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.
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.
Getting them out of the rocking chair and into a playful position led to the sort of spontaneity that I generally prefer to formality.
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.
But I'm almost as fond of this misfire, which happened when I accidentally tripped the shutter while adjusting my position.
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.