I have never claimed to be a baby or newborn photographer.
But I've seen those images of newborn babies with elaborate scenes surrounding them as they slumber. It’s always something wild like…the baby is wearing a funny hat and is wrapped up like the stork is delivering them in a tiny basket, and there's bubbles flying all around and baby ducklings cuddling next to them and butterflies and...
Yes, I've seen those images. The fact that the photographer can do that with the baby staying asleep is pretty remarkable. I've read a couple of blog posts about how they do that and there is a set of really specific rules, tips, tricks and guidelines in order to pull it off. Things like, start the session exactly 1 hour and 17 minutes into the baby's nap, place a white noise machine 4.5 yards away, and make sure the room temperature is 87.9 degrees…It’s pretty cool.
(I'm joking on those specifics, but it's probably not too far off from what you really have to do.)
But as for this set of images...
My friend, Nikki, was looking to create some images with her baby nephew, Tristan. If I remember correctly it was for part of a gift for her father's birthday. I was about three and a half months into photographing with a DSLR and I was interested in practicing as much as possible. So when Nikki asked, "have you ever photographed babies?" I said, "No. But I'll try."
I didn't know all those newborn baby photography tricks (he wasn't even a newborn baby actually) and I did not set up an elaborate scene. It was just fun to try and catch Tristan smiling. A lot of the set ended up being Nikki holding him while walking around the house, and me shamelessly using window light, but I liked the results. It became less about portraits of him, and more about their relationship as aunt and nephew.