Welcome to the most darling forth baby girl to be born into this beautiful family! Evie, I think that may be the way Mari spells it, was a sweet content little child to photograph. Once we got her quieted and cozy warm….snug as a bug in a rug, one might add, we were able to move her around into many different set ups. I did however forget to warm my mom about the temperature that I keep the babies to help them sleep. Poor mom needed several hours to cool down after I warmed “her” up in addition to my little client! Thank yo mom for your patience and fortitude!
WHY YOU SHOULD BOOK A PHOTO SESSION FOR YOUR NEWBORN
JULY 28, 2014 BY AMBER ADRIAN
It may seem like this new human will spend its entire life as a squirming, wailing meatloaf – at least that’s how it feels at the 3 am feeding – but they grow fast. Soon your baby is waddling around the house and, approximately twenty minutes later, smashing your mailbox with the car fender. It’s easy to forget to capture the moment when you’re busy living the moment.
(Or hoping the moment will end. Yes, they’re precious bundles of joy, but those precious joy bundles have a terrible habit of wailing in the grocery store line.)
One way to capture those moments is to book a portrait session with a professional photographer. Yes, iPhones are a wonder of technology but there’s nothing like a professional to give you an image you’ll want on your mantelpiece forever.
“When people coo over baby pictures, they may or may not realize that the baby doesn’t actually look like that,” explains Karen Geaghan, an experienced baby photographer. “Their skin is red, they have pimples, and more than half the babies I shoot have purple feet because of poor circulation,” she says. Geaghan spends hours after every shoot manipulating expensive software to edit out the blemishes and alter skin tone. “People don’t want to see purple feet,” she laughs.
WHAT PEOPLE DON’T REALIZE
Those perfect baby pictures posted on Facebook don’t happen by accident. “People see the end result without knowing what goes into it,” says Geaghan. Keeping a baby content during hours of photography is no easy feat. She has to crank the heat up to 85 degrees – no joke in Massachusetts in January – and she asks the mother to feed the baby at the beginning of the session so the baby is sleepy. (Translation:content and malleable.) She also employs a veritable Rube Goldberg machine of contraptions to keep babies calm, like white noise and a soothing heartbeat monitor.
BABIES ARE EXPENSIVE
“Pricing throws people for a loop,” says Geaghan. Often parents don’t realize what goes into a session or what happens behind the scenes. A photographer’s time for a single session is often more than ten hours – set-up and breakdown of equipment is an hour, shooting is three to four hours, and then there’s editing to remove the purple feet.
Plus, there’s the equipment. Cameras – and professional photographers have many, all of which perform different functions – are thousands and thousands of dollars. “My favorite lens is $2500,” laughs Geaghan.
YOUR BABY WILL PROBABLY PEE ON SOMETHING
No worries, that’s what babies do. It’s in their job description. “That’s why I have a washing machine,” laughs Geaghan.
“I tell parents not to bring a lot of clothes – they aren’t dolls. Really, they’re not much more than a blob for that first four months,” she says. Some parents want to put their child in clothes and she never wants to say no, but she does try to explain her thinking. “You can only go without clothes in pictures until they’re a few months old,” she says. “So this is the only time you can see those cute, chubby rolls. You’ll want to remember those.”
About those buckets and baskets you see in newborn photography everywhere: “Prior to four months, your baby can’t hold itself up. That’s why I put it in something,” explains Geaghan. “That’s the only way you’ll see the baby’s face.”
WE AREN’T ROBOTS
When asked how she coaxes emotion through on pixel, Geaghan says, “How can you look at your newborn baby and not feel? It’s just there.”
You’ll remember the emotions because you feel them every time you look at your child (well, some of the times you look at your child) – but you won’t ever regret capturing those first few months. Especially after the decade that your angel will spend coloring on the walls. That picture on the mantel may just save everyone’s sanity.
Do you have any favorite newborn/baby photos, or memories from photo shoots of your kids?
ABOUT AMBER ADRIAN
Amber is a writer who masquerades as a panda and would hire someone to breathe for her if she could. She’s still on the hunt for someone to bake her cakes and fan her with peacock feathers. Basically, she wants to be Cleopatra. Since she lacks a pedigree and the staff to go with it, she uses Thumbtack instead.
I write this blog with a happy heart but also with a twinge of sadness that my time with Olivia is coming to an end. Olivia was a “Grow with me” baby plan child. She began her photographic journey as a newborn after her birth on July 2, 2013. And yes, today, Olivia turns ONE! She had a four, eight and twelve month session in addition to her newborn session which ended her one year plan. It culminates about the time of the child’s first birthday. Most parents chose to combine a cake smash with their one year images. I so enjoy watching these children grow into toddlers. It is so exciting and refreshing to relive the first year through these children. My children are so much older but it truly seems like just yesterday that they were this small. I remember the first steps, learning to talk ,the tantrums and unique quirks that remain with them to this day, all the excitement of that first year. How precious! Olivia, you are a beautiful little girl grown from the tiny little precious newborn last July. I wish you every happiness life has to offer. May the stars continue to twinkle, the moon continue to glow and may every wish and dream be realized as you emerge into a happy little toddler. Happy Birthday my little Angel<3 and, oh my, I actually have tears in my eyes…..
I haven’t done a baby blog in quite some time so thought it only appropriate to post a few images from the last year to highlight my baby plan. I am having such a ball with the little ones. I love when they come to me as a tiny little newborn and progress to the one year old and toddler stages. It is so exciting to see the growth and charming little personalities evolve over this time. I know I have mentioned before the three images I have posted of my children when they were quite young. They aren’t perfectly posed pictures; they are the pictures that show the personalities of each of my children at that particular point in time. When I stop to look and actually reflect on those images, it’s funny, they still to this day have those same personality traits that I captured so long ago in those images.
Babies are such an amazing gift and becoming a parent regardless of whether it’s for the first or sixth time, is one of the most rewarding and humbling experiences of one’s life. Although it isn’t quite possible to sum up the joy of a baby in several words, many of these images do a great job in summarizing some of the personalities I aspire to capture of your little ones.
I really have to admit, that what started out as a filler for my photography, has turned into an amazing segment of my business. I absolutely adore working with babies and children. I love the sparkle in their eyes, the many facial expressions, the quirky little personalities and the intrigue I get to witness as they grow into toddlers. What a fabulous career I have! Mr B was full of charm and smiles at his six month session. He is a beautiful baby boy, and I might add, the winner of the 2014 Beautiful Baby Contest that I host every year! Enjoy the images of Mr B’s bubble bath and other darling set ups! Please feel free to smile along with him and chuckle as you witness his cute little expressions as we photograph his six month session.
I promised myself that in 2014 I would have some new goals for my business. My goals for 2014 would be to educate people on the benefits of professional photography and to work on different styles of lighting to create dramatic effects for my images. I had started working on each of these goals in 2013 but really wanted to bump it up a notch.
Now for education, I think I want to head in a different direction than most blogs do about why to hire a professional photographer. We have heard countless times about the cost of running our business, the expensive equipment, the editing time, blah, blah, blah. I have already written those articles myself too. Yup, got my dander up too just like everyone else in the business. My sister told me after I wrote the last “why to” blog that no one cared about all that stuff. And, to tell you the truth, many don’t. Everyone has their reasons for the choices they make regarding their photography. Whether it be style, price, quality or another reason all together. You all make decisions that you can only hope are the right ones for you. I respect everyone’s decision to hire whom they choose yet I want to address, yes, this is the education part I was talking about, a few points to consider. Today’s education has to do with wedding photography since that has always been a large area of my business. I have been fortunate enough to have couples supply information when I am not the photographer they choose. This gives me a foundation to work with and information to keep helping my business move forward in today’s economy.
When you hire your photographer whether it is a friend, someone right out of school, someone that does it on the weekends, someone that does it full time, whoever you hire….Please make sure to notice the quality of the work they are showing you. Now, this is another issue. Some people just can’t identify quality or are willing to accept sub par images because they just plain old don’t know the difference. This may help. Ask to see multiple weddings and a progression of images from one particular wedding. Make sure you aren’t being shown only a handful of the best images taken for the one wedding they shot. Are they creative? Are they well lit? Is the exposure correct? Are they composed well? Every photographer has a different style and artistic vision. There is a wide range of pricing depending on the level of experience and commitment to excellence that you will receive. When a newer photographer enters the market it only makes sense to offer their services for a nominal fee while they are creating a portfolio. I did it myself back in the day. That way, when I made all my mistakes, the client knew I was newer to the industry and was willing to sacrifice on some level. It was either that or they just really liked me:) Make sure to ask yourself, “What am I willing to sacrifice”? For a wedding, honestly, I don’t think I would be to willing to sacrifice my memories with a newer photographer. But, that’s’ just me. I know what it takes emotionally and physically to shoot a wedding. Many newer photographers haven’t had the years of experience dealing with venue bloopers, DJ issues, nervous brides, late florists and yes, sorry if I offend anyone because I know you have a job too, the makeup and hair specialists who tend to run late! What to do in those situations comes with experience. It is hard just to wing it when you haven’t dealt with the situation before. So back to quality! I have learned to go with the flow when a client tells me they have hired a friend or Uncle so and so is going to shoot their wedding. I totally understand and respect the fact that we all have budgets. I do too just like everyone else. Just be aware when making your photography choices that it is the images you will have after the party is over. One can only hope that your wedding will last forever. There is no “do over”. You get what you get. The feelings and emotions cannot be recaptured after the most special day of your life is over. Do your homework and really think about what you want to walk away with and what you are willing to sacrifice to make a budget. I have done my homework. Guess I am just a good student. Most Wedding Photographers in the Western Ma area that have had years of experience and are dedicated to excellence range in price from $1600 to $3000 for full wedding coverage. Make your choices wisely. If you are being offered an extremely low price, there is usually a reason. Unfortunately you may not realize that reason until it is too late. It is funny, when I get quotes for various services that I need, I almost NEVER take the lowest quote and sometimes take the highest. It’s all about the quality and workmanship to me. But then again, that’s just me here too. Do what you are comfortable with but make good solid choices and be armed with lots of information.
Okay, now on to the lightning part because I just LOVE this!! I have been experimenting with many different types of lighting. They all create different looks and moods depending on the artistic vision you are trying to create. (This is also something you should notice when viewing a photographers work for your wedding.) It was mentioned recently by a friend that I have really changed my style of photography in the last year and the images have been stunning. I don’t know if I have “changed”, but I have tried many different ways to shoot in the last year. I have been fortunate to be able to purchase new equipment which allows me the ability to create the stunning images I capture. I used to say it is the person behind the lens ( and to a degree of course it is) but it is also the equipment I use. I look back at some of the cropped sensor images I took in the past and now the full frame images I take and honestly I can say they are all good but the vibrancy and quality is just so much better with a full frame camera and spectacular lenses I now use. For lighting there are so many different options I work with. I now use daylight balanced soft boxes which replicate window light for my babies. I really like it better than my flash units because it appears softer and there is not the constant flash to disrupt the baby. I can also meter differently for the look I want to achieve. For high school seniors I worked with reflectors all last year and started with off camera flash (Thank you Nick for being my reflector assistant) With the reflectors you can create really dramatic lighting depending on which reflector you use and how you spread the light. I really enjoyed learning and experimenting with my reflectors. Off camera flash or should I say flashes because I will be using three for weddings, has been a ball practicing with. I have totally had my bloopers there as well but think I finally have it down pat. I Have to mention this as it flows back to what I said about weddings. I never “practiced” my craft with paying clients. I have always experimented with clients who I did not charge. I think it is important to continue learning but not at the expense of the paying consumer. Anyways, back to off camera flash. I have had so much fun with my friend Mike and his mannequins Stella & Manny practicing with all our setups. I Have to say the mannequins work fabulously because It saves me from annoying my children trying to get them to help. Lighting will continue to be my focus for 2014. I will post a few images with the settings and style of lighting to show the differences.
As you can see, there are various forms of lighting a subject. All of them create a different mood and a different feeling. I find that in the last year I now ask clients how they would like me to shoot. I find that I LOVE all styles and can usually create a vision with any form.
In closing, if we go back to the quality issue, many photographers may not be interested in different forms of lighting. In order to do so it requires additional equipment and expertise. The decision is yours as a consumer who you hire. Being in the business I obviously know what to look for. Educate yourself and make good choices when hiring your professional. You will find that you will be much happier in the end.
I am chuckling to myself as I begin this post, yes, I am smiling too! I have been involved in the photography world for many, many years. I never really focused on children and babies because honestly, it was just too much work. It was tiring, emotionally exhausting and just not a lot of fun! Constantly trying to get a child to smile or a baby to stop crying isn’t what I would call an enjoyable day. I was trained as a portrait photographer. I was trained to pose, light properly and pay attention to composition. Don’t forget the “rule of thirds” too. Photography has come a long way since the days of the “perfect” children’s image. I now view things a bit differently when it comes to children and babies, actually, quite a bit of my photography is viewed differently these days. I still allow my brain to focus on all the details of good composition and lighting but I also now pay attention to the particular nuances of each child who I photograph. Their smile, inner charm, quirky tendencies, yes, even the little tempers that can obviously evolve during a session. All those special little qualities are part of the personality that is YOU! The YOU that I want remembered at a certain age through my photography. Forget the perfect picture…remember the perfect PERSONALITY! That is what makes photographing children and babies priceless. Themed photo shoots are a way to get a child to relax in their environment. It gives them something other than that big black thing in the ladies hand to pay attention too. The particular session I will be posting had so many fun items I worked with. Balloons, wands, gumballs, lolly pops, butterfly’s, a pretty blue seat and some really great shoes. Little Miss A who I have been photographing since she was a newborn was involved and had so much fun. She felt and acted like a princess. “so pretty” was the phrase of the day. I can honestly say I look forward to my children’s sessions these days. I get excited by the visions that form in my mind as I plan these session and then lo and behold, I get caught up in the excitement and wonder of being a child. So much fun!