I was asked to do a newborn shoot for a previous client, I’d photographed their 1st child for his 1st Birthday last year. Every shoot that I do is bespoke to each client, I always try to make sure that I don’t repeat something that I’ve done before. My aim has always been to become known for my unique baby portraits and over the past year this has started to happen, clients are travelling from further away and are requesting a certain ‘theme’ when they book. This family travelled an hour and a half for their shoot so I wanted to create something special for them.
Requested Theme – Bears
I looked through Pinterest and found a couple of images but there wasn’t many to choose from… which is rare, usually every ‘theme’ has been done in so many ways it’s hard to come up with something new!
After not having much luck online I referred back to my Anne Geddes books, she has done many ‘Teddy’ themed images before which you can find online:
The teddy in the image above has featured in many of her images over the years, including in her recent book – Anne Geddes Small World
This huge book is an exquisite collection of her unique baby and child portraits from throughout her career.
“Geddes has followed her own vision every single step of the way.”— The Huffington Post
Image taken by Suzanne Ross-Hughes of Anne Geddes Small World Book
Geddes features a ‘Three Little Bears’ image in her recent book, a set of twins is posed with her large bear that she’s featured in many images over the years. Throughout my research on the internet and books there appears to be evidence of babies with bears featured on shelves and lying with teddies so I needed to come up with something that didn’t include what’s been done before.
I came up with a few ideas and then decided on Goldilocks and the Three Bears but without Goldilocks, I wanted to include little beds and possibly porridge. There was many ways I could have gone with this but I needed to make the most of the props and accessories I already owned because of the timeframe I was given there wouldn’t have been adequate time to start making anything new.
My new studio is extremely small so when I am preparing for a session I set each little scene up, photograph it then put everything to one corner of the room ready to re-set up on the day.
Below is the Scenes plan that I printed out and used as a reference on the day:
Nikon D850 & Sigma 50mm 1.4 Art
Elinchrom D-lite RX One
Backdrop & a selection of props, bear outfit and accessories
The session went really well, even though he fed on and off for 3 hours I managed to utilise all the setups planned except one. I was so pleased that we managed to get the one of the baby in the little bed with the 2 teddies and the porridge as that was the focal image for the session. Throughout my work there is always a link to Anne Geddes work, she definitely inspires me to create something new for every shoot. I can see a style developing in the newborn images I create, I love natural rich earthy tones and never go for anything too bright or colourful. Kelly Brown has been a continuous influence since I began my journey into newborn photography, she uses vintage props anything that has a bit of a story or history behind it and always uses natural muted tones. And then there is Paulina Duczman whose work I adore, her inspiration comes from her childhood and growing up with her family who owned an antique business so her home was always filled with vintage furniture and old paintings, and this has become her style of photography with her images resembling a Rembrandt painting.
THREE LITTLE BEARS
This image was chosen by http://babyphotoawards.com and featured in their April Collection which I was over the moon about! I couldn’t wait to tell the family that they were now the proud owners of an Award Winning Image. After travelling so far to me for their session I’m so pleased it was one of their images that was selected. This is an International Competition and each month they select the winners from around the world and feature them on their website:
This is definitely one of my favourite images that I’ve ever made, I love the natural earthy tones, the lighting which appears to be falling in perhaps from a window to the right of the baby and the props which help create a story of nurturing and caring similar to the work of Anne Geddes. I extremely pleased with the technical elements, the impact and the story within so for me this was definitely a winning image (even if it hadn’t won an award).