Sunday, November 08, 2009

Q & A

Happy Sunday!

So Im going to answer some of the questions from my readers.

Melissa asked: Question-
When you schedule photo shoots...what is your favorite time of day? I
am struggling with sunlight hitting in the wrong place. :)

Great question Melissa.

So many new photographers struggle w/the concept of light. I did big time!

We consult this great chart

We also consult our client.

If we are shooting kids or babies, we always ask what is the child's happiest time of day and we usually schedule it for that time and we work w/the light that we have during that time.

As far as what light to stay away from...

You need to look at the ground basically for the shadows that are being cast by trees/buildings/etc.

You'll want to stay away from areas where the sun is casting shadows onto the subject so you'll want to be "in" the shadow fully. No direct sunlight on the clients face/body.
It will cause your client to squint and the lighting will be sooo harsh. We love backlighting our clients. The family photo we just posted are an example of backlighting. The sun was setting behind us. You can get stellar solar flares that way and the subject is nice and warm.

We love shooting in the late afternoon though b/c the sun is lower in the sky and we can get those solar flares and the light is beautifully golden.

So Melissa, start studying and playing w/natural light. Study the sun's position in the sky during the time of day and use it properly by finding a fully shaded area if you are shooting mid-day when the sun is at it's highest. We sometimes use a reflector or 4x6 foamboard to shade our subjects if we are in direct light and don't have a shaded area to shoot so we create our own shaded enviroment so we get the best results no matter the suns position.

I hope that answers your question. If you have any more questions regarding this, ask away!

Next question.

Jessica asked: I have a
Q about your newborn shoots. You always have such beautiful knitted
hats and blankets. Do you have a stash and bring them along to the
photo shoots, or do you look through each baby's clothes and help the
parents pick out accessories? I know you make those adorable flower
headband for your baby girls...Also, do you have any special
tips/tricks for photographing newborns? ALL your nb pics always turn
out sooo beautiful!


I get all my knitted newborn props from Heather at Joco Couture!

She makes the most beautiful things!

Also, her friend at Le Petit Chapeau ~ Posh

make the most beautiful props!

They are amazing!

So I have a stash of my own and I also consult mom and dad and use what they might as too.

As far as techniques for photographing newborns.

We ask that mom be finishing up a full feeding upon our arrival.

We ask that the house be about 75 degrees or so.

We also bring along a sound machine, a space heater, a large very full beanbag, and all of our blankets for seamless backgrounds, a boppy, baskets, & all of our props. 

I have studied newborn photography a lot. Everything from baby posing to the environment. 

Natural light is best. We set up by a large window in the clients home and use all the natural light we have. No overhead light or anything. Just natural light. We do have lighting for backup if we have no large windows or a rainy day, but we try our best to just use natural light.

My clients have called me "the baby whisper". You have to have a lot of practice and confidence when handling newborns and if you don't have that, the newborn can sense it and will not be comfortable w/you handling them. They are very in tune to your emotions.

Patience is key as well. One of our sessions, the lil girl did not settle until 1.5 hrs into the session and she only slept for 15 mins and was not up for posing so I just read what she would let me do and did only that to keep her happy and comfy. We got some great shots w/what she would allow me to do. Every newborn is different. A lil boy we had recently slept the whole 2 hrs and let me do all kinds of new poses w/him. Never woke up. Then that lil girl I mentioned only slept 15 mins and cried the rest of the time mostly. So we kept her comfy w/mom and mom fed her some more and kept her comfy and once she started to fall asleep, we discovered that she was most comfy on her tummy w/her feet under her. You can see this lil ones sneak peek over on the Ulmer Studios Blog. So as you can see... even though she fought it for 1.5 hours, I was just paitent and let her get full and comfy w/mom and once she was out, she lets us great 15 mins of great shots!

Reading the newborns body language is sooo essential. You can tell a lot of what they will let you do by just reading them and what their lil bodies naturally do and how they are comfortable.

I hope that helps!

Thanks for the questions!

I am struggling a lil bit about this blog.

So I'd like to hear from you.

What would you like to see from me?

Photography related posts...

Scrapbooking stuff...

Baby/Mama stuff....

Im going to be moving the blog this month and Im just trying to find out what YOU want to read from me.

Im debating stopping the blog and only posting to our Ulmer Studios Blog so that is why I want to hear from you about what you want to hear from me.

If the interest isn't there, I'll strictly post to our Ulmer Studios blog.

So please share w/me what you want to read/learn from me!




  1. I read your blog for all of the above. I love photography, the whole mama/baby thing, cute and crafty stuff, your personal lives. Whatever. Thanks for posting about shooting newborns. I think I get to shoot one this week and your tips will be helpful. Enjoy your photo blog too!!

  2. Please don't stop blogging. I love reading what's going on in your world. xo

  3. I enjoy both blogs but I would love to see them combine! Just post what you want on one of them! I love personal post, photography posts and even scrap booking!!

  4. I love your photography posts, and I also love seeing your scrapbook layouts...they are always simple, but stunning. It' so nice to see a little of the personal in between, and see the wonderful pics of your family!! You are a very inspiring girl, and it really doesn't matter where you post, I will be reading:)
    Love, Jess

  5. I just love reading what's going on in your life & especially little Josie :-D I have a little man around the same age, he's bubba number six for us. I read about you and Josie and it takes me back 10 years to when I had my first bubby. & I LOVE the photos to. *sigh* if only you lived in Australia.

  6. oh i love this blog! i read it all the time. i love your baby/mama stuff, photography stuff, and scrapbooking. you are so multi-talented. don't stop! we're reading! :)

  7. Tracy French2:27 AM

    I read your blog all the time and really enjoy it. I like hearing about your family and seeing pics of Josie as she grows, and I also love to see your photography. I wouldn't change a thing:)

  8. Jessica Polston1:50 PM

    Don't stop blogging! I love hearing about mommyhood so I know what to expect one day! :)

  9. Thanks so much for the in depth answer!! I am excited for us to start photographing some newborns. I feel like we failed to get awesome posed shots of our son asleep. We have a lot to learn!
    Please please please do not stop this blog. I absolutely love hearing about your mama life and your scrapbooking adventures! Josie is just a few weeks older than Graham, so it is awesome for me to compare notes w/ you. You are so inspiring to me!!!

  10. Dont stop blogging! I love to read what is going on in your side of the world, I love your style, you are so inspiring to me in all ways!

  11. I too am on the "doesn't matter what you write just don't stop blogging" bandwagon! Please keep posting:)

  12. Steph Baxter8:55 PM

    Noooooo, don't stop blogging! I love this blog! I'd love to see some more scrapbooking stuff...maybe even a post about what your exact process is when making a page? And definitely some more photography stuff...I get so much inspiration from your photos! And maybe some handy tips? Like, can you explain metering? How can you nail exposure in a shot? And of course, it's lovely seeing photos of Josie and hearing stories about her as well :)

  13. Amber I might not write at all on here, but I do come and read. I like the fact that you have your photography and your personal/scrapping blog separate. I like to come here and see your projects and also your personal life, and to be able to click and see your professional life as well.
    It's funny that you've brought this up because I just posted questions on my blog about separating my personal life from scrapbooking!! But I realized they are one in the same! So I'm keeping one blog. And it's a good thing I don't know how I'd manage to keep 2 separate blogs!
    In the end, you have to do what works best for you and yourself but I am voting for keeping the personal from the professional. And I'd love to see more pages too! Especially all of your AC lovelies!

  14. All of the above from me too. I especially love seeing the photos of little Josie - she's so gorgeous and you take wonderful photos of her. I feel like a cyber aunt, watching her grow. I recently told a friend to check out your blog as her little one is going through teething and I was telling her about Josie's necklace. I'd miss this blog if you decided to give it up, however you have to consider what's best for you and your busy life.

  15. Cathy6:46 PM