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Steampunk Newborn Photos!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

We did it! John and I pulled off our second-ever newborn photo shoot, and I got to STEAMPUNK IT!!

Even though this was only the second time I've ever photographed (or handled!) a newborn, it went sooo much faster than the last time. Instead of three 4-hour sessions, we only did one, and still ended up with more usable shots. Woohoo!

I'll be the first to admit I could have pushed the steampunk aesthetic even farther, since I erred on the side of subtlety, but I'm still pretty pleased with what we got. So, without further ado...

Preeeeesenting...
Daisy, the aviatrix!!

Check it out; my aviator cap & goggles actually fit her! 


Now, what I'd LIKE to do is take this photo and photoshop a hot air balloon over the basket. I've been spending the past few days working on all the other pics from the shoot, though, and haven't gotten around to that part yet. I'll also probably have to call on John's PS expertise to make it look halfway decent.


Random detail: The antique pocket watch was a gift to John from my Dad, and for the photos I stopped it at Daisy's birth time. 

More adorableness in the basket:





The one on the right is my favorite of Daisy's expression from the whole shoot - and like all newborn smiles, it only lasted for a fraction of a second.

Next up, Daisy the...um...wind-up fairy doll?


The flower undies I spent four nights making were massively too big, so we ended up tucking them underneath her as best we could. To hold the key in place we taped a thin metal rod to the back of it, and John held the key in position from above while I took the photos. I later removed the supporting rod in PS.

My original hope for this setting was to have a bunch of antique dolls around Daisy, but A) that might have ended up more creepy than cute, and B) we didn't have any antique dolls, anyway.

If we ever get to try this again I'd love to at least have a few other vintage toys in the background, though: blocks, a pull-behind wooden ducky, etc. As it is, this is more of a clean, Anne Geddes look than a vintage steampunk one - but I still like it.

The idea for our next photo came from this lovely shot by Jennifer Nace Photography:
It so happens that I own a scale just like that, so I was determined to try my own version. I searched for a nicely distressed wooden bowl/tray we could use, but came up with nada. Finally I just bought a bare wood tray from JoAnn's and distressed it myself using water-based stain, paint, and a hammer. (Furniture distressing is a grrr-reat stress reliever.) :D

Unfortunately, Daisy was a bit taller than I expected...

 Oops.

Still, I think it's a fairly cute shot. I also really like that fabric; I found it in my tiny pile of scraps at home, and it was just *barely* big enough to use as a backdrop. I'd have loved to do more poses in front of it, but my other set-up with a few antique books and skeleton keys didn't work out; Daisy kept sliding backwards off the books. Heh.

Oh, and as you can tell, I'm still not ready to take the plunge into naked baby photography. For the rest of my photos, though, you can see Daisy's ruffled diaper cover (another of my sewing projects) which looks pretty sweet.

Speaking of sweet, Daisy's dad, Zane, still hadn't taken off his "daddy" hospital bracelet, so of course I had to get a shot with that in it:


And here's a somewhat experimental shot we tried in front of the window with Daisy's mom, Deborah:



The rest of my shots aren't even remotely steampunk, but I'm going to show you a few more, anyway:




And finally, the most difficult shot of all:

I never would have tried the head-in-hands pose if Deborah hadn't requested it, but since it was the *only* pose she asked for, I really didn't want to let her down. I spent hours researching it before the shoot, and even then wasn't sure we'd be able to pull it off. Lest you get the wrong idea: little Daisy is NOT holding that position by herself; that photo is the result of extensive Photoshopping (thanks, John!) John ended up using elements from three different photos, but these two should give you the general idea of how we did it:



On my last newborn photo post a few of you pros out there gave me some tips in the comments, and I just wanted to say how much I appreciated that! I still struggle with the skin tone; I seem to either go too ruddy or too pale, so if you guys have any thoughts on this batch, I hope you'll tell me in the comments. The good thing is I can always go back and fix it, so please, if you see something that could be better, let me know!

Also, just to get this out there: I am by no stretch a professional photographer, I didn't charge for any of this, and everything was done off the cuff using stuff we had on hand. The lighting was from two windows (you can tell that last shot was taken late in the day by the glare), the padding was a bed pillow on a coffee table, and the backdrops were baby blankets or spare bits of fabric. The only things I purchased were white velvet for a backdrop, faux fur to line the basket, the wood tray, and the silk flowers & pearls to make the flowered undies set. Just wanted to mention that to encourage any other amateur photographers out there who might want to give this a try! (But maybe not the head-in-hands pose. Trust me. We were kind of crazy to attempt it, and it took three sets of hands even then!)

Posted by Jen at 3:21 AM Labels: ,

54 comments:

  1. I'm not even remotely a baby person, but these are pretty stinking awesome.

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  2. Speaking as a semi-professional photographer, I am impressed!
    Oh, and there are ways to do the head in hands shot that don't require photoshopping, just quick shooting ;)

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  3. These are great! I especially love the one with the scale, because it shows that she's only 9 1/2 lbs. Trust me, that will be one that her parents will pull out and look at again and again in coming years. "Can you believe she was ever that little?"

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  4. Oh-My-GOODNESS! The last shot (head in hands) is the cutest thing I have seen in a LONG time! I am dead now - from the cute!

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  5. Hi Jen,

    I love that shot of mommy and baby. The light issues give it an ethereal feeling and evoke soft sweet emotions. It may not be techniquely perfect, but it is my favourite.

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  6. WOW!!! Really awesome job, Jen. No one but you (well, John too) would know the 'wrong' things in each shot. They all look so terrific. What a great gift you gave those parents. Those shots will be treasured memories, and are bound to show up in a High School graduation slide show.

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  7. Those are adorable! Wonderful work!

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  8. You beat me to it, Marcia. I really want to share these on Facebook, but I don't want to freak anyone out, lol. You did a fabulous job and that kid is freaking beautiful.

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  9. Is there anything the amazing Jen can't do? Seriously!

    I love the two shots where Daisy is smiling. So adorable!

    Just one thing...definitely ramp up the steam next time, just go crazy with it. :)

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  10. Love all the shots you were able to get! They're so lucky to have you as a friend and willing to take all those pictures. And I'm so happy you could get such wonderful details, like the hospital bracelet and the baby's weight. Great work!

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  11. Adorrrrrrrrrrable! The goggles/helmet were perfect! Almost makes me want another baby, just so I could do newborn shots. But not quite, heh.
    I just got a photoshop program for my bday yesterday, and I am itching to try it out. Once again, I bemoan the fact that you don't live next door to me, so I could ask you questions, heehee.

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  12. You did such a gorgeous job! These photos will be cherished forever!

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  13. I want to move to Florida and have another baby so you can be our photographer. Almost.

    These are beautiful. congratulations!

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  14. I think these photographs are incredibly adorable! Great job! The parents will treasure these, I'm sure!

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  15. beautiful baby, and great photos! whatever made you take up baby photography? you do have a knack for it.

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  16. How cute is this!?! Job excellently done. Steampunk and babies...d'awww!

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  17. Very cute, Jen!! It almost makes me want to have another baby just to have these shots taken. My favorites are the one with the flowered bloomers and the one where the mom is holding her in silhouette.
    Nice!

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  18. Great job, Jen! These are beautiful shots. The flower undies are adorable; they definitely look like you spent hours on them. I'm sure Daisy's parents are thrilled with the photos. What a sweet gift!
    KW

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  19. I'm just impressed that you managed to spend this much time with a newborn and not have any photos of her screaming her head off (which is my experience with newborns of family and friends). She looks calm, peaceful, sleepy, and adorable.
    Well done!!!

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  20. So happy you researched the chin on hands pose before attempting and took the time to explain yourself. I am sure a lot of people dont realise they are a photoshop trick.

    The pictures came out great and I would be proud to display them if they were my own :)

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  21. Honestly, these look loads better than the 'professional' portraits we had taken of our kids. These are awsome. You guys did a great job.

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  22. I love the air balloon idea for the Daisy in a Basket photo. That will be so awesome. My other favorites are 1)the mom and Daisy in front of the window, all shadowy like, 2)smiling Daisy with the pink fuzzy hat on and 3)the head in hands scrunchy face Daisy! So adorable!

    I need to come here more often. You guys always inspire me to go try making something. I don't generally, but really want to learn to be able to do projects like you guys.

    Andrea

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  23. These photos are great!

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  24. Thanks so much, everyone!

    And to the anony who asked what got me into baby photography: these were just a fluke, really. I love photography, & wanted to try something new. I don't think it'll be a regular thing, though; just whenever a friend asks.

    @FM - I can't really take credit for the no-screaming thing; newborns that young just sleep a lot! We took one feeding break when she started to get squirmy, but that was it: the rest of the time she slept like a champ! (It also helped that it was 80 degrees in there, so she was nice & toasty.)

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  25. I loooooooove the Mommy and Baby shot in front of the window, it's my favorite! It's so sweet and cute.. as is the Daddy Baby Shot, with his hospital band.

    Great job!!
    Keep up the awesome!

    -KimberlyAlsp

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  26. Oh. My. Gosh. The first and last shots made me laugh out loud they are so adorable. You and John did awesome!

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  27. Jen! Those turned out great! What a sweet little girl!
    Thanks also to Daisy's folks for letting you share her with us.
    A suggestion for the future: if you're looking for a diaper cover that fits, you should be able to find cloth diaper covers. (G-diaper covers are especially colorful and may not require further decoration) They'd be a more appropriate size for an infant than panties.

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  28. Stop the cuteness!! Hard to concentrate!

    (anyone else have to refresh the captcha thingy 5 times before getting one they can read?)

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  29. the backlit mom and baby shot turned out BEAUTIFULLY. backlighting is so tricky because it's really easy to blow out the back and have just solid white, or to leave the subject in too much shadow.

    as for a hot air balloon in the bg of the first few shots, maybe you should invest in some removable wall decals? joanns and walmart usually have them on clearance, and it can be a great way to get a unique background in shots.

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  30. I am a children's photographer and just want to say that you did a great job! Glad you showed the baby hand pose is photoshop magic. Even if you do think you are quick, baby's safety always comes first. Keep up the great work!

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  31. Jen, these are really, really great! I like that the steampunky bits were just that, bits, rather than too much. And I love the wind-up baby one. Excellent job!

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  32. Lily is the cutest ever! I love the little white knit hat with the iridescent band when she smiles. Too cute!

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  33. I meant Daisy. Where'd Lily come from? Long day , but these pictures make it better.

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  34. Awesome pics. Luvin the props. I'm in awe and motivated by the effort you guys put into planning and executing projects.

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  35. Steampunk? Shouldn't you stick some gears on her?

    (winks and trundles off to watch that video one more time!)

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  36. I am melting from the cute! Please, please, please photograph my future babies for me! You can steampunk them up all you want, because these photos are FABULOUS!

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  37. I maintain that when my baby is born in November, you need to come up to Cleveland to do a photo shoot. These were awesome!

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  38. Oh, my goodness. These are WAY cuter than the shots we massively overpaid for in the hospital!

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  39. I think you and John have found a new sideline career. So very talented, you two!!

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  40. Wow! I mean, WOW!!! These photos are WONDERFUL! Deborah and Zane must be so chuffed!

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  41. Completely adorable! You have a real talent for this!

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  42. Wow Jen! These pics are fabulous! You should really consider a career in newborn photography, you have a flair for it! I wish I could have had pics like these when my son was born, he would have been so cute in an aviator cap and goggles! Great job!

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  43. LOVE the mom and baby photo! Such a cute button nose. And Mom is cute too. :)

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  44. How could you even doubt yourself?! Those photos turned out to be fantastic and that head in the hands shot is hilarious and adorable at the same time. Well done!!

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  45. wow! super cute. the wind up key kind of creeps me out, but that's just me. Looks like you have a new career coming on!cd

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  46. SO CUTE!!! The baby smiles...*heart melt*

    And the picture in front of the window with her mom is PERFECT.

    Great job!

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  47. So awesome, Jen! Wish you'd come to Maine and photograph my newest wee one! :-)

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  48. These turned out absolutely beautiful Jen! LOVE the detail of the clock stopped at the birth time, brilliant. Newborn photography is something I haven't attempted yet, so props to you for just going out and doing it!

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  49. Totally LOVE the baby shots. You're an awesome friend to do them and they are awesome friends for letting/asking you to do them.

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  50. Gorgeous photos!! You did an amazing job and I love the steampunk ones. So awesome.

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  51. No carrot jockey shot? I mean, these are all awesome, every single one, but I really was expecting a carrot in there, somewhere.

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