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Posing with Stunt Babies

Lesson 10 from: Newborn Photography Bootcamp

Kelly Brown

Posing with Stunt Babies

Lesson 10 from: Newborn Photography Bootcamp

Kelly Brown

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Lesson Info

10. Posing with Stunt Babies

Stunt babies or newborn posing dolls allow photographers new to taking baby pictures to practice posing, wrapping, and more. But besides just posing practice, these dolls can also help choose props and more. In this lesson, Kelly walks through using stunt babies.


Class Trailer

Day 1


Course Introduction


Flow Posing


Kelly's Home Studio


Day 2


How to Set Up Your Home Studio in a Week: Planning


Day 3


How to Set Up Your Home Studio in a Week: Foundation


Lesson Info

Posing with Stunt Babies

the signal we're going to talk about posing with stunt babies I have this ridiculously gorgeous baby called crystal that we're going to work with today she's laying down here already for may and it's funny because and my kids love to play with crystal and when I have families that come into the studio and they have toddlers they all play with crystal which is great it's actually a really good way for me to entertain some of the toddlers after I have say photographed them and their siblings together because I can then give mitt then my doll and like a toy camera and they can go off from photograph that baby you know just like we saw on a live video in the live day the dual two and a half two and a half year old photographing her baby so it's it's actually really fun to have in your studio and it's not only fun but it's educational for our clients I use it in certain ways now where I'm at in my business to demonstrate how I want clients toehold let me click through my slides I'm not a cl...

icker I did mention that to demonstrate how to do certain things so yeah I'm gonna take you through a few processes and then we're actually going to do some demonstrations so this is crystal and she's all wrapped up there a little bit of fun mucking around with some textures but this is actually something that I like to do because you know you don't often know when you're setting up a prop how big to make that well in the middle you know how deep do you make that insert inside the bucket all of those things when you're choosing and buying props having a baby that is the same length roughly the same sort of width and size as a normal baby gives you a really good indication off whether or not you're on the right track um and it's also a good when we're making props so it got a little bit of time at the end of this we might pop crystal in the problem that tim I've liked I've made so yeah perfecting your flow posing so what we've gone through in our lives day and showing you where to place your hands how to transition the babies from pose to pose practicing on a fake baby it's perfect it's it's so easy you don't have to worry about mrs you don't have to worry about the baby crying or the baby getting cold you khun purely concentrate on that transitioning from floated for like pose to pose with that flow so yeah I I strongly recommend practicing because practice makes perfect and then testing camera angles and lighting getting your camera angles can take a long time so when you're first starting out and like I did and I was told by somebody shoot it from a cz many different angles as you can and then look at them on your computer side by side and then work out which camera angle looks best to you and your eye because even though I've got rules you know where I don't shoot from the bottom up I don't unless I'm shooting feet I don't shoot from you know the foreign down unless some photographing arm eyelashes and I don't photograph up the nose because nobody wants to see those black holes that you know in our camera there so contrast e that they just end up being a black holes and nobody wants to see up there and and then practicing my lighting you know where do I turn my bag how do I turn the baby towards the light all of those things are really important and then you can look at the shadows that fall across the baby's face should I use feel like you know should I turn the baby a little bit more should I be flat lighting for this particular pose all of those things um you know just help you get a little bit of an understanding because during our sessions when we have a live baby in there we don't have a long period of time to get all that right we don't have long it also you need to know before you actually go into a session and you're being paid by clients to actually get that right and then rehearsing my rapping techniques which is lots of fun because I do probably around three to four different wrapping techniques but getting them down packed so that I knew where to place arms and legs and how to read but here in duel of that I've practised on a dol I wanted to know how to wrap a certain way so I practiced can't do that during a session you don't have time and your clients are paying you to practice they paying you for photography for a service so that's really important in the sighs guide for prop making which kind of touched on before so we were making a prop I've been making props at home and using crystal a za guide to know how how big to make that thing in the center of my flower is you know for me being an award print was probably one of the most important factors into making that that problem when we were looking at the size of it how big did it need to be and then the center and not making the center that the flowers in their big then that way the centre it have to be really big to fit the flower to fit the baby and say you having to make it in proportion so it looks realistic so it looks like the center of a flower and that's what I used it for but yeah I've had so much fun with her and the kids have fun with her and lots of people see photos in my studio of my my baby sitting there steering beckett don't you get some funny comment since um and some funny e mails from people but posing with parents as I mentioned before you're getting them into the studio for the shoot they don't often know how particular images are set up and I can do a complicated pose with the mom or holding the baby like that or I could do a complicated posed with dead holding the baby like that but when I go like that it's very hard for them to visualize exactly how that baby's going to be positioned in the hands so if mom's feeding the baby and we're talking about what we're going to do next I can quickly grab my stunt baby and show them you know this is how I'm going to position them so they can visualize it and then understand the process in that because to get those images perfect of the parents holding them the parents have to feel comfortable they have to know that the baby is secure and they've gotta have a good understanding of what you're doing because they don't know and you've got to talk them through that process and demonstrate so I actually do that on a regular basis when I'm creating those images so yeah we might tell him bring our little models out we've got eric who actually worked here a creative live and he's gonna be out daddy so we might just do a couple with him first and then we're going to bring out melanie who's won about in studio audience members which is awesome but we'll do them together but I just wanted to demonstrate a couple with eric because I love to get photos of the parents together but I also love to get photos of the parents separately as well so trying teo to see how comfortable they are in holding a baby um you know you can sort of determine which pose you're going to do because her dad was really tense and not very sure about being in the images and not relax and I wouldn't try a complicated set up but if the dead is really relaxed and he's comfortable and you relax he looks like then you know you can go a little bit further and try something different so what I want to do with crystal is in your hands if you can position one hand up here like this and we'll pretend that our light source is over here again because I want you all to be able to see it this hand is going to hold crystals bottom this is going to hold her top half and the way that I'm going to place crystal in the hands is by crossing over the legs and I'm going to position her up like this so we have two shelves you can see how we have a hired hand and a lower hand and then we're going to put the bottom in here the legs tucked up which means the feet are covering what we don't need to see and then the face is upright and then that way if the babies down here baby the dead's going to be looking down here but if we bring that baby up we get that beautiful connection up here where it's supposed to be so I can demonstrate all of that my dad's just by doing this and then they're like oh I get it because if I go okay well I'm gonna put crystals bum here and a hit here trying to visualize that they don't like they don't visualize the same way women do but also like she could be face up she could be facedown she could be facing him you used don't know and the normal way for a man to hold a baby is like this so demonstrating is just makes it so much easier and what I normally do first is placed their hands up into mine so we've got them upright so I'm not putting her down with her hands dangling or anything like that she's a bit stiff yeah so when I'm demonstrating I show the dead you know what I'm going to do first is placed crystals bottom in your hand but I want you to leave your hands there and just bring your bottom hand and your top hand up to the center of your chest that's it so in the middle of their chest that's really where you want them their hands to bay so that they're not down here they're up here this is where we want the baby so I'm gonna bring her bottom in hand ok bring your hands away and leave them where they were you see how naturally though they came forward to take the baby so just talking to them and saying now I want you to leave the hands right there I'm gonna position crystal on you so I'm gonna bring her out and now I'm gonna take my hand from the bottom away and I asked them if they feel comfortable before I moved my hand I've moved my hand to the outside of his so I'm still supporting them I can now what I'm gonna do is just bring your hand flat flat face up that's it we're gonna bring we can't really turn crystals head sorry but we might bring this arm down and you wouldn't really hold her in the eye ball like I just did you just bring your hands up a little bit higher there we go and then you would place it like that and then you would glide the hands but keeping your hand on the baby all times and on them and asking them constantly do you feel secure is this comfortable all of that and telling them what you going to do next I wouldn't just say I'll take your hand down the bottom away and go like this he doesn't know where my other hand is and that's his baby like he's not going to remove his hand if he feels like that the baby could potentially fall so you have to constantly reassure them right what I'm gonna do is bring my hand in underneath and I'm gonna take the feet and the bottoms just bring your hand out so I'm letting him know that I'm there I'm okay I have the baby think I'd bring it back up I said this is how I would demonstrate with that baby if there's there's so many other ways that you can do it as well do we have any questions at all just about that contract in our studio audience sounds like we're we're good all right so let's bring it out mom melanie and we'll do one with her and then we'll do them together hey come on over so there's a couple of poses I like to do they're a little bit more complicated with the mum and it's the bum up in the air pose so we've got the legs and you're holding the baby up like this and then we would have the top half in that top hand as well so demonstrating with a baby like that to show them how to do it is so easy but then there's the other post where you would have the men like the taco position and you would have them in in the front hand the bottom in this front hand and the head in this one and you would have them up like this so showing them how the baby is going to sit in their hands is what the idea of this is all about so just bring you hands out in front of you that's right and now bring them in line with each other yep and around towards me so what we're gonna do is actually sometimes daniel sorry because you married me which is what people do so this is where crystals bottom's gonna go and this is where her head is going to go but just bring them up as high as you can for posed like this I would have the dead right behind her like this you don't have to come in it's right because we're only practising with fake baby but when the when the dad if there's you know a nice height difference he can come behind and he could just use his hands like this or he can come into the side if he can't quite reach all the way around and he can put his hands underneath and that way you've got double support and the only time I would bring those hands away it's when we're ready to take the photo and mum feels nice and comfortable about it so bringing this hand down here and this one for back towards you a little bit I'm gonna cross crystals legs over keep your hand hand up there this time so I'm gonna place her bottom in your hand and then I'm gonna lake her forward into your other hand so just bring this one towards me a little bit more okay and then we fold her I won't worry about those arms into the and she's not as flexible others and one into that hand but with a pose like this I would only ever do it with a small baby not a large baby because it would be too hard melanie toehold plus the heavy after a period of time and that's why we have the dead's hands underneath so supporting not only the baby but the mamas wow and with a position like this I would have them either sitting on my bean bag or sitting on a stool of some description so that they can then put their elbows on their knees which support them as well but coming out so when it comes to posing parents together you know if you've got like a baby towards the end of the session that's kind of stirring for a feed but you're almost done so you don't want to stop to have a feed you want to be able to you know keep going so that then they can dress there baby feed it before they leave you don't want to stop start stop start so what I would do is position the baby on the dead and then we do like a baby sandwich e always want the baby to be sort of in the foreground as well but if there is a height difference then you don't want to just come in nice and close there's not a huge height difference here but a lot of the times there is I wouldn't want to position the baby too high if the mom wasn't tall enough and then that way who faces coming in and the baby's back I want a face to be at a similar height to the baby's head so you know she cannot kiss it on the cheek or or placed her hand on the back gently without her kind of having to look up at it being right up high on dead shoulder and when it's here and it's underneath your chin chin comes down on top of the baby's head and then the mum can come in really nice and close and you get that beautiful little circle there so what I'm going to do is bring one hand I know I show the dead thiss the front hand because if I'm taking the photo from over here if this is the hand that holds onto the back let me just put chris copy for a minute all right and this hand holds the bum if I'm photographing from over here I'm getting a really good bicep shot we don't want that unless the dead really wants to show it off already got a call ted on there but if we bring this hand to the bottom and this hand to the back now it's all about the baby we can see more of the baby we're opening out that space they'll bring crystals it you hear in here bring their hand up under her face where it's meant to be and the legs are meant to be crossed over but anyway come on him now what we're going to do is come riding clothes they've just met and eric is married happily married so they're just being very kind in demonstrating for may thank you very much so this is how I would do it and then I would have them you know really coming close and connect but demonstrating you know showing them where I'm gonna position the baby and all of that and when you new to this and you haven't done it that many times show them helped them and they'll help you you know when I was first starting out and I had my bureau katie first starting out and I had my one of my daughters dolls and it was it was hard plastic it didn't even have a soft body I would still use that because I could bend the legs up and I could be in the arms just a show clients and you know I was portfolio building and I would say to my clients my you know my my early on clients I've seen this image I really love it I would love to try it with you you okay and I'll demonstrate with my fake baby and they'd be like of course you know so that way I was able to really start tio to perfect that with with a real baby after I'd practiced with my fake baby and I demonstrated to them and show them okay this is what I want to do um but I had obviously already practice it quite a few times on my own husband so getting my clients to actually do it in the beginning was good and be open and honest with them you know this is something that I haven't really tried on a real baby a lot but I've been working on it and I'd love to try it with you if you're okay with that so yeah then obviously if I was to have the mum hold the baby and sometimes you know being a but you can't use words to describe what you want to do so for may just take a step back from eric's over and concede melanie so for me if I was wanting to position a really baby your baby in your arms and I knew that I needed it to direct the light I could use words to direct melanie to do it without having to actually show her but some people aren't very good at communicating in the early days it comes with confidence it took me a long time to actually have that confidence to communicate with my client you know I was scared to tell them what to do I didn't know how to tell them and it's come with time it's come with practice and then also having that belief in myself which is something that we've talked about you know I'm believing that they've hired me for a reason I can do this job I just have to show them how I want to do it and explain it to them so if I was earlier on and I was having a little bit of a hard time describing this to melanie I would say okay well I'm gonna position the baby in my hands so you can see how I would have the baby I would bring this hand up underneath the baby's head and then bring that alma see how she's trying to mimic me and then the other hand would curl up into the baby's bottom so we're getting that position but if I said I could pop your hands down beside you if I said I want you to bring this hand up to your collarbone at a little bit higher that's it and bring a palm up towards the ceiling now don't you bring your other hand over and just rested here what I'm gonna do is place crystals head here in her bottom here so that's how I would describe it to somebody and she and the baby's going to be facing up and I want you to snuggle in but if you can't do that or you don't feel confident demonstrating with one of these babies is perfect absolutely perfect and if you want to see more of my parent demonstrating like this we actually did it with real live babies in my first cost so no point me actually redoing it but thank you so much thank you I think we had a question kenna in the in our in studio audience that's great and just before we go to that question that plus that you're talking about is your you're posing newborn your newborn poisoned class here at creative five correct so for folks who aren't as familiar with that class you could find that and all of kelly's classes in our catalog there so let's go to our question in city audience right over here I was just doing what do you do with baby actually like live baby when you're showing them on fake baby where you at baby yeah they usually feeding their baby like one of them's feeding their baby and then I'll pretend to be the mom and hold the baby in my hands things like that so just planting that seed as to how I want a position that baby but you know if I'm going to do if the mom's just feeding the baby and I'm going to do a quick one or if the baby's wrapped beautifully in a basket or something and I've got one of the parents sand asleep I could just quickly grab my doll and say right I'm actually just going to show you how I want a position the baby in here I've kind of walked you through step by step when you're with your clients you obviously don't need to take that long to do it to describe it but it's just showing them demonstrating them giving them an idea of exactly how they're gonna lie how their hands are going to be all of those things so it's it paints a picture for them really so even grab the mic I have another question for you kelly on dh previous lessons we have just talked about our scene you pose with siblings and I think we did see you use start baby do you usually do you often do that with the with the with the kids as well using that baby to show them what what's going to happen yes sometimes it can take their attention away from the real life baby especially if it's a young toddler when I'm doing a composite image with the little one who doesn't want to lay down in my bag because they're feeling a little vulnerable they're associating lying down to hold their baby for that sibling shot that I like to do they associate that sometimes with wanting to go to bed and that's not something that you ever want to do but when I am using a compass it t put two images together to make sure I get those photos for my clients I'll put photographs the newborn alone in the bucket and there's a reason why I do that which I'll describe in that segment and then I'll bring the total erinn and photograph it but if I put the fake baby in the bucket it gives him something to look at something to play with something to touch and it takes that attention away from looking at the camera on but you know a lope personalities of toddlers will respond teo a dull at that age you got shy ones really outgoing ones and you'll see that in that segment as well yeah but I have had to take crystal out of the total is arms laying on my beanbag because I did position the baby where I would normally photograph them like on the on the slide there and the other this baby was in the other hand because they didn't want to let go they loved it that much I'm like got the baby perfect over here and they're still looking at this one unlike the real babies years that we had to take this baby away and get the shot really quickly before they wanted this one back again so you know you're doing whatever it takes to get those photos but yes what I will use her whenever I feel it's necessary but just having something in your studio and then when you're not using it to demonstrate like I said giving it to the total of all the little kids to photograph to give them a couple of beanies some outfits too to dress the baby and they have so much fun and it keeps them entertained because you know their attention span is not very big at that age so keeping them entertained can be hard at times all right we have another question right here yeah I was just wondering when you're posing with the baby do you wrapped the baby with the parents or are you doing in the baby naked or said that yeah good question the majority of the time I like to do a naked baby when I've got the parents holding them I love that skin and sometimes when you are wrapping them and they held up really the high like thiss you can't see all those little arms and legs you don't want any part of that rap covering the baby's face or anything like that so I would generally leave the baby unwrapped but if I've got a baby that's fussing a fair bit and prefers to be wrapped I'll just read the baby and I'll go with what they're comfortable with but I have photographed babies wrapped with parents a few times just for their comfort when you're photographing the parents are mom and baby do you have a preference off just stop half pictures closer up or the photograph the whole boarding yes for me it's about connection so the photos that I do with my clients are really quite intimate and after you've had a baby I don't know about you but from here down I felt terrible absolutely durable my stomach was still contracting I didn't feel confident in myself and I was going through a whole heap of hormonal changes so you know up here this is where the shot is for me I think when you're doing a full length shot of ah of a woman and a baby you know she's got a field really comfortable with that and it's and it's usually on a quite a big set up elaborate set up a cz well but yeah I would I would tend to keep it here in that in that moment because when the baby's up here this is where it is cropped up from the elbows all right great well I think we are going to see one of the props that folks we'll see how it's actually made in another lesson but let's take a look at that yes so I have created this these are probably colors that I would use more with a boy so sorry about that lovely and I'm just going to use my bag to place it on and what we've done is used some wall faulting let me push my bag a bit closer into that light and we've used fabrics different in there to give it that shape now it is a bit flimsy it's not supportive that's why we're going to wrap our baby you know creating things like this don't always work out the first time it's I'm actually okay with it being like this because there's a few things I can do teo and he'd never leave a baby unattended like that on a bag that because she can't move it's all right let's work with a couple of colors here what is a yellow and I am actually going to use something around the outside of this prop to hold it in place which is what I've done when I've reinvented props as well like big bowls and putting you know sheets of war batting over the top I would use one of these around the outside of time and not to keep it in place so having a little bit of fun here here we go give besides some support their companies that sell these there's a proper vessel company on um facebook awful business and they make they sell these but you know I like to have a bit of fun and create things that are a bit unique for me change it up a bit so I'm just gonna tie it and that's gonna give me some support around my baby now this has got dr glow on it so we don't want any of our baby's coming into contact with the outside of this might come back this way and just tuck it in and shooting it on the beanbag means that I've got my well in the middle so it's going to support as well if you need extra support then you can put your cost nappies in uh what did I do with all my fluff well here it is wrong bucket so I've got some more war here and this is just a gn woven wall so long strips of it and you can sort of put that in and around grab a couple of these just put in a little band create a bit of support sir quiet way complex this around the outside you know with a rough texture like this he wanted to look soft but you also wanna have a bit of fun do this with every homemade prop that you're making sort of make sure that it fits and it works and go through the whole thing yeah definitely and then I was sort of pull it apart because I don't want to be sort of looking for different things during a shoot I want to know right I can't wait to use that prop I need teo be ableto line it a certain way this texture looks great in it this is going to make a beautiful on soft so yeah having that idea of what you're going to use first is it's just going to make everything look smoother and there's nothing worse than being somewhere and watching somebody stumble and fumble through what they're doing you know I'm kind of doing that now because we have just made this but I have an idea of what I want to do so knowing what items you've got what goes well together you can have a bit of fun with it get creative safety factor a cz well I'd imagine is making sure that it's all gonna work safely with something yes totally so I've got that around the outside we've got a cloth nappy on the inside and then we're going to wrap our baby and then what we can do is start to really sort of you know tuck things in and make it look really complaint and finished so this is a wrapping technique I like to use regularly going to place the baby in the center of the rap it's actually the same way crystal was wrapped in that picture cain hurt and I find that it just it leaves all the arms and legs and limbs visible so you can see every part of them you can see the little fingers conceded toes but it also makes them feel nice and secure so one side over really quickly and in tuck it under my bum and I know a lot of people often say to me but you've got long legs it's okay you can do this on the bag by leaning forward you don't have to do it on your legs pulling that side lessened court not too firm because you don't want to cut the circulation off anywhere but you do want to hold them into position decides now going to come down around the lower back but we're up above the hips we haven't crossed over the legs or the fire or anything like that and then the other side down and down underneath can use your body to hold her in place you stretch the raps are a little bit longer than these but I wanted this this texture in this color in this image nothing I'm actually gonna take a photo of it but you know what and then it gives me a good idea as well like for wrapping when I'm using my fake baby is it gonna fit is it gonna work so I've pulled the two sides that were on the two lengths that were underneath the bomb up around the back of the leg to hold those in place like that then we can come up under the head and we can tired over here she is a big baby doesn't have to be perfect the tie but just enough to keep it in position so you know what complacent the centre and with the normal baby you will be able to turn the head a little bit and put them into that nice curly position and wrapping them like this means that you know there is no chance off them unless they have a massive startle effect no chance off them kicking out touching this it's not gonna cut them because it's it's a war with glue on it but it will scratch them and it will startle them so yeah things like that that's how I would kind of shoot down on that pretty cool high we made that I know we made that we made that in this boot camp in our lesson on making props so that's going to be awesome that would actually look really cool as well in this wood bowl I've got at home so I'm already starting to think how I gonna use this and how am I gonna get home and super fun way fun getting crafty all right do we have any more final questions for the segment what's that you want to grab the mike oh do you mean take future we'll come up if we could get a top down view so we could see what it looks like from above down just imagine crystal had a slightly turned on its side not so stiff can you see it love this like texture and the outside it's just me

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Home Studio Checklist
What To Expect At Home
What To Expect In Studio
Preshoot Prep for Mothers
Marketing Plan
Pricing Guide
Posing Guide
Prop Guide
Resource Guide
Adorama Gear Guide

Ratings and Reviews


What an awesome class! I actually started watching this, not because I was interested in newborn photography, but because I thought I could pick up some good ideas for photography in general. Kelly is such an inspiring person and so professional and such a good communicator that she has a lot to offer any photographer. I actually have been inspired to try newborn photography and can't wait to implement the multiple ideas Kelly has so generously given. I think it is wonderful for the profession of photography that she has the spirit to freely share what she knows to help those who are seeking advice and knowledge. Thank you!

Jennifer Traylor

I cannot say enough to relay the feeling of gratitude and appreciation for this class. I was very fortunate to be chosen as a studio audience member for this course and what I have taken away from this class will never be forgotten. Kelly pours herself into this class both on the head knowledge of photography and the heart knowledge of building a business and making it work in your life. She is such an amazing soul and I will treasure this experience always. This class is so thorough and works amazingly both all on its own or as a supplement to her other classes. You will not be disappointed. Her knowledge, her demeanor, her care, is brilliant. She pulls you right in, and even as an online viewer/purchaser for the previous two classes, I was able to feel her connection with the audience. She is an amazing teacher!!!! Kelly rocks, Kelly amazes, Kelly loves! Buy it today!!!! You will not regret it!!!!!! And don't forget, purchases get TONS of amazing bonus materials including extra videos and PDF's and manuals. This class is a bargain!!!!!


I really have been so happy & blessed Kelly to learn from you! You are gentle and I love your spirit in which you share your "Art". I am a Nurse and worked Hospice for many years. Many of my co-workers and I recently lost our nursing positions due to department integration and have decided that my passion and love for taking photos of children and babies is something I would like to pursue. I am learning so much Kelly from the way you take the time to gently get the baby in position, follow the baby's lead and enjoy the parents and each moment of the creative process. I am not at all a professional and am just really learning, but am enjoying practicing on my friends children and babies and of course my 4 month and 4 year old grandchildren. Thank you for providing free classes as I would not be able to afford any classes at this time in my life. You have a beautiful gift. Thank you for sharing so eloquently! You have made a difference in my life. Patty from AZ

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