Saturday, August 25, 2007

Portrait of a Photo Shoot

So, I have this little album devoted to photos of my niece, Abigail. I call it the Abigallery. If you visit my apartment for longer than thirty seconds you will probably have it thrust under your nose. It's not that I'm a proud uncle. It's just that she is an exceptional child in every way.

This morning I've been adding prints to the book, and I ran across the shots from an impromptu family portrait session we did the week after she was born. We did it in the nursery using ambient light, with everybody in denim and pale cottons for a soft, relaxed look. Abby is the first WASP baby in the history of my family (okay, she's half-WASP) and so the Ralph Lauren/Town and Country vibe seemed appropriate.

With an unpredictable subject like a baby, you can't plan your shots too much. You clear the space, set up the lighting to be as all-purpose as possible, and go with the flow. And I find it best to shoot the same way I shoot rodeo: keep the camera to your eye and your finger on the shutter. Good moments are fleeting.

I'm usually not one for conventional, posed groups, but I figured they might be more to the taste of the grandparents and so we started out with a few of those.

Seated

What I really wanted, though, was something slightly more unusual so I asked Susan and Phil to lie down on the floor with Abby and just cuddle up together. I shot them from above, and caught some fun vignettes like this.

Family Hands

Getting them out of the rocking chair and into a playful position led to the sort of spontaneity that I generally prefer to formality.

Floor

However, at one point I did get the idea to have Abigail lay in a niche created by Susan and Phil's bodies. I wanted an image of her surrounded and protected by her parents, and with their cooperation I got something akin to what I'd imagined.

Niche

But I'm almost as fond of this misfire, which happened when I accidentally tripped the shutter while adjusting my position.

Outtake

Abby, honey, I know from the look on your face exactly what you're thinking. And I'll tell it to you plain: the bad jokes never get any better, and the older you get the weirder they're going to seem. Trust me, I know what I'm talking about.

You can always come stay with Uncle Franklin when it gets to be too much. We'll have lunch downtown and rock the shoe department at Nordstrom.

78 comments:

JoVE said...

That is a great shot. But in that last one, she might be concentrating on something of her own.

She does appear to be perfect in every way.

Michelle said...

Those are amazing. I love all of them.

Paul said...

Beautiful portraits. Abigail must feel very comfortable in front of the camera by now, I should think. She's absolutely lovely - and very comfortable on Daddy's chest.

DataGoddess said...

The pictures are great, and she's a cutie!!

Carol said...

yup, i like the "misfire" too! funny how that works,eh?

knit chick said...

Beautiful pictures of a beautiful family! Those photos are going to be treasured in the years to come.

Cathy said...

What a beautiful family and great photos. Thank you for sharing!

Angela said...

She already looks like she is planning to take the world on.

Meg said...

Babies always make me teary, just because they're so darn cute. Your family photos has me weeping -- they're just perfect. Thanks for sharing your family and your talent with us all.

Savtadotty said...

Speaking as a grandparent, I definitely prefer the less conventional photos, especially the last one!

Anonymous said...

beautiful!

thanks for sharing that precious little on with us!

anne marie in philly

Paula said...

I love the way Abby only has eyes for you.

Kris said...

The last shot is definately my favorite. Remind me to hire you for our next round of family portraits - how far are you willing to travel and what are your rates?

geogrrl said...

Franklin, those photos are wonderful. And I am sooo jealous of Abigail--she has the best uncle.

Carol said...

What wonderful photos. You have a very dear heart.

And a killer eye.

Five Ferns Fibreholic said...

The last photo, the shutter misfire is not only artistic but it is so beautiful. It shows the love between mom and dad and creates such a vision of family unity.

SagePixie said...

I love them all! Such a great gift for a new family :-)

Linda said...

They are such lovely photos.

Tangledskein said...

You are an incredibly talented photographer! The love that you feel for your sister and her family (especially that adorable cutie Abby!) comes thru loud and clear. I agree with geogrrl-you're an awesome uncle!

dale-harriet said...

Oh, Franklin, Abigail's denim skirt is just too much - otherwise, to all the other comments I add "HEAR HEAR" - those are all The Way it Is. I can imagine that album being pored over in 150 years by adoring descendents who bless your name with every turn of the page.

Lorraine said...

Yes, in the last picture Abigail's expression says "Uncle Franklin, take me away".

Imogen said...

What lovely photos!

lizbon said...

Oh how wonderful these are, and so, obviously, is Abby. My favorite is the misfire, followed very closely by the (intentional) one of her between them.

Mandy said...

Those are just the sweetest pictures! And what a lucky lady to have Uncle Franklin to take her shoe shopping. Awwww.

Lee Ann said...

The misfire is the best shot of them all. And speaking as a person whose mother told her she had too many shoes and whose auntie said "there's no such thing, honey," I'm with you on the Nordstrom extravaganza. Soothes a world of ills, it does.

WandaWoman said...

She is beautiful and those are just lovely photos and memories captured on film.

Angie said...

Can I adopt YOU! Not just for the fabulous knitting, but because you are fabulous! Abigail is one lucky niece.

Laurel said...

Those photos are sweet beyond words. What a lovely family.

Cherice said...

The last one is the greatest, I love the look on her precious little face. You have a lovely family.

Anna-Liza said...

Beautiful. You have both the technical skill and the amazing eye. I love the "misfire", but I think my favorite is the "family hands" shot. There's just something about it.

Anonymous said...

your pictures are amazing, and Abigail is adorable.

PICAdrienne said...

The last picture is so perfect, in so many ways. Beautiful pictures.

MonicaPDX said...

Thanks for sharing, Franklin. Fantastic! I love Abigail on Daddy's chest with Susan cuddling up, and the one of their hands? ::melt:: Abby's expression in that last - just perfect!

Judith said...

Beautiful pictures!

P.S. Regarding women's shoes: It's obvious Imelda Marcos was looking for cute shoes that didn't make her feet hurt. She just had more money than most of us.

lin said...

Thank you for sharing these photos with us. From the first photo you posted, I thought that Abigail was an exceptionally beautiful child - second, perhaps, only to my DD who is now 24 - and it is a joy to see new photos of her. These family photos are absolutely wonderful. Thanks again.

Melissa said...

Those are great photos, your family is lucky to have you...you knit them incredible heirlooms and take fantastic pictures.

Janet said...

Great photos Franklin - you are a star photographer!

Melissa said...

Lovely photos and you are so clearly a lovely uncle.

seizuresalad said...

Gosh, I love that last photo. She looks like a wise little one.

marie in florida said...

yup; that last one is the money shot; i'm glad to know it was accidential; as is life in general,yeah?

Gretchen said...

That last is best of the best. And they're all lovely.

So right to offer Abby that Nordstrom romp. A fine uncle!

Flavaknits said...

Okay, I feel a caption is required for that misfired photo - perhaps you should have a wee competition!
Also, I am a little concerned that you refer to your niece as a half wasp - will she have a penchant for black and orange stripes, and a very nasty sting?? (lol)

Kristen said...

Startling how the mistakes sometimes turn out to be a wonderful thing.

Diane said...

My favorite photo is the second to the last--with Abigail between her parents. The look on her face is so wonderful for such a young baby.
You did a great job!

Lorraine said...

Franklin- Such a cute little bean, and what fun for her to have an Uncle to take her shoe shopping.

We should all be so lucky!

MollyBeees said...

Ohmigosh, Franklin! These are amazing shots. I really like the one of you on Sue's site too. I hope you include it in your album!

Cheryl :) said...

Oh my what a beautiful baby! I love the little denim skirt!

Angie said...

Those were great! I too like more relaxed, candid shots. Abigail is just the cutest little things. Shoot away Uncle, shoot away!

Yarngineer said...

I agree with you; the floor shots are the best. And I wish you were my uncle. I love to storm the nordstrom's shoe department! :)

GreenOtter said...

You do a wonderful job at capturing "the moment". What fantastic picts, and a beautiful family.

Tomme said...

Oh my goodness, that little gal's been born into Heaven on Earth. An uncle who knows about the Norstrom's shoe department is a rarity indeed! (smile) Great photos!

KnitNana said...

Fabulous. Even the grandparents have to love the "unposed" shots!
I know I would...
(and Miss Abigail is too precious for words...)
(((hugs)))

Lyssa said...

lovely!
well done!
i must admit that i love the "accidental" one the best, and she in the crook of her parents is phenomenal.
love them. great job. thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

One of my favorite pictures of my daughter as a baby happened when the photographer shot a couple of unplanned pix to finish off the roll: it's a "portrait" of her chubby little feet on an antique bedspread spread out under a tree.

Your photos are wonderful.

Maureen

Yvonne said...

Lordy, she's terribly cute. She can stop at my house on the way to yours. Just for a moment. Just so I can get a snuggle in and smell the baby smell in her hair. Thanks for sharing. :)

Fe said...

Franklin, thank you for being so willing to share your self through your blog. I read it every day, and enjoy it greatly. I love the photos of Abigail with her parents, and that last image is the best one, IMHO. Fiona

Rie said...

What a beautiful baby! And what lovely pictures...you've really captured so much love in them.

Mary Lynn said...

I am awed. Beautiful family and so lucky and blessed to have someone willing to take non-traditional photos! I am sure they will always be cherished.

And, in the last photo, darling Abigail is saying "shopping? did someone say shopping?"

Anna-Liza said...

Wait. Did you say you shoot rodeo? I wanna see!

David said...

She looks rather poised. Almost Victorian.

Is half a WASP a WA?

sahara said...

NICE! The second, third, and forth shots are standouts. After seeing your work for a coupla years now, maybe you should think about us at T:Style?

Stephanie said...

I love that last look, it says "Seriously...THESE are the people who are supposed to keep me alive?"

janna said...

Those last two pictures are absolutely adorable! And although the last one is great, in the next to the last, she is looking straight at you, like she's about to squeal "Uncle Franklin!" So cute!

~~Knitting Addict~~ said...

You have such an eye, dear Franklin! I am absolutely GREEN at your skills! Sure wish it could be taught....

I too, love each and every one of the photos!! And she just keeps getting cuter and cuter ;) Mommy and Daddy ain't too shabby either -- but then with a beauty like that it would be surprising if they were!

And I have a sneaking suspicion that Uncle Franklin will very quickly become one of Abby's most favorite people in the world -- and I say that even if she grows up to hate shoes -- as I do.

You are one very special person in the eyes of a great many people, just in case you don't already know it, and one need not look too hard to see the wisdom in the eyes of that beautiful child.
/sentimental posting off

kmkat said...

I think that a baby resting on its father's prone chest is the dearest sight in the world. Thank you.

Knitting Painter Woman said...

The photo with the hands is my very favorite. Lovely work.

Harpa J said...

They are all so beautiful! The last one is really special though - the thoughtful expression on the baby´s face and the mothers beautiful smile are a winning combination!

Barbara from Nova Scotia said...

Looks like she's waiting for them to fill her in on the joke, that little frown.
You have a wonderful talent, Franklin.

Jenny said...

Franklin, I love love love your blog... I knit your baby sweater and can't wait to give it in November and I want to nominate you for the Rocking GUY blogger award!! Details here and here... thanks for all you do :)

Lothlorian said...

wow they are great but my favourites just have to be the hands picture I love love LOVE shots like that!! the bottom one is just great, so natural

KarenJoSeattle said...

Franklin, are you OK? Did you and yours come through the storm all right?

When you get power back, let us know how you fared.

Tusa said...

Well Uncle Franklin you sound absolutely smitten. Having become a Mum recently I completely understand. Great photos too.

Gryffin said...

Those pictures and your family are amazing!

Michelle said...

She is adorable and I love the "misfire"

DianeS said...

I like the picture of their hands best of all.

Now then, we sure could have used you at the last two shows my DD rode in (and was thrown off in both). Although, to be honest, I'm not entirely sure that I really want a picture of that!

goblinbox said...

That last shot is the shot. That's the photo with the story in it. Nice work.

Carrie said...

That is SO funny that you'd say that about the jokes by her parents not getting any better as she gets older. My oldest daughter hasn't enjoyed my husband and my sense of humor since the day she graced us with her presence. I try to withhold it when friends come over =) Beautiful portraits!

www.vizcaya-3d.com said...

It can't work as a matter of fact, that's exactly what I consider.