Setting Up the Parisian Scene | Transcription

At this point we have shot more than enough basics. We’ve shot a ton of photos so far and we’re moving now to some of our concept shoots. The first of these is a little Parisian scene than we planned in our mood board. The whole concept behind this scene is to kind of create a nice, soft Parisian styled shot since mom used to live in Italy and France, so we’re incorporating a little bit of mom into this shot. Now we showed you our little picnic basket and book a little bit earlier. We picked up the basket and book prompt just from a local thrift shop for virtually nothing. Now here I have a small recommendation, which is if you plan on using items from, say, a thrift store or even items just laying around the house, be sure to wash them before using if, of course, possible. We can’t wash a book or a picnic basket, but we can wipe it down with some sort of disinfectant, and we generally try to keep them covered with something that’s clean and intended to be in contact with our newborn.

For us, we’re going to be using our small piece of fur for our padding and that’s going to be what’s in contact with our newborn. As I set up the scene I have an idea of what I want based on in my mood board, but I’m not yet certain, and the beautiful thing about newborn shoots is that I always have plenty of time to really plan out and perfect my concept set ups. I mean, I’ve already shot the basics. We did that earlier in the shoot when we had the newborn asleep and happy, and then when he or she wakes, I have 30 to 45 minutes, if not more, to perfect my set up as he or she is being fed, and burped, and put back to sleep. For the most part, when the baby isn’t crying during a newborn session, it’s really a casual and relaxing working environment compared to other types of photography.

Now, when I first started setting up the scene, I placed the book next to the picnic basket, and with each set up I always like to take a quick test shot just to see what it looks like in frame. I’m going to use the same basic settings for this lighting in scene, which has been at 1/200 of a second at F2.0 for my aperture, and an ISO setting of 200. Here is what this setup looks like in camera. The reason I wanted the book placed on the side was that so I could see the Eiffel Tower and the Paris clearly on the book, but you know, once I saw the image in camera I really felt like I just didn’t dig the composition. It didn’t work for me. Why? Because the book was essentially competing for attention in the frame with Ellie, and it really made the image busy without a clear subject or a leading line into Ellie, so I opted to go with my second option, which was just to place the book on to the picnic basket.

While it became a bit harder to see the Paris text, and we don’t necessarily have the Eiffel Tour in the shot, it worked much better as a composition and it still kind of had that Parisian influence, so I went with this set up with the book on the basket, and then with the fur on top of the book for padding, which you see here in this image. Next I wanted a background that would fit kind of the earthy, wooden colors of the flooring and the basket, and currently, the white background really isn’t doing it for me. When we bought the flooring, it actually was a much longer piece, and we just took that piece of paper and just cut it in half, so I just took the other half of the paper, and I attached it to our Background Stand, curving it under and placing it basically underneath the basket at the base. It created a seamless transition between the bottom paper and the backdrop.

I took another test shot with our same settings, and I loved the look which is what you see here. It has a rustic vibe to the image, which really works well with the overall theme.