhhhhh... Shhhhhhh... Shhhhhhh... Shhhhhhh... Headband's just a little bit big for her. Come on. Okay. Just about ready to take a photo. Just don't wanna pull my hand away and have her legs come flying out because then we'll have to start all over again. And she's really, really sensitive. Can you come and put my little monitor on? And I might actually get you to direct one of the little heaters over here because see none of them are facing me so it's not as warm here as what it is in the rest of the room. Yeah, that's good, thank you. Shhhhhhh... Shhhhhhh... Shhhhhhh... Shhhhhhh... Shhhhhhh... Shhhhhhh... I haven't been talking, I'm just fiddling, I'm getting her perfect. All right, so I went from back, got a cool shot, turned her onto her side, positioned her hands. She's drifting back off into sleep now, so giving her that space to not be touched and just to sink a little bit further into that sleep worked really well. I'm gonna take this out and I'm gonna do something a little bit on the bag with her, maybe with another little headband. If we can get one to fit. It's so small. So we're not going to lift her up actually off of the bag, I'm just going to move her off the mat. Slide it out from underneath her. She's pushing against my hands again with her feet, she's got such strong little legs. So I'm gonna turn her over onto her tummy now and adjust her little legs up in behind her, and get rid of this because we don't need it. I'll pull my little support out. I'm gonna leave the wrap around her. I'm gonna cross her legs, just here, and bend them up in, and then just turn her bottom half just slowly. And bring this back arm out as a support arm. Here we go. Oh, she's so beautiful. Okay. All right. And so we'll just start to lift her bottom and her feet into place. And we'll do this setup and we might be able to bring her around the front, and we'll get a quick shot of mom and dad together with her, which will be really beautiful. So I'm gonna need to put a support in behind her, 'cause she's already starting to sort of, roll backwards there. So while I'm propping her feet, I'll also move, whoops (laughs) move it around and behind. I'll just lift her little hip up, adjust her feet this way, and we can cross over the other leg. And by tucking their feet up like this, it's gonnastop her from kicking out as much as what she's doing. You can still see both feet beautifully. So I wanna bring her arm, which has gone down in there, back out and up underneath her chin. So I'm gonna grab hold of the wrist, slide my fingers in underneath, there we go. (baby fusses) Sh, sh, sh, sh, sh, shh... Sh, sh, sh, sh, sh, shh... Shhhhhhh... So we've got her hands now in place, we'll bring those feet back up and under. In crossing those feet over, we're gonna give height to her lower end, and we're gonna bring that leg all the way around. (laughs) She does not like tucking those legs up, she keeps kicking them out I'll try it a different way. Here we go. I'm just trying to get her legs into a comfortable position that she's not gonna kick them out from. And so that they're nice and tucked in, and we can see her little toes and her feet. So we can see it all. And I'll just move that support in underneath to stop her from rolling back there a bit more. Just a couple of fingers that we can see. Okay. And to add a little bit of variety, I would pop a little headband on and come in from a completely different angle. Just to make her look nice and girly. Shhhhhhh... What we might do is just bring her hips through the fold, and you can see both of her little knees. Keep her top half in that position, bring her feet together up here. And then there's another variation of that particular pose. And by pushing those props underneath, (laughs) it's those legs. It's like there's a button. She likes to stretch out, that's for sure. And I'll just give her face a little bit of lift there. So I'm gonna slide my hand in underneath her head. That leg... Okay.
After you do poses on the bean bag, then you'd move on to some props, right?
So, I'm just looking at that pram in the corner, it's really, really cute. And I was just wondering, what kind of safety precautions would you use in using that pram? Do you use that pram?
Well that was brought in by somebody who works here at Creative Live, so I was so lucky enough to, you know, for people to bring in all these amazing props for me to use. I have used prams. There's a shot of the triplets up there, they're actually in a very large pram. So I do it but I always make sure that I have, especially if I'm working with multiples, I have a set of hands on one baby while I'm working with the next baby. So yeah, just like any other prop there's always a safety hand on the baby, definitely. And something like that that has wheels, we need to make sure that it's not gonna move. Definitely. So yeah, big production. It's gorgeous, isn't it? Wouldn't it be cute to put her in it? Do we have time? No, I won't (laughs). I think it would take too long to set up. She loves to stretch out, doesn't she? This is beautiful. So I'm gonna bring her forward. I'm gonna turn her back onto her tummy and bring her this way. Set the little arm up. Oh, you're being so good, Alyssa. Sh, sh, sh, sh, sh, shh... Shhhhhhh... Can I get someone to come and grab me something, is that all right? Does someone wanna jump up and grab me something? The dark brown basket that's on that side, please.
Yep. And that little white wrap that's just there, please. Thank you so much.
Yes, thank you. Now, if that was in my studio, we would have already picked out what wraps and props we're going to be using throughout the session. I'm just gonna pull this out, just slide it underneath. The beauty of these soft knit wraps is that you can just slide, they're so delicate, you can just slide them out from underneath the baby. So I've got this beautiful little hat. It's like a felt, so delicate, so I'm just gonna pop that on. And babies with darker skin look so beautiful in white, don't they? Or cream. So before I position her, I'm gonna tie this up. So I just pulled her elbow forward, lifted her head up, she stretched, so I just held my hands to support her so she didn't pull back down and she could relax back into that position. Now let's pull the other hand forward. It's a little bit big but we'll tuck it in when we've got her in position. So I'm just gonna bring these other little fingers out, take a little bit of the weight off them. She's sort of got a hold of her hands under there. Okay, now we'll start to lift her back up into position. So a hand in underneath her and lift gently. I love it what she's doing with her lips here, she's sort of pushing them together. So I'm just gonna lift her head again, just to reposition her fingers, make sure that they're... Nothing's hurting her under there. Okay. All right. Now we'll just lift a little bit more. So my hand has gone in under the blanket and under the first prop that I've put in there to raise it and then slide another one in underneath it, just to give it a little bit more height. Okay. Just to make this not stick out so much, I'm just gonna tighten it in just a little bit. That's really loose. She's just wriggling a little bit. Sh, sh, sh, sh, sh, shh... Okay. I can see where her little face is pointing up in this direction, so I wanna try and come down in that direction. This is bothering me at the back so I'm just gonna tuck that in, so it doesn't interfere with the bonnet. But I like how it's coming out this side so we'll just tuck that in and then come back for another shot. Is that beautiful or what? Look at that. She's so adorable. What a good girl. Okay, we're gonna do a nice... We might do it just up here on the wall, use it as a backdrop to take a photo of mum and dad with Alyssa. I don't wanna move her now, she looks so peaceful. (laughter) Righty-oh, so I'm gonna put Alyssa in her mum's arms and then we'll just have dad come in to the side and we'll just get a nice close-up tight one of them together. So if you could both come, just over onto the white section for me, and I'll bring Alyssa over and place her in your hands. I'm gonna take the little bonnet off. I'm actually gonna keep the white wrap around because we're putting her on mom, we're gonna leave the white on her. Dad has a light shirt on and we have a white background, so it's gonna tie in with it and it's gonna be a little bit easier for her to hold and cover any bits that we need to cover. Oh, you are comfortable. So I've just scooped her up. You can stand on that white mat if you like. No, no, no, just stand on it yeah. We can actually take them off because then dad might be just a little bit taller. Little bit more taller, to put his arms around her. So we've got the direction of our light that way, so what I'm gonna do is place Alyssa in your hands. So if you pop this hand up on your chest. And I use pretty much the same pose with mum every time, because it's comfortable, you can see the baby. Make sure we're wrapped all up here. So what I'm gonna do is put Alyssa in your hand up the top, and her bottom down this way.
Okay, so scoop your hand up underneath her, perfect. I'm just gonna cross her legs over here and then I'll bring this around and just tuck it in there, and that might help her legs from flying out. And if you want, can you bring your hand up just a little bit? There we go. How ya goin'? You're not too hot?
No, it's okay.
It's all right? Okay, so fingers together, and we're gonna have mum sort of facing here and then we're gonna have dad coming in from this side. Now, the reason I have brought him in from this side is because he has a logo on his shirt, but I also think that this is another good variation. Instead of having dad from here, having dad from here, and he can look down at Alyssa. So I want you to bring your arms up and around, Wendy, nice and tight around her waist, come in lean in really close, and I want you to lean back. There you go. Yeah, just lean into him, there we go, and relax. And she's brought that arm down (chuckles) There you go, beautiful. All right, you all right for a minute while I grab my camera? Okay, so I'll just push this back a bit so I'm not too close. I'm gonna come in from this angle and all I want you to do is just breath, relax, and hold each other, look down at Alyssa. And then I'm gonna get you to look up at the camera and we'll get a quick one of you looking up. Okay, just lean in towards each other. That's it. I'm just increasing my aperture, so bringing up my shutter speed. And mum's in the middle, so I'm gonna focus on mum's eye line. Now, we would need a reflector coming in from this direction, because dad does have darker skin. Just to balance that because he's not facing the light, but we don't have time for that and we'll do a little adjustments a bit later on. But come in nice and close, that's it, beautiful. Okay and just looking up at me. Okay and back down. That's beautiful. Thank you so much.