Newborn Shoot: Props and Safety - Nest
We're gonna do props. So we just worked with the bag, and we went through a pretty easy-flowing process with that. Now we're gonna go through a selection of props, and we're gonna talk about how I like to line them and make sure that the baby's nice and supported inside it, that the baby's arms and head are not resting on hard surfaces, they're not gonna scratch themselves on any baskets or nests or anything like that, and we're also gonna bring two of our live audience members out to give me a hand with these props, so I can talk them through how we get the parents involved with the safety aspect and having a spotter next to the baby at all times, which is really cool. So, we have a baby girl. Her name is Olivia, and we're gonna get started choosing some props. What I wanna do is use a really good variety of props. We got three babies. I'm gonna attempt (laughs),gonna try to get through two setups with each baby, and I'm gonna do a fairly easy one that's easy to put them in, easy to g...
et them out, very basic setup, and then I'll move on to something where they're sitting, maybe upright or on top of with them. I'm gonna start with a nest-type situation with Olivia first. Whoa. (laughs) We're gonna work on our dark-wood background, but I would always line my props with my cloth nappies. That's why I have so many of them because they're nice and firm. I'm not going to bring Olivia over until I've got the prop set up nice and ready for her. She's asleep. So I'll do this pretty quick in case she wakes up. I also didn't mention earlier that we have a set of twins coming in for our last segment. So we're gonna work some more with some props and the beanbag with the twins as well this afternoon, which is really great. So I'm just gonna fold them and bring them in and line the outside of the nest and that way, the baby's not gonna be touching the actual nest itself. Once I've lined it with my cloth nappies and made it nice and soft and secure in there, I'm gonna line it with a nice little knit wrap and blanket as well. This is where you can bring in all your textures with your fabrics and things like that, great to style these little setups with hats and headbands and things like that. So, the bottom of this particular basket/nest is quite firm. So I'm gonna put two cloth nappies in there to make it really soft, so she's comfortable at all times. This is a great size for a baby. Once we've got her in here and in position, we'll be able to hide any of the cloth nappies that are visible, but it's good to have them up. So that if their arms and legs go flying out, they're not gonna touch the surface and it's not gonna scratch her. So I've also bought with me some little pieces of Hessian, which are great textures in natural colors, and it is a scratchy fabric. So I'm gonna put something really soft on top of that, which looks good when you layer it. Bring my basket of wraps and things over. So I would've talked to my clients prior to setting this up to find out what sort of colors they liked and they would've helped pick this particular prop. So this is just a soft piece of fabric with a torn edge in a similar color that I'm gonna put in there. What else have we got? Ah, here we go, another really soft knit. This one's also from Brand New Babe. Her knits are so delicate and so soft, and those colors just look amazing in there, and by putting it down on the bottom like that, I can pull the edges around her legs to keep them in place, and if it was a boy baby, I'd be able to use that to cover any bits that we don't necessarily wanna see. (laughs) So I'm ready to bring Olivia over, and I might get Miranda to come and give me a hand, if that's alright. Even though she's gonna be laying on her back in this particular prop, when I get up to take the photo, I want Miranda's hand there, just keeping her nice and secure while I'm taking the shot, and she can lift it when I take the shot and come back down, just so that in the process of me getting up to take the image and getting my camera settings and everything right, she's not gonna move and I have to go back and start all over again. So we're gonna use this beautiful dark-wood flooring as our backdrop, and I'm gonna shoot directly over the basket when I've got her in there positioned. Hi, how old is she?
A few days.
Oh my goodness, she is three days old, people. Look at that face. That's a three-day-old baby right there. So I'm just gonna sit down carefully with her. Does she have a nappie on up under here? She has a nappie on, does she? Ahhhhh, another baby with long eyelashes. Okay, so I'm just gonna carefully unwrap her. Alright, come and sit down. What I would do is, because I'm gonna be shooting down just for this, while we're setting up, you can sit wherever, but when I'm working on a backdrop with a prop, I always get the parents to sit with their back to the wall and their legs out towards me, and that way they're not in my actual image, but their arm is long enough to reach over and be supportive on the baby. Oh, look at those feet. So with any particular setup or any shot that we're doing, any of the little detail shots that you can get of their tiny little features, they're great additional shots to any setup. I'm sorry, I'm just trying to get this nappie undone.
Yeah, we'll talk definitely about camera settings and everything, but I'm pretty much working at 2.8. I wanna get as wide as I can with this to keep it really soft. Only time I would shut my aperture down is when I'm shooting parents and siblings, but when I'm focusing just on one baby, I wanna keep the focus nice and soft and as wide open as possible. So I'm just gonna place her in there. She's opening her eyes, but she's not crying. (laughs) This is good. She's gonna go back to sleep here. (making sh- sound) So, I'm just gonna position her, put her legs together. She's even got a Band-Aid on from a needle prick in her heel. I think this is gonna be our youngest baby over the whole three days.
I think so. (laughs)
And look where she's just placed her hand herself. That's so cute. So now I've got her in here, what I'm gonna do is use the cloth nappies underneath to help position her, support her into a nice, comfortable pose so that we can see all of her and to keep her in place so that she doesn't have any of that startle reflex by not being supported. So the same is what I would do on the bean bag is now just adjust my cloth nappies underneath. (making sh-sh-sh sounds) So, I'm just folding these down in to support her.
(mumbles) all support, there's no lifting.
I'm not lifting her at all. I'm just pushing the cloth nappies in and around her to keep her nice and in position.
I may just come underneath her and lift her head up just a little bit to support it, but I'm pretty much just tucking everything in and around her. When I'm working with props, I don't like to work with babies that are awake, but something like this where they're on their back, they can't hurt themselves, they can't fly their head around or anything like that, I'm more than happy for them to be awake if they're settled, but if she became unsettled at any point, I would bring her out and go again. (making sh-sh-sh sound)
Now on some props, are you worried, do you ever weigh them down, worried about tipping?
This particular prop is not gonna tip. The question was, am I ever worried about the prop tipping or moving, but this is a very heavy prop, and it's got a very flat bottom. So it's not gonna go anywhere, and your hand is gonna be right there. That's why you're here. (making sh- sound) So I have Miranda here helping me, but in my studio at home, I would have a parent sitting on the floor next to me, whoever is capable. Most of the time, it's dad 'cause they love to get in and help. Okay, she's just drifting back to sleep there. I'm not gonna do too much more with this particular setup because I think she's just so cute lying in here on her back, and you'll see the shot in a second. When I do expose for this, I'm gonna shoot wide open at 2.8. So that just means my aperture inside my camera is wide open. It means I can have a faster shutter speed, but I'm gonna have to come in 'cause her skin is much lighter than the background. I'm gonna have to come in and expose for her skin tones because my camera, it's meter is going to take in all of the information in the shot, and it's going to try and tell me to expose for my darker background, but I wanna get perfect skin tones. So I'm gonna come in, I'm gonna focus on her, adjust my settings to her skin, and then I'm gonna come out and compose my shot. (makes sh-sh-sh sounds)
Kelly, can I ask you a question?
What do you do to get parents to trust you to handle their baby? What can we do to do the same?
Um, it's pretty much just the way I talk to them. They've come to me with their baby to employ my services to photograph them. So I suppose there's already a level of trust there in coming to me. The information I give them when they email me, that all has enough information so that they feel comfortable and they kind of know what's expected, but I think it's the way I take your baby and I talk to you and I tell you what I'm doing throughout the whole process. So I'm explaining this to you for educational reasons, but in a session at home, I'd also be talking to my parents and telling them what I'm doing with their baby, and by getting them to come and sit down on the floor and explaining to them why they're there for the safety of their baby, they trust me even more knowing that that's at my highest priority. So that's a really good question. So every time I lift my hand, she kind of goes like this. So she's just settling in to that position. I'm not gonna fiddle with her too much more. See (laughs), so what I'm gonna do 'cause I'm gonna get ready to take this shot, I'm gonna get you to bring your hand in. Yeah, just come, slide your bottom this way a little bit more, and just gently place your hand there. So you can feel her moving under your hand?
So I've tucked all of that white cloth nappie in and around the baby. You can't actually see it. I can see her face perfectly, and now I'm going to, (baby sneezes) bless you. Because I'm not in my normal environment with my window down here on the floor and I've got the light up there, it's really, really soft. It's a little bit darker than what I would be used to, but I've increased my eye so it's up to 1250, but that's okay for this particular camera. It's not gonna cause too much problem for me. Now, what I'm gonna do is while Miranda's hand is on her, I'm gonna come in and get my exposure on her skin tone, which means, I'm gonna come in nice and close and I'm gonna fill my screen. I don't need to focus, but I'm gonna fill my screen with her and the light source. I'm not blocking the light 'cause it's still coming in. More light is gonna come in now that I stand up. So I'm gonna bring it back probably about a third of a start, and I'm gonna come in directly above her. I'm gonna take a shot, and I'm pretty happy with that exposure. So now I'm just gonna get myself ready, and when Miranda is ready to lift her hand, we can take our shot. Oops, she has a pretty strong startle reflex. So every time Miranda lifts her hand, she's just kicking her legs back. So by using my 24-70 lens, I'm able to zoom right out. I'm at 28 millimeters, and I'm shooting directly above her. (making sh-sh-sh sound) Move your hand for a second. Just put your hand back in there for me. Actually, no, just let her go. So she's really wiggling around here. What I'm gonna do is actually tie this wrap in a bit tighter to stop her legs from flying out. We can tuck that down. She's scratching her face. (making sh-sh-sh sound)
And how long do we do this (mumbles)?
Well, she's not unsettled. We have to remember, she's three days old. She's hungry. Are you breastfeeding?
So mom's milk doesn't normally come in until around day four, probably, and she's establishing a feeding program. Her hands are up in her face. She just wants to feed, and I'm touching her, I'm talking to her.
(mumbles) we should probably just do that (mumbles)?
Not this is not long either.
No, this is not long. Bring your hand in, place your hand there. (making sh-sh-sh sound) Don't put your finger near her mouth. (laughs) She's gonna think that's food. See how she's going for her fist. Are her legs kicking back against your hand? Okay, when you're ready to lift. Is that working? (making sh-sh-sh sound) Move your hand for me. So it's really important when you are working with the parents, don't be timid. They need to know, we're pretending that Miranda is a parent here, they need to know what to do, and we need to tell them and give them instructions on what to do because they can't visualize what we're doing. So we need to talk them through the process and tell them what to do. (making sh-sh-sh sound) So I just moved really quickly because she stayed still. I didn't talk through it but she stayed still long enough for me to get that shot, and I got it. So I wouldn't waste anymore time with this particular setup. I would move on to the next one, and she's happy there. So what I would do in this situation in my studio is leave her because she's fine. She's just having a little bit of wiggle and a squirm. She's not uncomfortable, she's not unsettled. I would move on to select my next prop and set that up while she's in there. So you're there, I can go. You're there to support her, stop her from flying her legs out or anything like that. What we can do is put a little blanket over her and that's gonna make her feel nice and secure, and we can go on to setting the next shot up. Okay, so we've done something fairly simple with the lying on the back prop. So now I'm gonna do something where she's gonna be quite upright, inside a prop. She might choose this one here. I might give that back to you. I have lots of towels here on my stand, which are great to use, and then you can cover them with great fabrics. Okay, so I've picked a towel. It's not something I actually would normally use, but these are brand new. So they're lovely and soft and the colors are great in them. So to line this particular basket, which is from Picsie Props. So P-I-C-S-I-E Props online, and they have the most amazing newborn props around. So I can see that the height of the basket is about the width of the towel folded there. So what I'm gonna do is just open it up and line the inside of the towel with some of my cloth props, my cloth nappies. So I want this to be nice and firm. The reason I'm putting these in here, I think she's reacting to my voice. I'm trying to speak loud enough for everyone to hear me, and she's reacting to my voice. (laughs) Would you be able to just grab my camera for me Miranda please? (making sh- sound) Do you use a dummy with her, pacifier? That's alright.
So we're gonna take some questions, if that's alright with you.
Yes, go for it. Please, fire away.
Alright, go for it, Christy.
So we have a question from Jen Madden, who wants to know how many different shots or angles you generally try to get out of each pose or does it really depend on each baby and the situation you're in?
I would probably aim to get about two to three of each setup. There are some poses that you can get up to four different shots out of. When you're working in props, shooting from as many angles as possible. (baby crying) Oh my goodness. Oh, I'm gonna give her back to you. Can we see if, because we have to cover so much in such a short amount of time, this is why we have so many babies allocated to these segments. She's not really going into a nice deep, which is what we want for a baby inside a prop because if they're not settled, and there's something wrong with them, and they move inside this, it's very dangerous. So if I was in my studio at home, and we were at this particular point, I would give the baby back to the mom for her to feed the baby and I would just continue to set up the next additional props while I wait for her to be ready, if we'd finished everything else we needed to do, but she's bringing her hands up to her mouth. She's not screaming in pain. So I can kind of sense that she might be hungry. So I'm gonna give her back to you, and we might bring our next baby in, and we'll talk about, we might have some more questions if that's alright Kenna.
We absolutely have questions.
Look at this mouth open.
Tara Vive Photography had asked, "Have all the moms fed their babies "immediately before their photo session?" So can you remind us again about the feeding schedules and what generally works best?
Yeah, I don't tell them to feed their babies before the session. If they fed the baby before they left home, great, we can get started straight ahead, but if they come to the session, and their baby is due for a feed, that's also excellent because I can use that time while they're feeding their baby to talk about the setups and the colors and the props and everything we're gonna use, what they've seen, what they like in my gallery, and what sort of things they're looking for. If they're looking for a particular shot, if they want that sibling shot, I'm gonna make sure I get it in that session at some point.