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newborn photography, composite safety, baby photography, maternity photography, newborn photographer, leeds, morley, yorkshire, photography studio
Composite for safety and editing - baby Alfie
 

Baby Alfie came to Secret Smile HQ for his newborn photography shoot at just 6 days old which is perfect for newborn photography as very young babies are very sleepy and super curly so we can really get some amazing images for new parents. Alfie was a super star and slept through most of his session.

 

Parents are encouraged to bring along personal items to include in the photo shoot if they would like to, something that represents a hobby or career for parents, baby's first teddy, a family heirloom shawl that has been passed down or just a favourite blanket. Alfie's parents brought along a collection of gorgeous soft toys from his nursery whose theme is safari animals so we managed to incorporate them into a stunning image for Alfie's parents to treasure forever and is so personal to them.

 

newborn photography, composite safety, baby photography, maternity photography, newborn photographer, leeds, morley, yorkshire, photography studio

 

As Alfie was so sleepy it was easy to get Alfie asleep enough to be comfortable for taking the image but it's not always as easy as you might think when looking at this image, and many other images you may have seen of newborns posed in props.

 

Firstly, I set the props up calculating how many blankets would need to be used in the bucket to stop Alfie being too low down in the prop, this can only be done once baby has arrived at the studio and I can see how long baby's legs are, how curly they are and how 'filled out' they are so they are snug but not cramped in the props. Once I was happy with the prop I arranged the soft toys that Mum and Dad brought along so they were in the positions I wanted them to be and tried to tuck the tags out of the way. I took a 'reference shot' of the setup how I wanted it to look on the final image and this also helps me to check that I have the light in the right position and I have set the lights to the right power setting for the setup.

 

newborn photography, composite safety, baby photography, maternity photography, newborn photographer, leeds, morley, yorkshire, photography studio

Alfie's legs were wrapped in a soft, stretchy length of fabric whilst he was laid on the Poddle Pod I use at the studio for keeping baby comfortable and safe between setups and for keeping baby laid flat and warm whilst I wrap them or put on adorable little outfits on for posing. Once I had Alfie's legs in a comfy position and wrapped securely (but gently!) I very carefully got him settled in the bucket which is weighted at the bottom to offset the weight of babies to stop it being top-heavy. This is a process that can take some time as babies can stir during posing so it take a lot of patience to get baby in the right position with nice relaxed hands before they are ready to be photographed.

 

Once Alfie was settled I ask Dad to be my 'spotter' who is someone who is with baby at all times. The majority of the time the spotter is me as I tend to use a short lens in the studio to get the really lovely focus on baby and not on the background so I have my hand on baby 95% of the time until I am ready to take the shot then I move my hand a few inches for a second to take the picture then hand back down to support baby. Newborns are incredibly strong and unpredictable, they can kick their legs with no notice and have a strong 'startle reflex' where they can throw themselves out of position so, as you can imagine, if baby is in a prop when they do this then an accident can happen. For an image like the one of Alfie I need to be far back from the setup and laid on the floor to get the angle I want so I cannot have my hand on Alfie to support him so Dad was my fab spotter for this session. Dad's job was to use his finger to support Alfie's head and watch his baby boy the whole time so had Alfie woken up or moved his head there was no chance of him moving anywhere.

 

newborn photography, composite safety, baby photography, maternity photography, newborn photographer, leeds, morley, yorkshire, photography studio

The shot of Alfie in the bucket now contains Alfie in the position I need him to be, his Dad supporting him, the edge of the Poddle Pod (bottom right) and the soft toys are not exactly where I want them where I moved them as I was positioning Alfie in the bucket. Hence the need for the 'perfect' reference shot of the setup.

 

After the shot was taken Dad stayed with his hand on Alfie until I got back to him and moved the soft toys away for a couple more images of him in the prop without the soft toys taken from different, much closer angles where I was able to have my hand on Alfie's back to prevent him moving, raising my hand a couple of inches for a second to take the image and then back down again. Alfie was never left alone in the prop, someone was supporting him every moment and he never woke up to even realise where he had been!

 

I love the newborn sessions at the studio but the work isn't over once I leave the studio. The real magic happens in the editing when I get back to my computer. The magic that enables me to take 2 different images and merge them together to produce a beautiful image that Mum and Dad loved at their ordering session.

 

Once the images were loaded up I used the image of Alfie with his Dad supporting him and the reference shot I took of the setup to create 1 image. Once I had that 1 image I had to remove some labels from some of the soft toys that were a little distracting, do some editing to remove Dad's supporting hand from Alfie's head and a few little tweaks to extend the white floordrop I had used as well as a few other little tweaks that I use to get babies looking their absolute best before the final image is ready for the gallery.

 

newborn photography, composite safety, baby photography, maternity photography, newborn photographer, leeds, morley, yorkshire, photography studio

 

Not all edits are this intensive, composites are not needed for all props depending on what they are and how baby is positioned in them but a lot of work goes into a newborn photography session, not all of it at the time in the studio. The results though, I hope you'll agree - are well worth it! Alfie was warm, comfortable and asleep throughout the session and Mum and Dad loved this image of their brand new baby boy which is all the more personal for having his own safari soft toys in the image for them to treasure forever.

 

Newborn photography is an industry that is not regulated. Anyone can pick up a camera and call themselves a newborn photographer and we all started somewhere just please make sure that your newborn photographer is able to use SAFE techniques to get your beautiful newborn images if they use props like the one used in Alfie's session. No image is worth an accident with something as precious as your baby. If you are looking for a newborn photographer then an excellent resource is the Baby and Newborn Photography ASsociation (BANPAS) who have a directory of photographers who, if they do shots using props have been asked to show their safety images. We are not governed or regulated by the organisation but we do adhere to a code of safe conduct in our work with newborns. So where you see images like the one below of gorgeous baby Alfie they should always have been taken SAFELY, your newborn photographer should not be offended if you ask about their safe working practises.

 

newborn photography, composite safety, baby photography, maternity photography, newborn photographer, leeds, morley, yorkshire, photography studio

 

If you have any questions about anything in this article or would like to book your newborn photography session please feel free to contact me, Lisa, on 07760 887946 or email lisa@secretsmilephotography.com

 

Love, Lisa x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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