Monday, 25 November 2013

Frequently Asked Question - from Newborn Photographers

I receive a lot of messages from newborn photographers starting out their business asking for help and information. So I opened it up on my facebook page for people to post some questions that they would like me to answer.  It can be hard starting out in this newborn photography industry - it is a solitary journey and true friends are not easy to find. In recognition that not everyone has someone to mentor and guide them, I decided to share some insights.

I have done my best to provide helpful information - but with the understanding that some things have to remain a bit of a secret!  All I ask for in return is that you post a comment of thanks here on my blog and/or on my facebook page.



~ For more information on newborn photography sessions visit Rebecca Connolly Photography | North Sydney Newborn Photography

Lighting in a darker studio? Achieving good “soft” light.

Achieving good lighting is the key to producing beautiful, professional images.  While there are “correct” general lighting techniques (and in particular lighting newborns from the head and then splashing the light down their body) – the balance between light and shadows is a matter for personal taste.  I like my images to be bright, but still have a ‘softness’ to them.  My style does not lean towards really strong shadows or matte toned images.  So what is the key to achieving “my” look ……?  Fill light.

Whether you are using natural light or studio lighting, I have found that fill light is the key.  I like to have my beanbag/stand angled at slightly less than 45 degrees to the window/light source. Because of this, I need to fill in the shadows with reflected light. You may want to try a reflector or another strobe light to help fill in some of the shadows. Also, the more gentle and even your light is, the better the images will be – so if you are finding that you natural light is harsh and creating a lot of contrast, try diffusing your light by using a sheer curtain (and then bump up your ISO if you need to).

I now use mainly studio lighting for my sessions.  I am frequently asked what sorting of lights I use. So here it is:
Alien Bee 400
Westcott 50x50 softbox
Large Reflector

Here is an image from my natural lighting set-up (note that I have now changed to studio lighting).
What does your typical workflow look like? Ideally how many blankets/props etc do you try to incorporate per shoot?

My workflow during the session is the same for almost all of my sessions – I usually start with the beanbag:- I do two blankets on the beanbag and about 6 different poses in total – but then each of these poses will have different angles and some with hats/headbands/wraps. I do one set-up with a flokati rug on the floor and at least one prop set-up.  My sessions also include taking a range of family photos, which I usually do at the end – but sometimes I do these first.

What type of shots do you take at a session with a 4 week old baby?

This can be a tricky age!  I have found that the baby will usually arrive awake – this is a great opportunity to get some awake shots.  Then wrap that baby up! If the baby is still awake, then I would ask the mum if it was possible to feed the baby a bit more or to give the baby some cuddles. During these cuddles, I would take some photos of mum and the baby together. Hopefully, you now have a sleepy baby – so I would gently lay the baby down onto the beanbag (still wrapped up). You are not going to be able to move the baby too much at this age, so gently peel the wrap off and take some shots of the baby on their side and then on the tummy (bottom up pose – if possible).

These are some examples of 3 – 6 week old babies that I have photographed.

Editing tips?

My tip is to get a good SOOC image.  Pay particular attention to exposure and white balance. If you get those right, then the editing is really to touch up the skin and to put your “style” to the image. Hmmmm …. for a small tip – I like to use the levels feature in CS6 to lighten and add depth to the blacks.

What type of flooring do you use? Real wood or backdrops?

I use wood laminate flooring that I purchased from Bunnings (a store similar to Home Depot). It is the “click-together” type flooring.  I have previously used canvas/vinyl floor drops, but I really did not find one that I was happy with and I also thought that they looked fake in my images. I actually want to purchase some wood planks and have a go at the crackle paint effect.
Do you do family shots in your newborn session?

Yes, I LOVE doing family shots. In newborn sessions, I think these images are just as important as taking images of the baby on their own. I do not charge any extra for taking family images. So do not forget to work on your posing skills for the family photos as well!  I also offer my clients the opportunity to book in for “Family Photo Session” days for when their baby is between 3 months and 12 months. Here are some examples of my family photos taken during a newborn session.

And a family session day photo!

Friday, 22 November 2013

Sydney Newborn Photography Twins - Abbi and Maali

After arriving 6 weeks early and then being in hospital for 4 weeks - I was so excited to hear that Abbi and Maali were coming home from the hospital and were ready to come in for their newborn session.  Both girls were teeny tiny baby dolls - the smallest that I have ever had in the studio - weighing just 1.9 and 2.0 kgs.  They were amazing sleepers and just loved being right next to each other.  I loved photographing these beautiful girls, with their gorgeous strawberry blonde hair and porcelain skin.

Rebecca works closely with the Lower North Shore Multiple Birth Association providing specialist newborn photography sessions for families of multiples in the north sydney region.

~ For more information on newborn photography sessions visit Rebecca Connolly Photography | North Sydney Newborn Photography

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Sydney Newborn Photographer | Alyssa - 3 weeks old baby photos

When I first met little Alyssa in my studio, I feel instantly in love with her gorgeous big eyes and dark hair.  At three weeks of age, she was only asleep for part of her newborn photography session - but that just meant I got to capture some awake baby photos showing her beautiful eyes. She was so calm and content - I could definitely see her personality shining through. Even when I put her next to her big brother - she looked up at him with such interest!

A huge congratulations to this family of four and thank you for bringing your gorgeous baby girl to me for her newborn baby photos.

~ For more information on newborn photography sessions visit Rebecca Connolly Photography | North Sydney Newborn Photography

Sunday, 3 November 2013

North Sydney Newborn Photographer | Adorable baby Hunter ~ 6 days old

I was so very excited to receive the message about a newborn photography session for little Hunter - I had photographed Hunter's older twin brother and sister in December 2011.  I really do love seeing families grow and meeting brand new baby brother and sisters.  Hunter was an absolute dream to photograph - I feel in love with all his chubbiness and cute cheeks. I could have kept him all to myself!  Love this family, so I was even willing to do their session on my birthday!!  Congratulations to Hunter's two mums on your growing family.

~ For more information on newborn photography sessions visit Rebecca Connolly Photography | North Sydney Newborn Photography

Monday, 28 October 2013

North Sydney Newborn Photography | Little Lachlan

I was so excited to hear about the much anticipated birth of little Lachlan.  I have been friends with Lachlan's aunt since we were 5 years old and I know that it took Lachlan's parents a long time before they were blessed with the birth of this little boy.  So Lachlan is special - for so many reasons - and it was my absolute pleasure to photograph him.

~ For more information on newborn photography sessions visit Rebecca Connolly Photography | North Sydney Newborn Photography

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