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Sunday, June 3, 2012

Ok, so maybe that's a stretch, BUT... guess what I've been up to this past week?

I'll give you a hint:


I just realized what that sounded like.

To clarify: I have NOT been up to baby-making the past few days. [John, not a WORD.]


I have, however, been photographing a new baby: namely little Ellie, the new resident of the cherry blossom nursery and daughter of our friends Ray & Julianne. When I heard they weren't getting professional pictures done until Ellie was several weeks old, I begged them to let me practice taking some newborn shots for fun. Happily they've been extremely tolerant, since not only have I never photographed a baby before, I've never photographed ANYONE before. (Well, nothing besides snapshots at outings, anyway.) So after three 4-hour sessions and hundreds of photos, here are a few of my favorites:

 Can't decide which version I prefer on this one - but I think I lean towards the full color.

You can probably tell I've just figured out how to colorize things in Photoshop, too, huh?  (SO FUN.)

I got so many great shots in this little basket. I also learned how to pose baby fingers and hands and arms. Considering this was the most contact I've had with a baby in, well, ever, that was another first.

All of my backdrops were comprised of a sheet or blanket clipped to the back of two chairs and draped over the floor.  For these next shots John & I bought a few yards of stretch velvet:

This session was on Saturday, so Ray (the dad) was there for this shot and also for some awesome father/daughter poses:

Oh! And when we couldn't find a ruffly diaper cover at the last minute, I bought some eyelet lace at JoAnn's & attached several rows to the back of a plain one. I can't sew a straight line to save my life, but I did it! Isn't it cute? (I know most newborn shots are done with the baby naked, but Julianne and I just weren't up for that kind of explosive challenge.)

Amazing what a difference a few filters can make. Again, I can't decide between this and the more gritty black & white version. (Fun fact: Ray is very ticklish, so any time Ellie would move he'd start cracking up, which would make her move more, which make him laugh more...and so on.)

Ellie was 10 to 12 days old in these shots - a tad older than most newborns in pro photos, apparently - and she still has her umbilical doo-dad on her belly button. We did our best to cover or hide it, but for this shot I had to 'shop it out. How'd I do? :/

Other than removing that and darkening the blacks/upping the contrast, this photo is pretty much how it came off the camera.

It's always fun to try something new, and I had an absolute blast playing photographer. Thanks again to Ray & Julianne, and to you guys for letting me share the girliness! Hope you liked it!

Boring Technical Stuff:

For lighting we just set up in front of a big window around 2PM, and then I occasionally had John hold a reflector to aim the sunlight. (The reflectors are cheap pop-ups you can find on ebay.) I used my new Canon 7D with a Sigma 17-50 lens for all the shots, and then adjusted everything in either iPhoto, PhotoShop, or both.

I spent a few hours online researching newborn poses, and then saved a folder of my favorites on my laptop to reference during the shoots. This article on newborn photography tips was also extremely helpful, especially in explaining how to pose a newborn.

And finally, John tells me if I don't include this shot, he'll edit this post while I'm asleep and add it in himself. So, here's me cosplaying as a baby photographer:

Now the world has seen my glowing white calves. Happy, John?

Posted by Jen at 7:14 PM Labels: ,


  1. Your photos are absolutely fantastic!!

  2. Those were FANTASTIC!!!

    You have a really good eye.

    Of the one's with dad and baby, I like the first one best, but that's just me :-)

  3. Beautiful shots!!! I LOVE the one right below the two "...which version I prefer" baskets shots. She's got this little smirk on her face and it almost looks like she's whistling in her sleep.

    Great job for a first timer!!

  4. These are adorable! Awesome job!

  5. These are amazing! You are such a jill of all trades!

  6. nothing wrong with glowing white calves.

    Lovely photos by the way.

  7. You did a wonderful job! Way to go!

  8. Beautiful photos, Jen! The father/daughter shots are the kind that a parent treasures.

    Well done!

  9. I actually prefer the ruffly diaper cover over nakedness. It looks adorable. Great shots, and thanks to the parents for letting you share their sweet baby girl (and her nursery, which looks awesome) with us.

  10. Gorgeous!! I love them all!
    PLEASE come do my newborn shots in January!! You can even do a tour since you'll be in the Seattle area.. it's a win-win!!


    Keep up the awesome!!

  11. Oh that is just TOO cute! But what photos of babies isn't?! I'd say you were a professional by the looks of those :-D

  12. Amazing shots!!! All are fabulous, and the baby is so adorable! I think you've found a new business to go into!

  13. These are AMAZING for your first newborn shoot. Newborns are the hardest subject to photograph so it was nice of the parents to let you do several sessions.

    Between the first two photos, I prefer the more saturated version. The second one makes the baby look washed out and too pale. I love the ones with the little smirk. Too cute! The diaper cover is adorable. Of the ones on dad's back, I prefer the less grainy version personally. It shows off that creamy newborn skin (although dad's skin is also pretty creamy!)

    I don't think age is a big deal. I think the most important thing is that the baby be a good sleeper, to allow you to pose her all the different ways you want. Usually a 5-day-old will let you mold them like clay and stay asleep, but others are not rock solid sleepers till they're a tad older. Every baby is different.

    Oh, and you did a great job of Photoshopping out the umbilical cord, although I think it can be a good indicator of how new the baby is.

    These parents don't even NEED "professional" photos now--you gave them a great gift!


  14. Jen, I wouldn't have known that you shopped out her umbilical cord if you hadn't said anything! Also, fun story about glowing white calves:
    I got a tattoo on my left calf a few months ago and the tattoo artist was giving me the usual "don't do anything stupid to your tattoo" routine. When she got to the part about tanning (tanning makes your ink break up and makes the tattoo fade) she stopped and said "... Well, you don't tan, so that's good." Apparently my Irish roots were showing. Pasty white geeky girls, UNITE!

  15. Seriously Jen where were you when I had my two boys?!!!
    You take amazing baby photos! Absolutely adorable.
    Move over Anne Geddes, you got competition!
    Well I think you have found your new career when you tire of cakes :)

  16. You did great! The photos are top notch. Baby girl is very beautiful!

  17. What an amazing gift to give a friend! These are beautiful! I'm due to give birth to my first baby, a boy, in four weeks or so. I'm so touched by the time and effort you gave this family. This is wonderful, Jen.

    Also, your legs and everything else are fabulous just as they are :)

  18. Amazing! I was wondering if you had dosed little Ellie with Nyquil or something...shows you what I know about babies. ;)

  19. Wow, you did a GREAT job! I love the ruffly diaper shot. I'm usually a little grossed out by baby photos, but you made the baby and family look beautiful without overdoing it.

    Hooray! Hooray!

  20. Wow! LOVE the photos with the baby on dad's back! (They're all great though) Awesome job!!

  21. You make me want a new camera more every time I see a new post on your blog! Those are wonderful shots - you've definitely got the eye for composition and a great tool to capture what you want!

    As someone who sews for a living, your diaper cover ruffles look great!

    And about the pale legs (I'm in that club too!)- they say pale is the new tan (thanks to things like vampire popularity and such). Aren't husbands great for making you share photos of yourself that you never quite like?? It is a fun "behind the scenes" picture. =)

  22. Jen,

    I've worked as an infant photographer for *years*. These are remarkably good for someone with minimal contact with babies and no previous practice! Seriously, it's awesome.

    About the -only- thing I could recommend is to tone down the redness that babies have naturally. You can do this without having to sacrifice the full-color; if you're good in photoshop, you can do it manually, or there are tons of great photoshop actions out there that can help with that. :D You'd love them, I think.

  23. OMG, you did such a fabulous job!

  24. There are not enough W's in the world to fully express the awwwwwww factor here. So cute! (And the baby isn't too shabby either.)

  25. OH MY Gosh!!! What an adorable baby!! Congratulations to the new parents and what a lovely gift to them.

  26. Beautiful!! You did a fantastic job! I can't believe you haven't ever done that before! Such cute little expressions you captured. :)

  27. delurking to say that if the geekiness and cake snarking don't pan out, you have a natural career as a baby-wrangling photog. these are precious. and i normally don't like that word, but it really was the only one that fit here. wonderful and so, so sweet. well done!

  28. Oh my goodness! This tiny, adorable, sweet little baby is just turning me into mush!!!

    I'm a big fan of the ruffly diaper cover - I like those much more than naked baby or plain diaper pictures. They're cuter and no, ah... messes to deal with. Heh.

    We have a matching glow on our calves. I have to. If I try to tan I just turn into a lobster, so glowing and pasty it is! :-)

  29. fantastic job Jen....

    Can't decide wich one I like the most

  30. I really like the full color one out of the two basket shots. I just love the the way the it goes together.

  31. Aww these are so sweet! Great job! I just saw this on facebook the other day, a photographer's post on safety during newborn photo sessions:

  32. These are beautiful, Jen. You are a regular Anne Geddes.

  33. What lovely photos of an adorable baby! :)

    The colour one where she has a secret little smile on her face is my fav. :) You should get one of her with cherry blossums (whenever their season is)

  34. I LOVE your photos! These are beautiful! I wish I had had some of this sort of photo taken when my daughter was a baby. Also, I love the ruffly diaper cover! I think it is much preferred over "naked baby" pictures.

    Also - I can relate to the white calves, with my red hair and fair skin - no tanning here!

  35. Jen you did wonderful! I'm the proud mom of a 2 week old and would LOVE for you to get some pics of him. Are you down for a road trip to Columbus, Ohio? ;) I'll make cookies! Seriously if you enjoyed doing those kinds of photos you could probably make a little money doing it they really do look great. :-)

  36. The one of the parents both holding Ellie is FAB!!!!

  37. Simply beautiful - I love the one of her asleep on the pink blanket with that little smile on her face.

  38. This is one of my favorite posts to date! not only is baby so sweet, and daddy and baby even sweeter, but you are a talented photographer and managed to capture a little more personality in your poses than some i have seen, which come off as too, well, professional. I think it is the quality of the black and white--I don't know the photographer terms, but your b&w is softer than some i have seen--somehow warmer. i love the ones of baby on daddy's back.

  39. Haha this is ADORABLE. Plus, you look awesome in that last pic! And it isn't possible to live through the summer in Florida w/o a tan. I brown like a roasted chicken and it concerns me so much that I slather on sunscreen by the gallons whenever I leave the house! So count yourself blessed that you are Snow White, fairest in the land! hahaha

  40. Exceellent job! I like these better than professional photos. And they are more personal especially since you are such good friend with the subjects! ;-)

  41. SOOOOOOO adorable!!!! love the baby on daddy's back photo. The rufflies are super cute!

  42. Those pictures are fantastic! I prefer the full-color ones, but the filtered/edited ones are really good too. The father/daughter shots are just adorable. :)
    And don't worry, my calves are pretty much as white as yours at the moment. :P

  43. Dang, girl, is there anything you're NOT good at?

  44. This post is by far my most favorite post ever. I love babies :) and it shows a talent you don't normally display to often on either of your websites! I've been reading both your websites for a couple years now and never really commented but this post inspired me to tell you that you're awesome! :) thanks for making me smile every time I read either of your blogs!

  45. Oh.My.Gosh.
    Ruffled diaper.
    Baby on Daddy's back. (Very original, too)
    Baby's FEET!!!
    So freaking adorable!

    Great job, and majorly precious memories for the parents.

  46. if you want more practice, I volunteer my 3 1/2 month old. (yes, I'm in town) (And yes, we have a mutual friend.) ginnysusi@gmail

  47. Beautiful!

    If you still have a copy with the belly button not shopped, keep it for the parents; it's such a brief, brief stage of life.

  48. did you want to have a baby now,since you've seen how utterly cute they can be??!!


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