A Nest for All Seasons A Nest for All Seasons: 5 Minute Photoshoot on a Standard Bed || Baby at 6 Months

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15 April 2014

5 Minute Photoshoot on a Standard Bed || Baby at 6 Months

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I needed a few quick photos of baby girl - she is growing up!!   Instead of spending a bunch of time preparing to photograph her, making sure everything was perfect, she was in the perfect new outfit, complete with headscarf and pointe shoes, hair just so and ducks all in a row -- I made do.  I made do with what she was already wearing (just a onesie!), the light from the window and the blanket on my bed.  From start to finish, this photoshoot took 5 minutes.

Hi baby girl!

So here is the setup:

A.  We had been hanging out in bed, nursing and she was happy and smiling.

B.  I went and grabbed my camera (note:  I always keep a charged battery and room on the card so I can take photos at a moment's notice!)

C. I jumped back into bed, and used what was around me to create a "backdrop" for backlit shots.

(Note above: This is baby after getting dressed for the day - jeans!  Back to the photoshoot earlier though...)

With my legs on either side of baby, I can prop her up to make sure she is sitting without toppling.  This is a prime age for falling off the bed and making sure my legs brace her into place keeps the session safe and fast.  It takes forever to photograph babies when they are rolling all over the place.  At six months, if they think they are sitting up by themselves, they are quite happy and will talk to you without rolling away.

Also note that the main source of light is coming from behind baby.  There is a set of french doors there that gets good light for a large portion of the day.  Since the light was behind her, I had to up my exposure compensation to about +2.3 or more for a light and bright shot.  (If you are clueless what exposure compensation is, HERE is my tutorial.)  Is there a space in your house that gets steady light most days?  Somewhere you hang out a lot?  Consider random, yet common, places for your next photoshoot and leave a cute blanket there.  Seize the moment when you can!

I could also have photographed from the other direction since the sunlight coming through the glass doors is not direct.  It is simply light, not the sun shining into your eyes.  You can see the way I set up a shoot like that RIGHT HERE.

If you want the colored pattern both in the background AND the foreground of your photo, basically sandwiching your subject between the two, 
simply use the same setup with bunched blanket in front of baby.  Legs still brace baby on either side, so she is sitting up, 
but the blanket is piled up against her belly and under her arms (when she lets it stay there!  Sometimes she just eats the blanket).

Time for the biggest DON'T in this shoot!

DON'T DO THIS!  You don't want to shoot UP baby's nose! 

Your angle will be straight at baby and if you snap your fingers above the camera or hold up a toy above the camera, you WILL get a shot up baby's nose.  
Not always the most attractive look :)  Here are a couple alternatives.  1.  Shoot down towards baby while she is busy with her hands or eating the blanket.

2.  Get baby to lower her chin by using a nose to nose movement.  In this case, I used the cover from my lens.  Touch baby's nose with the lens, then bring it back
 towards your nose, moving it out of frame at the last minute.  After 2-3 times of this GIVE THE BABY THE CAP.  Don't frustrate baby or the photoshoot is OVER.

3.  Here is a better shot using the lens cap technique (see photo below).  Her chin is still tilted a little too far up, but this is far better than our first photo.  ....and 5 minutes is up.  I have 5-10 great photos and about 15 throwaways.  Baby is still happy, there is nothing to clean up and I feel like I have "captured" this stage with the way she grabs and eats everything around her, the way that clump of hair falls across her forehead, the chubby thighs, forearms and cheeks and of course the variety of grins from full on HAPPY in the top photo to this sweet little grin below.

Remember when you are doing your 5 minute shoots that the main thing is to CAPTURE the things you want to remember.  That sounds simplistic and ridiculous to say, but I think oftentimes we forget why we are photographing.  We try to get the perfect shot, the perfect light, the perfect angle and the subject is not themselves.  I don't want to always remember perfection, I want to remember THEM.  I want to see the little nuances of their natural grins and the things that make them THEM.  I want to see that angle looking down over baby's head because that is the angle that I see when I am rocking her to sleep, nursing her or carrying her around on my hip.  Don't get so caught up in the shoot that you forget the subject.

For reference sake, here are the links again:

How to Change the Exposure Compensation on Your Camera

My 5 Minute Photoshoot for Infants

My 5 Minute Photoshoot for 6 Week Olds

My 5 Minute Photoshoot for Older Children

I shoot with a D7000 and THIS LENS.  That was it for this shoot!

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The Conway's Tuesday, April 15, 2014  

You're too cute!

I think I need a better camera. The light in these pics are awesome!

Laura Friday, April 25, 2014  

I love how they turned out!! I never would have guessed it was a simple blanket on your bed. Pictures to treasure and she'll be happy to show off when she's older.

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