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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Kids & Family Talk
Thread started 25 Aug 2015 (Tuesday) 18:56
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Newborn Photographing HELP!

 
denise69
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Aug 25, 2015 18:56 |  #1

OK, so i have taken pictures for many years now!
However, Newborns always get me!
I cannot get my lighting the way that I see others do it nor can I get the poses right.
Is there anyone that is willing to show me a set up or give me some directions??

Most photographers in my area aren't willing to talk to others and share anything..
:(
SO I am reaching out to you, my friends on POTN!




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mylifeis3
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Sep 11, 2015 10:59 |  #2

Hi there - there are lots of youtube crash courses on this...
maybe have a little cheat sheet on the poses, and "show" them to the parents as in - now we're going to attempt this pose as if you want to put them at ease but really it's for you to have another glance and get organized

Try to download some baby soothing sounds - there are tonnes of free apps like that.

Tell parents to bring a pacifier, keep the room warm and patience patience patience!




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Sep 11, 2015 11:14 |  #3

Flash, or natural light?
I'm not a fan of newborns & prefer 6 months old when they have some personality. Look at: Baby Photography


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MalVeauX
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Sep 11, 2015 11:22 |  #4

denise69 wrote in post #17682946 (external link)
OK, so i have taken pictures for many years now!
However, Newborns always get me!
I cannot get my lighting the way that I see others do it nor can I get the poses right.
Is there anyone that is willing to show me a set up or give me some directions??

Most photographers in my area aren't willing to talk to others and share anything..
:(
SO I am reaching out to you, my friends on POTN!

Heya,

1. Babies get cold, and get fussy. You have to keep them warm.
2. Newborns up to a few weeks sleep all day, this is the only time you can pose them.
3. Once they're sleeping, you can pose them, but keep them warm. Only reveal them when it's time to take a shot. Otherwise, cold makes fussy baby.
4. Natural light can work, but most people's houses are pretty horrible for light. Take light (speedlite, softbox/umbrella).
5. Soft light makes their skin look angelic. This comes from a large, diffuse light source. Again, speedlite + softbox/umbrella.
6. Slight over-exposure of skin gives you that angelic soft look.
7. If working in variable environments, use super shallow DOF to help limit the "yuck" around houses.
8. Wide angle will distort already distorted babies. If possible, use telephoto.
9. Flash can be gel'd to give color. This is easier to carry than backdrops. Now you can use their own white sheets if needed.
10. Composition is important, faces are important, little hands & feet are important.

One of the biggest things to elevate newborn photos is to incorporate lighting. This way you can control it, block out the bad light, and spill it gently on your subject and create soft angelic skin. It helps isolate and really focus on them. Combine it with shallow depth of field to soften what else is in the composition and you can make dramatic looks. Gel's can be used to color flashes to make a room blue, or whatever. It is way easier than taking back drops every where and having to use stands.

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lkphoto83
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Sep 25, 2015 10:42 |  #5

I struggle with newborns as well! I find that doing lifestyle newborn is more ideal for me then posing them.




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mike_311
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Oct 02, 2015 07:15 |  #6

i did my second newborn shoot, both times for close friends, the second came out much better. I am by no means a expert at this and i dont plan to charge for this service. I'll leave this niche to the baby pros.

the second shot was done a week after the baby was born as a opposed to month later for the first. this proved to be a big difference between my two shoots with possibility.

second, i got a small space heater for the second shoot and blew the warm air on the baby, they kept them comfortable and still.

third, i had the mother feed the baby immediately before the shoot.

fourth, Photoshop, you will need to clone out extra hands to support the baby.

Fifth, move quick and keep the shoot brief as potty time comes unexpectedly. :P

Light was a large alien bee PLM with a sock and a large white reflector for fill.


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frlaf108
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Oct 06, 2015 09:16 |  #7

beautiful shots !!

I agree with the post above :)

I would also suggest checking out creativelive website, it has an excellent "neborn photography bootcamp" with kelly brown. Really good tips and tricks in there.




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smakelijk11
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Jan 30, 2016 00:22 |  #8

I'm running into some similar challenges. I want to get better, but local photographers don't want to help out. I am watching Kelly Brown's video on posing and it's fabulous. It's definitely worth the money.


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AlanU
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Jan 30, 2016 23:39 |  #9

Newborn photography is tough for infrequent "photographers".

Every baby has their little personality. Some sleep like a log and some can never sleep that long.

I'll admit I've done my share of newborn photos and i find it challenging. As a male photographer (regardless of having 3 of my own daughters) I find it a female dominated niche industry.

If you analyze websites you'll find that its "ALL ABOUT THE PROPS" this is why you'll see many newborn photographers purge their headbands and props because the photos can get very stale quickly. Potential clients will notice the same props and headbands on many newborns. That can hinder business.

IMO I think selecting light is extremely personal. If you want that posed Anne Geddes type photos pull out your strobes and hammer away at f/11 with loads of props. Some will have dedicated studios with massive windows so that the light can be decent even on cloudy days and have light diffusion panels to reduce hot bright sun. I prefer using CFL high output bulbs and use a parabolic umbrella diffused to provide nice light regardless of what kind of light is outside the house :) This way you can see your shadows and "wysiwyg".

You can pose a human baby in so many ways. This is where photos can get boring unless you are creative with props. The props is what dominates the newborn photography world. Wraps and fake fur is a staple tool.

Photoshop and editing skills also is serious part of this photography world. Patching skin texture to get rid of baby acne. Some newborn photogs edit and play with skin tones too get rid of the redish skin tones some baby's have. I've seen some pro's output photos that make the newborn look ...um um "non living" with pale unhealthy tones almost green. A calibrated monitor is crucial for any photographer.

From pre heating the towels (or selectively heating with a blow drier), to spot heaters or keeping the room extremely warm will help. White noise or even cheesy human heart beats are used.

One thing to note is that posing the babies must have certain angles that resemble majority of all baby photogs. Clients can see immediately if the angles looks "different" compared to all of the other baby photog's they've been looking at.

Lifestyle photos are "in the now" put into a time capsule "photo". Some folks cherish these type of photos more than artificially posed photos. I think incorporating both styles would be awesome!!

Well seasoned baby photogs have years and years of accumulated props and headbands. They will also have alot of custom made baby clothes like knitted hats, bottoms etc. This is where a fresh "newbie" baby photog must dish out a fortune. The niche baby photog has tonnes of wraps, cloth, fur etc so all they need to do is concentrate on shooting/editing. The "newbie" has to worry about understanding the dynamics of making the baby sleep. They must figure out the room temps, equipment to use, props, baby posing bean bags, posing with stuffing towels underneath the blanket/fur etc.

I no longer take photos of newborns due to the investment in props. I have all of the lighting gear needed but the posing is replicated amongst the niche group of baby photogs. If I was to pursue more niche newborn photos I'd need to buy even more props.

If your seeking a higher volume in this niche world of newborn photos I urge you to go to courses where they seek "volunteering mothers" subjecting their babies to poses. The mother's get freebie "pro" photos during a seminar. Then I'd suggest taking advanced photo editing courses.

Just like wedding photogs a newborn photographer will see their style's transform as they shoot more and more.


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mercersmoments
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Post has been last edited over 1 year ago by mercersmoments. 3 edits done in total.
Feb 01, 2016 03:23 |  #10

I use the one light for everything, newborns, families, toddlers etc.

I use an Elinchrom D Lite One with a double diffused 7 foot parabolic.

Setting are pretty straight forward, 100 iso, f3.2 1/160th sec. WB custom using a grey card.

I do very little editing, only red spot removal and flakey skin/purple feet etc. I love that the light is reliable and my images are tack sharp and well exposed, I am a serial pixel peeper and a technical freak.

I use a Sigma 50 1.4 art & a canon 35mm 1.4L mostly and a Canon 100 2.8L macro for the fine shots.

Here is my newborn set up. See how I have my light on the same side at the top of the baby's head. You want the shadow to be under the nose & the light "feathered" Notice the heater as well, you must keep them warm and I also use white noise, a recorded shhhhh sound works best for me.

I photograph 4-5 newborns per week. None of them have ever beaten me, I win every time !
ha ha they are smaller than me !

I hope this help you. If you are using natural light, you can do the same by having the light coming in from the same direction, shoot a grey card and use camera settings suited to the available light you have on the day.

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smakelijk11
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Feb 01, 2016 14:25 |  #11

Thank you so much for the comments. I'm thinking that if you're a male photographer, are personable and good at what you do, you can be as successful as anyone regardless of gender. I can totally see what is being said about having the same photos over and over.


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AlanU
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Feb 01, 2016 14:45 |  #12

smakelijk11 wrote in post #17881844 (external link)
Thank you so much for the comments. I'm thinking that if you're a male photographer, are personable and good at what you do, you can be as successful as anyone regardless of gender. I can totally see what is being said about having the same photos over and over.

The difficulties of a newborn photographer is the experience in handling newborns. Unlike a second shooter at a wedding the second shooter does not take the drivers seat.

The paid experienced baby photog does not want to help create "competition" locally. This is probably why there is little love in the newborn community to teach upcoming baby photogs. however the experienced photog travelling doing seminars is putting knowledge on the table and putting $$ in the pocket. This is an act of business not kindness.

Natural light will show the natural shadows in realtime. Some love this look because it's softer light. Flash photography has a certain look that is no doubt a file that looks like "flash". This is where I have preference to CFL because you get to shoot at lower ISO's and see the shadows realtime.

Newborn photography is always dealing with the unknown (baby's behavior) But a seasoned photog knows how to pose the baby and the lighting should be second nature. Posing is the difficult part and the high end photog usually puts alot of emphasis on post processing. Beautiful art of newborn's is redundancy of poses and the variable is props.

Once you get the lighting it's cruising from there.......tough part is dealing and manipulating the baby's temper or nature.

Lifting shadows and manipulating photos is going to be the "signature" look that everyone will have as their "style".

If you look at lighting in hundreds of newborn photog's websites you'll see the differences in technical lighting skills and post processing skills. Even using a large 5 foot cheap photoflex umbrella with cfl bulbs can do wonders!!!


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iwo
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Feb 05, 2016 16:49 |  #13

Some great tips here. As a father of a 3-week old boy, I think the greatest challenge for me is baby handling and posing. Their body temperature changes rapidly from warm to cold. Was hoping to get in some practice shots but i'm settling for shots fully clothed. I'll definitely recommend one find a way to get some practical experience before handling anybody's baby. With some tips here, I'll try to see if I can get in some more practice shots. Using soft windows light and my 85mm 1.8 wide open on a canon 6d.




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Maureen ­ Souza
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Feb 05, 2016 17:36 |  #14

I only use natural light from 2 large windows in my house. I use a bean bag for most positioning; don't fill it too full so you can re-position the bag without moving the baby but leave it full enough that they don't sink into it.

I also use bed warmers that you can heat in the microwave and place on the blanket to heat it is, then remove them for the picture. Mine stay hot for 2-3 hours so I can use them over & over during the shoot.

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Feb 10, 2016 11:34 |  #15

Putting them in the fridge for a while slows the movement. :lol: :lol: :lol:
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