28 March 2012

Newborn session set-up

A little while ago I posted the aftermath of a newborn session. Today I was setting up for one (I have two this week) and thought I'd take some photos showing how I have things set up.

First of all, here is how our living room looks normally:

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Actually, those side tables have been moved (a project that I'll eventually finish and blog about) and the coffee table has been moved into the garage for a change (and to make room for sessions). But other than that the living room generally looks the same.

When I have a session I swing the two-seater couch around to face the three-seater and put the "leather" trunk next to it, between the couch and the TV. This leaves room to set up my backdrop stand. For newborn sessions I don't have to make it very high - I have it about neck height.

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The first backdrop I put up is my white one. I clamp it to the stand with my slave strobes.

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These are the slaves I have - they are triggered by my main strobe light. They are Portaflash brand and have a ball-and-socket joint so you can angle them any which way, which is handy.

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I sometimes get a bit of light spill so today I taped some cardstock to them as a makeshift shield.

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Having the three slaves pointed at the white backdrop ensures a blown-out background of pure white. Here are some examples:

Grace 1

Baby N, 8 days old

Here's the same setup but with the slaves turned off - the background then shows as grey:

Jasmine 10

Jasmine 01

Once the white backdrop is set up ...

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... I turn the slaves off and remove the top slave and clamp it to the bookcase for later use:

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Then I put the black backdrop over the white one and right over the slaves. It's just a long length of black cotton fabric:

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I clamp it to the stand with these little plastic clamps from the DIY store:

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On top of the black, fairly close to the backdrop, I place the beanbag:

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I top that with some laminated cotton fabric that is waterproof:

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Here's a close-up of the fabric - you can see the edge of the plastic layer that has been bonded to the cotton material:

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On top of that goes a towel:

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And then I fold a corner of the backdrop over the beanbag:

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Why just a corner? Because if when baby poops, pees or pukes on it then I can remove that corner and use the opposite corner and I still have the center as an option should the second corner get soiled.

If the backdrop remains clean then I can get mom to sit on the baby's beanbag, drape a corner of the backdrop over her and get some shots like this:

Baby N, 8 days old

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Okay, so then I add some items to the setup:

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By the way, the white backdrop sticks out so much because with the slaves on I have to move the baby much further away from the backdrop to prevent light spill. I don't have the same issues with the black backdrop which is why the beanbag is so much closer to it than it would be if the white one was in use.

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Sometimes the mom sits on the sofa and sometimes she wants to be near the action, hence the beanbag for her to sit on.

My hair dryer is magic. I turn it on and 99% of the time the baby immediately goes all still. It's so funny to watch, it's as if they melt. I just have the hair dryer on a low setting and on cool, and aim it away from the baby as I just need it for the noise. Actually, it also comes in handy on a hot setting to warm up the beanbag or anything else that the baby is about to be placed on.

I will place the baby on his / her back, side or tummy on the beanbag. Here's an example of the black background:

Baby N, 8 days old

I sometimes use the beanbag with other background than just the black. It works great with any throw or blanket over it on a black or white background:

Jasmine 03

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I have some throws, blankets and baskets ready for use:

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The small basket has a towel and a bath mat in it, ready to add a blanket to the top. The big basket is fairly tall ...

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... so I weigh the bottom down a bit with food cans so that the basket doesn't tip over when the baby's in it near the top.

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I then add a blanket ...

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... and a towel.

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It will be topped with a throw or blanket before baby is placed on it.

Here are some examples of babies in this basket - I don't have many as it's new (I wasn't allowed to bring my baskets into the country from the UK):

Baby N, 8 days old

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So, that's how I do it. I'll show you how I store everything in another post. Hope this was helpful! Let me know if you have any questions.


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7 comments:

  1. Most gorgeous. I was wondering what you meant by sessions. You must love taking photos of these bubs.

    http://www.rkembroidery.net/

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    1. I do! I get to cuddle and enjoy them ... and then send them home and get a solid night's sleep ;)

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  2. Love these tips even though I'm far from most it...still learning my camera - 2 years later! Curious though - why could you not bring the baskets from the UK?

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    1. NZ is super strict on protecting their eco-system so no untreated wood, botanicals, seeds, etc are allowed in. We had to have someone come and inspect Grant's boots. We didn't bring anything like lawnmower, trampoline, garden tools.

      If you've been around my blog long you'll know how many baskets I had. It was so hard to leave them behind! But the packing guy said that althought they are usually varnished, if any of them had cracked or split during transit then the exposed bit would be considered untreated wood and we would either have to pay for them to be fumigated or pay for them to be destroyed. Either way it would have created a delay in getting our stuff, so we just left them behind.

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  3. Oh wow - I was thinking you probably had a lot! I would be so sad! I am sure you will find more good deals and have a nice collection again. Thanks for sharing that!

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  4. Do You know where I can get the portaflash slave strobes that you have, I absolutely in love with your setup.

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    1. I believe Portaflash was discontinued ages ago :( I'm sorry, I don't know what the equivalent would be.

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