I don’t know about you, but a lot of times I like to know what I’m getting into before I dive in… I thought I’d use a photo shoot I did a few months back to show a little about how I work when I’m with a client, so you have some idea what to expect…and what I expect of you!
This was a very typical photo session for a ~6 month old boy. It took place in his home, as many of my baby sessions do, and both his parents were present. Their home was lovely – enough baby “stuff” to keep baby entertained, but not overly cluttered. It was lit about as well as most homes. (In other words, I’d have loved more light but it wasn’t dark either.) They had some outfits for baby picked out ahead of time, as well as a few blankets made by friends & family. Baby had napped, snacked, been changed…all the things that make for a happier child. All told, it went pretty perfectly.
You’ll notice I mentioned clutter above. One of the things that people don’t realize is that you can have a cluttered space and still take some lovely photos, as long as you focus on the subject and don’t get a lot of clutter in the frame. But! Clutter simply makes it more difficult. Additionally, while nobody really wants to show off their messy dining room in a professional photo, it also makes my job harder. Trying to find a space to put baby, where I can get down on their level and have space to work, is just easier if we don’t have to dodge exersaucers and bouncy seats and toys strewn about the room. Even a small space will work! A corner of the living room…the side of a bedroom…by the windows in the dining room. It doesn’t have to be much, but it does need to be clear of major obstructions. We might want toys and exersaucers and the like to be nearby and accessible in case we need props, but they shouldn’t be in the way.
Here you can see baby propped up in his seat, with most of the living room/dining room visible in the background.
One reason I chose to make this particular image black and white was because of how much of the room we can see in the shot – while this space certainly wasn’t messy, it was colorful and made for a somewhat distracting background. Black and white removes much of the distraction, allowing us to focus on the beautiful baby boy!
See the difference in color?
One very helpful thing that you can do before I arrive is to have put some thought into what clothes you and/or your child(ren) will be wearing. If you want a change of outfits – have them handy. Special baby blankets, toys and props should all be ready to go. It makes things go much smoother!
For instance, we used two different blankets in this shoot – a beautiful quilt and a lovely textured knitted blanket in a solid color.
The quilt becomes a design element in and of itself while the blue blanket makes for a subtly textured background. Both are lovely, though different!
Another thing that can work, especially for babies that can’t sit up on their own yet, is to be held by a parent. And no, camera-shy parents, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you will be in the photo. Here we can see a lovely upright shot of the little guy being held by his mother, who isn’t really in the frame.
We can see her more here, but she’s still a subtle presence. A sweet moment…
In this shot, believe it or not, baby is surrounded by many toys on his exersaucer-type thing. Full of bright colors, sounds and whatnot, you’d never know it from this photo. It all depends on what’s in the frame and what’s in focus!