JRP: Photographing precious bundles of joy is what Newborn Photographer Laura Farris so aptly does. She is our subject for this “Spotlight Interview” segment of JRP Blog. Thank you Laura for sharing your valuable time with our readers. Where do you call home?
Laura Farris: I live in Nampa, Idaho.
JRP: How did you get your start in photography?
Laura Farris: I’ve always loved photography and appreciated a beautiful image. I’ve been taking pictures of my kids from the moment they were born. But I bought my 1st SLR camera 3 1/2 years ago and haven’t looked back since. I don’t have any formal training. Just a lot of reading and trial and error.
JRP: What is it about photographing newborns that inspires you?
Laura Farris: I think new babies are absolutely fascinating. It’s amazing that they can be inside their mom one minute and be here among the rest of us the next. They are so miniature and so perfect…they’re simply beautiful. I can’t get enough of them!
JRP: What equipment would I find in your camera bag or studio for a typical shoot?
Laura Farris: For newborn shoots, I use my Nikon D700. My favorite lens for newborn work is my Sigma 50mm 1.4 DG . I also love my Nikkor 85mm 1.4D . For capturing those tiny fingers and toes and extreme close-ups of lips and eyelashes, I use the Nikkor 105mm 2.8G VR macro. And for wider angle shots or baby with mom and dad I use the Nikkor 24-70mm 2.8G.
JRP: What about lighting? What do you favor and why?
Laura Farris: I use natural light probably 99% of the time. I prefer the shallow depth of field and natural shadows that are created when using natural light.
JRP: Could you describe your digital work-flow and the software you use?
Laura Farris: I shoot in RAW format and open up my images in Adobe Lightroom. I then zero everything out, meaning I make sure my setting are all at zero instead of Lightroom’s default settings. This way I have complete control over how my image ends up. I then play around with the lightness and exposure to make sure I’ve got a properly exposed image if I under or overexposed a little in camera. I will also adjust my white balance if needed. I’m then ready to open up my favorite images in Photoshop CS5. I add contrast where I want it using levels and curves. I sharpen and defog a little using unsharp mask. Most babies will need some work done on their skin either because they are a little jaundice or have scratches or baby acne. I use the healing brush and clone tools for that.
JRP: Do you personally print your images or ship them to a lab?
Laura Farris: I don’t print them myself. I have a couple of labs that I use to print my images.
JRP: How do you keep productive and retain your creative edge in today’s troubled economy?
Laura Farris: I know a lot of people are having to cut certain luxuries out of their budget because of our current economy. But having a new baby come into your life is a very momentous occasion and people are willing to splurge a little to be able to capture those first precious moments in beautiful images that will last a lifetime. That being said, I know I’ve got to continue producing quality work that parents feel is worth splurging on. I also have to be careful to not spend all of my profits on more props and equipment which is so hard to do because there are lots and lots of things on my want list! I will usually buy at least one new item to be used for each shoot.
JRP: Are there any memorable images or shoots you could share with us? What made them special for you?
Laura Farris: I LOVED being able to photograph my own little baby when she was a newborn. In those first few weeks, it seemed like every time she fell into a deep sleep, I’d find myself running to grab my camera. But every baby is so special and I remember every single one I’ve photographed.
JRP: What has been some of the best advice given to you by another photographer?
Laura Farris: Learn to shoot in manual when you 1st get your SLR camera. Don’t rely on the camera’s auto settings.
JRP: What special advice would you like to share with other photographers?
Laura Farris: If you’ve got a pose in mind, be patient and persistent and you’re sure to get it. Don’t give up easily because newborns take some work. Also, remember to always be safe when photographing babies. If you are putting them in bucket or bowls, make sure you have those items weighted at the bottom so they don’t tip over when you place baby inside. When doing hanging shots, ALWAYS have a beanbag or other very large and cushioned item right under baby and NEVER leave baby unattended.
JRP: Thank you Laura for sharing your thoughts and images with us. It has been a real pleasure.
Laura Farris: You’re welcome, I had lots of fun chatting!
JRP: To view more of Laura Farris‘ photography please follow these links: