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The Taco Pose

Lesson 23 from: Baby Safety and Posing for Newborn Photographers

Kelly Brown

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Lesson Info

23. The Taco Pose

Lesson Info

The Taco Pose

Okay when we set up for the next shot, the taco one, I like to have a shelf already sort of put in onto my posing pod. When I am positioning the baby in terms of light, if I position the baby this way, and we bring the face back towards the light, we're gonna get some bad lighting up towards the nose there. So what I'm gonna do is plan to have their little head here and their bottom down here, so they come back this way and then we can bring them on an angle that way towards the light to get that beautiful fall off of light. So when I think about lighting, that's where I start to sort of make sure that I've created the shelf in the right place. So we'll pull out the cloth nappies that we've got at the back there and we'll start from scratch. With the tacho pose, this is something again that's not in my work flow. My current work flow. But if I had a baby that comes in and it naturally draws its legs up, if I'm trying to get it into the bum up with an arched back and it just doesn't nat...

urally do that but it's more rounded and draws those legs up, I know it's gonna be more comfortable or more suited to this setup. So I'm gonna work specifically with that baby during the shoot. Again in the way that we position them like that they have to have the correct support at the back of them so they don't come backwards. So I'll use one of these and I'm just gonna roll it up. And I know her little head is gonna come here. Oh sorry his. He's a little boy. His head is gonna be up here, so the body's gonna be down in here so the support needs to be down around that body. (heartbeat thumping) Kelly I know this class isn't about lighting but would you ever use a reflector as you're talking about that setup and trying Yeah. to get the right shadows? Always and just while we're waiting for our little boy to come in, for example if we've got our baby in a pose here. (heartbeat thumping) And you can see that there's some shadows on her face. If we bring in just even a cloth nappy, look at the difference that makes to fill in some of those shadows. So, getting a parent to hold that is so easy. But I even have like small sheets of foam core just sort of behind my backdrop resting against the wall so I can kind of sit it up and rest it against a stool or an apple box in my studio, and no one needs to hold it because they're like a firm sheet of foam core about three millimeters thick. And they actually act as great reflectors as well. I find when you got like a big reflector on a stand and another stand it's another object that you kinda got to mess with whereas bring in something that's just gonna bounce light back and it's just gonna be so quick and simple for you. And remembering that all surfaces are reflective. So I picked a color backdrop that I can use with boy or girl 'cause I knew that we had a little boy and a little girl model. With the taco pose I am gonna use some fabric and I do this because I want the baby to be nice and supported and feel supported in that pose and have their back covered. And we were saying earlier about babies that might not look warm when you look at the photo. When my brother came in and he was like, how the baby looks cold. I want to make them look and feel warm when they look at the images. Okay. So in terms of my shelf, we're gonna put his little bottom down in here and his head up here so we're gonna create a bit of height. We've got two cloth nappies. (heartbeat thumping) And there's my shelf. So the bottom's gonna come down in there and they're gonna be on a slight angle. And by doing the shelf, that's what takes the weight of the head and the hands off the feet where we're positioning them. (heartbeat thumping) So I'll position him first. Then I'm gonna tuck that around. It's nice and stretchy and then we'll create a bit of a feature with the rest of that fabric. Hi. Alright keep him nice and still for me. I'm gonna bring my hand in here. Perfect. And my hand down here. My goodness. So I didn't actually get to meet him face to face a minute ago because he was feeding. But how old again is he? 11 days? Mm hm. And what's his name again? Sawyer. Sawyer. Oh my God that's so cute. Look he's turned his face into the blanket. The light's too bright. (heartbeat thumping) Oh he's beautiful. So again with this setup, I'm not gonna do it if the baby is baby is resisting me. If they're pulling away or if they're not nice and sleepy because they're over like that they can kinda throw themselves and their head back at any point and if they're not supported it's gonna cause strain and possibly injury to their neck. So we want to make sure that they're supported through the whole process. Oh my God he's beautiful. Look at his face. So Jamie can I actually get you to help me for a second? Just bring my camera out of the way. I wanted to put the apple box just over where that stool is a little bit. That way everyone I'm not in the way of the camera. Perfect. And just tip it onto the side for me. Yeah. And you can move that if you like. Yeah I need it kind of around here. (heartbeat thumping) Perfect thanks. Okay. (heartbeat thumping) (grunts) Now he does have a nappy on and I'm gonna leave it on because we're not gonna see it once I use the wrap. In a normal studio session the nappy would be off but because of where we are and we're on film we don't want to, we want him to keep his modesty. (heartbeat thumping) Okay. So when I position him down, I'm just having a look at where his little legs are. I'm gonna turn him around towards you. I'm gonna position him in my hands first before I place him down. He's so gorgeous. His skin. So because he's gonna be like this, this arm is gonna come up underneath the face. The feet are gonna be crossed over, and this arm at the back is gonna be like more of a support arm. It's not gonna be underneath him that could potentially make him wanna roll if he's not supported at the back. (heartbeat thumping) So we'll bring that hand up. And now I'm gonna lean him forward into my hand. (heartbeat thumping) Okay. So these little feet and the way that I want his hips positioned, he's not gonna be facing the wall. He's gonna be facing a bit of an angle with his hips and then we're gonna position his little arms and head over the top. Oh my goodness. (heartbeat thumping) So I'm just leaning him forward now gently into my hand so that I have the weight of him so that I can use the back hand to go underneath his bottom to lift him (laughs) over onto the bag. Shh. Shh. (heartbeat thumping) Okay. Look at that. (heartbeat thumping) Shh. I'm trying to get my legs down nice and low so you can see. So I'm just letting him relax in my hands before I start to move him. And again we want to bring the bottom back, so the legs are forward putting him into that well and supporting his little head. (Sawyer grunts) There we go. (heartbeat thumping) So the little feet just under here we're gonna bring out. If he lets me. (heartbeat thumping) Shh. (Sawyer cries) (heartbeat thumping) So I want to bring this arm up when he lets me. (laughs) Every time I touch it it tenses. Shh. Shh. There it is. So now when I lift him up I can see where his feet are underneath the bag there. Shh shh shh. Shh. Shh. Shh. Shh. Shh. So I've crossed the feet over. Now I'm supporting his back. I'm supporting his head. And we're going to lay him down into this position. Shh. Shh. Shh. (heartbeat thumping) So now he's in position. I'm gonna put this at the back here just as that added little bit of extra weight. He's not moving, he's not squirming so I'm not sensing, he's not tense, I'm not sensing that he's uncomfortable. I need to get myself now into a better position. I'm gonna sit over here so that I can adjust his head and his feet and that's where I'm gonna be taking my shot from as well. So I'm just gonna keep my thumb and my hand here on his thigh. My hand on the back as I move. So he's supported. (heartbeat thumping) I actually need a couple of cloth nappies Jamie. Could you pass me some of those please? (heartbeat thumping) Thank you. Ta. So I'm just gonna give him a little bit more support in here and I'm gonna give him some support at the back there as well before we take our shot. (heartbeat thumping) Might just turn my bag a little bit more towards that light, and give it a pull. (heartbeat thumping) So as I position these cloth nappies, when I bring my hand in I want to take the weight of his head, and lift him to push this underneath. If I just start pushing my cloth nappies under there, it's gonna wake him. It's gonna move him. So I need to take the weight of his head nice and slowly. We don't want to startle him, and start to position our cloth nappy around his head to keep him nice and supported and elevated. What we want to aim for in this pose is trying to get the chin and the shoulder together and bringing the face up off the bag. (heartbeat thumping) So I like to just tuck these cheesecloth warps in just over the top 'cause it's nice and easy. (heartbeat thumping) The reason I put the bottom back further in this particular pose is because I want the face to be the closest thing to the camera because that's our main point of focus for the image. So I'm just gonna give him a little support now at the back here. There's already a cloth nappy there. (heartbeat thumping) And I'm gonna bring that in and make him feel nice and comfortable there. He's supported. You're not gonna believe it but I actually have a cramp in my foot (laughs). That's a first. I think I was sitting with my feet crossed there. I'm just pushing a little bit of that cloth nappy underneath his feet to bring them up just a little bit more. And tuck that in. (heartbeat thumping) Give a bit of a pull. (heartbeat thumping) I'm gonna get my safe shot which is what I always do and then I'm gonna come in and I'm gonna make a slight adjustment to the hand and to those toes. 'Cause I don't know at any point if I continue to try and move him, he might not react the way I want him to react. Ta. (heartbeat thumping) Don't want to pull that out again. So I'm gonna come up from an elevated point looking down toward that eye line. Turn my frame at a big of an angle. And I am shooting at 70 mil so I'm zoomed in because I want that beautiful, (sighs) Yeah? Does it matter which leg is on top of which? I tend to put this leg over the top of that one. But that's just force of habit. I don't think it necessarily matters but if it looks like the feet don't belong there, obviously you probably need to go the other way. (camera beeps) I'm focusing on the top eye. (camera beeps) (camera flashes) Now, my aperture was at 3.2 so I'm gonna bring it back to 2.8. (camera beeps) (camera flashes) (heartbeat thumping) Alright. Let's bring this hand up where we want it. (heartbeat thumping) And what I want to do is bring the elbow now down here so it wasn't, it's not sort of interfering with those feet. We can get those little feet curled up around, those little toes curled up around that elbow. And get the hand set and then we can place his head on top of his hand there. (heartbeat thumping) I always find it easy to do when I'm standing up. (heartbeat thumping) So I'm just adjusting his support here at the back of his head so that he's nice and supported. (heartbeat thumping) Get these fingers flat before we position his head on them. He's got a fist. Shh. Shh. (heartbeat thumping) I'm gonna push that thumb through the palm of the hand and I want the wrist in like this. If the wrist is out, it's gonna make a larger area of skin in front of the face. So we want the wrist in so we can see those fingers. (heartbeat thumping) Bring the elbow back down in line with the body. (heartbeat thumping) He's pushing those toes back there. (heartbeat thumping) So as I move this foot, and I'm what I'm doing is I'm just holding the top and the bottom and I'm just giving it a gentle little wriggle there to bring those toes up in line with the other toe. Some babies are so flexible that you can curl them up and you can have their whole entire elbow resting on top of the feet. But he's not little and I'm not gonna push him into a pose when he just looks absolutely beautiful like this. Make sure that the cheek is out. (heartbeat thumping) (camera beeps) (camera beeps) (camera flashes) (heartbeat thumping) (laughs) Look at him in that last one. Beautiful. What I might actually get you to do Stephanie if you're able to is just come in, and grab a reflector. We're gonna put some light back into, oh. Perfect. (heartbeat thumping) So I don't want to move him too much. Yeah bounce the light back into that face there for me. Perfect. Come around just a bit more and down. There we go. (heartbeat thumping) (camera beeps) (camera flashes) Now have a look at the difference of the, the shadow. When I finished taking my shot I came straight back in with the hands to his head because we were not looking at him we were looking at the TV and he moved. So when you take your eyes off them they only move for a split second but because I know that I'm taking my eyes off him my hand came straight in which is so important. From here we can go into another set up, which could potentially be like a, the chin, hand on chin, head on chin. Chin on hand. Get it right Kelly positioning from here. So it means that I'm gonna have to bring his little legs out comfortably. I'm just gonna make sure that his head is supported while I do that though. So, when I'm doing my posing, I'm not gonna go from here to something completely different like a back shot or anything. I'm gonna go to a pose that I can easily transition him into without having to pick him up and put him down again. So at the back where I've got some support I'm just gonna remove that. (heartbeat thumping) And where his little legs are here, I know that I can pull this one just over the top of that foot carefully. And then we can start to push those feet back a bit. To get him over onto that position, we want to have his sort of hips in line with his shoulder so he looks nice and comfortable. So what I'm gonna do here at the back, is just slide my hand down and underneath that back thigh and I'm looking for his shin on the other leg with my other hand so that I can support his legs as I move them. So now that my fingers, you might be able to see them there underneath the posing blanket. I can wriggle 'em. I'm gonna bring that leg and turn his hips with flat hands into a comfortable position here. And then I'm going to bring those knees up underneath him into a nice comfortable position. So he's stable and he's supported. (heartbeat thumping) Now he has got a nappy on. That's okay. We're just gonna use some fabric here in the background to kind of hide that fact. (heartbeat thumping) Okay. So our supports under here need to come out just a little bit. I'm gonna need some under there because he does need a shelf for this pose but he doesn't need all of those just yet. (heartbeat thumping) Now I've got a heather that's quite close to me here but, I've got my hand in between and the heater is actually, it's not really blowing on him. It's just heating the space. So if it was blowing directly on him I'd be keeping an eye on the temperature of the body part that's closest to the heater and it's not effecting him at all which is great. (heartbeat thumping) Okay. To get these elbows forward, we're gonna go from here up to here. So we have to be careful that we don't strain those shoulder joints. So when I'm lifting the head and I'm bring the hand through, I wait to feel for them to move so that, 'cause when the move I can help guide them and their little muscles will help position those shoulders into the correct position. So I'm gonna just take the weight of his head here, the bones on the side of the head. I've got my fingers down in behind this elbow, the forearm at the back as I push that arm forward. And he's having a wriggle too so this is good. There we go. So I've brought that hand up 'cause it's kind of gone from here to here. And then this elbow here. Putting my fingers in behind the elbow and pushing that forearm up and underneath that way. So before we go any further we'll do this. Add a little bit of detail. I'm gonna slide that just underneath. Just take the weight of his head off. Oh really? So being a boy I don't want the bow or anything like that to kind of, overpower him. Just leave that up there for a moment. I'm gonna get those hands in. I don't really want the bow to be a feature 'cause it's a boy obviously. If it was a girl it'd be a different story. And bring that elbow back forward again. Now as I lift his head here off the bag, I'm not lifting lifting. I'm taking the weight of it off as I scoop that hand forward. Now I'm gonna bring my fingers underneath the palm. He's strong. So I'm just gonna bring that forward. Getting used to the fact that it's gotta come forward. There we go. So the other hand is gonna do the same thing at the back here. Oh my goodness look at how strong he is. (laughs) It's a typical man position. Look at that. Look at those feet. Because he dug those feet there in, I know that at any point he could actually dig down and push himself forward and we're too close to the edge of the bag so I need to bring those feet back flat and curl them underneath him. Tuck them right underneath so it's gonna stop him from pushing himself forward. This arm here has a mind of its own. Bring it back. There it is. Bring it up. (laughs) I love how he lets me do it and then all of a sudden it's nope. Straight back down. Shh. (heartbeat thumping) Shh. (Sawyer cries) Shh. Shh. (heartbeat thumping) Shh. Alright. So he doesn't want his hand put forward so we just go for a different variation. Which is fine 'cause that's what we do. (heartbeat thumping) I'm gonna bring his little legs over this way. (heartbeat thumping) I'm just gonna push some of those beans down. (Sawyer cries) Oh sweetheart. Shh shh shh. Shh. (Sawyer cries) Shh. (Sawyer cries) So when we talked yesterday about babies behavioral problems and we talked about crying, he's obviously telling me something because we talked about them being the only way that they can communicate with us. (Sawyer cries) Sorry boys in there. My microphone (laughs). (Sawyer cries) Shh. Aw. He burped. Shh. (heartbeat thumping) Shh. (heartbeat thumping) Shh. (heartbeat thumping) Shh. (heartbeat thumping) Okay. Say hi everybody. I think I'm done with being a model. Kenna do we have lots of questions? No? We do have Yes? Questions. But one of which this is the first boy we're seeing today and wanted to ask you about circumcision and how you handle babies with that. Oh that is actually a good question because you do get some babies into the studio and when they come in and they've been circumcised, it can look very sore. Like it's quite red. They tend to put a lot of Vaseline around the area and they have a Gore's pad over the top as well. So when you're trying to pose a baby and they've gotta leave their nappy on, sometimes it's a little hard to sort of disguise that nappy. Actually do you want to come in and grab him? I'll hand him over to you. I'm just pushing him against my chest there 'cause he's arching his back so I grab the wrap. (Sawyer cries) Oh my God. Sawyer. You were so good. You did exactly what we wanted you to do. (Sawyer crying) Just make sure his little feet aren't tangled up there. Want to go to your mummy? (heartbeat thumping) Okay. Thank you so much. Aw he's perfect. (heartbeat thumping) Okay. Okay. Let me stand up, or sit down on the box. Yeah. And so what I found that works is that I'll get a disposable diaper and before I put that on the baby, I actually trim it with a pair of scissors. So I'll make it quite small. I'll trim the little bit of excess stuff around the elastic. But I don't want to create any sharp edges when I do that that could be uncomfortable around the tops of their legs but I also trim the top so it sits quite low so if I do put pants on, the top of the nappy's not coming out over the top of the pants. The last little baby that came in, we had a little romper on her, and what I did was instead of trimming the nappy, I brought the nappy up as high as I could at the front and then I folded it in and then I brought it down quite flat so that reduced the size of it. And so what I find with boys that have been circumcised, creating a smaller diaper so that they're protected throughout the entire session and they're not gonna get fluff from all of our fibers into that area 'cause it's covered in Vaseline. Can be hard to wash that area for parents and they're comfortable and I don't feel scared at all about that area because when they're, especially when they're on their tummy or in that position, you just worry that you're gonna hurt them if they've got an area that's effected so yeah. Earlier in the class we did talk about a number of medical conditions that have been covered. I'm seeing more questions like that. But we covered that in an earlier section. A number of medical conditions. But the question that came in was what about when babies are trying to, that have nails and are trying to scratch Oh yes. their faces or how do you handle that? Yeah it is tough because their little nails are so soft and they break easy especially when they're long and when they're hungry or they're frustrated the first thing they do is grab their face. So and yeah I'm just always conscious that I bring those hands back down away from the face and using sort of wraps and things like that and when I'm positioning them being cautious not to have their hand up there. But I've had babies come in that have already scratched themselves and oh you feel so sorry them but I just tend to Photoshop that out and while I'm positioning them I make sure that I use wraps that keep the hands down away from the face and talking to your parents. If they say something to you during the session like oh they're always scratching themselves. I'm gonna make a mental note of that. I'm gonna keep those hands down. I remember when my first baby had long fingernails and I tried to trim them, it's really hard because they're wriggling and they pull away with you. You can see when we're posing and we're trying to get the fingers straight they pull away. So trying to trim them is quite tough for the parents and yeah a lot of parents don't want to hurt their little finger either by trimming. So sometimes they do have long fingernails and you just gotta keep those hands away from the face as much as you can.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Baby Safety and Posing for Newborn Photographers Bonus Packet
Baby Safety and Posing Slides
Potato Sack and Frog Pose Editing Videos - Large 1.1 GB download

Ratings and Reviews

Lindsey Wall

Kelly Brown is one of my favorite teachers not just in newborn photography but photography and learning in general. Her patience is inspiring and she makes this job seem so much more enjoyable and installs passion in you to improve and be the best you can be! Kelly is an expert at what she does and is great at communicating how she does it. I have taken the Creative live baby bootcamp class which is actually what got me to want to go into newborn photography! Ive also purchased a few of her newborn posing courses and I love them all. I literally own my new blossoming little career to Kelly! I love creative live, I have just learned so much from these courses. They are constantly giving out new classes that are so affordable and such amazing resources for any photographer or professional. I am so lucky to have discovered them and Kelly Brown. Thank you Kelly and creative live!

Alice T.

This is an amazing class! Kelly Brown offers a wealth of information that is comprehensive and straightforward. She has such a soothing voice and such great patience that it translates into becoming a great presenter and instructor. Her methodology both in business and her art are sensible and desirable which has taken me up significantly. She has helped me in understanding this business and how to become successful while doing what I love in a profitable and safe manner for both my clients and myself!


Kelly is such a fantastic instructor! This class is wonderful for both beginners & intermediate newborn photographers to improve their posing and keep safety number one. Not only does Kelly teach you step by step how to safely pose, she also explains why she poses the way she does - which is so important. This class is a great resource to watch over and over again until we are all masters!

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