"Natural Newborn Baby Photography" Excerpt: The Chin Pose
The Chin Pose
Excerpted from Natural Newborn Baby Photography: A Guide to Posing, Shooting, and Business by Robin Long. Copyright © 2013. Used with permission of Pearson Education, Inc. and Peachpit Press.
The Chin Pose The chin pose can be challenging at times. It generally takes the baby a little extra time to settle than it does with the side or tushie pose. Therefore, you’ll want to take your time and continue soothing the baby as you make the transition. Refer to Chapter 5 for soothing techniques.
I always have one of the parents help with this pose because I need extra hands and eyes to ensure that the baby’s head is stable. The parent is given strict instructions to remain right next to the beanbag and watch the baby the entire time.
While the baby is still in the tushie pose, bring up both arms with elbows out and cross the hands, one on top of the other, right underneath the chin. There’s no need to pick up the baby at this point, unless she becomes upset and you need to comfort her further. Hold the baby’s arms in this position until she is settled.
Here are two sets of a side view chin pose.
I typically always start with this position
before moving on to the full chin up position.
ISO 400, 1/800 sec., f/1.8, 50mm lens
This is another variation of the chin pose
coming around to the side of the baby
and shooting down so you can see
his whole body in the frame.
ISO 400, 1/1600 sec., f/1.8, 50mm lens
If you have layered the blankets on the beanbag as suggested in Chapter 3, this is a good time to switch to the next blanket. Place one hand underneath the crossed arms and head with the other hand under the bottom. Have the parent pick up the top blanket and waterproof pad and throw them over the background. Pick up the baby about six inches off the beanbag, turn and place him with his head toward the front of the beanbag and his bottom toward the back. Hold the baby until he is settled. When the baby is comfortable, have the parent place their hands on the baby while you adjust the blankets.
The baby is now moved into the full chin up pose.
ISO 400, 1/1600 sec., f/1.8, 50mm lens
Begin by placing the rolled up receiving blankets underneath all the layers of blankets, directly under the baby’s arms. Typically, I’ll use three stacked on top of one another as shown in the blanket views images in the section “Forming the Pillow” at the beginning of this chapter. While holding the baby’s head, slide the blankets underneath to support the chest and elbows. The key is to support the baby’s head and balance him as he lies on his hands. Sometimes you’ll need to push down with your fingers on one side or the other on the stack to obtain balance on both sides. Start with the baby laying his head sideways on his arms and take a couple shots in this position; then move to the full chin pose. This allows the baby time to settle into the pose. You can then move on to the full chin up pose where the baby’s head is up and the chin is resting on the hands. Cup both your hands around the baby’s face and gently move it facing forward. If the baby’s head is wobbly, you’ll need to have the parent support the baby’s head. Have the parent hold the side of the baby’s head with one finger and take the shot. Then you can clone out the parent’s hand in post processing.
My favorite position to stand in while shooting this pose is directly in front of the baby. The baby in the preceding photo had the cutest little cupid hair, so I knew this pose was perfect for him! Most of the time I shoot in landscape orientation, but shooting this pose in portrait orientation works just as well. If you step to the side a little and shoot from that direction, you’ll also be able to see a portion of his body. Tip: When you need something small, use washcloths to add extra support under the baby’s arms.