Six day old newborn for C&C

crimbfighter

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Ok, so this was my first legitimate attempt at a newborn photo shoot. This baby belongs to a good friend of mine. I asked him if I could do my own shoot, but gave him the caveat he was to have a professional photographer scheduled to do the actual newborn shoot. That way, worst case scenario I walk away with no photos worth anything, but he still gets the nice newborn shoot he deserves.

I shot everything with natural light, which didn't help much since they only window they had faced north and the sun is still in the south sky... I did everything I have read about to make the baby comfy. She was 6 days old. I did it in their apartment, using only props I found around their place. All I had with me was my camera, tripod and a reflector. In an attempt to emulate what I have read other photographers had success with, I cranked the temp in the apartment to 78deg, put a heating pad under the blanket she was laying on, played white noise in the background, and had her fed right before the shoot. Unfortunately, none of that helped... She was still fussy as hell. As soon as she would be naked, she'd start screaming. Anyway, I'm sure getting the touch right comes with time. C&C would be appreciated on these, which were the strongest of the set. I'm especially interested in compositional changes I could make, and whether or not I did ok with the backdrop and subject isolation. It was a blanket I stole from their guest bed.

1. My own C&C on this one: larger DOF. It would have been nice to get the bow in focus. I also noticed I missed the focus by a tiny bit all around. I even tried focus bracketing, with the center focus point, but still couldn't seem to nail the focus. Though, at these shutter speeds I guess it might just be camera shake. I couldn't use a tripod because I needed to be able to quickly move and adapt. Maybe setting the camera to shutter priority with auto ISO would help change that?
Evangelina_031911_1.jpg


2. The focus on this one was obviously on the feet. Not sure about the composition of this one. I wish I would have gotten the feet more in complete view. I also can't decide if this would look better in B&W. Thoughts?
Evangelina_031911_5.jpg


3. This one and #4 are my favorites. Which one do you prefer? And, how could I have improved the composition on them. I also noticed I slightly missed the focus on these two. Again, same issue as mentioned above with focusing. Also probably should have bumped up the f/stop for a little more DOF
Evangelina_031911_3.jpg


4.
Evangelina_031911_2.jpg


Your feedback would be greatly appreciated.
 

ababysean

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Did you have a small space heater? That helps so much.

Also, how long were you there. Typically I tell my newborn clients they will be at my house for up to 4 hours, and yes, it takes that LONG.

Was mom right there? Baby can smell mom. You need to make sure mom is not right ontop of baby. You hold/swaddle the baby until it falls into a deeeeeeeeeeeeeeep sleep, this could take an hour or more, but it is so worth it.
 

RauschPhotography

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Did you have a small space heater? That helps so much.

Also, how long were you there. Typically I tell my newborn clients they will be at my house for up to 4 hours, and yes, it takes that LONG.

Was mom right there? Baby can smell mom. You need to make sure mom is not right ontop of baby. You hold/swaddle the baby until it falls into a deeeeeeeeeeeeeeep sleep, this could take an hour or more, but it is so worth it.

This advice is golden---Crystal really knows what she's talking about with the newborn shoots, so I'd really take note. :)

The shots themselves look like they need warming. For picture #2, I'm almost thinking it'd look better in B&W rather than color, due to the excessive purple tone. (WB issue?) Anyways, good luck and keep shooting! :)
 
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crimbfighter

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First, thank you everyone for the feedback.

wlbphoto - It was warm, so warm in fact, we all started stripping layers off to stop from drowning in sweat :lol:

Schwettylens - I was kinda thinking that, but I'm glad you thought so, too. Solidifies my suspicion. I will re-edit that one and bring the exposure up a tad.

ababysean - Thank you very much for the suggestions. I didn't realize you spend THAT long doing one of these shoots! I spent a total of about 1.5-2hrs. Now that you mention how much time you spend, it's clear I didn't spend enough time. Mom was there, but would usually be in the background rather than right next to the baby. Mom was kinda scatter brained, so she was all over the place...Her mom and dad also had a fight right before we started, so I'm betting that didn't help, either... I've also noticed you shoot with the virtually the same setup I use (D5000 & 50 f/1.4) and you always have tack sharp photos of your models. Is there anything special you've discovered with this setup to help you nail focus like you do? After a year of using this body, I'm starting to wonder if my AF isn't calibrated properly. Or I'm still just not good enough :lol:

RauschPhotography - Crystal is definitely one I pay attention to when I see her post! I'll try warming them up a little in PS, and see if they look better. Thanks for the suggestion. I think I'll try the B&W conversion and see what it looks like, too. I just never end up doing B&W conversions well...
 

ababysean

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well thanks! I think my images are not sharp at all.

Are you sizing and sharpening for web? There are some great actions out there that you can run that will resize for web for you.

I use click n moms because it was/is? free http://www.clickinmoms.com/blog/?p=833 and I'm cheap... lol

Also, I usually run an unsharp mask 150, 1.5, 10.

I have a D90 and I usually shoot my newborns with a 35mm 1.8 because I know I will be indoors, so that does not give me a bunch of room. The 50 was probably just a bit too short. Also, remember on your crop sensor, a 35 is basically a 50....

What were your settings? I would not shot wide open, more around f4. You will find your focus to really improve and since you are going to be real close to the baby, if you shoot below f4, it is going to be hard to nail focus.

I use off camera flash too. but just barely, for fill. It allows me to shoot that F4, 1.200 ISO 200 inside....

Here is my newborn letter I email/mail to clients before a session. I really try to get them to come to my house because I know my lighting. Everyone always says oh we have great light in our house, I get there and it is like a dungeon... lol

[FONT=&quot]I'm photographing your newborn! And I'm very excited to be able to do this for you. There are a few things in order to better prepare your baby for their photo session. Please read the following tips so that we can get some great photos of your newborn.[/FONT]
[FONT=&quot] [/FONT]
[FONT=&quot]1. [/FONT][FONT=&quot] If I am coming to your home, please do NOT worry about the state of your house. Do not spend time cleaning and clearing. You just had a baby. I've had 3 babies, so I understand the craziness of the first few months of adjusting. I do not care if your sink is flowing with dishes, if laundry is thrown around all over the floor, if there are crumbs or toys, or bottles, or blankets, or diapers, or any of the other 50 bazillion things a new baby needs all over the floor. I am NOT there to judge the state of your home, I am there to get photos that will last lifetimes to come.[/FONT]
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[/FONT]

[FONT=&quot]2. [/FONT][FONT=&quot]Loosen the baby’s diaper about 30 minutes before the session. This allows time for the diaper’s imprint marks to disappear.[/FONT]

[FONT=&quot][/FONT][FONT=&quot][/FONT]
[FONT=&quot]3. [/FONT][FONT=&quot]Have your house warm. Ideally, you’ll want the thermostat set around 80-85. For the adults it will be hot, but the baby will be toasty and happy.
[/FONT]


[FONT=&quot][/FONT][FONT=&quot][/FONT]
[FONT=&quot]4. [/FONT][FONT=&quot] Collect any items you want used in the session beforehand – family heirlooms, toys, monogrammed blankets, etc. I’ll go through these with you to determine what will look best in the pictures.
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[FONT=&quot][/FONT][FONT=&quot][/FONT]
[FONT=&quot]5. [/FONT][FONT=&quot]If you’d like pictures taken of the baby in the nursery, be sure all the curtains and shades are open to let in lots of natural light. No need to clean, but just try and make sure the clutter has found its way to a closet.
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[FONT=&quot]
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[FONT=&quot]6. [/FONT][FONT=&quot] Decide if you’d like pictures taken with your baby, or if want pictures of only the baby. [/FONT]
[FONT=&quot]7. [/FONT][FONT=&quot]Make sure the baby has a full belly before I arrive. Aren’t we all happier with a full belly? [/FONT]
[FONT=&quot]8. [/FONT][FONT=&quot] After the baby is full, make sure they are burped really well. Gas can take a sleepy, happy baby to an uncomfortable and irritable one in seconds.
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[FONT=&quot]
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[FONT=&quot]9. [/FONT][FONT=&quot] Be patient. If the baby gets fussy or alert, don’t stress out. A baby can sense your anxiety and we want to keep the environment as mellow as possible. We will try and get the baby comfortable again, but if that just doesn’t seem possible, we’ll take a break or we’ll work with what he’s giving us. Sometimes the best pictures are ones when the baby isn’t doing what we want.
[/FONT]

[FONT=&quot]
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[FONT=&quot]10. [/FONT][FONT=&quot]Be assured that if there is ever a point where you’re uncomfortable with the poses, simply let me know. I only want to do poses and shots that you are comfortable with.
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[FONT=&quot]
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[FONT=&quot]11. [/FONT][FONT=&quot]A majority of the pictures will work best if the baby is asleep so anything you can do in advance to encourage this is recommended. [/FONT]
 
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crimbfighter

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ababysean - Thanks for the info! For some reason I thought you were using a D5000 and 50mm. Maybe it was because of some past shoots you did. I also didn't realize you used fill flash. I think I may have been trying too hard to use only natural light. Ended up biting me in the butt... The D5000 doesn't handle noise well at all, and it becomes noticeable at ISO400... I didn't dare go over ISO640, which unfortunately relegated me to the "below f/4" club... Maybe I just need to stop being afraid of flash :lol:

Are there any resources you've found helpful learning poses for you newborn shoots? I've googled it plenty, and but can never seem to emulate what I've seen.

I will definitely keep your suggestions in mind! Since my friends seem to be reproducing at an alarming rate, I'm sure it won't be long before having another opportunity.
 

RauschPhotography

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So much good information here! Definitely keeping these in mind for future shoots :)
 

AmazingGrace0385

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#2 is underexposed. I agree, a space heater is great, I've also seen photogs use womb machines. Have plenty of time for mom to nurse or sooth the baby to sleep.
 
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crimbfighter

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Here were a couple adjustments I made to the edits.

Converted this one to B&W and bumped up the exposure a tad, as suggested.
Evangelina_031911_5-2copy-1.jpg


Rausch, these three I added a warming filter at about 30% in PS. Not sure if it's what you were thinking.
Evangelina_031911_3-3.jpg

Evangelina_031911_2-2.jpg

Evangelina_031911_1-1.jpg
 

vtf

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Wow Ababysean, you have grown so much over the past year.
Crimbfighter, using some kind of ocf or extra lighting helps to ease the extreme settings on your camera i.e. high iso, slow shutter or wide open f settings.
I do think you're off to a good start, keep at it, its an ever progressing art.
 

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