My 4 year-old muse… | Cincinnati Baby Photography

It all started one sunny day when Cooper was 12 days old.  I was home on maternity leave and decided I wanted to play around and take some pictures of him for his birth announcement.  I dressed him in a cream outfit, stuck a teddybear in his arms, laid him on the ottoman in our living room at our old house in front of the bay window… Out came the my old Canon Point and Shoot camera, and this image was the result.  I was so proud of myself using window light.  At this point, I didn’t really know a lot about lighting, camera settings, or post processing.  But this is the image that started it all!

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Cooper @ 12-days

After I created this image, I started to get the itch.  I discovered that photography requires both a scientific brain and an artistic brain.  Well the science I gots… courtesy of my million dollar Miami University Engineering education (that’s another story I’ll tell some time), and the artistic brain I attribute to my maternal grandmother, Adelaide Wacker, who passed before I was born.  And then there’s the internet… so it turns out that with a little downtime at work and a high speed internet connection, one can learn a lot about photography!  The internet is an endless wealth of information, you just need to have the time and hunger to learn.  The rest is just up to your efforts.  One day in an internet search I came across www.ilovephotography.com, a forum focused on children’s portraiture.  Well, I must confess I still frequent this forum today, and have learned from some AWESOME photographers.  I am still not at the skill level to qualify for the pro section of this forum, but my meager photography skills continue to develop from the wealth of knowledge available here.  After 5 short months of reading and playing, with some white fleece material, a piece of plexiglass from home depot and natural light supplied by an open garage door, I was able to create this 6-month image of Cooper.

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Cooper @ 6-months

By this time I had invested in my first DSLR, a Sony A100.  I had the good old kit lens and a vintage (and I mean vintage like 30 years old) 50mm 1.7 prime lens.  The “nifty fifty” is the standard recommend on the ilovephotography.com forum, and is a tool that I still use to this day.  The garage light image of Cooper at 6-months was shot in manual mode, as I was getting more adventurous.  It was also edited in Photoshop Elements, as I was starting to learn more about post processing.

Time goes by, and I continue to practice and learn at every opportunity.  I start to second shoot weddings with a few friends, and finally venture off to shoot weddings on my own.  The entire time continuing to work with children and babies, and especially MY baby, Cooper.  Ever commited to continue to document his childhood with beautiful portraits… not to mention I promised Kevin when I invested in my first DSLR , that he would never have to set foot in a portrait studio again.  2009 came, and Cooper contiued to grow.  We decided to go to Hilton Head Island for vacation in the fall of that year.  Of course knowing that I wanted to create a beach portrait of Cooper, I packed a white shirt and little blue plaid and tan shorts, I just knew would be perfect.  Cooper was 2.5 years old.  He would never sit still, and by this time had developed the cheeseburger grin we have come to know when you ask him to smile.  With a little bit of planning and spending a small fortune on sea shells at a gift shop, I set out to the beach with Kevin and Cooper with the goal of getting one good image.  I picked a spot, laid out the shells, got into postition, and Kevin set Cooper down in the sand.  I had a total of 60 seconds before Cooper was out of position.  I shot as fast as I could, and this was the image that resulted.  This is my favorite image of Cooper… I have it print as a 20×30 canvas on our livingroom wall and on a tote bag I carry to work.  Whenever I get frustrated with him, I look at this image and remember that one time on the beach in Hilton Head for 60 seconds, he was quiet, and innocent…
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Cooper @ 2.5 years

By this time I had several cameras and had upgraded to a Sony A700, the body that I currently shoot with.  This image was shot with the A700 and a Tamron 28-75 2.8.  The image was shot in RAW and post processed in Photoshop.

And now we move on to the present.  Cooper is 4-years old now, and rotten as can be.  He’s also my blessing from God, and is the sweetest most loving, helpful little boy ever.  Just yesterday he helped his Grammie and Grandpa Donnie load a moving truck of my aunts belongings to help her move.  He can’t carry a whole lot of weight, but he hung in there continually asking for things to carry, walking up and down the ramp.  Every couple of months I’ll take an updated portrait of him.  He’s such a handsome little guy, and looks exactly like my husband Kevin.  We still deal with the cheeseburger smile and squinty eyes.  I constantly have to tell him to  “smile less.”  This is my most recent image of Cooper taken in February.  This image was taken with the Sony A700 and that good old nifty fifty (50mm 1.7 ).  He’s sitting on gray paper in front of the patio door in our living room.

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Cooper @ 4-years

Over the years, after all that I’ve learned about photography… for all of the experimenting, researching, equipment purchases, and images taken, sometimes you can’t help but revert back to the classics of the 50mm prime lens and window light.  Sometimes you just shouldn’t mess with a good thing!   I look at where I started in photography, and how far I’ve come.  I’m proud of what I can create.  I’ve held true on my promise of never making Keving go to a studio again.  I enjoy every relationship that I create with my clients and their beautiful children.  I enjoy seeing the children that I photograph grow as much as I enjoy my own children.  I have a long way to go, and will never stop honing my skills as a photographer.  I commit to my clients and my craft that I will never stop learning, and I will put my heart and soul into every image!

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