Disclaimer: I am NOT a newborn photographer. Or at least, not a very good one. Keeping that in mind...
A family friend asked me to take some shots of her grandson who, through an unfortunate set of circumstances, is now living with her. Knowing almost nothing about newborn photography, I immediately agreed to do it. Because I like to learn, try new techniques, and also in the back of my mind I knew that as long as I got one good image we could consider the shoot a success. And oh boy, did I learn...
Arriving at the house I saw there was a skylight in the family room that could be used for natural lighting so we set up underneath it. After a few test shots I managed to get this as a starter:
Not too bad, and I'm thinking this might be easier than I thought. Then the lessons started kicking in.
Babies do not have bones. No matter what position we tried to put this little guy into he would just collapse into a ball. Even putting the camera into burst mode and saying "just pull your hands away as I shoot" with the intent of making a composite later didn't work. I might as well have been posing a water balloon.
Despite not having bones, babies are incredibly mobile. This may be due to waiting until he was eight weeks old to shoot him, but as soon as he collapsed into a ball he would start moving away. Meaning we have now moved from water balloon to jellyfish territory. Minus the stingers.
Babies apparently love spit bubbles. We ended up putting the little guy on his back where at least it would take him a couple of seconds to start squirting away, so his next defense mechanism kicked in: spit bubbles, at the exact second that I finally had the composition I wanted.
Noise. At entirely random times the little man would go from happy little jellyfish to screaming bloody murder for seemingly no reason. Probably because he was out of spit bubbles and was now sitting in the bottom of a bowl so he couldn't squirt away.
So, we'll mark this down as another valuable learning experience. One tip I can give: if it's safe to do so, let the family dog photobomb you.
The spit bubble defense in action.Same to you, kid.