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The Victoria Photography Meetup Group Message Board › How to shoot newborns and their families with limited devices

How to shoot newborns and their families with limited devices

Jianping R.
jianping.roth
Victoria, BC
Post #: 1
My coworker recently welcomed his first child (girl) into the world and I volunteered to shoot the photos of the newborn and her family. I hope to get some help from you in regards to how to prepare for the shooting and things to watch out.
Andrew W.
user 13707296
Victoria, BC
Post #: 58
Having done a baby shoot myself I can offer some advice....I'm sure I am forgetting things but this is what I can think of off the top of my head:

- Find out from the parents what type of shots they are looking for. Most people have an idea of what they want.
- Planning for shots can be very difficult depending on how old the child is. If they are only weeks old then they will either be in bed, held by someone or placed in a sleeping position.
- Time your arrival to be just before the child is 'most' awake. Hopefully this coincides with a time of day that has good light streaming in through windows. I used indirect light as flashes tend to startle babies which may end the shoot rather quickly, but flashes are sometimes necessary and useful. Bring one just in case.
- Feed the child and change the diaper before you start. Clean and full are essential to have a happy kid.
- Try to spend a little while letting the child get to know your face/voice before you start sticking the camera in it's face. Some people use cut-outs of funny faces around the lens (http://www.etsy.com/l...­) to help the child focus on the lens and not get scared by the closeness of the camera.
- Bring at least one reflector if you have one.
- You can use plain white/dark sheets as backdrops if you will be setting up a small studio for bassinet shots or handheld images. (http://www.exhilarati...­) & (http://4.bp.blogspot....­)

This site has some great tips as well: http://www.lansdownel...­

Good luck :-)
Matt F.
user 69718662
Victoria, BC
Post #: 25
I'd also suggest you make sure to keep a couple of the photos that have an upset baby. Some of my favorite photos of my little girl are from when she's pissed. Not the best experience at the time, but great to look back on. Hopefully this comes at the end of course. Another piece of advice I would offer is to try to make sure you get some natural candid photos... Maybe playing with a toy or favorite stuffie. The Geddes posed baby photos are beautiful, but capturing the babies personality is more important in my mind.
Jianping R.
jianping.roth
Victoria, BC
Post #: 3
Hi Andrew and Matt, thank you very much for passing on your experience. I like what you said "Clean and full are essential to have a happy kid" and "capturing the babies personality is more important". It seems that I need a check list so that I don't forget the important things. I don't have a flash or a reflector and wonder using natural light itself can produce the similar effects as shown in the two outstanding example photos you mentioned Andrew?
John P.
user 12011982
Victoria, BC
Post #: 37
In addition to Andrew's points, I'll add "warm", especially since many infant photos tend to be done mostly unclothed. Consider having a portable heater available or warming up the room to something like 75 degrees (since I'm assuming unless you pick the one hot day in August, the temperatures are still going to be in the mid 60s).

With respect to light, shooting ambient only may be VERY challenging. A nice, south-facing window on a bright day (again, that one day in August) will be critical. I would definitely, at a minimum have one reflector. Don't forget it doesn't have to be a $200 Photoflex disc from Lens & Shutter; a 2x3' piece of white posterboard, or even one of those silvered windshield heat reflectors from Canadian Tire will work.
Jianping R.
jianping.roth
Victoria, BC
Post #: 4
I will definitely get a reflector from Canadian Tire, John Penner! That is an excellent idea :)
Andrew W.
user 13707296
Victoria, BC
Post #: 59
I prefer natural light with babies but there is nothing wrong with using flash. If you currently do not own a flash I would suggest you get some practice with using one before you show up for the shoot.
If your looking for a proper reflector and a cheap price you cannot go wrong with DX.com in HongKong. It's free shipping worldwide! I've bought a LOT of equipment from them with no issues. A good 5-in-1 reflector is approx $14
http://dx.com/c/camer...­

p.s. John is correct with the 'warm' suggestion wink
Nathan D.
nderksen
Victoria, BC
Post #: 86
Some other ideas for the kinds of shots you can take - many parents like close-ups of details, such as the hands or feet. Close-ups of just the face are really good to have as well. Having a baby on a blanket with no other props is also nice, the colour of the blanket can help set off the colour of the baby, and the folds in the blanket can provide some nice extra detail. Regarding flash, if you use it, bounce it off of something: a white wall should work. A stark on-camera flash is not going to produce appealing light. Natural diffuse light from a white sheet covering a window can give a really nice quality to the light, the larger the window, the better. If it's cloudy out you probably don't even need the blanket. Also, keep it simple, it's no fun dealing with technical problems with photos that are so important to the parents, you'll have limited time with the baby.
Jianping R.
jianping.roth
Victoria, BC
Post #: 5
I like your ideas, Nathan, to keep it simple and have some close-ups of details, such as the hands or feet.
Andrew, I will go and order some essentials from DX.com :)
I cannot believe how detailed you are, John. It didn't occur to me that I should keep the baby 'warm'. It's been a while when my son was a baby!
Jianping R.
jianping.roth
Victoria, BC
Post #: 6
Now I feel a kind of nervous and hope some of you will want to come with me. Anyone please on July 6/7?
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