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22/08/2012

My first baby photo assignment


How difficult can it be was my initial thought when I asked to photograph (I don't want to use the word "shoot") a baby. The mother Malene is a former colleague and I also know her husband Rasmus. It's a lovely family and they live on the country side in a small town just aside a corn field. Lot's of good natural light and a fairly spacious home.


The day we had chosen for the event turned out to be one of the hottest days in Denmark ever recorded. And there was no wind. The sun was burning hot and bright from a clear sky, so I had to photograph indoors using my Elinchrom D-Lite lamps and a California Sunbounce. My assistent (my daughter) was a great help. As you can imaging we were all sweating a lot and the little newborn - Emma - was also not comfortable. In addition the D-Lite lamps produced additional heat.
My equipment was a Nikon D800 with an AF-S 24-70mm f/2.8 lens. In close quarters like this I couldn't use the AF-S 70-200mm f/2.8. I used both D-Lite lamps (200W / 400W) with various soft boxes like an Elinchrom Minisoft-44 (Beauty Dish) and an Elinchrom Portalite 66x66. I went all manual and used a Sekonic Flashmate L-308S to meter the light.


I found it very difficult to create calm back drops and position 1-4 persons so they would appear to be comfortable and at the same time finding the right angle to capture the moment. The benefit of having a studio is that you can easily arrange a number of set-ups and offer a selection of items to include in the frame or to help fix a gaze from the new born. On location you just have to improvise. Luckily I also brought a wide platin colored paper back drop which we used at the final stage of the event.

I came home with over 150 photos from a two hour session. The Nikon D800 produces huge files and loading them from camera to my MacBook Pro took several hours. In post I use both LR4, CS6 and Silver Efex Pro 2 and the whole work process has slowed down tremendously after moving to Nikon D800. My next purchase decision is going to be tough - a new AF-S 12-24mm f/2.8 or a new MacBook Pro?!

Okay - it's still early in the post processing phase but enclosed is a couple of examples. If you have critics and suggestion to how I can improve those photos, please feel free to comment.

An of course we must not forget the lovely sister Naia...


2 comments:

  1. I'm just a humble amateur and not a good one either. It is certainly a big challenge because you have to be quick and lucky since babies usually don't react much to "please smile to the camera" and other such requests ;-)

    In the two first shots, I'm thinking the focus is too much on the parent instead of the baby. In the first one I would have liked to see the baby's eyes more, the fathers face is much more in focus and so is the tattoo. I like the idea with having the tattoo in the shot, especially if it has some meaning in regards to the baby, but again I think it steals focus from what should be the primary object, the baby.

    In the second picture, the mothers head fills up half the frame and then afterwards you look down and "oh, there's a baby there too!".

    Cute sister :)

    Ps. I hope my feedback isn't "too rough", it's certainly not meant that way and remember that it's just what a random silly guy with a camera thinks ;)

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    1. Hi jramskov,
      Thanks for commenting! I agree with your observations and will add more photos with focus on the baby (just added one). The tattoo is the name of their first child, so we found this to be a nice touch.

      I was a very hot day.....

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