Sunday, December 5, 2010

Nine Months. How'd you do that?

My baby girl is almost 9 months old. I've been thinking about her shoot for a while and I knew I wanted it to be semi Christmas themed. I love the look of portraits in front of a Christmas tree, but a big sparkly tree is just TOO much temptation for a 9 month old. I knew if I plopped her in front of our tree that I'd never get her to look at the camera. Enter brainstorming.

I decided to put her in front of a white background with lights strung all around. I got some 'stuffing fluff' to look like snow and some over-sized ornaments for props. When I started setting up I realized that the light strands were green and did not look good against a white background.

I replaced the white blanket with some black fabric and got the look I was going for.

Here's a shot of the full set up.

The black fabric and lights are draped across the back of our couch. There's a big window to the right and we used a reflector (seen on the left) to shine light on the cream tile just in front of Olivia. This bounced light around and lit her very well. She is sitting about 3 feet in front of the background and I shot with my aperture wide open (f1.4 on my Canon 50mm fixed lens). This is what caused the lights to blur and gave me exactly what I had in mind. I ditched the 'stuffing fluff' because it looked blah against the black background.

John stood over my shoulder trying to get her to look and smile. He must have said something hilarious on that first shot!

Olivia just started clapping this week and I was so happy to capture it in this shoot. 

Once I was dialed in and could see on my LCD exactly what I had pre-visualized I shot, shot and shot some more.

She was moving a lot so I had to compensate with my camera settings. I changed the Auto Focus to AI Servo, which continuously focuses as the shutter is depressed. I also changed the Drive mode to Continuous. This means when I pressed the shutter and held it down I'd shoot approximately 3 images per second. Using these settings together allowed me to get a ton of images in focus no matter how much she wiggled and giggled. 

That's a LOT of pictures but... really.. how am I supposed to pick just one (or 10)??  I need to start brainstorming now if I'm gonna top this for her 1 year shoot!


  1. I love how you explain how you did it and also the picture of what the setup actually looked like. I'd love to be able to do something like this for my baby... when are you coming to Austin?? :)