Creating photography props – hand-dyed baby wraps

You know what it’s like when you buy something online and it turns out to be slightly different to what you imagined. The size isn’t right, the colour’s not exactly like the one in the picture. It’s previous experience of this that deterred me from buying baby wraps online.

I needed to buy so many wraps in a variety of colours to compliment the photography set as well as the clients taste, I didn’t want to get it wrong. If I’m honest with you I didn’t want to spend £15 on each wrap either! So yet again I set out to create my own and create my own collection of colours. It couldn’t be too difficult, surely?

I searched around for a natural fabric. It had to be light weight, kind to newborn skin, have the ability to stretch and also able to absorb colour effectively in the dyeing process. Natural muslin it was then.

I bought metres of muslin and cut it into one and a half metre lengths for each wrap. That was a complete estimate (and turns out to be plenty).

My mother-in-law travelled to mine and provided me with one-to-one workshop in fabric dyeing. We experimented with a number of colours and concentrations. My mother-in-law spins her own silks and yarns, dyes them and weaves with them. Very handy to have around to teach me 🙂

We have since spent another afternoon creating more colours and shades but this was the result of our first workshop….

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I really enjoy creating and learning but more importantly it provides a personal touch to my images.

Creating photography props – newborn lace bonnet

With a newborn photo shoot just around the corner I had thought about investing in some hairbands and hats but wasn’t too keen on the ones I’d seen online. I found a beautiful pattern for a crocheted lace bonnet so I picked up a crochet hook, bought a lace weight yarn and started creating. I had plenty of time for a new project and had never crocheted before so thought ‘why not?’

The first attempt was pretty slow going and on inspecting the finished item I changed the size of the hook and altered the pattern for an extra few rows. I was much happier with the second piece so started producing more.

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I made two different sizes in antique pink and began to create the same design in a variety of colours. I used Debbie Bliss Rialto Lace as the weight was perfect and she had some beautiful colours, subtle enough for newborn skin tones. I travelled to Gillian Gladrag’s in Dorking using my latest project as an excuse to peruse the treasure trove of yarn collections and wasn’t disappointed. What a place! http://www.gilliangladrag.co.uk/

After a while I began to remember the pattern by heart and was able to crochet while watching television of an evening. Not only do I now have a handful of lace bonnets available for photo sessions but I feel pretty competent with a crochet hook in hand and also managed to create a lace bonnet for a friend’s baby daughter.

Why buy a photography prop online when you can have so much more fun making the same thing?

In search of some more gorgeous patterns……..

Creating fond memories

The postman delivered my son’s first dressing up outfit a couple of days ago and the excitement for me to test it for size (on my son of course!) had been too much to handle.  I had an hour to spare and my son was in a patient mood. So why not?

The outfit had enough room for at least a  few months of wear. Apart from the hat, that is. I’m sure he’ll look back in years to come and think ‘oh mum, what on earth?’ But having seen some of the costumes out there I think I’ve been relatively kind. Mickey Mouse is a classic after all!

There were some funny images and some cute ones which but don’t be fooled into thinking that photography’s an easy ride. It’s certainly fun, I love spending time with little ones and it’s a breeze compared to a life in the boardroom…..but it can be challenging.

You have to time the session perfectly making sure they’re fed, watered, not lacking in sleep and most importantly to let them be themselves. And if that means not wanting to participate throughout the whole session regardless of how hard you try, then so be it. Photographs that have a story behind them are the ones you look at fondly (or laugh at) in years to come.

This is one from the Mickey Mouse session which will continue to make me laugh! It suggests he would have preferred to be Donald Duck.

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Until the next costume!……

A Woodland Walk with Mushrooms and Monkeys

This Sunday afternoon we spent a couple of hours strolling through Hurtwood, near Pitch Hill….and what a perfect opportunity to take the Canon out for a walk.

The weather was perfect, our son had plenty of energy and I needed some fresh air. Pitch Hill is on our doorstep and although we’ve lived in the area for two years and passed it many times we’d never managed to visit.

It was pretty busy as there was an MTBO (Mountain Bike Orienteering) event and as a result my son’s new word is bike! He loved watching the cyclists pass and was more than impressed as a few of them raced up a ramp at speed and flew through the air.

I love this time of year and woodland walks are great for all your senses. The autumnal colours of leaves on the trees, in the air and on the ground. The damp undergrowth is a fantastic environment for moss and as a result creates a wonderful contrast to the thorny brambles. There were plenty of fungi at the base of trees and to the side of the path but I was pretty exited when I saw this Fly Agaric mushroom. It stood in solitude on a bed of bright green moss in beautiful sunlight.

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Towards the end of the walk there was a pond, together with bulrushes and dragonflies and a perfectly positioned bench to rest weary legs. I didn’t manage to capture any images of dragonflies but may be next time.

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The walk in itself was probably an easy one hour round trip but with little legs and inquisitive eyes (both me and my son!) it took two hours. We came home with arms full of brightly coloured fallen leaves, images of the fun Sunday afternoon, knowledge of a new place for family walks and a very tired boy.

I wonder where our next adventure will take us!

The Baby Bump

I’ve recently been experimenting by viewing my subjects from different angles to create an alternative perspective.

In this weeks maternity session I captured the baby bump from above and it proved to be a great success. Definitely one I’d create again. With feet slightly out of focus the bump demands immediate attention.

A maternity session is all about the bump after all so why not make it the feature of the image?!

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While trying to achieve this perspective I realised a small step ladder just wasn’t going to give me the height I needed. Luckily I had a large A-frame ladder to hand. Whilst perched precariously at the top of the ladder, on one leg, carrying a heavy camera I considered investing in some crash mats for future shoots!

Super heroes and Disney princesses

I’m starting to feel so out of touch….ok, old. I have no idea which is the most recent or popular Disney princess and it took me months to realise who Elsa was. And I STILL haven’t watched Frozen.

A couple of months ago I spent some time taking some family shots for my sister. It didn’t take much encouragement for my niece and nephew to dive into their dressing up boxes and find an outfit. It was pretty predictable that my nephew would appear as a Marvel superhero and my niece a Disney princess, but which superhero and which princess?

It turns out Spiderman and Elsa are the latest craze, or at least in their household. I had Elsa floating around in her sparkly dress and Spidey crawling the floor, better that than climbing the walls I guess.

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The outfits not only changed their appearance but also their confidence levels in front of the camera. Incorporating their dressing up outfits into the session might just help them take on another persona and feel more at ease. Even if their living room has been taken over by tripods and lighting, their outfits should provide conversation in the hope of breaking down any barriers.

In that case I’d better start learning who all the superheroes and princesses are! If you can’t get hold of me for the next month or so I’ll be on the sofa, watching Disney films and making notes.

With love on Father’s Day

A week before Father’s Day I started to think of some ideas for a photo session for my son.

I thought about finding an item of my husband’s clothing for my son to wear. A tie was the perfect size, it worked pretty well and he enjoyed playing with it during the shoot so that kept him entertained. I chose this tie as there’s some history behind it. It’s my husband’s Vincent’s Club tie so I was sure he’d love an image of our son wearing it.

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I just love panoramics and have used them on a few occasions. The rule of thirds doesn’t quite apply here but the panoramic is a clear favourite of mine.

I rarely use a black backdrop for young children but I took some time to experiment and see how effective it could be. I had the time available and then quickly hid all the evidence before my husband came home. I was surprisingly pleased with the results however I wouldn’t use such a dark background for clients as they tend to want something more vibrant and lively.

There were no distracting clothes, patterns or colours and the most important aspects were highlighted, my son and the tie’s motifs.

 

I loved these images so much I couldn’t resist showing my husband that evening. I’m just useless at surprises. I had to come up with another idea and quickly.

In my treasure trove of props I had some wooden letters to spell ‘dad’. I had planned to stand the letters in front of him but they kept falling over. To overcome this I had him hold each letter and then merge the three images together. The letters kept him occupied which was perfect at keeping him in one place.

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I realised that a special, meaningful image for a parent can be for any day of the year, not just Mother or Father’s Day.