Oh Baby!

This past week we’ve finally seen some relief from the harsh weather we’ve had over the last couple months. And what a relief! Temperatures of -5 – 0C feel nearly tropical compared to the -30C from the week prior. Another big perk to the incoming spring is the heat of the sun. My home is East-West facing with most of our living areas on the West side meaning that as the sun has been getting hotter and staying around longer, the house has become more comfortable and cheery for all of us in it! Certainly puts a person in the picture-taking mood! That is, of course, until you step outside and see all the muddy slush, still sleeping trees, and the bane of existence for all dog owners in springtime – dog poop. Ugh. And naturally going outside would mean needing to be responsible and clean up all of that mess that was hidden by feet of snow just a short time ago, so I figured maybe I’d hang out indoors for just one more week!

Luckily for me and my itching shutter finger, one of my best friends was wanting to take some nice pictures of her new daughter as she turned one month old! What a milestone in a little life! She’s become such a little person in just 4 short weeks, its hard to believe she hasn’t always been with us. So, excitedly, I went back to my pinterest board for inspiration and suggestions. This will most likely be a long post so I will attempt to break it up into 2 parts instead of one rambling post! My apologies if I don’t quite succeed! For privacy reasons we’ll call them ‘mum’ and ‘baby’ :).

We opted to set up shop in my guest room because it has a large West facing bay window, perfect on a sunny day for not just lots of natural lighting but also for the heat it would provide. For the couple of hours we were in there I also had the hubby bump the heat to a comfy 72F just in case! I brought up some of our regular furniture including a colourful arm-chair from our living room and a large round fabric ottoman (which we call ‘the poof’). As a backdrop I had purchased a couple of yards of plain white felt-like fabric  as well as a pretty minke pink blanket with rosette textures. Using a couple of kitchen chairs and large plastic clamps we set up the white background (partly to blend with the white afghan mum brought, and also to remove the distractions of the existing bedroom furniture which I hoped would make editing simpler).

Using the poof we placed their breast-feeding support pillow on it and covered it with the pink minke blanket to start. We used this to support the baby. If she had been any smaller it would have been too big to prop her the right way (without giving her a kink in her neck!). Unfortunately, it wasnt as versatile for propping her up on her belly face up as I would have liked, but this is all a part of learning! I’ve never taken photos (not quite like this anyhow) of such a young baby and it really does make you see how much editing must go into those newborn photos you see so much of on pinterest. Also makes all of those pinterest ‘fails’ so much more relatable!

Here are a couple of examples from the start of our ‘shoot’ post processing. My editing was very light focusing mostly on playing with the lighting in most (but not all) and some minor editing to remove dry skin from the baby’s face. Being so new she’s still growing into her skin but I felt in some of the close up photos it was a bit distracting. More on that later.

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As we progressed into our shoot, baby’s mood took a turn from the quietly curious to downright unhappy. And it pretty much stayed that way until they left! Our pets Stark and Rio had been banished from the bedroom during this time and both chose to stand guard behind the closed door crying their support for her every time she let out a howl. It was both funny and irritating at the same time. But we can debate babies vs. fur babies another day.

Another learning, was that you will need a LOT of time for pictures with a fussy baby. I knew we’d have to stop regularly for nursing and cuddling but I think it surprised both her mum and I  when we finished up just how long we had actually been in there! And then when I was sorting through the photos, out of 278, there were about only 45 that were worthy of editing or sharing.  Trying to sneak pictures between crying breaths was also a challenge for sure, but luckily despite the majority of the session being spent in tears, only a few of the photos really made it obvious to anyone that she wasn’t as cool as a cucumber the whole time. I’m sure somewhere down the road we’ll forget the truth and believe the story the photos tell instead!

In terms of editing her skin, the “heal” tool was a new one for me to use in GIMP. It took me a couple tries to get the swing of it without causing any distortion to her skin or face. I wanted to ensure nothing permanent to her features was changed but rather the temporary dry skin didn’t take away from seeing her soft features underneath.

Here you’ll see the before and after side by side for a comparison. You may need to click on the images to see them enlarged to clearly see the difference.

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Also, sometimes if the baby is crying, well….the baby is crying! And you just have to go with it! unfortunately for her mum, I think she was really hoping to have some nice photos of the baby with the “____month” sticker on, but truthfully by the time we got to that, she simply wasnt having any of it! Not even cute and cuddly hats could change her mind. Here are some shots of that.

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And finally in this (long) baby filled post! One of the shots mum had asked me to try to get was of her little feet. Now I have seen a million photos of a baby’s tiny feet and being that they really truly don’t move a whole lot I figured this should be an easy shot. Well turns out this was easier said than done. I guess this is better attempted with a sleeping baby. Maybe next time I visit during nap time I’ll try again! In the meantime I attempted the shot with a couple of different perspectives after my first attempts failed pretty miserably with blurry feet or scrunched up toes!

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