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Behind the Camera

A year ago we plunged into the DSLR camera world when we bought a Canon Rebel T2i.  I can say, without a doubt, that every single penny spent on our camera and lenses has been worth it…so worth it.  The day I opened the box, I vowed to keep the camera on manual mode so I would be forced to learn how to use every feature and button.  This has resulted in capturing beautiful memories over the past year of our family and our lives.  When I was pregnant last year I thought a lot about how I wanted to put all my rookie-newbie-amature (you get the point, I’m no pro!) camera skills to use when our baby boy arrived and do a photo session at home.  I will forever be thankful that Nick and I took the time to take newborn photos of Rowan (shown in the 73 Days post) when he was 10 days old.  They are truly a priceless treasure to me.

BUT, I wanted to tell some of the details that took place behind the camera while trying to get these shots.  Because, well…it’s hilarious.  The final photos are so beautifully peaceful but the process of getting those photos was so NOT beautifully peaceful!  Before Rowan was born, I found (via Pinterest) a post on Inspire Me Baby by guest-blogger Arden Prucha Photography giving a generously detailed look at her newborn photo sessions.  This article was simply wonderful and a fantastic gift to an amateur like me.  She detailed everything–props, equipment, lighting, posing, calming and soothing the baby…and so much more!  We managed to come up with most of the equipment we needed by rummaging around the house and bought a few cheap things like a space heater to keep the baby warm and car sunshades to reflect light and fight off shadows.  And a note about the space heater:  we now crank that baby on high right before a shower and it’s like a warm and toasty bathroom heaven when we step out!  Just a thought if you think buying a space heater just for one newborn photo session is silly.  So, back to some of the real deal details of what went on!

First off, we needed to keep Rowan warm.  Really warm.  We used heaters and blankets–our favorite cozy blankets that he peed on several times while getting those sweet naked baby shots.  I’m sure his tiny, clothes-less, newborn body must have been warm and toasty.  But for Nick and me–fully clothed adults confined in the small space of our dining room with our house heater and space heater blasting–it was like a sweating, photo session hell!  And when things aren’t going as planned (like your baby is crying) and you’re HOT, then everything that’s going wrong becomes your spouse’s fault.  Really, it was Nick’s fault that Rowan was irritated from being moved around so much.  It was also his fault that Rowan was hungry and we had to stop to feed him.  It was his fault that I’m the one with the proper anatomy to feed a baby, rendering Nick useless at this task.  And most of all it was his fault that he had a problem with me telling him that everything was his fault.  I’m sure I’ve made my point…being overheated and frustrated makes me a bad wife!

Next, we had to reposition him over. and over. and over. and over again.  And then again.  Newborns have a special ability to stay perfectly still as long as your warm hands and arms are holding them tight.  Then as soon as you let go, their arms and legs flail wildly.  This leads to an immediate self-startling effect followed by an awake and wailing baby.  Not the best series of events when your goal is photos of an angelic, peaceful, sleeping little one.  And if overheated and frustrated makes me a bad wife, then the repositioning-flailing-wailing-baby calming-blanket peeing routine makes me a bad mom.  Nick took a break from the session to pick up Ethan and his buddies from preschool while I kept working on different shots.  When three preschoolers busted through the door there was no “Hi guys, how was school!?”  Rather, they were greeted with, “Shhhh…go straight outside with your McDonald’s lunch, DON’T TOUCH baby Rowan, shhhh, not a peep…OUT!!”  Wow, nice homecoming greeting, huh?!  I’m telling you, it was intense.
And lastly in the moment juuuussst before it’s time to capture the shot, comes the game I like to call “Pulling the Pacifier.”  It’s a heavenly scene with a warm, fed, cozy, soundly snoozing, perfectly positioned baby.  Nick keeps his hands holding Rowan in place while I fire off all the test shots, tweaking my camera settings to find good lighting and focus.  Then when all is right, we take a deep breath, I hold the camera still and ready, Nick slowly pulls his hands away, aannnddd Pulls the Pacifier.  What happens next?  The shutter fires away at the command of my trigger finger and, well…the photos speak for themselves.

It was pure drama in the moment and it is pure comedy and fun looking back on the whole experience now.  Hopefully you got a little laugh out of all of this too!

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