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03-10-2014, 08:22 AM   #1
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Black and white for newborns

I read in a Sony ad yesterday that black and white often works for newborns.

I have never tried this and wondered if anyone has any strong views, for or against?

03-10-2014, 08:46 AM   #2
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I think is a lot about preference...
But yes, B&W will work nicely for newborns... if done properly.
03-10-2014, 08:49 AM   #3
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IMO it's a good choice. New borns don't always have to most flattering skin tones, using B&W will allow you to hide the color imperfections and the other features that their very thin skin will highlight.
03-10-2014, 10:52 AM   #4
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B&W seems to work better in most people/portrait scenarios...at least in my experience as limited as that might be...haha

03-10-2014, 11:03 AM   #5
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Just a side note... since someone made a reference to different tones of the skin... this will reflect in the B&W conversion as well. So pay attention for that.
Overexposing it a little usually takes care of that (can be done in PP as well)...
03-10-2014, 11:09 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by mrNewt Quote
this will reflect in the B&W conversion as well. So pay attention for that.
Yup, using the right B&W conversion filters combination is crucial
03-10-2014, 11:19 AM - 1 Like   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by fgaudet Quote
IMO it's a good choice. New borns don't always have to most flattering skin tones, using B&W will allow you to hide the color imperfections and the other features that their very thin skin will highlight.
This is due to the newborn's circulation. They chill easily. Their extremities will mottle & become a bit cyanotic. If you're trying to photograph really new babies, wear shorts & short sleeves, turn up the heat a bit & keep kiddo wrapped up while you get all your stuff together. Only unwrap kid when you're really ready to start taking pictures.
03-10-2014, 11:36 AM - 1 Like   #8
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The main advantage is that newborns often have somewhat blotchy and/or "colorful" complexion. That is no fault of the child and perfectly normal, though parents can be a little sensitive about it. So yes, B&W might be a good option, though I would shoot color do the conversion in post-processing (PP). Speaking of PP, the color sliders in tools such as Lightroom are real useful here. You can use them to modify the contribution of the various colors and effectively "bleach" the red blotchies. Very cool.

The suggestion is made above to overexpose a little. A high key approach (mild over-exposure with even lighting and white blankies) can be very flattering to babies.


Steve

03-10-2014, 09:15 PM   #9
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10 Newborn Photography Tips for the On-location Photographer - Click it Up a Notch

Found this on my Facebook feed. Thought it might help somebody.
03-12-2014, 10:36 AM   #10
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Thank you for your comments, very helpful.
03-13-2014, 02:49 AM   #11
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So what's so terrible about a few skin blotches on a new baby's complexion.
The obsession for flawless skin starts early, does it?

Take a record of the day, follow up with many more and enjoy the progression into a beautiful person he or she will grow into.

I know I am possibly swimming against the tide here.

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03-13-2014, 05:36 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Schraubstock Quote
So what's so terrible about a few skin blotches on a new baby's complexion.
The obsession for flawless skin starts early, does it?

Take a record of the day, follow up with many more and enjoy the progression into a beautiful person he or she will grow into.

I know I am possibly swimming against the tide here.

Regards
Nothing terrible about it... I'm pretty sure it has more something to do on how we see the baby.
When we look at them we don't see them with their complexion, we see them for what they are, beautiful little things.
And that's our job as photographers - we just try and capture how we see the baby at that time so when parents (or you as a parent) look at the pictures years and years from then, you see the baby as you remember them
03-13-2014, 06:19 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Schraubstock Quote
I know I am possibly swimming against the tide here.
I'm with you but against you at the same time. But there are a few things we need to consider.

For sure the quest for perfection is a bit of a problem nowadays. But our own brain does the same thing with our memories... Think about your dad when you were a kid, he was bigger and stronger in your memories as he really was. Same thing for places... My first memories of the campground where I use to spend my summer are far from what it really looks. In my mind it looked like paradise but in real life it's far from it. Or remember how nice and shinny your first bicycle was... Our brain tends to embellish what we remember.

I use skin softening and every trick of the trade on portrait, I'm not gonna lie. However, I always keep it to a minimum and I always go for the more natural look. But if I were to give a model pictures where you can see her pimple or whatever blemishes she might have had that day, she is not gonna be happy and the next time she'll go to another photographer who will retouch pictures.

I'm not saying that a fresh new baby skin is ugly in any way. But you got to remember that times are changing. Back in the 80's-90's, who beside professionals had good enough equipment to take pictures where you could see the pores on the skin of a model? And this was only visible on very large prints (think > 8x10). On a 4x6 like most people had, image compression was actually doing a good job at softening the skin and masking imperfections. Take a 4x6 print where someones face will be about an inch big... now move forward to today, where the same picture in 24mpix shown on a 27" screen at 100% zoom, the same face will be larger than real life... and with the ever cheaper quality hardware, sharpness is not something only pros can afford. I can count the pores on my face on some of my recent portraits when viewed on my monitor... Something I cannot do with even professional portraits I have from 10 years ago.

I agree that this obsession if getting to a whole new level now. With the power of photoshop and the such. But it is not something new. Even film photographers had their tricks, remember vaseline on lenses or the soft focus ones? How about positioning the light so it doesn't cast ugly shadows? Or taking someone profile on their "good" side? Longer focal lengths to flatten images... shots looking up to look taller?
03-13-2014, 07:19 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by fgaudet Quote
For sure the quest for perfection is a bit of a problem nowadays. But our own brain does the same thing with our memories...
You are so correct in the remainder of your comment. It is not quite the quest for perfection as it is matching the what the parent and/or photographer sees (mind's eye) and feels in relation to the subject. I can tell you for a fact that the nurses and medical professionals see the baby as red-faced, blotchy and wrinkly (or not, depending on the child). The parents seldom see or remember their child that way.

That is why it is important to capture the relevant aspects of the child (eyes, facial expression and such) while minimizing the distraction of uneven complexion and coloration. The end result may be a romanticized notion of what a baby is, but that is what photos are for, eh?


Steve
03-13-2014, 08:04 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
That is why it is important to capture the relevant aspects of the child (eyes, facial expression and such) while minimizing the distraction of uneven complexion and coloration.
I was gonna say exactly that :P I just felt like writing an assay instead lol...
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