Newborns are HARD!

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ButtonsMama's picture
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Newborns are HARD!

Do you all remember me telling you that I had the opportunity to shoot the new baby of the daughter of a co-worker? I spent days scouring ILP looking at other examples of newborns. Let me tell you - it's WAY harder than it looks! First of all, by the time she was able to make time for me, her baby was 19 days old, which is a little outside of the acceptable time frame. Secondly, the lighting in her house was terrible. I chose to shoot in a bedroom with lots of sunlight streaming in the windows. In hindsight, the light was way to bright and harsh, and the slats on the windows made unpleasant shadows. How do you all get around that??

Anyway, I was pretty disappointed with what I did (which is why you haven't seen them yet, but Amber's post about CCing encouraged me to get them out here), but luckily, the mother knew that I had never done this before and she ended up being very happy with many of them. Here are just a few from that day in November. Unfortunately, I don't have the settings of these here with me (I'm at work) - I can post them when I get home later. Feel free to CC on other things, if you like.

My favorite:

Closeup:

Ugh - those darn shadows in the background!!:

Happily, I'll get another shot at a newborn! Our DCP's daughter is pregnant and due in mid-July. I've already asked her if I could take her baby's picture, and she readily agreed! I'd like to take them on my front porch - it gets the most perfect light in the evening in the summertime. Of course, I'll update you all when that actually happens!

sweetalienchick's picture
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These are cute! Smile I love that first one! I agree though, the lighting is a bit harsh but the mother liked them and that's really all that matters. Have you tried a reflector? Or even just a big white foam board would work too. I don't remember if you have a speedlight? I'm glad you posted Smile It was great practice I'm sure! I have not done a newborn yet but I look forward to the day I can!

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Yep, the lighting is harsh, but I am sure you learning from it right!? #3 is my fav though!

ButtonsMama's picture
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You bet I learned from this experience, Sadie! I learned that, at first glance, her living room looked too dark because the sun coming in the windows wasn't direct sun - that would've been MUCH better than what I used! I would've rather bumped up my ISO some than had that harsh light.

Loida, I had a reflector with me, but was afraid that I'd just end up bouncing around the harsh light and it would look worse than it already did. Do you think that would've helped?

As I said, I plan to shoot on my front porch for the one in July - not-direct sunlight and outside! The lighting should be much better anyway.

mlark1128's picture
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Newborns take a LOT of practice! Definitely much harder than it looks. It's great that you got some practice today, and you were able to learn from it too! The lighting is harsh, but we all gotta learn somehow, right? Wink

FWIW, the comp of the third picture is really nice!

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Yes, I like the 3rd the best! What a sweet little one!

I agree that the lighting is harsh, but I know that it's hard to find a nice spot indoors to take photos using natural light. I've been struggling with this the 2.5 years that we've lived in this house!

Good for you for asking to take those pictures when the new baby gets here! I really should ask my friends to take pictures of their kids or families. I've only done it when someone has asked me, and that's only been twice. It's so refreshing to photograph someone other than my kids. My kids are so annoyed with my camera!

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Good point about the reflector. I'm not sure what I would have done actually. I kind of did what you did when I first started out though. I was trying to take photos of my son in the living room and the lighting is so poor here and I didn't have a speedlight back then (or maybe I did but didn't know how to use it at all). Well, the sun came shining through and I thought "ding ding! lighting!" Little did I know it was too harsh. You live you learn and you move on Smile That's what practice is all about!

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They are cute, despite the harsh lighting, and I love #3! so sweet Smile I remember in another thread talking about whether or not to put sheer (white) curtains to good use in a case like this; someone said no, but I forget why....I would think having a sheer white curtain to use to scatter and even out the bright sunbeams would be helpful...? this thread just reminded me of that...

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You know what? I think the first one is lovely. The only thing that caught my eye is that big dark shadow on the front of her head. I would be happy if someone took this pic of my baby tho!

I am still trying to figure out light, and what qualities to look for when finding a good spot to photograph.

Good job!

EL2
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Yes, newborns are hard! It was good that you are able to practice. I do think #3 came out best. It's in focus, composition is good. Lighting is definitely harsh. Was the light coming into the room? It seems like that is what is happening. You don't necessarily have to have sunlight beaming into the room, just as long as the room is well lit, you should be able to work well with it.

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Great job for your first time love the basket!!

I'm no pro at newborns but with lighting it's better just at the edge of it and not directly in it

So open shade directly next the light is your best bet
My relector when the silver or gold cover isnt on it makes a great diffuser
You could of held that over her to filter the light. I'm sure it was difficult to find the right light even my own Apt I only have one spot in my dining room that will work

Can't wait to see more :0) great initiative
I really want to ask my neighbor if I can photograph her baby

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Another vote for #3 here. I found it hard enough to photograph my own newborn. I do think that a reflector could have helped, or maybe the diffuser part of it if you have a 5 in 1.