Babies, Photography

The baby shoot

After not updating my blog in far, far too long yet again, I am back with with just a couple of images from a recent shoot where I was lucky enough to be invited to take some pictures of a friends new baby, at just over a week old. I’ll admit that while photographing babies is not something I spend a great deal of time doing, its always an interesting challenge as they can be so unpredictable, especially when they are as young as this!

I could not prepare for the shoot very well, as I was unfamiliar with where I was going to be taking the photographs, which was probably a bit of an oversight on my behalf. With things like weddings, it is quite different, firstly I have usually checked out the venue in advance, and even if I haven’t, the couple will not be quite as unpredictable as a baby and adapting to locations is quite easy. I am hoping to shoot the same baby again in a couple of months time when he is a bit older and more responsive, possibly even sitting. That will present a whole lot of new challenges in itself, but at least now I have a better concept of what is possible with newborns. What is even more exciting is that as the baby gets older, any future shoots will be during summer and autumn and we can take everything outdoors! There is something fantastic about the natural, soft lighting you get from a slightly overcast day or a shady area in the park or garden! A lot of people assume that the sunshine is a photographers friend and the brighter the better, although this is very far from the truth! Granted, a rainy day provides the biggest challenges, but equally a bright, cloudless sunny day can present its own problems and require a photographer to be flexible and adapt to difficult conditions. The problem with sunny days is that firstly people always squint, it can make your subject look like they are asleep! Secondly it creates harsh shadows, these can make a photo look very unprofessional and subject can appear to have black eyes. Then there is the problem of areas of the photo being over exposed and colours being washed out, plus people can get hot and start to sweat (nice!) and you run the risk of children getting burnt if you are not quick enough. The best conditions for any outdoor shoot is quite simply a cloudy day, the light all gets broken up and bounces around removing shadows and allowing people to keep their eyes open while the scene is evenly lit allowing all the colours to be captured. I’ll demonstrate this more in future posts as we get nicer weather and I get the chance to actually practise in some sunlight, as there doesn’t seem to be a great deal of it around at the moment!

Anyway, I digress, back to the shoot in question! I was presented with a conservatory, which is one of my favourite places to shoot when I am taking photos in someone’s home, although time was not on my side as the shoot was planned for just over an hour before sunset and the light was already beginning to fade. I had brought a few props in the form of a rug and wicker chairs, not knowing what I would end up using, but the rug came in particularly useful. I did have other ideas, but need to acquire a few new props for these! The baby was apparently quite a calm peaceful baby, but on this occasion seemed hungry and a little tired, and so made for a slightly grumpy subject, but did handle it extremely well.

The one thing that must be remembered is patience, you need an awful lot of it for subjects like this. They do not respond to prompts or commands and when they are done, they are done! They move around and fidget a lot, well, they have only just discovered legs and arms after all! If you google “photographing babies” you will probably find in the images, the majority of newborns asleep. There is a reason for this! As they get older they tend to respond to the camera a bit more and may pause to look at it or respond to their name. I am very much looking forward to future shoot during the summer!

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