As promised here is a behind the scenes look at how we created the above sweet “froggy” pose with baby Kennidee.
After trying my hand at creating the head in hands newborn baby photo or the “froggy” pose as it is often called, I realized it wasn’t easy and I needed help. I first tried with my son with no luck, and then a few of my friends had newborns so I tried again and got nowhere. Most of the time i couldn’t even get the baby’s to stay comfortable squished up on their bellies. And when we completed step one and they stayed asleep, moving on to step two the thought of babies balancing on their own hands and elbows seemed ridiculous. With a thankful heart I will let you know we only tried this once. No mind you, The baby was safe on a bean bag and we had like 4 people right there to catch the little head as it slipped off the hands, it just seemed like we were missing something.
So after another fail and feeling a little nervous I stopped trying this for the next few newborns that came in. That is when I stumbled across a post by another fantastic local photographer, Jill Nauman, she specializes in newborn photography and her post was about posing babies safely, and the need to composite quite a few newborn poses. Now mind you I come from a graphic design background so the idea of compositing more than one image together is nothing new to me. But somehow I never thought of that for what seemed like a simple photo, but quickly realized what was missing, a bit of reality and extra safety. Thanks Jill.
So the next time I tried the elusive froggy pose I was ready. I was going to capture the pose in two photos and then composite them together. We were rolling and the photo session was going great, we then tried to get the baby to sleep to try the froggy pose. But it never happened we would put the baby into a deep comma and during the initial setup she was waking up. No matter what we tried we couldn’t get her to stay asleep as we squished her over her tummy. Back to the drawing board.
Fast forward a few months and we come to late November. I was watching a Creative Live class by super star baby photographer Ana Brandt. And she said something that jumped out to me right away about baby posing. Most of the time the scene is as follows, the baby is awake, you try to get it to sleep and then pose him or her for a photograph they wake up somewhat, you try to comfort them on the spot in half falling apart pose and if you get lucky they fall back asleep and you get the photo. Now this is a bit exaggerated and some of these specialty photographers are amazing at this process, and tricks to greatly increase their changes of success, but that aside. Back to Ana. She said when you are trying to get the baby to fall asleep, place them in as close to the final pose as possible whey you are holding them and working you comma inducing magic. That way when they are asleep they are already in a modified version of the final pose and the transitions should be much easier. Brilliant! Why didn’t I think of that. She also said, even she only tries this pose on a small percentage of newborns, as they need to be very sleepy babies. Well this made me feel better as up to this point I felt completely incompetent.
So when it came time to photograph my niece Kennidee we tried once again for the cute head in hands pose. We had many people on hand to watch over the pose, even though we were going to be extra safe and composite it, you can’t be to cautious. With our new tricks in hand, my wife Heather squished little Kennidee up on her chest like she would sit in the final position. She eventually fell asleep in this position why Heather held her, we placed her on the beanbag and mommy Nichole and my wife stood by and helped us prop, pose and comfort Kennidee as she slept. It was working and inside I was freaking out inside. With Nichole supporting the babies head, Heather got her little hands propped up under her chin. Heather then held her hands in place while Nichole got a better support on the head. We were ready. With Heather still supporting the hands and chin Nichole quickly let go of the head but stayed only a few inches away and we took the first image. This will later be the part that becomes the top of the head. Then with Nichole again supporting the head Heather quickly let go of the arms and we took another photograph. This will become the rest of the composite. We finally got it. Later in the editing room the final image came together quite well. I learned a few new things for next time too. I didn’t use a tripod and I moved my perspective slightly and this caused a tougher composite. Also the way Nichole supported the head caused the babies eyes to slant up some so next time I think we will try two hands with one on either side of the babies head.
And that’s it. Next time you see this wonderful little cute pose on Pintrest remember how much work goes into it and so many others like it. Thanks again for the tips Jill and Ana.
Check out more of Jill’s work at www.jillnaumanphotography.com
Check out more of Ana’s work at anabrandtphotography.com