Tag: ‘babies’



Window light is Best for Babies!

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012

Here is sweet Sophia again just a few weeks old.  The trick to photographing babies is to be patient. I am not a professional photographer and I have not been to formal photography classes  but I am a mom and I know that babies have to be fed, warm and with mama to be happy. So, I am guessing that works for the photography mom too. We got her up after a little nap and mama fed her. We moved over to some window light and started shooting.

First I grabbed some shots of this cute little bottom and those precious feet! I set my camera to the following settings using my 50mm 1.4 lens I love.  

Shutter Speed  1/125, because she was not moving fast, I usually like to keep the ss at least 1/200 with kids. but this day I needed to lower it to get the light to work.

F-Stop 3.5, because I wanted some blur in the background

ISO 500 because we were inside and the window light was not too bright.

I picked up this cute diaper cover at a specialty children’s shop for my camera bag because diapers are ugly and bright colors/clothes are not always flattering on newborns, we love baby skin to show.

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Then we put a black shirt on mom and a pink bow on baby and tried out best to get baby to look at me, she was not too interested at first…

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But I kept shooting…

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and finally got some eye contact!

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Next I wanted to get  some more feet to go with the shot we took before she was born, remember this one?

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I had mom sit by the window. Window light is best…love it…

Then it was time to eat again! love the ‘nursing hands’!

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The next tip is to try to get babies face close to mama, this is harder than you think but worth the effort.

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I love the way the light is coming across her profile in these shots:

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She is not old enough to hold her head up so a little help from mama’s hands under the blanket works.

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Finally one more shot of that precious face! For these I used some black fabric that I had to drape behind her so there wasn’t a cluttered background. A few yards of black fabric is a perfect addition to your camera bag. Make sure the light from the window is on her face with her eyes catching some of the soft light.

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I love the black and white/sepia look especially against the black background. Sometime I use the black and white adjustment on my Memory Manager software but then it is a little blue to me…so I warm it up a bit to get this look….not totally B&W and not totally sepia.

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Stay tuned for some more baby photos of a brand  new baby boy!

Get your camera out today!

Melanie

How To Photograph A Baby..Just A Few Of Many Tips…

Saturday, May 28th, 2011

Babies.

They melt your heart.

God made them so so cute because He knew that moms would need to have extra doses of patience and grace when dealing with them! It is true that mom has a maternal ‘eye’ that dad doesn’t  – – which is why we are drawn to baby pictures.  That instinct makes us  ooh and awe over that cute little face with those big eyes and those chubby little cheeks and arms and legs. ..even if it isn’t our baby!  If it is our baby, we ooh and awe but we also usually get a tear in our eye when we see shots that capture ‘the look’ we know and love!

So how do you photograph the most spectacular of all of God’s creations?  And why can it be so difficult?

Here are some tips for capturing babies. Remember that I am not a professional photographer….just a mom who has a passion for capturing the unique personalities of the people I know and the wonderful bits of life that the pros generally aren’t around for.  You can do this too!

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Tip 1: Plan for the unplanned. Most  of my very best photo shoots of babies have taken place when there was no prior plans or ‘appointment’. It is nuts, but it seems that the best time to get good shots of baby is when the baby, not you, plans it.  We had some friends over and I noticed that the light was good and the baby was happy so I had to grab my camera.

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Tip 2: Keep your camera by your car keys. Because most of your best shots are going to be unplanned you have to be ready on a moment’s notice. Keep your camera handy. Oh, and babies love to ‘eat’ car keys so they come in handy too when you are in the middle of your ‘unplanned’ photo shoot!

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Tip 3. Switch to the M button. The best portrait type shots are when the subject is in focus and the background is blurry. In order to achieve this and have the most control over your outcome you will want to choose your settings. You also want to control the focus and you want to focus on their eyes.  A lower F stop number will give you a blurry background but if you get too low you may have one sharp eye but not the other (because of the shallow depth of field.)

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Tip 4.  A little dirt never hurt anyone! Babies crack me up the way they pick up the tiniest pieces of ‘stuff’ and focus on trying to get it from their hands to their mouth.  I love their expressions as they work so hard then finally reach their goal; the pine straw made it to the mouth! Thank goodness that this mom didn’t interfere! A little pine straw never hurt anyone!

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Tip 5. Get in their world. Don’t quit shooting when they start doing ‘baby’ stuff. Even crying shots are OK.

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Tip 6: Be patient and keep shooting. Follow them and don’t dictate their next move. Don’t have too many preconceived ideas of what you want; babies will give you the best shots if you wait for them. You will have to work for it but the camera mom who has the most patience will win! Don’t give up when the crying starts…it will stop quickly and if you pack up you will miss your next favorite shot.

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Tip 7:  You don’t always need a smile. Keep shooting through the more simple poses even if they are not looking at you.

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Tip 8:  Get really close …

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…then get closer in post editing if needed (and get rid of the drool if you want!) It is not a bad idea to keep a hanky handy to wipe up the constant drool.

Memory Manager software does all of this and is very mom friendly! No need for  Photoshop; this is much easier and quicker to use! Link below.

http://www.mycmsite.com/sites/melaniehempe/Content/Shop/Product.aspx?sku=642054&path=/Hierarchy/Digital%20Scrapbooking/Products%20for%20PC/Software/Memory%20Manager

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Tip 9: A tripod usually won’t work with babies….  because they move too fast. Be prepared to do some major moving around to get the baby to look at you. This is not easy! You may have to stand on your head, so do some stretches before you start! You have to follow them because, guess what? … they don’t do what you tell them to do! Make your body a tripod. Brace 3 parts of your body if possible to prevent camera shake and blurry photos: both feet or knees on the ground and an elbow against something like a chair, tree or your knee if it is bent, or your elbows tight against  your body. Sometimes I sit down with one knee up with my camera propped up on my knee so I can get on their level.

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Tip 10: Early morning or early evening is the best time to photograph people.  

Photography is all about the light.  When the sun is not quite overhead or when it is behind a cloud or has ‘set’ you will get the best exposures. Remember to look for the catch lights in their eyes (the little white reflections) that way you know you have enough light on their face. You may have to have them face another direction to get this.

You can never have too many photos of your baby!   Take lots of them and take them often. You will blink and your baby will be grown and you can never go back to capture those magic little moments along the way.   Don’t get discouraged if you don’t have pictures of your baby; just go get your camera and take a photo of your child today…then go put your camera by your car keys…..so you won’t miss another unplanned shot!!

Finally, if your baby is all grown up, find a friend’s baby to practice your photography! Photographing babies is so much fun and rewarding!

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Most of these shots were taken with the following settings:

early evening light, ISO 500, F Stop 3.0 SS 1/125  50mm very little post editing. As the sun goes down your ISO will need to go up.

What I will do different next time:  I usually set my shutter speed faster with kids, at least 1/200. I will pay more attention next time and up the ISO sooner to get a faster shutter speed (very important to keep the image sharp). I also will take his shirt off for  a few shots next time.  I like baby skin.

Baby Baby Baby!

Saturday, April 30th, 2011

Photographing little babies is just so …..  fun, and stressful, and tense and …hard!! But so worth whatever it takes to get the job done.

This photography  effort below was not perfect. I am just a mom trying to figure this stuff out and I make plenty of mistakes on my journey, but this new mom was happy to have some pictures of her little girl, mistakes and all, and I was  happy to get the practice and learn some things.

I headed out the door with my bag packed:  one white satin baby blanket, some white tulle, a few simple baby outfits, a rattle, crunchy bright toy,  my 50mm 1.4 lens, an empty memory card and a full battery.

What I was hoping to find when I got to the house was: nice window light and a fed ‘not sleepy’ happy baby!

Here are some thoughts on what I learned and a few tips.

Pack a little simple outfit just in case the mom forgot. I like lots of baby skin showing but a little simple dress for a girl or shirt for a boy is cute too. I brought this  little pink slip along with a cloth diaper cover…always use a diaper cover (found at most specialty children’s stores) there is nothing cute about a disposable diaper.

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I found some great natural window light in the upstairs foyer. We put the white blanket over some pillows and tried to set her up a bit.  Remember to turn off the flash!

You may or may not always get the smile you want at this age…so be happy with the tongue!

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Be even happier if you get the tongue AND the smile together! Notice in this shot that the head needs to be tilted down a little more. Note that the tulle in the background keeps the carpet from showing.

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Try to face the baby directly toward the window light. Notice the light in her eyes?  I have had some success with mom holding baby and getting the over the shoulder shots. But she has to hold her up high so the baby isn’t buried in her shoulder.

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I used my 50mm lens and learned that the f stop needed to be a bit higher than it was with the close-up shots  These were shot at 2.8, ISO 160, shutter speed 1/100.  When  your f stop is low and you are close,  the depth of field is shallow meaning that only a sliver of the photo will actually be in focus. In this case one eye is in focus and the other one is not because it fell a little behind the right eye and out of the focus area….this is called a shallow depth of field, only a small part of the are is in focus. I should have increased my f stop to include a larger area.

After a little crop.

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I always like to get hands in the shot, both hands seems to be a bonus.

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Try different angles and work through the crying and diaper changes. Don’t get discouraged; one minute they will be screaming and the mom will be anxious then the next second they will calm down. Although an extra pair of hands to help is good, I seem to have the best success when mom leaves the room!

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Try changing to black and white post editing. This is black and white with the temperature warmed up a bit.

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I had to get flat on the floor  for this shot but I love it. Once the crawling starts this shot will be hard to get so get it before they start moving!

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I love the interaction here with mom. The beauty of this shot  is that you can’t really tell if she was laughing or crying! So keep shooting through the crying! You may be surprised!

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Finally, keep shooting till the very end when baby gets tired and the ‘nuzzling’ starts. At this point it would have been good to get some sleeping baby photos but she was changed and put down for a nap. I felt like I needed a nap too!

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Camera Mom Tip:  Practice is the key to getting better with your photography. Remember with babies especially you will have to take a lot of shots. Practicing with a baby doll is a good idea. I like to plan a few sessions so I don’t feel so stressed to have to get it perfect the first time!

Not Just Baseball Going On at the Ball field

Monday, April 11th, 2011

One great thing about being a mom with a camera is that you get to capture unexpected moments that happen all around you in your day to day life….moments that can’t be planned out or repeated for the photo appointment with the pro. I love this photography stuff and I love surprises! I feel like I get to open presents all the time!

At the game last week, I was getting the biggest kick watching this baby. One of his big brothers plays on our team and while I was shooting the big kids I was also able to keep my eye on this little guy.

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This baby was on his grandmother’s lap and she was getting the best giggles from him as only a grandmother can do.  Can’t you just hear him?!  I immediately knew that I had a little magic to capture.

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The perfect thing about this moment in time is that it represents something that is pretty rare…. nice light with a spontaneous slice of ‘baby life’: the tongue, the hands in the mouth, the instant change from a giggle to a stare to tears then back to the giggles… If I were going over to this sweet family’s house to photograph their kids, this would never happen…because you can’t plan this stuff! That is why you, the mom, have to learn how to use your camera and get these rare shots at an un-planned moments notice.

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My f stop was low so I got the blurred background but I had to be careful to think about the depth of field issues as I moved from the far away shots on the field to the up-close shot right in front of me with my big lens.  In general, when you have a low f stop with a close up you will have only a very small slice of the subject in focus. Notice how some of his face is in focus but not his ears in the shot above? This is called a shallow depth of field. The further away I get the more everything would be in focus. It would have helped to have my 50mm 1.8 fixed lens with me, note to self: bring that lens to the ball filed.

Love those baby hands!

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The middle brother got in on the action as he got some sweet mama love and kisses.

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Notice the wonderful light on the side of his face during that yummy time of day?  Also, this shot works better with the fence in the background blurred out, if it wasn’t it would have been distracting to the subject.

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Did I say I was glad to get those cute little baby hands?

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..and more hands…

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Aha, now we know why the obsession with the hands…there they are…the two little teeth…

He was just so cute I wanted to eat him up!

So, be really flexible and be on the lookout for these unplanned shots when you are with friends…once you start looking you will see them where you least expect them…

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…..even on the ball field!

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Camera Mom tip:  Look for the story within the story and be ready to take the stuff going on around you when you are at an event. Also, when the moment is right and it is working…..keep shooting! Gone are the days when we had to stop and change our film and miss the shot. Be prepared with an empty memory card and extra cards just in case… take full advantage of the moment and don’t get stingy with  your shots.

I am not a pro and these photos aren’t perfect as I am still learning a lot, however, if you were this mom wouldn’t you be so glad to have them? : ) So don’t worry if you are good enough,  just go practice and have fun and good things will happen!

most shots were taken at dusk with f stop 2.8, ISO 200, 1/400

 

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