Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Poop, Pee, and Patience....A Very Beginner Baby Photo Shoot

For the last two days, I've been having fun posting tips I've learned on how to improve your photography in general, but today, I'd like to take a break from that and share my experiences doing my first-time baby photo shoot!

My obsession with photographing babies started a few days ago when I entered THIS PHOTO at a website called I Heart Faces. The theme was "all about babies", and while I thought my photo was somewhat interesting and artistic, I was BLOWN out of the water by some of what I saw there. Currently there are over 700 links to gorgeous baby photos, and if you'd like to see, go HERE. At the bottom of this post, I'll show you some of my favorites, but for now, let's go over what is involved in doing a baby photo shoot.

And let me remind you, I have no idea what I'm doing and am a complete novice....

Step 1. Set up the shooting area: I decided to use my co-sleeper as the location where I would lay my 3-month-old once he fell asleep, as I had decided I wanted sleeping shots. This entire experience would have been much easier had he been a newborn, as newborns sleep a lot, and through anything, but I worked with what I had. Anyways, I found a large, dark-brown furry blanket to use as the backdrop and as the blanket he would lay on, and draped it over the co-sleeper.

Step 2. Gather your props: Because I just did this on a whim, I really had no cute props to speak of, so I found a light-blue and white winter beanie to place on his head, since I love babies in beanies. He also is having a bad hair month, what with his lush, wavy black hair falling out in clumps, so I thought that hiding it with a beanie was a great idea. I am, however, going to purchase something like THIS super-cute beanie for my next baby photo shoot. When the 4-year-old boy saw that I was putting a beanie on him, he found some cute leather shoes and suggested he wear those as well. I wasn't going to photograph him in shoes, just nakie with the beanie, but the more I thought about it, the cuter I thought it would be if he was just wearing the hat and the shoes. (Thanks for the great idea, 4-year-old boy!)

The shoes, the hat and the blanket by no means matched, so there was no doubt these photos would be black and whites, which is totally okay.

Step 3. Set up your lighting: For my lighting, I simply opened up all of the windows in my bedroom and turned on the overhead light. It would have been great to have some type of off-camera flash, but remember, I'm a novice, and have no such material, so natural window light it was.

After making sure there was enough light, I laid the baby in his pose and took a few shots to make sure things were not too dark and not too bright. I had to adjust the blanket a little bit by placing some hard pillows underneath to bring his face out of the shadow. So glad I did that before I laid him in asleep there!

Step 4: Undress the baby: When I took the baby's diaper off, I realized there were all these unsightly diaper marks, so I knew I would have to leave his diaper off for a while while they disappeared. He was so happy to have his diaper off, but because I didn't want to add to my labors, I wrapped his little bum in a heavy quilt just in case. 

Step 5: Prepare your other children: See that they are occupied and won't bother you or wake the baby while you're doing the shoot. I brought the 3 four and under to the living room and put on Shrek for them. Worked like a charm.

Step 6: Put the baby to sleep: This was easy enough. I just held him in my arms with the quilt between us and nursed him to sleep. Later I realized that he had peed on the quilt, but it could have been worse.

Step 7: Lay your baby in position: This was also quite easy, although I did have to carefully adjust his hand and head for just the right pose.

Step 8: Shoot away: Don't be afraid to take hundreds of shots at tons of different angles and settings. And don't be shy about getting the camera up CLOSE to get one super-cute baby aspect in focus and leave the rest blurry. If you don't have a camera on which you can control the aperture, try using the "portrait" setting on your point and shoot. As long as your baby is sleeping and the kids can't get into the locked room, there's no hurry!

After editing the photos using simple programs such as Microsoft Photo Editor and Photobucket, my blog photo server (which we'll talk about next week), the following is what I came up with. I'm actually not 110% satisfied with the results, as I think the lighting needed to be brighter, but it was a fun attempt and I learned a lot!


...and my favorite...


And now for some eye candy, check out this photography! (To look at more from these amazing photographers, just click on the links below each photo.)

P.S. I'm not sure I'm allowed to use these photos on my blog, but I did link to the original websites and I'm hoping this qualifies as free advertising for the photographers. If you are the owner of these photos and prefer that I take them down, please let me know, and I'll do so instantaneously. Thank you!

Captured by Bree Photography

(I had twins! Why did I never think of doing this?!?)

Jen Parker

(I'm totally obsessed with that baby. The hair!)

Skye Johansen Photography

(I love that this baby is so very new. Look at his belly button.)

Skye Johansen Photography

(I really want that hat.)

Helene Douchet Photography

(My favorite part of this photo is the way that little hand is holding the father's hand between his thumb and forefinger. Amazing shot.)


Nikki said...

So fun! I can't wait to experiment on my twins. Of course, they're almost 10 months old and don't seem to sleep at the same time anymore.

Maybe I'll wait for the newborn...

BarbaraJo said...

Those turned out AMAZING! Way to go Jen!

alessandra said...

Beautiful photos, my absolute favorite is the second, and your baby beats all the others in all his gorgeousness ;)

Emily Heizer Photography said...

Aww, you did SO GOOD!!! Good girl! You pretty much hit everything on the head. The only thing I can't believe you said was posing him and gettng him to sleep was easy. ARGH! If only that were true in real life! That's the suckiest part about baby photography!

Last weekend I laid a nakie 10 day old newborn baby boy on top of my antique scale andthe second his body touched towel (to prop him up on the scale) his rear end EXPLODED bright yellow poop alllll over my client's nursery wall.

They were totally stoked.

Mom2my10 @ 11th Heaven said...

Emily, that's why I called my article "Poop, Pee and Patience"!

Funny Mommy said...

love photos of babies! great job!

Jb said...

Those are really beautiful!

Wouldn't it be fun if you could find a giant egg to put your babes in!

Mom2my10 @ 11th Heaven said...

JB, an egg would be very cute! I'm now on the lookout for cute newborn props. I just bought the cutest beanie and am so excited to take pictures of my friend's baby when she arrives!