Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Mamatography Newborn Tutorial: Part I

This past weekend I attempted to document a newborn shoot as a tutorial for all you Mamatographers. Things didn't exactly go as planned, they never really do with babies, huh?

Baby boy was only 4 days old and just 6lbs 9ozs. He was a precious little peanut! But he was still sore from the trials of birth : ( He wasn't sleepy at all and was VERY strong so he was able to push his way out of many of the poses we attempted. I WAS STUNNED!

For future demonstrations such as this, I'm going to line up a few babies within a certain time slot. This is often the case on modeling jobs. 
So this project is a work in progress, which I'm okay with. I think it's an important topic and it's my goal to try to help Mamas document their own baby photos in the days following birth. This is not an easy task but POSSIBLE.

Here's a few tips:

1. Refresh your knowledge of your camera settings while baby is napping so you can have a clearer mind frame

2. Set up a scene with your choice props*keep pads and cloths near for potty accidents (I chose to shoot in my garden because I was shooting a cute carrot suit as a prop)

3. Prepare to shoot outdoors for easy lighting scenarios either early in the AM or around 5pm in the afternoon when the sun is setting

4. FEED THE BABY! BURP THE BABY! ROCK THE BABY! Try to put them to sleep if at all possible.

5. Undress baby gently

6. Pose them in a way that their face is most exposed and light is filling in any shadows*Use a Reflector or Flash just to fill if you know how

7. Shoot using a wide aperture i.e. f3.5 or 1.8 for very shallow depth of field

8. Use spot focusing on the baby's face to selectively focus on this area

9. Work quickly but move the baby around gently between poses and scenes

10. Keep baby warm and comfortable between poses especially if you are doing nudie shots!

BIG thanks to New Mama Danielle Hart, Lisa Della Bella Photography for her help with setup and props and Kristy Tompkins of Willows Garden for the adorable crochet carrot suit that she hand made!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Mamatography ebook: NEW AND IMPROVED

Pick up a copy of the NEW & IMPROVED Photo Basics & Beyond ebook HERE to keep in your camera bag!

Topics include: Camera Settings, Lenses & Focal Length, Flash Basics & MORE!

NEXT UP in Mamatography BOOKS: Composition for Portraiture & MORE
Stay tuned...

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Newborn Shoot Checklist

I’m gearing up for a series on Shooting Your Own Newborn Photos. I wanted to share my shoot checklist to help guide you Mamatographers (and myself) into an organized process for capturing newbies as they will never be seen again! 

As with any shoot, it is important to feel well versed with your camera's settings NUMBER ONE and then you can begin to think about lighting, props, poses and later, potential editing techniques.

Lets begin...


If you don’t, pick up my Photo Basics Camera Bag Companion ebook for an easy breezy lesson on how your tool functions. Click here:
2. Determine your shoot location(s)
Are you shooting indoors or outdoors? I’m based in South Florida so now, in February, I’m spoiled with pretty rays of sunshine and moderate temperatures. I’ll probably be doing my upcoming shoot mostly outdoors in my garden and perhaps with an indoor studio setup with lights and a backdrop depending on the amount of decent shots I can get outdoors. I love the concept of placing newborns in nature because their presence is just so...NATURAL
This is the fun part. Choose props based on the sex of the baby or theme of your environment. It’s typical to see plush blankets and fluffy filling in baskets where the newbie will be laying because you want them to feel as if they’re back in the womb. Make them comfy enough and they may even crack their first smile : )
Here’s an example list:
BOPPIE Pillow is A MUST, if you are nursing or have in the past this is a Mama & Mamatographers best friend!
•Beenie caps/hats
•Headbands for girls
•Stylish but neutral blankets
Here’s a link to a fellow Mamatographer’s Etsy shop. She is an expert crochet artist of all things BABY:
4. Create a warm temperature
If you’re in a COLD climate it may not be possible to shoot outdoors. So, turn the heat UP and pick a spot by a window where there is nice natural light. You may need to use a little Flash to fill in shadow areas that often occur in the pooches and wrinkles of sleepy newborns.

5. Line up your gear; Here’s a list of basic necessities:
•2 CHARGED Camera Batteries
•2 Lenses (One “Prime” 50mm; One zoom)
•AA Batteries for Flash
•Lightstand with hotshoe bracket (for off camera flash usage)
•Softbox or Umbrella (to diffuse flash)
Reflector (w/ gold, silver & transparent layers to bounce sunlight onto subject)

Oh, and expect the unexpected! If you want them sleeping, they’ll probably be awake and if you want nudie shots the WILL pee all over your props, GUARANTEED! So keep clean up supplies near by and use a pantiliner between their little legs to minimize the mess while still capturing their purity.