Wednesday, October 15, 2008


I recently was looking through newborn shots on flickr and felt a pang of regret that I didn't think about or have the time to try to replicate some of the adorable poses I was seeing. Its not like I'm lacking in photos from D's first month, but I don't have any shots of him as a naked, scrunched-up, sleeping newborn. I know there are many reasons for this-- I was exhausted beyond comprehension, feeling fairly stressed, and living in a cold house and always worried about D being cold when not fully dressed (not to mention that he HATED getting un/dressed, so clothes were removed only when absolutely necessary. But that pang is still there, and if I can't go back in time I can still try to do things differently starting now. And thus I was inspired to comb through more infant photos, and set up a (very, very amateur) "photoshoot" with D here in the apartment.
donovan 8.5 monthsdonovan 8.5 monthsdonovan 8.5 months

I learned many things in this first shoot. First, that the sun's position changes awfully fast at this time of year. I remembered noting that the apartment got pretty good light, with the direct sun reaching only a little ways into the room but still illuminating it quite well. But by the time I thought to do this and set it up the light had already changed, and streaks of sun crossed the carpet halfway across the room making it hard to avoid getting harsh, direct sun on D as I took pictures (see photo below). Even now, just a week later, the sun's reaching noticeably farther, all the way onto the couch. So, next time pay more attention to available light.
donovan 8.5 months

Also, I need more light so I can use a lower ISO setting. I shot at 1600 in order to have a high enough shutter speed, and most of the photos look fine to start with but start showing "noise" pretty quickly once I start trying to edit the shot. Ah, well.
donovan 8.5 months
I need to work on fast focusing. I haven't used manual focus very much, as I don't trust myself to be a good enough judge of sharpness (partially b/c I don't think my eyes are that great, a visit to the eye doctor is on my to-do list). So I usually go auto- which is sometimes slow and by the time the lens has focused D may have moved (the trouble with shooting a rambunctious baby). I do sometimes fix the focus point to the center point in the camera, and I should do that more often as it makes it a bit faster for the camera to focus on what I want, and then I can recompose the shot quickly. I may also try to borrow a friend's 50mm f/1.4 as I think that lens might focus faster than my 1.8.
donovan 8.5 months
Lastly, I'm noticing that the biggest drawback to The GIMP is that I just don't use it. If I want to edit one or 2 photos at a time, fine. But if I have a batch of 100+ photos that I want to look through, which is often the case, I'll just open Picasa3 as it's much easier to just click from one picture onto the next during editing rather than waiting for each photo to open individually. Because of this, the perception that it's slower and just takes more time to edit photos, I have not opened The GIMP in I don't know how long. I don't know, maybe that's just the name of the game and something I'll need to get used to if I want to use fancier programs for editing. The downside of Picasa is that I often want to do more than what its tools allow. I think I'll download the trial version of Lightroom and try it out, from what I understand Lightroom has the same organizational tools and structure that Picasa has, but with more editing options.
donovan 8.5 months
I'd love to hear feedback on the photos and edits I made (click here to see the whole set). Sometimes I'll edit a photo and think it looks great and later go back to it and think it just looks wierd. I'd love to get some outside reactions to them, and suggestions. I think some of the photos turned out a bit on the warm side (D looks like he's got red hair in some) so that's one thing to look for next time. Some photos have 2 or 3 versions, let me know which you like best, too. Thanks! =)


  1. I tried GIMP, but got frustrated quickly. I know Photoshop well enough that trying other software just doesn't work for me. Can't wait until I can get Photoshop on my Mac

  2. the 1.4 *is* a heckuva lot faster. i originally bought the 1.8 and ended up returning it in favor of the 1.4. it is a world of difference in photo quality as well.

  3. Anonymous8:25 PM

    Haha! It took me a while, but I get the title. :D

    I love the photos you posted. The first three look so professional! I starred the post, I'll look through the others this weekend.

  4. Love the coyly looking over his shoulder shot.

    I will not have the nude photos of Global Baby either. Simply because he HATES being naked (common newborn trait) and the photos would show an angry, screaming infant!

  5. I think these photos are great! You've definitely inspired me to get on this for myself...thanks for sharing your strategies.

  6. I love all of your shots.

    Here are a few insights that I work with:
    If you shoot at 1600 ISO you will have grains. Try shooting more like 400 or 200. Remember to also pay attention to your shutter speed settings. I'd gather you must have this on your Cannon but that is what they call it on Nikon. One other mode is making sure Long Exposure is off. I personally have a sports feature which I gauge the speed, then turn over to my manual mode and try taking photos like that. At least you'll know your settings are correct.

    And if you play with gimp (which I think is a great program), just make sure you have your original to go back to. Varieties of the photos are great but it's THE PHOTO which makes a picture no matter what! :)



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