Newborn Photo Prop Ideas
We're gonna work with this beautiful boat we've been talking about for the last couple of days. I'm so excited about this. And we have a gorgeous little boy. So I'm actually gonna sanitize my hands 'cause I'm going from one baby to the next. I've been washing them constantly for the last couple of days because I've had to deal with so many, so many precious little babies. And he is just beautiful and sound asleep. So hopefully we will get this cranking. This is not a prop I have in my studio so I'm using it for the first time, so you'll be able to see how I set it up, which is great, because, you know, it's new to me. And we can sort of play with it together.
So I just wanted to give a shout out of for this beautiful boat because what we ended up doing for this workshop was seeking out on Etsy, looking for beautiful props. I mean this is a newborn workshop and Etsy truly is the place. I can't think of personally, a better place to go to find beautiful props for any type of photograph...
y really, whether it's newborn, whether it's children, fashion. It's truly the home of all things handmade and a place where you can find just beautiful handmade items that are one of a kind. And so wanted to give a very special shout out to Mr. And Mrs. And Co. And if you go to etsy.com/shop/ mister, all written out, the word and, missus and co and we'll be dropping that in the chat rooms. You can go and see and find their beautiful pieces. And they are providing a very special 10% off discount for everybody out there, for all of cradle livers who go to their Etsy site, it is creativelive1 is the code and that is good through tomorrow. So all through Mothers' Day. I see the ladies in the room here writing down that note, writing down the code, you can find out more about that on our Facebook page as well, on our blog as well. But thank you again, to Mister and Missus and Co. And again Etsy, what an incredible, incredible place. So thank you.
All right are we ready?
Along with this boat we've actually been given some great little features that go with it to use. So they've sent us some bunting which is just absolutely adorable, so I'm gonna hang that up over the back here, so it's in the photo. And then we're going to use this gorgeous little anchor as well as a great little feature. So I think this is just gonna be the cutest little setup. We might put the bunting up first in our background here. And I have some little clamps on my backdrop stand. Who's gonna be my helper, come on over. Before you come, would you be able to (person mutters) Yes, no, grab some clamps off my backdrop stand. Great. So I suppose being a newborn photographer we also have to be quite resourceful when doing things like this. I wanna hang it so you can see it in the image but I don't wanna have to shoot too high. So probably about there so if we put one clamp there. You all right with that one, it's a good hold there? Yeah and watch your fingers, there we go. Can I have that one? So we should see that in our picture when we position the boat down nice and low. It's always really fun setting up a new prop and something that you haven't used before. I get really excited when I buy something and like I was saying yesterday, yeah, I look at it and I try to put all my energy on it and I'm like please pick it, please pick it so I can use it, and of course it doesn't always plan out that way. So keeping with the nautical theme I'm gonna add some blue in. Just make this nice and soft here. And it's hollow on the inside so we're gonna line it with some towels and prop him up but I'm thinking when we put the anchor in we'll put it down here so we'll wanna balance that with putting our baby up this way. I think this is gonna look so cute and we can make this look really really soft as well. I'll come over and grab him in a minute when we're all, all set up ready to go. Okay, so I've got some towels. And this is very similar to my bottom color. So I'm actually gonna use a little bit of this that you'll be able to see at the top here as well. And we don't wanna fill it too much so we can see him but Might just roll the top of this so this will create the shelf part. Then just slide it in here. You know we have such a great opportunity as newborn photographers to really get creative with the way we do things, it's so much fun. Okay, that's gonna be really nice and firm for him to sit on. And what I might do is not use this one because we've filled it off enough. And just roll a couple of these up at the back. In here. Over the top so you can't see it. Okay. So I've made this little well here. This is where his body's pretty much gonna go. And he's gonna come up here into a nice beautiful position. I mean even if we can get an arm draping down the side it'll be really pretty, really cute. Make sure it's nice and comfortable. He's not gonna be touching any sides of the boat, which is, which is a solid prop like I've been talking about but when you touch the sides it's actually a little bit rough and the edges are not rounded. So it's best to have him inside and not touching any of those sides. Okay and we can tuck that in a little bit more once he's in there, and just to bring back a little bit of a splash of white we might just drape this over the top. All right, and then we can position our little anchor in here as well. So I reckon that is gonna look really cute. Okay, how about baby? Is still he nice and sleepy?
Okay let me just place my hands under him. And he's got a (mumbles) How many days is he today? 11 and what's his name? Maxwell, I haven't had a chance to meet Maxwell. So he's 11 days old today. I'm gonna come in and sit in behind while I position him so that everybody can see what I'm doing. Okay. So he has his nappy on just loosely so I'm just gonna undo that. (shushes) (baby squeaks) Okay, so again he's gonna be going onto his tummy up onto this particular side. So I'm gonna turn him first, upright and position his little hands in my and then turn him onto his tummy. He's so lovely and warm! So just with my fingers on his shins I'm scooping his little legs back underneath him in it. Okay, supporting his head as I put him down. I'm here back to support him. And he's tense, that's all right, we'll just wait for him to relax. Okay, come a little bit closer. Just pop your hand, actually come a little bit like a fair bit closer. And I want you to pop your hand just up here to stop him. Because he's got his legs the way they are, if he was to push back against that prop, he could launch himself forward. So having a hand at the top of the head not pushing him, but just preventing him from going forward, is the best thing to do. (mumbles) Okay. Is he smiling, aww. So I'm just making sure the back here, that there's enough protection between him and the prop. Just kind of relax that little foot out there, do it like this. You can see the little pinpricks, needle pricks he's had in his heel. I might use this nappy at the back here as a support as well, just to fold it. That will save me from having to get up and going to find another one 'cause it's so handy and it's perfect. So I'm just gonna place it in under here so you won't be able to see it. But just underneath his elbow, see him leaning backwards there. Like an armrest, really. Okay I'm gonna come round the front now to adjust his little hands and everything. You know what would be really cute and I saw it in a photo with this particular boat on the Etsy site, someone had made a little newspaper sailor's hat. It was the most adorable thing. So if you know, you can do anything to create these setups to make them a little bit more fun and interesting. Or if you have the perfect little bonnet or something to go with this. So you can see his face is sort of heading down. We wanna bring this hand down. Because it's like that by bringing that hand forward it's gonna raise his chin and we're gonna be able to see his little face. Just keep your hand, is it nice and warm? (laughs) Just place your hand on his back so that that way while I'm moving him he's gonna feel supported back there. Aww, that's cute. I've put some double sided sticky tape on that anchor before the shoot, just at the top there just so it's not constantly falling down as well. So now we'll just bring this other arm forward to help support his little head. (shushes) Because this is quite an elaborate setup, I would really take the time to get this pose perfect because we're going to great lengths for a setup, we really wanna make sure it looks great. Yeah, he's pulling down. Just pull his elbow back forward there. So another, another common thing that I've noticed when I'm working with babies is that their thumbs are always under their hand. And to get them into this nice flat pose you have to make sure that their thumb's out otherwise it's going to make it very hard for them to have their fingers flat. So he has his thumb all the way forward there. So what I'm gonna have to do is have to lift his head just a little bit more and scoop that thumb in underneath his hand. I'm just gonna come in a bit closer. I can see. There's his little thumb. I don't want him to pull this other arm forward. So what I'm gonna ask you to do with your hand is just to place it at the base of his elbow there and just put your thumb in behind his arm and that way he's not gonna drag his arm back down underneath him and we have to start all over again. There we go, that thumb is now through there and you can see that it sits a little bit flatter. Make sure these cute little fingers are out together. So his head is going to fall slightly. And this is another instant that we can use our spotter and her finger to support his head throughout this shot, and I think it's gonna look so much better. So I'm gonna support him and I'm gonna get you to come and sit on this side. Ideally it wouldn't be the most perfect side but the direction of our light is actually coming in from here, so it's not, it's not a side light. So it's okay, she's not gonna block too much light. And just, yep, get nice and comfortable there. Might just bring his chin around just a little bit more. There we go, face forward. Don't wanna cover any part of his body. Tuck this down at the back so you can't see it. Okay so with your hand like that, hold your fingers up, right that's it. And you're gonna come in just under here where my hand is. So what I'm gonna do is just lift my hand out. Now it's important not to push their head but just to let their head rest against your finger. So just bring it, this part here, that is perfect. I'm happy with the way his fingers are there because all of them are not two, or just one. All of his fingers are clenched in around there. That's kinda cute so what I'm gonna do is get a quick Okay just lift his head just a little bit more, that's it, up up up, keep going, perfect. I'm gonna come in nice and close. We're gonna miss our bunting but I wanna get a and just lift up a little bit more, perfect. So he's supported throughout the whole shot and that was gonna, that's just gonna look gorgeous when it's edited. Just making sure my hands aren't cold. So we could bring another little support in if we needed to underneath but I have my spotter there so she was able to do that. And keep a hand on him at all times. I wouldn't, I wouldn't bother trying to continually bring fingers out if the baby prefers to have their fingers clenched together. Because you're just going to waste time and you can still get beautiful shots with them wrapped around each other like we just did then. So he's not wanting to bring his head around so that's why we get that safe shot and then we come in and make an adjustment. And that way if we, we can keep going here. Move his little head 'round a little bit more. There we go. And now we can get a bit more of a front on shot here. Aw, that is cute. So we bring our finger support back in. Right where he can rest his head there and we can clone that out easily. And just lift up a little bit more, that's it. Right, and we're done! Any questions? (laughs)
First of all, everyone is just so mesmerized and the delicate care is just, is truly incredible. We did have a question.
We do, we actually have a great question regarding props that I think really ties into watching you set up a little bit more of a complex multi-prop setup here. Let's see, pleasantly captured wants to know when purchasing knit props, and really any props, what do you take into consideration when you're buying them and choosing them.
Yeah so when using any type of knit prop you're always going to have that issue of baby fingers and toes going through it. So you just have to be careful when you're using them. I love anything that's really really soft. So not buying a knit that's itchy or scratchy but loose knits you're always gonna have to be very careful with their fingers and toes going through it. And if you do try and pull it and their little finger is caught in there, we're gonna essentially hurt these little fingers or toes so we have to be careful.
Well I just want to give another shoutout to our Etsy shop that we went to and donated this beautiful boat. You can find all of their other, I was just looking at their page. It's etsy.com/shop/misterandmissusco, and co, sorry. Misterandmissusand co. And again at their shop you can get 10% off through tomorrow, through Mothers' Day for any of their beautiful props there. And so go and check them out and thank you again and very cool to note for these lovely ladies in here is that one of you is going to go home with the boat. So they are kindly donating that and giving it away as a prize, so, very, very cool. So we do have some more, we have some more questions. Do we have, we have about 15 minutes or so Kelly to do some more questions with you.
That'd be great, that would be really great, because the internet has just been bombarded with questions so yeah. I'm happy to answer anything but was sitting in my hotel room last night and I could not get through the amount of questions that were coming through so fire away.
All right well let's start in our studio audience.
Kelly, when you tell the parents to come to the studio, do you tell them to dress the baby in just the diaper or do they come in their little onesies, or how do you?
So when they come for the session they're usually just dressed how the mum and dad would dress them any day. So I've got them pretty much in anything. But when we bring our clients into the studio. So say for example that that particular client had come into the studio, I would bring them in, ask them to undress their baby as the first thing I always get them to do is undress their baby and use either one of their wraps or one of my wraps and leave the nappy between the legs. Because my studio is so small and I'm there with them if they just place the nappy loosely between their legs and undo their sticky side I'm not gonna wake them up when I pull that nappy off. But by having the nappy between their legs if the baby needs feeding and mum sits down the baby's already undressed so when it gets nice and milk-drunk and sleepy from having a feed I can just quickly take that baby and then pull the nappy out from between its legs and I can get ready to shoot straight away without having to undress and wake up and fiddle too much with the baby. So always undress first, wrap loosely, leave the nappy between the legs. If the baby needs feeding, let it feed, and then we can get started.
When you're shooting the baby's on the days that you shoot do you always just wear that one wedding band so it doesn't scratch the baby.
My wedding ring?
Is that your wedding ring? So you don't wear any, like I always take mine off so it doesn't scratch.
Do you know it's a really good point actually because we don't know what allergies or potential allergies anyone could have so I actually don't wear any makeup. I don't wear perfume and I wear a very sensitive deodorant as well because if I'm holding that baby up and even if I just turn to touch the mom, if I had makeup on and that baby was sensitive to the mum and my face came into contact with that baby it could cause a reaction I don't know. So I would just rather be safe than sorry. And when it comes to jewelry, I don't wear any. I usually don't wear earrings in a session. Sometimes I will leave them in if they're a stud or something like that. But anything dangly, if the baby's arms came up and got caught in a dangly earring that could hurt me. But also it could hurt the baby if it was scratchy. So I don't wear necklaces and I. Yeah I only have, I leave my wedding band on and my fingernails are always short so that I'm not scratching the baby. I noticed there's quite a few of you that have got beautiful nails. They're actually not too bad because they have a very soft rounded edge. But normal fingernails, especially mine, they're not very strong, so when they're long they can be quite scratchy. So I always make sure that they're short before a session as well.
That's great, we have another question from our chat room, Evette Gioa wants to know if you could talk more about balancing calming the baby and getting the baby to go to sleep versus keeping the session from being unreasonably long. How do you find that balance?
Yeah, so if you've got a baby that's just continually, continually fussing, allow that baby to settle with its parents. If I can't settle a baby, I will give it back to the parents 'cause there's usually a reason why it's unsettled. And yes you don't want your session to be unusually long but if you've got a baby that is awake and is not fussing, photography the baby awake. You can get some gorgeous images and as you can see on the wall, the baby was awake, it blinked. So I can still get a sleepy looking image. But you know it's just one of those things. You have to keep an eye on the time of the session. Be aware of how your parents are feeling. If they're starting to get agitated because the baby's not sleeping because they have expectations as well when they come for a session, they feel bad when their baby's not doing it, but you know what, it's just the baby on the day, you can't make it go to sleep. Then photograph it while it's awake. Use some wraps to wrap around the baby. Put it in some beautiful textures. Get photos of the parents holding the baby while it's awake, utilize that time if you are running out of time and you can sense that the parents are starting to get a little bit uneasy. So you don't have to have a sleeping baby all the time. You can still get beautiful images with them awake, if they're calm.
Great, another question from Jennifer Garner, I always overshoot, I know, I know that one. About how many images do you end up with at the end of the session unedited. I notice that you take only about two to three per pose, which is what, one of the most valuable lessons I'm getting out of this as well, is how deliberate you are. So if you could remind us again about that.
When I was starting, you know like when I was starting out I overshot all the time and my God I would have hundreds of images to go through. But now I wanna get through my sessions as quickly as possible because my time's valuable and the client's time is valuable. So I'm very aware of what angles I like now because I've been shooting for so long. But if you're just starting out and you're trying to find those angles, get the baby into position. Photo come in from this angle, come in from that angle, shoot it from above, shoot it from a below. Find the angles that you love. I know that I'm gonna use four to five poses on a beanbag. I'm gonna shoot those poses from about two to three different angles, they're gonna fill my gallery. I'm gonna use some props, I'm gonna shoot the prop from back, I'm gonna come in close and get a shot of the baby. I'm gonna, you know, that's two images but I suppose if, when I was first starting out with props I would shoot it from as many different angle to see what I liked. But now I can look inside my camera. I can see my frame, I look at the foreground, the background, and the middle ground and make sure it's all sort of aesthetically pleasing to the eye, but that just comes with practice. So when you're trying to find that perfect angle and look at your images and go right, that's it, then you can start to take less shots. I now do take a couple of shots 'cause I've noticed that when I download them the eye line might not be in focus so I make sure I take a couple of shots just to nail that focus 'cause I really want it to be crisp. So that's why I probably take less photos but I do take a couple of, in the same position to make sure I get that focus.
Right, and Kelly continuing on that topic of when you first started and the difference between beginning photographer and a really experienced photographer, I know I hear a lot of talk within various parts of the photography industry and especially there's been a lot of talk in the chat rooms about this. How, well you've obviously set up your business around your family, your family's your priority, and your business works around your lifestyle. What do you recommend to photographers out there who are struggling with feeling maybe not quite respected within the photography world for being a mom with a camera or for choosing this particular genre of photography? Did you ever struggle with that and what's your best advice for people?
I did, I really struggled with that. And I was embarrassed to tell people I was a photographer because it was like oh you know my niece is a photographer, or my uncle is a photographer so it took me a while to value what I do and be able to look at my work and say "Wow, I've created this, I'm proud of this." So I need to be proud and I need to tell people that I'm proud of my work. And it took me a long time to realize that. I mean even coming here and walking on set I know, I can do this well, I love doing this. I'm not the best person at it but that's okay because there are so many amazing photographers out there, especially newborn photographers. But I had to be reminded myself to come onto this set with confidence, and it took a friend of mine to remind me of that. So I still have those moments of "Wow, I'm not good at this." Why am I here, all of those things. And promoting my own work. So having that, as a mum with the camera, I think it goes back to yesterday when we were talking about stop worrying about what other people think, especially other photographers. Concentrate on your business, learn your craft, practice, have persistence, and be patient, and it will come. But if you spend more time on the internet going through other peoples' websites, reading other peoples' posts, looking at other peoples' photos you're not going to have enough time to concentrate on your own business and you're not gonna spend that time looking at your own business to see where your downfalls are and where you need to improve. So I needed to get my kick up the bum, someone said the other day "What was the kick up the bum she got?" I needed to stop looking and worrying about what everyone else was doing, address the issues that were happening in my own business and get the right person into my studio to help me address those issues. I had to pay to do it, but it was worth every single cent, every cent. So I'm, yeah, I know where you're at. I know what it's like to feel like I'm just another mum with a camera. But I'm now in a place where I can say I'm proud because I've stopped concentrating on what other people think and I do what I love and I get up every day with a smile on my face. So it's really important to just stop worrying about what other people think.
Thank you for that Kelly. I mean I think that is so hard to do to wake up every day and do. Our minds so quickly go there and that constant reminder every day, waking up with a smile and focusing on what you're doing, so thank you. We have another question before we go to break that I was pleased to see from Senabi who said, who's Natasha in New Jersey. Do you ever get babies with special needs or with some sort of outside abnormalities and if so, how do you photograph that and still make the parents feel great about their photos.
Do you know every baby is so different, regardless of their needs. They're still a newborn baby, they're still needing to be fed, they're still needing to be held. They're still, they're still sleepy, like they're still a baby, they're still someone's precious being that they've brought into this world, so we need to, if we're having, if we're having thoughts about, you know, any of that we need to step back and look at it from the parents' perspective. And they've come to us with their baby, and they're wanting to capture that moment with their baby. So it's not about us, it's about them and giving them what they want and finding that beautiful connection, finding out those beautiful little features because regardless of any particular baby, or if it has some type of special need, photograph it, and photograph it well and proudly for those parents, because they're still so proud of their baby.
Well and Kelly, what I loved about seeing that question is there, is that we realized, we had not yet told people what one of our babies, one of the babies that we're gonna be photographing later today. Can, do you wanna talk about that baby?
Yeah, we have a beautiful little baby coming in. She is the sixth child for this amazing family. And she has down syndrome. So she's gonna be coming in and we're gonna be working with her and you will see that it will be the exact same process, the same approach as any other newborn session. So it's gonna be really special.