A few weeks ago, Jack and I had the opportunity to meet photographer Jennifer Loomis and spend some time in her New York studio for a mini photo shoot and a lesson on how to capture more professional looking photos of babies and children. Always useful when you have a crazypants toddler on your hand like I do.
In addition to maternity photography, Jennifer photographs families and children. Jack and I spent a delightful couple of hours in her studio as Jennifer shared tips on child photography and took a few pictures of my crazy boy. No seriously, he was running wild the entire session. I have no idea how she managed to snag these precious images of him for me.
Probably the best advice she gave me personally was to follow him with my camera. Use that camera to track the movements of your bundle of energy. He’s moving and the camera does too. I’m still practicing this one and hopefully it will help me capture a lot of our playground fun this summer! We tried out some of her tips while in the studio and yeah…I’m not approaching genius stage yet. But here’s my boy, captured on a simple black background by my camera phone.
Okay, fine…I’ll keep working on my technique, and in the meantime here are a few beautiful images of my boy and me, taken by Ms Loomis.
That last one? I’m squeezing him tight to get that kiss in before he took off again. Pretty much sums up me and Jack perfectly.
Jennifer specializes in maternity and family photography – specifically nude maternity photography. You may not want to visit her site in depth while you’re at work…just fyi. But do take the time to visit http://www.jenniferloomis.com if you are fan of photography, mothers, babies, and/or human life in general. Jennifer kindly gave me a copy of her book Portraits of Pregnancy: The Birth of a Mother and I cannot tell you how moved I have been reading through it. Mothers young and older are captured here in all the beauty of pregnancy. Each mother’s photograph is accompanied by her story in words. I found them all to be so many things, but overall uplifting, strong and truthful. My pregnancy was not a super easy one – I didn’t even really enjoy being pregnant, truth be told. But looking through this book I kind of want to do it all over again. There’s nothing else like being pregnant and Jennifer Loomis captures it beautifully.
I feel so blessed to have had her capture a few moments of me and my ball of energy, my Jack. She even managed a picture of him nursing, which yes, he still does. It’s almost the only time he stays still. For now I’m saving it for just us. For now. You guys know I love a good breastfeeding post…
Here’s a great list of simple tips from Jennifer to help you (and me) take more professional looking pictures of our children and babies.
- Pick the right time. Studios set aside 1 to 3 hours to take a child’s photo, so you should set aside at least an hour. Your child also needs to be at his or her best during the shoot, so don’t attempt to try right before or after a nap or when they might be tired or hungry.
- Set up a home studio. Create your environment first by creating a studio-like setting in your house. Clear away the clutter, put away toys, and remove anything else that is distracting from the area, such as plants and chairs. Then use a backdrop in a neutral tone – Jennifer Loomis recommends a big piece of black velvet. You can use a white wall too (but no sunlight falling on the wall.). You are trying to create a consistent tone.
- What to photograph? Ask yourself “what do I like about my child and what makes him/her different” – is it a smile, a furrowed brow, their feet, how they hug their sibling? Resist the temptation to say “everything” and get specific on just a few things. Write them down – these will provide inspiration for your photos.
- Learn to see good light. Use of light is a key to great photographs. Start by turning off the flash on the camera. Find a decently sized window with indirect light (no sun shining on the floor). Position your child at a 90% angle to the window (no back to window, but shoulders squared to the window). Make a note of the time when the light will be at its best.
- Dress the subject appropriately. The child’s clothing should be solid colors without branding, patterns or writing on it; no white; in a different color than the backdrop. Depending on the age of child, you might consider taking pictures of the child without their shirt or taking off the shoes because childrens’ feet are so cute.
- Use props. If there is something that is important to a child, such as a teddy bear or blanket, Jennifer Loomis recommends taking a few pictures with the item to capture the memory.
- Enlist help if needed. If photographing a toddler, you might need a second person assisting you to get the child to be more focused and participate. Work on getting your child to connect with you.
- Get creative and experiment. Try framing your images using different distances such as wide, medium and tight, but don’t forget to pay attention to your background. Physically move in and stand back from the subject vs. using the zoom lens, as you will better connect with the subject. Try getting in tight when photographing smaller body parts, such as the nose, the foot, etc. If you are using film (not digital) try some black and white film shots too.
Here’s to remembering to pack the real camera more often, to using it, and to practice, practice, practice!
Disclaimer: I was not compensated for this post. We just had a lot of fun, learned a lot, and had a few precious memories captured by a very talented photographer.
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