Updated: Aug 23, 2019
Around this time last year my sister was expecting her third child, Matthew, who was born August 3rd. My social media feed has quickly become a live photo album of all my friends and families kids. I do enjoy it and one post I realized I never shared was a DIY at home PHOTO-SHOOT session. It's budget friendly and works with your schedule. Here's the deal, obviously the first few weeks are probably best captured by a professional who has the special cushions to prop your child up and place them ever so gently into fancy poses.
We always count on our girl Diana, from Tulips Photography.
Though this August, she was already across the globe visiting her family in Russia after so many years. Family first of course, we weren't too worried as the holidays would soon be here and Diana was already scheduled for a family session, check out her work [CLICK HERE].
So weeks were passing and Matthew was quickly growing. At almost 4 and half weeks, Matthew was thicker, more awake and Sylvia and I decided to go ahead and just grab a couple photos for fun before it was too late. With enough practice on my side of doing simple stock and product photography, I used the same exact tools/method I would for most of my photography projects.
BEFORE & AFTER
You may have one or all of these tools needed to complete a "CAPTURE".
Cameras these days are amazing and affordable, you don't need to spend thousands on a DSLR. The ones on our phones are amazing, but I still love and rave about my Panasonic LUMIX GFX850.
Your Child - cause you need a subject to take a picture of.
PICK A SPOT with Natural Light- find an area with a large window. Natural light is the easiest and most beautiful "filter" you can use.
White Board- you can buy this at the dollar store. It's great to bounce off light in a soft and subtle way.
Backdrop- Now depending on if you are doing a bird's eye shot or portrait shot, be sure to find solid or textured back rounds with soft subtle colors (or vibrant if that's your vibe, just be careful with prints), by using blankets, fabrics, rugs, scarves etc.
Cushion- Again a professional can use their special cushions to prop babies to do all the fancy poses. At home stick with positions you know the baby will be safe in. i.e. on their back, belly, side.
NEVER EVER LEAVE A CHILD UNSUPERVISED
* With Matthew I had gotten a couple pillows to make a nice large safe area for him to lay on within a strong straw basket for a soft subtle contrast. You can purchase at HomeGoods, Michaels, or Oak apparel and home. I had a step stool on standby just incase. The blinds on my window eventually went up as I continued to play with lighting.
Clothing/Costume/Covers- if your baby is clothed or naked or slightly covered make sure you have those "covers" that compliment the look with your backdrop.
With Matthew I used thin infinity scarves and baby blankets.
FACETUNE APP: You've heard me talk about this app, It's not an actual app that is meant for only your face (there's no fake makeup etc), it's actually a very small EASY TO USE version of photoshop (in my opinion). I use it mostly for lighting purposes and then either to smooth or sharpen areas to pop.
My go to routine (have app ready to practice):
1) Go to FILTERS and click LIGHTING
2) Click 'EXPOSE' and work between 20%-50% , if you want a softer (with already expose filter) Click 'BRIGHTEN' and add about 10-20%.
3) Go to 'SMOOTH' and work with the first setting and smooth skin or dry patchy areas the child might have. That is usually the end of my editing if I don't have any edges to clear up. If I do, I click 'PATCH' setting to mask edges like the 'Baby & Elephant' photo(scroll down) or the SMOOTH/BLURR tool to soften the focus on certain areas. This will require some practice on your part.
VSCO APP or COLOR STORY: I did not apply filter apps to Matthew's pictures, but I definitely recommend it as you can then use this app to find a "professional tone" feel you want throughout all your photos. Whether it's a warm sunny feel, or dark and moody tone.. there are many options with these app and don't be surprised if you have a hard time picking!
Are you into presets? I use @dm.presets that are downloadable into adobe Lightroom app (you don't need a subscription). Danielle, creator of DM Presets can also customize a filter of your own! VISIT HERE SITE HERE Use code: B2B10 for 10% off.
EYE- Don't be afraid to test out different crop sizes on some of your pix, sometimes there's a photo within the photo. Bring out your artistic eye and SEE IT.
SETUP- Near or close to the window or where the most natural light is. Try and make this set up on the floor or a low (coffee table height) and safe table for the baby. You want to be able to stand over them to take certain angles.
TIME- Start early in the day so you can get a feel and have time to practice. Also start after a feeding, in hopes the baby will go back to sleep etc. etc..
TEMPERATURE- The room should be warm if the baby is naked. Have the air off, you don't want the baby to be uncomfortable, which then interrupts photo captures
CHARGE YOUR BATTERIES & HAVE STORAGE SPACE- You will be snapping A LOT and just so you are aware only 10% of photoshoots are capture worthy. So snap snap snap away!!!!
The picture below features cropping, smoothing and patched edges to continue to white fluff back round.
I hope this gives you some comfort knowing that if you are on a budget or someone that would want to capture photos monthly of your child, this could be a great DIY to master. I am very appreciative of my photographers, because I can't do what they do, but on days where I want to get creative and spend time with my niece and nephews this is always an option.
Hope you enjoy the photos below (click to enlarge).
Caro & Sylv (because I couldn't of done it without her children)
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