Five ways to prepare for your Newborn Session...

 

 

 1. Bath time

The evening before or morning of your photo session, give you baby a good bath. Be sure to clean under their chins (the perfect catch for spilled milk), between fingers and toes and any goop they may have in their eyes. If they have flaking skin, rubbing it will likely make it worse, so just let it be.

2. Moisturize

It is so tempting to pick at the dry and flaking skin on your baby or those little pimples that may start to appear. However, picking, especially right before your photo session, will leave red marks and worsen the flaking skin. Instead, use a good, gentle moisturizer on your baby.

 

 

 

 

3. Pack what is important

So many parents show up with 10 different outfits and forget a diaper or a swaddling blanket. I photograph newborns without clothing as it simply detracts from the image of the baby. If you have hired an experienced, professional newborn photographer, this is likely the case with them as well. Plan to pack a few diapers, a pacifier if you are using one, a swaddling blanket or two and a change of clothes for you. Chances are good you or your partner might get peed on!

 

 

 

 

4. Bring the Milk

A full tummy is key to great sleeping images of your new baby. If you are a breastfeeding mom, you are always welcome to nurse in my studio. If you aren't comfortable doing so or are formula feeding, be sure to bring enough milk! Your baby will likely eat more than they normally do and sessions can run up to 4 hours. Having enough milk to keep your baby happy and the stress level low is very important!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. Know when to Schedule

The best time for your session to take place is within 10-14 days of your baby being born. The other thing to consider is when your baby is sleeping or awake during the course of the day. If your baby sleeps all morning but is fussy and awake in the afternoon, then schedule your session in the morning. Knowing when your baby is happiest will make your session run more smoothly.

 

{The Blowing Belly Tutorial} Photoshop Tutorial for Photographers

Nothing is more beautiful than a pregnant glowing mama to be. I adore maternity sessions. When I do a studio set up, as demonstrated below, it can be challenging at times to come up with different ways of showing off that beautiful belly. This is one of my favorites. As another photog said, "That is Art!" I agree. It can be a challenging image to finish however, so I thought a quick tutorial might help! First I am going to show you a quick snapshot of the scene pulled back. This will help describe my set up.

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She was standing in her entry way and I was shooting from the living room into the entry way. Our light source was the front door. You can all laugh at my mad drawing skills ;)

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For the steps:

1. SOOC (Straight Out of Camera) Please note how the fabric is held up by the clamps. blowingbelly_1

2. Liquify! You can see how big my brush was. I simply pulled the image in the direction it was already flowing. blowingbelly_2

3. It may take my several attempts in liquify to get the fabric to look natural. This is not tedious, so feel free to just start over from scratch if it isn't looking right. Remember to keep the fabric flowing in a it's natural direction. Once you are finished liquifying, it should roughly look like this.

Once you finish liquifying, you will see areas on your backdrop where the image looks "pulled". Use your clone tool (stamper) or your heal tool (bandaid) to blend those areas. You don't want it to appear obvious. I may also use the blur tool to soften those areas.

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4. I finished the image with my standard post processing. I did use portraiture at 60% and I also burned the background using layer masks so that the "pulling" I mentioned above wasn't as obvious.

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The Before & After!

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Have fun!

{The Grumpy Baby} Photoshop Tutorial for Photographers

I often have grumpy babies during newborn sessions. They aren't REALLY grumpy. They are actually sleeping quite peacefully. However, I am a natural light photographer and need great light to photograph them in their sleeping sweetness. When I place them in this beautiful light, they often react by scrunching their face up. My best bet is to get them to relax by gently stroking their brow to get rid of the creases, but sometimes that isn't possible. Sometimes you just have a grumpy baby face. So, if you are wanting to reduce that grumpiness, there are a few things you can do in photoshop to help. I am using Adobe Photoshop CS4. I have no working knowledge of other programs and what they can or can't offer you. I will use the heal tool (looks like a bandaid) and the liquify tool found in Filters-Liquify.

1.  SOOC (Straight Out Of Camera)

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2.  I use the heal tool (looks like a bandaid) on Diameter 20 (adjust this according to the size of your image) and Hardness 88%. You heal the areas that have creases and shadows. My reference point was the lighter part of his forehead. The selected areas below were the areas that I healed.

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3.  Now I use the liquify tool to lift his eyebrows ever so slightly. I may also raise his eyes. Using the brush in a smaller format will cause small changes, so I use a large brush (about 400 size for this image). You may have to play a little with this tool as it takes some time to master. If you can't get it, you can always skip this step.  I wasn't able to get my screen capture to work in liquify (sorry!) but this is what it looks like after I have used liquify.

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4.  I prefer the use of portraiture to smooth out any imperfections. I create a new layer, run portraiture, create a layer mask, masking back in his eyes and lips, then reduce the opacity to 50%.

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5.  Then I finish the image with my normal post processing steps. From grumpy baby to peaceful baby!

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The before and after for a quick comparison!

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{Surprise!} I Heart Faces Weekly Theme

I couldn't resist entering in this weeks contest.  The theme is "Surprise" and this image immediately came to mind.  I still laugh out loud every time I see it. ldbirth_09_25_09-665

This mama had just given birth to her first sweet baby.  She was attempting to breastfeed for the first time and was asking how she would know when the baby had latched on properly.  We were assuring her that she would indeed know, when the baby latched.  This was the face she made.  It was the epitome of surprise!!  We laughed so hard!

To participate in iheartfaces.com click on the link below!