Sunday, March 7, 2010

shooting babies in trees {a joint adventure}

There is an important issue I feel I need to address. One of much importance. Sadly, one that too often gets ignored.


Listen, I {shoot} babies. I am a baby photographer because I see the beauty in the details and I love spending hours upon hours holding them. I have patience with them. Lots of it. I did NOT start off as a newborn photographer. Why? 'Cause I didn't know what I was doing. I needed to practice my photography and babies are not the subjects to practice on. When I did start photographing babies, I did simple shots. Focused on the details and simplicity of the baby. Only after much experience have I started to do more artistic shots. Only after lots and lots of research and advice from those who have done it much longer than I. Only after many long, hot sessions with newborns in simple poses.

Please ... PLEASE... I beg you... do not actually hang a baby from a tree. Do not put a baby on a ledge in the living room. Do not lay one down on a chair above a wood floor and walk away. DO NOT.

You may be laughing right now - at the thought. I'm not. Because there are people out there who may be beginning in this career or perhaps not even beginners to photography, but new to newborn photography. They take their friend's newborn and put them up on that ledge and walk away to take the shot. Not knowing the details of how these shots are actually made. Not thinking about the safety issue.

Now, I'm not bashing new photographers. I too was once a new photographer and I continue to learn every single day. However, I didn't hang a baby from a tree. I'm asking you to please not until you have been doing this for several years and have talked to someone who has done it before or even better, have an extra set of experienced hands to assist with your session. 

I'll let you in on a little secret: Most shots you see where a baby seems to be in an odd situation are actually composite shots that have been photoshopped. Safety is of the utmost concern {top priority}.

So to get a baby "hanging from a tree", my dear friend Kami Brady and I did a joint session. We had never done this before because we both always felt like it called for two photographers along with a parent or two.  Called for the right client.  Called for lots and lots of prep time.  The right person was found in a previous, trusting client.  A mother who was so generous as to give us the freedom to "play" -having no expectations on her part- with some shots we hadn't tried before.

A tree branch, inspected for durability, cleaned (scrubbed & sanded) and brought inside. A supportive wrap, tested for strength. Two pro photographers and the mother of baby at our feet the whole time. Huge construction-grade supports and a very large bean bag. Baby was kept warm, cuddled and fed a LOT. And this is important...listen...

*baby was at ALL times directly above a very large bean bag and only raised off that bean bag by teensy inches with mom or Kami's or my hands supporting baby's head/wrap the entire time.*
the bean bag is then photoshopped out of the image.

Keeping safety in mind - Kami and I tested with Baby Ruth

meet Baby Ruth

Then, after nearly two hours of work & sweat...

Moving on from the "tree" we tested another idea with Baby Ruth (yes that's my arm holding the scale)

knowing we had it under control, we replaced Baby Ruth with our very patient baby "Y," who slept through this

again, bean bag was photoshopped out of the image.

and because he was doing so well, we went on to the propped head shot. Another composite. Never was "Y"s head left to dangle in the open air. he needed a little "shushing" by Ms Kami and then - after Kami worked her magic -

Satisfied with our very long session of artsy (or Geddy-esque ...they could also be called "Carrie & photogs know what I'm saying) shots, we moved on to the simple shots. At this point, "Y" was waking up and not quite as sleepy as before. So, a little cuddling and patting was necessary again.

and, at the end of it all, you can see he was quite happy with his warm cuddle time in the studio.

and, because I can't keep my posts 100% serious... can I tell you how much I LUV this shot?!

did you stick with me allll the way through my post?  yes?  thanks!  and as my thank you ... tell me about this post and get a free "small" print ($40 value) from your next session.  valid on new sessions April through August.


Kim McCombs said...

OMG!!!! These are adorable. Thanks for Sharing. They are just so precious!

crystal said...

love it!!! I agree 100% with Miss Kimberly:)