Safety Within Newborn Photography

There has been a huge rise in newborn photography in the past few years and as with anything that is becoming popular there is always more and more experimentation happening to create new and interesting artwork.

But what many people don’t realise is that these incredible images of babies hanging from tree branches or propped in a basket holding their head up aren’t just one image. They are a composite of 2 maybe 3 or even 4 images. And it is really important for new and emerging baby photographers to be aware of this and they should not even be attempted without training.

There is a good article about safety and compositing images here –

http://babypropshop.co.uk/photography-tutorials/composites-and-newborn-safety

The trend of ‘composites’ has really taken off. There is so many digital backdrops that can be purchased on places like Etsy and Creative Market to really add something spectacular to your images.

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I recently had a newborn shoot and during that we were chatting and it turned out that the parents had met on a boat so i thought it would be lovely to do a photo of their baby in a little boat. We had one in the studio so i set it all up but unfortunately once i put their little boy into it he woke up after i did the test shot (it was coming to the end of the session and feeding time) so i didn’t get chance to perfect his pose and the angle of the boat / background etc. But the couple were so excited about this photo of him in the boat and i knew it was awful and that i needed to think of some way to rectify it.

Thankfully i found an image on Etsy that i purchased and with the amazing tools in photoshop i was able to do a composite using that and my original image.

Screen Shot 2017-05-02 at 13.28.26

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I put the two together to create this –

Baby Sullivan beach

I had to flip him horizontally so the light & shadows matched the direction on the background image. It took a couple of hours because there was some really critical erasing around the flag and material draping across the boat as well as colour correction.

But it was worth the effort because it was their favourite image out of the whole gallery 🙂

Debbie Booth – BabyBloom Photography, Bolton, Uk has a good example of one of her composites that she has done –

Screen Shot 2017-05-02 at 13.15.06

And i think it is great that photographers are keen to show people that these type of images are done using an assistant and several images put together. Hopefully it might educate people in the process and stop them from attempting them and putting babies safety at risk.

Another one that i have done recently as it was requested by the client, was a photograph of their baby in their daughters police hat. This had to be done as a composite because the hat itself isn’t stable to put a baby in. So i photographed it on its own, and then put some black material over the Mum who was holding the baby underneath and i positioned her forward and in the same position as if it was in the hat and then i put them together in Photoshop.

Aniela hat

 

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SEO

SEO … my nemisis!! Well up until recently anyway! I was so frustrated with the limitations of WordPress.com because i can’t use any SEO plugins like Yoast which is supposed to be really good …But i have been putting the hours in re-wording every page, tag, metadata so that NEWBORN, BABY, CHILD, FAMILY, WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER features everywhere and i am blogging and getting clients to leave reviews on my Facebook, Google page & FreeIndex. All which link to my website…and its working!!

So without paying for SEO i am now on page 1 of Google when you type in:

Newborn Photographer Wrexham / Baby Photographer Wrexham / Child Photographer Wrexham / Family Photographer Wrexham / Wedding Photographer Wrexham / Photographer Wrexhamnewborn photographer wrexham - Google Search.pdf

 

 

Newborn Posing Workshop

I travelled to Manchester for Jillian Greenhill’s Newborn Posing Workshop at Newborn Baby Posing Limited, this was a big investment for me but it really focuses on the area that i want to excel in so i needed to do it to help me move forward.

As this is a public blog i can’t go into detail with what we learnt on the course but it was brilliant and covered everything from marketing – client prep before the session – the session – safety – posing – editing – sales.

Jillian enforces how important safety is when you are putting a baby in any pose and you must have a spotter nearby whether it is an assistant or Mum or Dad. And this is something that is my top priority when i photograph anyone’s baby.

This course helped me so much and gave me a much wider insight into how i should run my business. I also received a Newborn Posing Certificate which i can proudly display in my studio.

** I also spent a small fortune on outfits and props from their shop (whoopsies) **

Here is one of the images i took and then after i’ve edited in Lightroom & PS.

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And some more unedited images from throughout the day:

CC, Rotoscoping & Green Screen

Approaching this assignment i think i spent almost 2 hours just aimlessly sifting through film clips not knowing what to throw together and then when i did find clips that i thought would work together i couldn’t cut the figures out neat enough because they were moving too fast or the person blended in with the background too much so when i used the Roto Brush Tool it wasn’t neat enough.

I was determined to use a Will Ferrell film (just because i think he’s great) and when i tried to pair Land Of The Lost and Elf it just didn’t work so i used Clint Eastwood from The Good, The Bad and the Ugly instead of Elf. This worked quite well because they were both in desert scenes, Clint was however very much in shadow, less saturated and not as orange:

clint

So i used a mixture of curves, exposure & the brightness & contrast to match him to the background.

cccurves

Using the Roto Brush i was able to cut around Clint, it wasn’t easy and i found that i needed to make the brush tool smaller to get much more accurate areas selected but i couldn’t see a way of doing this. I refined the edges of him in the Roto Brush Matte options by changing the Feather, Contrast & Shift Edge levels and this tidied it up a bit. I also added a blur effect to the background as Clint is walking towards the camera to add some depth of field.

And then for a bit of fun i threw in Woody (Green Screen) getting crushed by a falling ice cream van at the end, using  rectangular mask to move over Woody as the van fell on him.

woody

He also needed colour correction and the levels changing to suit the change of light as the van came from above.

woody-1

I actually really enjoyed this once i had the material to use, most of my time was spent wandering aimlessly through youtube just looking, i think if someone had given me the footage from the beginning i could of really spent some time and gone to town with it.

My Project – WILD WANGDANGLED

We can only get better?

Something that i love to see is when top photographers show work from when they first started out, it gives a sense of hope to all of us who always feel like we’re never where we want to be….. are you ever? Its just one long journey of making mistakes, learning from it, moving on and improving.

I found this image that Kelly Brown had shared on her Facebook page:

kelly-2008-2016

It’s just a massive encouragement…no-one is brilliant from the get-go and we have to go through all the wrongs to figure out the rights.

So i put together one for myself:

2014-2016

I like to look at this….it makes me smile 😀 I actually thought that was a good photo in 2014….we can only compare to what we know, i obviously didn’t know enough then and this is why if you always are looking to learn more and discover new things you can only get better!

Kelly Brown | Learning from the best

When i decided i wanted to focus specifically on newborn photography it was Kelly Brown that influenced me the most. I love her work, from the way she makes her clients feel the moment they walk through the door, to the natural earthy colours & props she uses to the beautifully edited images. She is calm & professional and makes the whole experience special from start to finish. This is something that i want to provide, i want people to invest in beautiful imagery of their babies and in return i want to give them a luxury experience.

I would LOVE to do one of her 2 Day intensive workshops where she covers everything from safe work practice, posing through to the editing , products & client delivery. These cost $2000 and i would have to travel to Australia for it so at this time it is not an option for me 😦 I have contacted her and asked if she would ever be running an of these in the UK and if so can i be top of the list 😀

She is at the SWPP in London in January 2017, where she will be participating in seminars and is running a short class….but by the time i had found out about it there was no spaces left.

I am a huge fan of Creative Live and the resources that they provide for photographers are brilliant, you can watch free broadcasts and also buy the full courses if you wish. Last year i managed to watch a couple of the Newborn Photography Bootcamp by Kelly Brown and it was amazing but i couldn’t afford to buy the full course then. I bought it a couple of weeks ago and have started watching the course, it was run over a 4 week period and there is so many incredible videos as well as class materials, documents & guides. Once i have finished the videos i am going to begin to work through these and adapt them for my business.

Perfect Moments Photography | BLOG

It is true what they say…BLOGGING really helps!! I have started doing it regularly and i have now bumped my site from Page 3 to the top of Page 2!! gaaaaaaah i just want to be on Page 1!!!!!!!! Obsessed??? ME!?? Nooooooooooo ….. i’m not obsessed

…..determined?? YES 😀 haha

I have listed the links to some of my recent blogs:

https://perfectmoments-photography.com/2016/11/29/frosticles-long-shadows/

https://perfectmoments-photography.com/2016/11/25/posed-or-candid-photos/

https://perfectmoments-photography.com/2016/11/23/lets-print-print-print/

https://perfectmoments-photography.com/2016/11/22/baby-boy-ieuan-newborn-session/

https://perfectmoments-photography.com/2016/09/26/christmas-mini-shoot/

https://perfectmoments-photography.com/2016/09/12/baby-girl-arabella-newborn-photography/

https://perfectmoments-photography.com/2016/10/02/walks-fairies/

https://perfectmoments-photography.com/2016/07/08/sally-james-wedding/

https://perfectmoments-photography.com/2016/05/13/rhian-craig-wedding/

Website ~ Ongoing Improvement

www.perfectmoments-photography.com

My website is currently at the top of page 3 when you type in ‘Newborn Photographer Wrexham’.

And i need to be on page 1, there is people i know on page one and their website isn’t built around key words for newborn photography. But i am really struggling with the limitations of wordpress.com, i have my hosting through them and i pay for the premium account so it allows me to do more than the free account but i just don’t know how to optimise it anymore. I have spent lots of time talking to their support and there isn’t much else i can do. And i’ve spoke to different web designers and they haven’t been able to help much, they said it would need to be moved to another host but that’s not going to be easy to do. So i’ve just been trying to make do with it as it is, i can only use the themes that wordpress.com supply and out of them all there was nothing that quite suits the look I am going for so I have modified it to the best of my abilities so far. I have created a linen background to it because this ties in with the natural fibres I use in my sessions and the colours are what i tend to use as well –

I like earthy natural tones, my style isn’t loud and vibrant it is more muted / pastels / natural fibres / lace / wood / leather / warm / pretty / classical. I like the contrast of black and white against natural tones and I love anything old / retro / vintage.

It has a scrolling gallery on the front page which shows all my latest blogs so i have got this part working how i like because it keeps my home page current.

Associations

I have paid to become a member of BANPAS (Baby And Newborn Photography Association) And NAPCP (National Association Of Child Photographers), I am listed on their sites so if anyone searches for a photographer in my area then I will show on their website of registered photographers. They have ongoing training, workshops, legal information.

I have joined every online local advertising sites there is on the first 3 pages of google –

http://www.kidsguide.org.uk/wrexham-flintshire-children/family-photographers-wrexham-flintshire/

https://www.bidvine.com/ll/wrexham/baby-photography

http://www.freeindex.co.uk/profile(perfect-moments-photography)_700981.htm

http://www.wrexhampages.co.uk/search/wrexham/photographers

https://www.uksmallbusinessdirectory.co.uk/intown/Photographers-in-Wrexham/

http://directory.walesonline.co.uk/search/wrexham/photographers

I have also verified my business with Google –

https://www.google.co.uk/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=perfect%20moments%20photography%20wrexham

Social Media

All my social media sites are linked to my website blogs so they get shared throughout:

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

INSTAGRAM

And YOUTUBE

Suggestions that i have found on the internet:

How to boost your seo-

Use SEO Plugins, but i can’t do this because it would need to be .org its .com so i can’t install any seo plugins like Yoast

SEO for Idiots: The 10 Basics of Blogging Search Engine Optimization

I make sure I have keywords in the metadata attached to every photo I upload, in my posts I try to use as many key words as I can.

Getting reviews on any advertising pages that i am on will help – so i have been requesting reviews from people once i have finished each job

Blogging as much as possible

Keep regular new content on the page

Link to other websites / referrals etc

Join Blog circles

My New Website

I had built my website on WordPress.com and was pretty happy with it except the layout just didn’t work efficiently enough so i decided to start again….again. I love it now, there is the Home page which i would like to customise with my logo but apart from that i am pleased with how it looks – clean/simple and easy to navigate.

My favourite page is the blog:

https://perfectmoments-photography.com/blog-2/

 

Adding Fog

To create a fog effect i followed one of Phlearns videos –

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=042qmY5lxgs

I made a new layer and then using his fog brush which is available on his website i painted fog in different sizes and colours picking from the lighter colours that were in the image, i did this on a couple of different layers so that i could play with the opacity. I then used a gaussian blur on the fog layers because it looked fake so with a bit of blur it softened the edges and made it look more realistic.

To change the overall colour i added a curves layer and played round with the red, blue & green channels until i was happy with it, i wanted something that was a bit moody and cinematic.

And to finish it off i downloaded a photo of a crow off google images and threw that in for added eeriness! 🙂

Below is the before and after –