“I really love those images with babies in baskets. Can we try to get some like that?”
When I talk to a new parent and they ask this question, I know that they’ve spent time researching and have a clear vision for what they want out of their newborn session.
And I love that. I encourage it, actually. Though photography is an art and I usually have my own creative idea for a shoot, my ultimate goal is to provide my client with the images they love. But sometimes the photograph or specific pose they hope for isn’t necessarily done in the way that they might think. This is where their vision and my experience intersect. What might look like a simple baby-in-a-basket shot at first glance often involves additional planning, parent participation, and post processing in order to safely and beautifully achieve a seemingly simple photograph.
Let me explain the term “composite.” While those of us in the photography industry are familiar with lingo such as this, often brand new parents have no clue what I’m talking about. It’s my responsibility to fill them in on the term, and to educate them on how to achieve such poses safely.
A composite is combining two photographs to create one final image.This is what I am now doing as part of my newborn session, time allowing.
So how do you compose and merge the two frames?
This is done by taking an image of the baby in a simple prop with consideration of the 'background' I want to use. To do this properly I have to think about where the light is coming from in the background and make sure the same direction, quality and quantity of light is the same in the image of the baby. I need to think about what I am putting the baby in, its wrapping, its position, colours of background and wrap etc. If I get all that 'right' then the composite looks realistic rather than the image looking like the baby has been plonked in. The objective is to make it look the baby really was in the background and the prop it 'appears' to be in.
So why not use 'real' props....Because they're really, really expensive is the main reason. I also have to move them to the clients house, have somewhere to store them at home and people get tired of seeing the same props over and over. I do pay for these backdrops and I have access to MANY others...just ask if you have something in mind and we'll see if I can incorporate some into your newborns gallery.
So how does this fit in with my lifestyle newborn sessions.
Time allowing and baby allowing (sometimes your baby is well past the stage of being curled and wrapped up - this generally happens for any babies older than about 3 weeks old) I will attempt to pop your baby into a posing prop. I bring only this one prop to sessions. Its a simple round wool soft bowl that baby lies in and I can change the look with different felts and blankets under the baby. I also bring different wraps and headbands/hats that are gender specific.
This then makes a beautiful image on it own and can then be 'cut and paste' into a background to create the below images. Its a two part process. Photograph the baby with the background in mind and then editing in photoshop to create the composite - or two images together to create one image.
If I have been able to photograph your baby in the prop I will include a few composites in your gallery for you to choose from. You will see both the original image and the composite. They are sold as separate images and not as one image.
How its done
Below are some examples of composites. I have LOTS of digital backgrounds and will shoot the session with specific backdrops in mind. I aim to show you about 4 composites in your gallery. If you have something specific please let me know. If this involves a style of backdrop I don't already have it may occur an additional cost to purchase it.
I photographed the below image with a grey fluff under a baby boy to specifically incorporate into this background. You can see that the original is a beautiful image in its own right. I would include both the original and the composite in the gallery.
In the image below I've changed the colour of both the wrap of the original image and the fluff in the basket in the backdrop as I felt blue worked better for this image.
I had specifically chosen this background as requested by mum as she wanted to show this baby was a 'rainbow baby'. There had been two miscarriages prior to this baby and that is represented by the two little eggs in the smaller basket (hard to see in these smaller images)
I changed the colour of the wrap from white to green in photoshop.
These were all done with a pink background in mind with the baby photographed on pink (same photo of the baby with many different options of final image).
Baby was photographed on black material with this darker style of composite in mind
I specifically photographed this baby with the yellow backdrops in mind
Mum had specifically wanted a beach theme for her baby boys nursery. Dad is also a Kiwi so the tiki has special family significance