Are you ready to learn from the master!!? Below are the long aticipated answers to your inquires to the wonderful Ms. Kelley Ryden. Sit back, relax, absorb and learn!
1. HOW to you convince the mama/dada, that the naked baby shots are THE shots to have? I’ve had a few clients tell me flat out ‘NO NAKED SHOTS’… and I just dont get it! Your website has to show the client what you can offer them. If all you have in your newborn gallery is naked baby shots, then that is what they will expect. Also you have to set the tone of the session from the start. Take charge, and then you won’t have any problems.
2. My question is two words – SKIN TONES! How do you get such amazing, perfect, creamy skin tones?! 2 things… proper camera technique and being handy in Photoshop. I take a crazy amount of time to make sure that a shot is set up properly so that I can get the best possible image straight out of camera. This means good light, good posing and then of course the correct camera settings. Then the rest is done in Photoshop.
3. How do you get to fold the baby up without waking them up? I have tried many times to position them and end up waking them up. What is your trick? The newborn MUST be well fed, preferably under 2 weeks of age and a smoking hot studio. I set my studio at 90 degrees and also run a space heater near them. Also key is to have the Mom in the back of the studio away from the newborn. It’s crazy how their little bodies work and even the smell or sound of their Mom can make them restless and want to wake!
4. My question is in regards to focus. In looking at your shots the eyes are so beautifully in focus and insanely sharp. In particular with the active toddlers you shoot, how do you get the focus so beautifully on the eyes when they are in constant motion? Do you use auto focus, 9 point focus or do you manually focus? Do you use a narrower aperture so you don’t have to be so spot on with your focus? When shooting candid shots of toddlers do you shoot in manual, AV or TV? I use auto focus, ALWAYS shoot in MANUAL mode and I take A LOT of images. But with toddlers of course the key is to get a fast shutter speed. It can be tricky to get a good focus when shooting so wide open, but the higher end cameras do a great job with auto focus and you just have to trust that the camera will do that work for you! It doesn’t have to be tack sharp, since most when processed and sharpened in Photoshop print and present beautifully.
5. Question is “How do you negotiate the line between getting the shot you want and the baby’s/baby’s parents (particularly first time parents) worrying that the bub needs sleep/food whatever?” Again, you must take charge at the beginning of the session. I never have a problem with nervous parents. I let them know at the beginning of the session that I am VERY good with newborns and that if I need them I will let them know. They sit in the back of the studio for the first 3 hours, then at the end we do family or hand held shots. I do those at the end, cause they typically wake my sleepy baby!! Again, if they feel that you know what is best and know how to read the newborn, then you will not have issues. They see what is on my website, so they come for those shots, with no questions asked and defiantly no worries.
6. Where do you get your ‘props’, such as the knit hanging thingys!? They are wonderful! My sister Tracy is super crafty. She makes most of the knit wraps. I’m lucky to have her and we make a great team. There are similar wraps on etsy.com too, and I also buy a lot of props on EBay.
7. What incredible and beautiful photography. My question is about your equipment — what lenses do you use, what is your f stop for getting the babies’ faces in focus yet the backgrounds are very out of focus, do you use flash or ambient light, reflectors? I’m a Nikon girl and shoot with a D2x. In studio (natural light only) I mainly shoot with a 50mm f/1.4 lens. When shooting with one subject, I do shoot very wide open (f/1.8 or f/1.4), since I like a nice soft background. When shooting wide open like this, you just have to get the face in focus and hold steady when you take the images. Then the rest is done in Photoshop to get it crisp and clear. Again, both camera technique and Photoshop technique have to work together to get great final results.
8. I would love to know what backdrop support that is in the photos on their website. I bought this reflector stand way back in 2003, didn’t use it for a long while, then got it back out so that Tracy wasn’t constantly up and down to hold up the blanket for the background. I always keep around old props and equipment, since I never know when it will come in handy!
9. Cropping: do you do most of your cropping in camera or post production? IN camera the majority of the time.
10. Do you keep every shot that you take from a session and store it forever and if yes how do you store them all? YES, I keep all files. DVD’s don’t take up a lot of space, so I have every image I have taken since 2004! I take a lot of test shots, and set-up shots each session, so I want to keep all that. I have 2 external hard drives (I never keep anything but software on my main PC hard drive) to store all my files and photography related items. After the session I immediately save to a folder for the client on my external hard drive, then immediately burn to DVD. Then once I proof the session, I use the same DVD and save the modified files, proofs and online gallery. If anyone has ever had a hard drive crash you take every precaution to save data that you can!!