some days you just need a picture that makes you smile every time you look at it!

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some days you just need a picture that makes you smile every time you look at it!  there are so many aspects of this image that I love, the fact that we were obviously trying for a straight studio portrait of everyone looking at the camera, looking relaxed and happy, and the fact that somehow or another, I don’t remember the exact details, but the giggles snuck in and that was the end of it! The two older kids on the ends are doing their best to hold it together and look at the camera but you can tell it is going to be a lost cause. In the centre, things have already  collapsed into fits of laughter, but through it all you get to see the real relationship that exists within this family. As I shoot Black and White, choice of clothes colour is not as important as the tones ( Light or dark ). While I don’t want everyone to be dressed identically, we need to avoid having 4 people in dark and just one person in light ( unless we are trying to make them stand out in the group). We also want to avoid big patterns, stripes and logos, so your Hawaiian shirt is probably a not go unless you all have one. At the end of the day, I want the clothes that you are wearing to melt into the background and not compete with those beautiful expressions and the interaction between the people in the photograph
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Newborns in the studio

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Whats so funny? The baby looks very relaxed and content, so how do you get great expressions like this from the parents? The secret is in what the baby is wearing  Absolutely nothing -  which makes holding the bottom end of the baby a  very hazardous operation! I don’t remember the exact timing, but I know that at some stage, either just before, or just after this image was taken, Mum copped a handful of wee!  Dad’s delighted expression is all to do with the fact that he is up the other end. In situations like this, there is  nothing that hasn’t happened in our studio before. I had one mother look down at her baby and say “ surely his empty by now!”  That day it was a lot more than just wee, but we just take it in our stride, there is always pliantly of baby wipes, towels and sanitiser, and I always suggest to parents that if they are planning on doing anything after the photoshoot, other than going straight home, that they should bring a change of clothes with them just in case. Getting images that show baby’s size and the way they curl up into a foetal ball is important in these first images.  It won’t be too long before everything starts stretching out and that phase of their development is left behind.  Those newborn pictures will serve as a benchmark. A starting point if, you like, against which all future images will be compared.  They are never that small again, and in the hustle and bustle of the early days of having a new baby in the house, the parents don’t really get a chance to reflect on the changes. Before you know it, 5 or 6 months have passed in a blur of broken sleep and feeding, and the baby is not as small and helpless anymore. When people ask me when they should do their newborn shoot I always tell them to come into the studio on their way home from the hospital.  Often they think I am joking, what mum wants to go straight from childbirth to a photo studio? But I tell them that its not really about the parents at this stage, it is definitely not about getting smiles or expressions from baby, its all about the size, and the relative size between the adults and baby. Besides, we have photoshop and a policy of looking after the Mums, so there is really no excuse, and if you miss that window on the way home, there is a good chance that you will get swept up in the vortex that a new baby in the house generates and by the time you come out the other end , several months may have passed.
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