Obviously I have been rather busy the past six weeks, although I would never complain about the work. The baby has been growing like crazy and things are going very well. While I never had any experience in photographing newborns before, I have been through baby-photo boot-camp and come out the other side a little bit more experienced in getting some fun photos of my little one.
With an infant its obvious that you don't want to be firing off a flash in their eyes, but you also want studio quality portraits right from day one, so what do you do? For her first few weeks I did natural light only, taking advantage of the sun shining through the windows when I could, but its difficult. Now that she is moving around a bit more I decided to try a bit of fill light using my new Phottix Ares wireless flash trigger. I mounted it with my Canon 430EX flash on a portable 24" softbox, setting the flash down to 1/64 power, and placing the light stand a few feet behind me while she laid on mommies tummy on the couch. I found shooting anything less than 1/160th was not going to work - she doesn't move a lot, but when she turns or bobs her head it's quicker than you'd expect. ISO was set around 1250, while my 50mm was opened up to f/2.8.
The softbox diffused the light so well Alison didn't bat an eye. Positioning a one-month old is a challenge to say the least - additionally I am super sensitive to make sure I don't upset her, so we pretty much let her do her own thing. She's not sitting up on her own, and propping her up for photos can easily turn a baby cranky very fast - we don't like going that route. Tummy time on a big blanket over mommy makes for a calm baby. While making some funny sounds she lifted her head and looked straight down the lens to make this my favorite photo of the session. When she gets older we can do some more posed shots, and in more of a studio setup, but its still fun to get some while playing around in the living room.