Creating photography props – newborn nest

 

It’s taken a couple of weeks but I finally found my creative streak again…and some inspiration.

I’d been thinking about newborn photo sessions in general and had asked myself what would make them more effective. I already have a posing pillow and use extra padding in areas to raise and reposition the model. However rather than rolling out endless muslins or pieces of fabric for padding why not have a soft, padded ring in which the baby can be placed. It turns out there’s already one on the market!

I found some felted fabric in my craft shed and plenty enough for this project. It’s thicker and heavier than cotton and is great at maintaining it’s shape. I dusted down the fabric cutting board, quilting ruler and rotary cutter and got started.

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I cut a length of the fabric and stitched together a long tube, sealed at one end. I turned right side out ready for filling. I considered filling it with tiny polystyrene balls which I left over from filling the posing pillow but I thought wadding for soft toys would provide better results. I had a new bag of toy stuffing which I had bought many months ago for making padded bunting but had never got round to it. I filled the fabric tube with it and it’s sturdy and yet soft. Perfect!

 

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It will be covered by a layer of fabric or fur and provide a discreet well for the newborn to be placed in.

Since creating this ‘nest’ I’ve since seen a company selling one and knitted covers for them. So if you don’t hear from me in a while I’ll be in the middle of another project…knitting covers for it!

Off to locate my knitting needles and some yarn…

 

 

Digital backdrops – my first use

I had been curious about using digital backdrops for quite a while but had never found the time to experiment with them. Then the Christmas holidays came along, my husband was at home and all of a sudden I had some time for myself.

Oh how I’d longed for an uninterrupted hour on Photoshop!

I purchased an image online, it was emailed to me immediately and I started working with it. I found an old image of a baby which was suitable for this particular digital backdrop, style, colour and tones. I hadn’t many in my archive so I was limited on choice. It wasn’t perfect by any means but it was good enough for me to experiment and play around with.

I cut round the image of the baby in Photoshop using the quick selection tool and dragged the layer over the top of the digital image. I adjusted proportions of the baby to suit the size of the wreath, flipped it horizontally and manipulated the angle slightly.

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The baby wasn’t originally on a suitable fabric for me to blend it in with that used in the digital image. I therefore had to cut away more of the original fabric than I’d have liked. This resulted in the need to add some shadow underneath the baby, directly on to the digital layer to make it look a little more realistic.

All in all I found the digital image a lot easier than I imagine however next time during a photo session I’ll choose a fabric similar to that of the digital image to blend easily and reduce the editing time required

Practice will make perfect!

 

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Winkworth Arboretum – a walk and a workout

A beautiful, sunny day called for a walk with friends and Winkworth Arboretum was the perfect place for us and our boys.

We took prams for the little ones while the three year olds explored the dens and daffodils. I took the pram to ensure my two month old slept throughout the walk but I hadn’t quite contemplated the steep walk ahead of me. I was certainly deserving of the coffee afterwards!

The daffodils were beautiful to see. My son and I had admired them in bloom as early as January last year so it wasn’t too much of a surprise.

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We made it down to the boat house to see the ducks and I managed to escape the geese with great thanks to one of my friends. The boys entertained themselves walking ahead of us with carefully chosen sticks spurred on by the thought of a babyccino and ice-cream.

It was a lovely morning out for some exercise and fresh air and I managed to capture some great pictures for our year book. Thank you National Trust!

 

 

Backdrop rollers – saving space and my sanity!

Since gaining some studio space I decided to invest in backdrop rollers as a permanent fixture. And wow, what an amazing piece of kit!

As useful as my portable backdrop stands are the tripod legs take up too much room, can be tripped over and can only display one backdrop at a time. I bought a set of brackets which can hold three backdrops at any one time, yup three!

Once the brackets were positioned on the far wall of my studio I purchased three lengths of 2.5″ pvc piping, cut them to length and used them to connect the brackets together.

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My backdrops are now raised and lowered by pulleys and during times when they’re not in use I store a few of backdrops on the rollers to keep them out of the way and crease free.

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Displaying a backdrop (and putting it away) now takes seconds! Definitely one of my best buys.

 

 

 

 

Turning two – tea on the lawn

A child’s birthday is always a momentous occasion, especially when they’re so young. They grow up and achieve so much in a year why not mark each birthday with a photograph?

Marking the first year with a Cake Smash seems to be the most popular choice among parents, and of late the Smash and Splash. Turning two, three or four however is more flexible and could be any theme favourable to the child, balloons, streamers, banners you name it.

For this particular young lady I created a little tea party for her turning two celebration. Floral bunting and tea on the lawn. Simple and yet effective.

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Tea anyone?

A photography studio – the perfect space

The day finally came when I realised my photographic equipment and other craft materials were taking over the house. Rather than move to a bigger house the logical solution was to stick a flag in one of the sheds and claim it as my own!

 The shed I now owned was the smaller of the two and hadn’t been used for at least half a century. I came to realise that while stripping it back to its shell. It was dark and dusty and had been insulated with old coal sacks and invoices from the 1930’s. Donning a face mask and goggles I ripped out old cupboards, pulled out rusty nails, sanded and cleaned. It looked awful but at least it was a blank canvas.

My father-in-law and husband boarded the structure with ply and I painted it in brilliant white emulsion. Even my son helped paint the floor boards. A real family affair.

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Once the paint was dry I couldn’t wait to move myself in. One half of the ‘studio’ was to be dedicated to my crafts and the other to photography. I bought some storage units from Ikea and used a writing desk from one of the spare bedrooms and the layout soon began to take shape. I emptied the house of yarns, knitting needles, crochet hooks, a paper cutting machine, a sewing machine, fabrics for quilting and much more. The remaining area was set up for my photographic space. It was small but a great place to start.

My ‘studio’ has turned out to be a great place to retreat when I need some quiet time to think but the most amazing thing about having a photography ‘studio’ is being able to trial a new set and leave it as work in progress and keep revisiting it.

….and it has a key so I can lock myself in. Even better!

Photography equipment – creating a newborn backdrop frame

During numerous newborn shoots I remember longing for smooth, taut fabric, free of wrinkles and a lot easier on the editing time. I always tried to borrow a pair of hands to pull the fabric a little and the parents were always willing to help. But between you and me I’d rather they put their feet up….they’re parents of a new born after all, they need their rest!

So what could I do to reduce the need for help? I remember seeing a stand for sale online, a photography equipment sale somewhere but I wanted it now! Right now! I didn’t want to wait for shipping and hated having to spend days at home for a delivery window of twelve hours. I could visualise what it looked like and my very handy husband was at home. Perfect. I set about drawing up a design and sent my husband out to purchase materials.

A couple of hours later, voila!

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It didn’t need to be aesthetically pleasing, just practical. All I needed was frame over which fabric could sit and be clipped to and it needed to have enough height for the posing pillow to sit comfortably underneath. With such a small studio I needed to be able to take it apart easily and store without taking up much space too.

It certainly does the trick and has been used with great success.

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