Once again I found myself blog hopping and checking out our incredibly fabulous and awesome and wonderful Go4Pro readers!! When I stopped on Kami Brady’s blog I was immediately drawn in! As I read the most recent post (at least at that time) I immediately wanted to know if I could share it with the rest of you. I know it’s been touched on, but it’s worth repeating over and over! The following newborn session was a collaborative effort between Kami
and her friend/photographer Carmen Carver
. This is a repost from Kami’s blog
Along with the “signature”, classic images of a newborn, which often are some of my must-have, all-time favorites – the toes, the fuzzy backs, their curled bodies, the trifecta of baby/mom/dad – I always strive to capture one or two compositions during every session that are unique to that session. Maybe they incorporate an heirloom family item passed down through the generations, maybe they incorporate a vintage prop or a special hat, maybe they feature something unique to the nursery. And, on occasion, I’ll have an idea for an image that features a baby in a place where you might least expect them, like a bookshelf, or curled up in an old trunk or a tabletop bowl.
All that said, no matter where baby is resting for a shot, safety is my utmost priority and I would never attempt something just for the sake of art if I felt it couldn’t absolutely be safely achieved. This means always having a parent or two (or other helper) serve as a spotter even with shots on the beanbag or a small chair (a deeply sleeping baby can jerk very suddenly) and I often Photoshop supportive hands out of shots where it’s not in the baby’s best interest to be left alone even for a split second. During sessions I use my trusty model Baby Ruth (my daughter’s doll) to show parents how I want them to hold baby or where I need their support before we attempt a pose.
So where am I going with all of this? Well, there are shots I’ve always wanted to try, but for safety reasons have avoided completely. And I simply don’t feel right practicing during a real client session even though there have been so many new babies on this blog of late. So, alone in my prop closet sat the antique hanging scale and several types of cheesecloth and knitted materials for hanging “stork style.” And, alone in my good photographer friend, Carmen Carver’s
yard, sat the perfect tree branch. She, too, had been waiting for the right opportunity to try a few new things out. But, like me, Carmen cares about safety, too. Between the two of us, we’ve photographed gazillions of newborns and we often share the same concerns that someone will see one of these more elaborate newborn shots and attempt it without the proper know-how or safety in mind. So, that said, let me reiterate that many of the shots you see on this or other photography blogs where the baby appears to be in a unique position, hanging, resting on a shelf, etc. are really the result of several images Photoshopped together to hide mom/dad/helper hands. I won’t pretend to know every photographer’s secret to getting baby into “the pose” with the hands under the chin or other popular poses (there are plenty of YouTube videos for that), but I can tell you that mine have often been composite shots. As a matter of fact, I’m showing you one below straight out of camera.
So back to the session we’ve been so incredibly excited to blog about. When my good friend, Sarah, announced she was having baby number four, I knew we had the right opportunity. I mean, it’s baby number four, so she’s been around the new baby block a few times. And, she’s one of the most laid-back, patient people I know. Alas, Carmen and I had the perfect opportunity to collaborate. Out of the closet came the hanging scale and cheesecloth. And out of Carmen’s yard came the tree branch where it was cleaned, sanded and prepped for the birth of little Yonas.
We began with a heavier cheesecloth fabric and, after nearly an hour trying to get our model, Baby Ruth, to lie perfectly inside without disappearing into the cloth, we cut the cloth in half and attempted it again. Real baby, Yonas, was sleeping perfectly during our setup with Baby Ruth. Here are a few shots we took while setting up and the middle shot where we photoshopped the hands out (see final resulting image further down):
After several attempts to get the fabric width just right, we eventually gave up on the cheesecloth idea and went straight for my trusty knitted shawl which had just the right amount of “give” and tension to the fabric and just the right width. The resulting shot after Photoshop was this (and it took us nearly 1 hour and 45 minutes to achieve it):
Yonas was the perfect little model as he slept nearly the entire session. So we moved on to the hanging scale. Again, Baby Ruth was invaluable in helping us identify how we might position Yonas and how the scale would rotate once free from the bean bag. Once we felt comfortable, we settled him onto a soft white fabric and raised him less than an inch off the beanbag with mom’s hand beneath the scale. The resulting shot after Photoshop was this:
After eating and soothing, Yonas was once again in a deep sleep and we were able to get so many beautiful signature shots. Again, some of my favorites. We are super thankful to Sarah and Yonas for letting us play creatively!
Thank you Kami for letting me repost your awesome post and showoff these beautiful images! If you would like to see the rest of the images Kami shared on the original post, go HERE. Make sure you brighten her day and leave some blog love behind!