Newborn Shoot: Posing with Parents Part 2
I am actually going to do something a little bit different with this mom and dad and the way I position them for a variety of images. So, I'm actually going to photograph the mom first with the baby. (laughing) Then I'm going to photograph the dad and bring the mom in on the shot. I'll show you what I mean with that sandwich with the baby in between being held with the dad. This particular baby, I already know because I spoke to them in the other room, loves to sleep on dad's chest without a shirt on. Doesn't she? (parents nodding) Okay, so what do you have on underneath, is it just a white singlet top?
Yeah, just a little tank top.
Are you comfortable with taking your other top off, or not really?
Not really (laughing).
That is perfectly fine, and do you know what we can do with that? It's absolutely beautiful. So what I'm going to do is just position your baby up here, nice and close to your face. Then I can crop in nice and tight and the clothing, or anything like that, noth...
ing wrong with your clothing, but none of that is going to be terribly, it's not going to be the focal point in the image. It's not going to be a big thing, it's only going to be about this connection with holding the baby up here.
We can take this part off up here.
No, it's fine.
It's fine, I actually like the dark. Come on over. Now, do you have a watch, would you normally have your glasses on in a photo, you can leave them on.
Oh, she's waking up.
Oh, she's so cute. Oh she has a nappy on, hang on. I'm sorry. Hi, you can help me with that. This is what we call a cloth nappy.
What do you call these?
A diaper. (laughing)
Okay, hi. Shhhh, look at that, she just smiled at me. Okay. So, I'm just turning her over because of the way I want to position her on the mom. Gently rock her back to sleep. (baby crying) I'm sorry. Shhhhhh. She's like, I was comfortable there with my dad. What are you doing to me? (baby crying)
Okay, alright. Can you grab that blanket out for me, please? Shhhhh Shhhh. Now, because our light is this way, I want to bring, what's her name again, sorry.
Annalise. We had an Annie and an Annalise. I'm going to bring Annalise on to this side of Mom's shoulder and Mom's going to actually turn away from the light because we want the light to really be on the baby. So I'm just going to prop her up on your shoulder here.
Bring your hands in underneath her bottom for me, perfect. I'm gonna, hang on she's grabbing hold of my arm with her arms.
Baby girl, it's okay, shhh shhh.
There we go. Now what I want you to do is just start bouncing gently and just rocking her.
Okay, just bring your bottom hand away, and make sure you keep your top hand around the back of her neck. So, I'm just folding her feet up underneath her there just so it's easier for Mom to hold her legs and her bottom together. Ohhh mommy's got you. Does she have a dummy? A dummy, a pacifier?
I did see a baby with a pacifier. (laughing) So, I'm going to turn her head this way, there we go. Shhhhhh. You're doing good. Giving our moms and dads, especially first time parents, giving them reassuring words and telling them that they're doing really well, from the minute they bring that baby into the world, it doesn't come with a handbook, so we need to remind them how well they're doing. No one knows what to do with a baby. I mean, we do, but every day is new, isn't it? Every day is so different and new. So she's pretty much into a good position here, I'm just going to adjust her slightly, and this bottom hand is just gonna bring her up a little bit closer.
Perfect. Keep your hand on her back, just while I move her up. So, I'm telling mom everything I'm doing.
Now I want you to turn this way towards the audience, I don't mean to scare you. Look at the light falling on Annalise's face there. I just want you to bring your chin down and rest your head there. Okay and come around a little bit further for me. That is beautiful. So, I'm actually going in here for a nice tight shot. It's going to be from here to here. I really want to get that closeness of their faces together. Okay so just stop bouncing for me then. (camera clicking) I'm going to come in nice and high. This is probably the only particular shot or set-up that I would do where you could stand on something, as long as it was safe and secure. Can I just lift her bottom up and can you bring your hand out towards me? Keep coming, keep coming, keep coming, there we go. Now we can actually see her little feet here in this as well if we want to zoom out a bit. Look at that, that's cute. She's so comfortable there on Mom. Okay, now just turn, can you just take a little step back this way? Towards the window, perfect. Just so we got that backdrop right. Okay, bring your chin down and just rest gently, there we go. Back this way towards the light. Don't be afraid to direct your clients because they don't know what to do. So it's really, really important to make sure that you are giving them clear instructions. (camera clicking) She just closed her mouth, how beautiful was that? Okay, now can you just bring your chin forward and bring your head around to me, perfect. You can rest your chin on top of her head just gently. Straighten up for me, perfect. A little look up at me. So, this is where I focus on the mom's eyes on the first shot. It was Annalise's eyeline because Mom was down, the connection was there but the main focal point of the image was on Annalise, but now Mom's looking at me, I'm engaging her eyes. I really want to get that focus straight on your eyes. Okay. Just lean forward into her, relax. You can ask Mom for a little smile here. That's beautiful. Now what I want you to do is take a deep breath and close your eyes. Just lean down, smell the top of her head just gently. That's it, beautiful. That's beautiful. Okay. So you could keep going and getting some shots from different angles and things like that, but we're going to move on to dad. Dad is also pretty comfortable with taking his shirt off for these next shots, so it's going to be great. So come on in. I keep standing on something (laughing). It's a little bit of basket from one of my props. Hazards of having 50 million things. Okay. So, I'm going to get Dad to come on to this side and he's going to be facing the light, and I'm going to position Annalise just like she is, on Dad's chest. Then Mom is going to come in, and Annalise is going to be in between you. So, just need to turn her head gently to the other side, that's it, so she's facing out this way when we put her down. Now, just keep your hand on her bottom while I lift her out from your chest. Now, hand up on her bottom, perfect. Okay she can bring that arm down. Okay, there we go, she's gonna get herself comfortable. Okay, there we go. Now, just use your thumb at the back here, just to keep her head in position. Let's put these fingers down. That's it, how cute is that? (Dad mumbles) This is so cute, okay just step this way for me. Like we're dancing. Okay, now I want you to lean just slightly towards me. That's perfect. So that was pretty easy. All I did was put the baby on the dad's chest. He had his hand underneath there. I moved her face forward so it's chin to shoulder rule. Placed her hand underneath her cheek to raise her face out from his chest. I'm using Dad's thumb at the back here to keep her head from going backwards but his fingers are gently just on the back of her neck here and on her back to make her feel nice and secure. Bounce.
If they don't put their hand under their face and they keep pulling it out, just tuck in under their chin so it's still in that focal plane.
Okay, bounce her a little more. Oh, no scratching. Okay, let's just readjust her bottom down here, that's it. Bring your hand away from her bottom, I have her. There we go. So, just a slight adjustment because she might be uncomfortable, we don't know, they can't tell us. Usually when they're squirming and moving, just do a little bit of readjustment and then that way they can settle in to that a bit more. (baby crying) Yep, bring your hand down. No, down and away, down, down. There we go. Now, I'm just going to bring her down here, you've got her bottom?
I'm gonna readjust her. (baby crying)
Aww that's so cute. Just give her a little bounce, that's it. She's kicking these legs out. I want to get this hand out from her face, you can see that it's covering her face. It's very cute, and you could get a safe shot like this, but I'm determined to get the right shot. So, I'm gonna adjust that hand. I'm actually just gonna bring it down, I think.
Probably not gonna cooperate.
I hope she doesn't have ahold of any your chest hairs there.
Eh, there's lots of it. Come on girl, cooperate.
Shhhhh, it's alright.
Just gonna lift her head out gently here, there we go.
Shhh shhh shhhh
I've got my hand on Dad's hand and I'm just, we're taking a moment to relax, it's really important that the dad and mom are relaxed in these shots. That way, she's gonna go back off to sleep. I'm gonna take a safe shot, and I'm gonna concentrate on this connection here. I'm not even gonna worry about this, because I know if I continue to move her she's gonna fuss again, and I'm gonna lose that shot. This here is perfect. Just turn your face gently towards me. Come down a little bit more and rest back there, perfect. (camera clicking) So, Dad's looking at the camera, so I'm focusing on Dad's eye. (camera clicking) Just turn into her, you can kiss the top of her head, smell her. (camera clicking) Is that little mouth of hers just the cutest thing you've ever seen? (camera clicking) Just bring your chin towards me, turn your head towards me a little bit. Keep coming, keep coming, now rest down and close your eyes. (camera clicking) That is so cute. This is where I would bring Mom in. Now if you can bring it, take a step backwards, just very carefully, that's it, and just come towards me, both of you. Okay, so if you just bring your arm in and around. Ohhh... she's pooing. (laughing) Don't move, don't move, don't move.
It almost got real bad there.
I know, a little.
That's all she needed to do. (laughing) I'll let you clean up your husband. (laughing) We'll use a wet wipe to get that out. Okay, now that that's out of the way. Come in nice and close. Now, what I want you to do is put your arms around your husband. There's one piece of hair underneath your glasses I'm gonna pull it out. Okay, I want you to come in, that's it. See, this is a beautiful, intimate, photo here where we can get them looking at each other, we can get them looking at Annalise. Fix her toes under here. Actually, do you know what, put your hand here and come in nice and close. Okay, just turn towards me, slightly with your faces. Beautiful, you can look at Annalise if you like. Look down at Annalise, that's it. (camera clicking) Okay, you can look at each other. Okay. Close your eyes, take a deep breath in, and turn and look at me. Lean in towards each other. Lift your head slightly, lift your head up slightly and just lean in, that's it. Beautiful. Looking up at me. (camera clicking) Isn't that nice? Alright, now, I'm gonna do a hand shot with Annalise in her Dad's hands. I'm actually gonna get him to sit down and do it because I want the bottom have of her to rest in Dad's lap so that she feels supported the whole time because the hands are gonna be up, sort of underneath her elbows and her shoulders. So, let me just clean that up. Get rid of that. I have this great little black stool, so come around the front and sit down. What I'm gonna do is position Annalise in Dad's hands from here. So bring your legs together. This is what I'm looking for, just so she doesn't do anything again. Okay. Just pop her down, onto your lap. Okay, we're gonna turn her over in a moment, I'm just gonna I'm actually just gonna grab this stool so that I'm sitting comfortably, in front of Dad to position Annalise in his hands. Oh yeah, sure, can I get a wet wipe? Alrighty, so when we do this particular image, I would normally have placed Annalise in Dad's hands, but we've come down from that shot so we're just gonna keep going from there. So, he's gonna have his hands crossed over like that and they're gonna support her elbows and they're gonna support her head. So, I'm gonna turn her gradually, so you can just relax if you like for now. Get her flat out. Just put your hand on her legs down there for me. So we need her to stay nice and sleepy while we transition her into this pose. Okay, slide your hand in underneath her bottom.
I'm gonna roll her towards this way.
Just gently, just gently roll, that's it. I've got her head, you just concentrate on the bottom half. There we go. So once she's positioned in Dad's lap, he can scoop his hands in under the front there which is gonna be great. So just leave her little legs back there to be comfortable. Okay, I'm gonna tell you when to do it. (laughing) The dads are helpful, they're so helpful, they want to do so much to help. I'm gonna actually position her first, lift her, and then Dad's gonna slide his hands in under, and then I'm gonna put Annalise in his hands. So, I've just slid my fingers in underneath there, her hand is in position underneath her face, so my fingers are keeping her hand in place while I bring the other arm forward, and underneath lifting the head up, there we go. So you can see, they're perfectly in place. So, when I lift her, I want you to bring your hands together in the front and then I'm gonna position her into your hands, okay?
Slide your hands in underneath, perfect. What I want you to do is bring them back towards you, that's it. Just relax.
It is so cute. This is such a great photo for them to have because it's all about the baby but it really shows the size of them. My dad use to always say, oh you know, she fit in one hand. Things like that, so it's really a great thing for them to have so they can say this is how big you were, I have proof of it. Just turn her head and her chin around towards her face there. Bring your thumb in towards your fingers, that's it. How adorable is that? Do you know what I am gonna do? Could you just do me a favor? There's a navy blue towel, just above you there, could you pass it to me? Thank you. I want this all to be black, and this is gonna be a beautiful black and white image. So I'm just gonna put this in behind here, you don't have to move, but it's just gonna create a nice, dark, background, it's very very simple. We can make that black in Photoshop. (camera clicking) So I'm sorta coming in really close here. I'm focusing on the eye that's closest to me. I'm coming back down to 2.8. Just relax these thumbs, lift her gently, that's it. (camera clicking) That is cute. So she's safe, she's not being held up above the ground or anything like that in any dangerous position. I'm hoping you're comfortable?
Maybe a little hot? Towels over you.
I'm sweating lots over here. (laughing) That's what I would do, something like that. So, I'm pretty stoked with that, I think I'm done. Any body want to see anything different? Well, I might get a picture of Annalise inside a prop, if everyone's happy for me to do that?
That would be awesome.
Great. So, are you happy to sit there just while she's comfortable?
Oh yeah. She's asleep, I don't want to disturb her until I put her into the next set-up. It's exciting when I get to play. Can I get two of you to move my back drop stand, is that alright? Just to the back there, because I'm gonna shoot on this dark wood over here which is gonna be perfect. So, I've got this beautiful basket, I'm gonna put her because she's in this position, I just thought that I could put her into a prop from that position, that same position so I don't have to move her onto her back. I don't have to move her onto her side, or anything like that. I want to keep her as settled as possible and move her as easily as possible. So, I'm gonna set up a prop that she can lay just like that in, 'cause she's comfortable. So again with my towels. What I'm doing is just making it nice and supported because she's gonna be on top there. We want to create a little bit of a shelf like Dad's hands. So, I'm gonna tuck this blanket in. We don't want to see that white underneath so I'll just use this brown underneath, like that. There we go. All my lovely bits of fabric here that I can use just to drape over this and make it really soft and pretty with different textures. Okay, I haven't had a chance, well I probably have had a chance, but I keep forgetting to use all my bits and pieces that are up here and she's got this beautiful dark hair. She's so girly, I'm gonna put a little bit of bling on her which matches with my brownie taupie colors that I'm using as well. So, I'll just move my prop back here where I'm gonna be photographing her and I'll put that on her when she's in there. Now, are you able to just spin around towards me? Just carefully, carefully. (laughing) So that way I can just pick her up and I don't have to move far, from Dad to the prop. I would rather me carry over there then put her in the prop and then move the prop because that could be dangerous 'cause she's on top of it. So, I'm gonna slide my hands in underneath yours. We'll do this as carefully as possible to keep her nice and sleepy. Put my hand in underneath here. Isn't she just adorable? Trudy, would you be able to come and pass me my camera please? Sorry. I might just get someone who hasn't helped me yet to come and sit beside our baby in the prop? Thank you. Okay, just place your hand, just on her back there gently. 'Cause I'm gonna move around to the front now. So I want to cover up all this white in here. Okay, she's pretty much perfect but I just want to bring her chin slowly around. If she was fussy and a little bit unsettled, I'd get my shot now, but she's beautiful, beautifully sleepy here so I'm gonna just put my fingers on top of her fingers there while I lift so they don't move. She's tensing up a little bit so we'll just go slow. Gentle little rock. Here we go. I'm just stopping her from bringing that elbow back down. I'm holding it in place until she relaxes those muscles. Okay. So going back to my 2.8 settings, and what I'm gonna get you to do in a minute when I'm ready to take my shot, is just lift your hand above Annalise and then when I'm done you can bring your hand back down when I let you know. (camera clicking) Okay, that's pretty good. So just lift your hand for me. (camera clicking) Another one. I'm gonna come in nice and close and get one of her little face. (camera clicking) Here we go. Is it cute? (laughing) Alright, I am done. I think, I think we're finished? I'm gonna get you to come and grab her with your blanket.
So we have some time for some questions now.
Do we have any in our studio audience? I see, yes.
I'm just curious, Kelly, it seems like you kind of prefer the mom to be in maybe a white shirt, or a little tank top? Do you ever suggest that to the moms?
No, they were just wearing that.
So it's pretty much what that come in during the day. Oh, she's getting a stretch.
And then, in a typical gallery, I think you said about 20 images, about how many of those are family shots and how many are just of the baby?
The typical images, I would probably pick the best, I'm not gonna give, because I don't do a lot of changes with the parents, I would probably say pick the best one of that connection, because that's what I'm looking for, that emotional connection that you get. That's what sells, that's they feel, that's what they remember when they see that image. I'm gonna pick the best one of those. I'm gonna pick a great one of them looking at the camera. So that's two of each parent, that I'm gonna try to focus on, and probably two of them together. One of them either looking, well it depends, it could be three, because you've got them looking at each other looking at their baby, you've got them looking at the camera. So, I'm either gonna pick two or three best ones of them together. So that's five images, so really, I only need 15 images, from the session to finish filling my gallery, if both the mom and dad are in that shoot. That's a good question when it comes to planning my session, I suppose, as to how many set-ups I need to get. If they come with a sibling, shots with a sibling, I'm not gonna have to do as many shots of that baby on its own. So, I kinda look at it that way. If they come with just the mom and the mom definitely doesn't want to be in the image, I need to take more images and more different set-ups of that baby on its own. If they want to be in the photos, I'm guaranteed another maximum six or seven images for that gallery so I need to do less images of the baby on its own.
Going back to what you mentioned before with siblings, do you ever photograph the siblings on their own as well, during the time, maybe if the newborn is feeding or something? Yeah I would definitely throw, there are probably poses and set-ups I would do with just the mom and dad, but if there is a sibling, I would usually have the dad holding the sibling up high, for a standing shot with something like that. Usually the mom is a little big sore, or a little bit tired. Yeah, it all depends on the situation. There are very intimate shots, with brand new parents, which I love, I think they're just so beautiful. I think tomorrow we're actually going to be photographing a family so we'll actually get to see that total shop.
We have a few questions from the chat room. Wondering about, different ways, are you focusing on auto focus, manual focus, and also how you're metering, generally?
Oh, okay. I'm always doing auto focus, I don't have time to manually focus, because that baby can move at any time, so I need the quickest option. I'm toggling between my focal points to make sure that I'm getting it on the eye-line. I'm sorry, what was the next part of that question?
Metering. I'm usually, because I come in and I fill the frame so I get my exposure, but I've kind of got it to a bit of something I'm quite used to looking at, so I shoot about 1/3 to two stops over-exposed, unless I'm on a dark back ground because I don't want to, because the camera is going to meter for the majority of the information that it's seeing, which is dark. So, it's gonna blow out the skin tones on the baby, so I'm probably gonna bring my exposure to 2/3 of a stop under-exposed, just for the baby's skin tones.
Great, thank you. I've seen a couple of questions like this, and this one is from Lindsey Coffman, are there any extra precautions that you take when a baby boy has been circumsized, or if there is still the umbilical cord, what are things in that situation?
Yeah, circumcision in Australia is actually not that big any more. It's not something that they actually do, you have to request to have it done, and not a lot of people are having it done. So, I don't see a lot of that, I've had a couple, and it looks very tender so I try to avoid putting in any positions, or anything like that, where it would hurt. But now that we have all these great little, knitted, pants, and props and things like that, the baby can leave its nappy on, and you can put all those things on, which could help protect in that situation, I'm assuming. When the plastic clamp is still on the umbilical cord, that's really hard to pose them, and a few of those have fallen off in my sessions. It's something you just have to work around, I suppose. Every baby is so different, like I've been saying. They're not all going to go in the same pose, so even things like that will factor in to how you pose them, and how they're gonna be comfortable.
We have another question about the more technical aspect. Emily2005 wants to know if you generally shoot with 1/60th shutter speed, if that feels slow to you, if you get blur?
No, it all depends on the light in my situation, because I'm shooting at 2.8, so my aperture is very wide open, it's letting lots of light into my camera. The more I close my aperture down, to around 4.5, my shutter speed is going to slow down. I will not go under 1/60th of a second hand-held, because I will get some blur and some camera shaking there. I'm pretty comfortable shooting at a 60th of a second but, yeah it all depends on the lighting situation. If I increase my ISO, it's gonna allow me to have a faster shutter speed. If I bring my aperture down to 2.8 it's gonna allow to have a faster shutter speed.
I know we're going to be heading into pricing, and marketing, and packaging and products. I have seen a lot of questions about the black and white versus color.
Yes. When do you go with black and white versus color?
Do you let the parents dictate that, and if you are showing 20 images, are you showing 20 of color and 20 of black and white? Can you talk about that?
So, the 20 images that I choose for my gallery, are 20 different images. If I think, the creative person in the scenario, between myself and the client, if I think that image is gonna look good as a black and white, especially that one with the hand held, they always look amazing in black and white. I will let them see in the gallery the color version and the black and white, because I've shot it in color. A lot of people prefer the color. I love black and whites, and I put them into my gallery, and I'm like, oh my God, and then they order the color, and I'm like, ohh the black and white looks so much better. It is personal preference so I give them that option. So yes, if I'm adding a black and white image into their gallery, they could end up with 30 images but as far as I'm concerned, a colored version and a black and white version, that's the same image to me. So they need 20 different images. Especially if they're ordering for grandparents, because having an online gallery they can share their password with their parents and family. Grandmom might like the black and white and Mom likes the color, so they can order a print of each. I'm opening myself up to more sales by having that additional option for them.
So we have a question here, refers a little bit back to the siblings, but it also is for the parents as well. Do you schedule more time for a shoot if you know there will be parents or siblings involved, or does it all sort of work the same for you?
Yeah, because I'm still aiming for those 20 images. I have to guarantee them they're gonna get 20 images in their session, so I'm still aiming to get them. If it takes longer, it takes longer, and I think that's why I put into my session information that your session will take from two to four hours. If it's over in two hours, great, but I really don't want it to be still going after four hours. They need to know that there's time available there to them if things aren't going to plan. I don't want them to rush, or looking at the clock going, we meant to finish at 12:00 when we started at 10:00. That's probably why I only shoot one session a day, as well, because you never know how it's gonna go.
So, we started to talk a little bit about this yesterday but I wanted to revisit it again, because I'm seeing more questions coming. How confident you are, Kelly, with regard to, directing the parents that you are going to be posing, taking their children, and posing them and molding them, and I didn't see one parent look nervous or worried. How did you get to that point personally but also what tips do you have for those of us to get there? To get over those fears of interacting with the babies?
Yeah, definitely. I think the personality does come into it a lot. I'm not afraid to go up and start talking to somebody. I'm actually, a fairly reserved person, believe it or not. When it comes to my clients, this is my trade, this is my business, this is my baby, so everyone that comes into my business, I have to take ownership of that. It's always gonna reflect at the end of the day on the sales of that session. From the minute they walk into my house they're pretty much with open arms. I'm honest with them from the get-go, they have all the information about the session. I don't ask them, I guide them. I give them clear instructions on what to do. Gosh, there's so much into it. With the couple that was just here today, just now, I was able to go into the other room and meet with them before and just say Hi, I'm Kelly, thank you so much for coming, I really appreciate you being here. So just putting them at ease by talking to them. Be yourself. Don't be afraid to be yourself, no one is judging you. That was a big thing I had to learn because I was always thinking that people would look down upon me because of what I was doing. Now, I'm so proud of what I do and what I can share with my clients, and obviously with you today. I feel so immensely proud to do it I'm quite confident to tell people, hey I'm a baby photographer, and this is what I love doing. So, believe in what you do and that will come forward with confidence.