How I Got That Shot – Laura Siebert’s Children Photography
Laura Siebert (www.laura-siebert.com) is a premier children’s photographer, with two studios in Denver and St. Louis, Eyesmiles Photography (TM). As a former pediatric intensive care nurse, she is known for her special rapport with children and their families. She is sought after for images that showcase the connections between people and for her ability to make every child look and feel like a catalog model. Laura’s work has been published by clients such as Parents Magazine, Mothering Magazine, The NFL Players Association, Cotton Babies, Rumparooz, Bum Genius, Cardthartic and others. She has also been published in four books: Mamarazzi- Every Mom’s Guide to Photographing Kids, NFL Dads Dedicated to Daughters, The Little Redhead Book, and I am Not a Fish.
In addition to her portrait work, Laura has a fine art solo exhibit “Entwined” that showcases the innate desire of humans to connect with one another as evidenced by children of all ethnicities. From 2009-2012 She traveled the US and Australia teaching workshops on natural light family portraiture. For learning opportunities taking place in the Denver area, please visit www.laurasiebertmentoring.com.
Laura: “This image was part of a circus-themed shoot that we shot at a scenic overlook just outside of Denver. Props such as vintage carousel animals were obtained through a local antique store. Other props such as the elephant stand were created specifically for this shoot by a props specialist. These models, Jonas and Carter, were three years old and were typical rough and tumble, giggly, energetic little boys. They had never met before but became instant buddies on the set. I loved how Carter’s pants came undone and just went with it as a very typical “boy thing.” When working with kids, I always like to keep it fun for them. Rarely do I tell them exactly where to sit or stand or how to pose. I like to give them games and activities to play. This game was simple yet highly entertaining for both the boys, for myself, and for everyone watching. I don’t think anyone could not laugh. I gave them each foam clown noses and had them put the noses on each other on the count of three as fast as possible. Then, I had them try to touch noses. Inevitably, the noses fell off while rubbing and hysterical laughter from the boys ensued. Their giggles were priceless and created just the right mood I was looking for.
“I prefer to work with the most minimal set up and fewest people possible when working with kids. This shoot was created with natural light and a portable 60-inch round scrim for some shots. This particular shot was simple natural light. No reflectors, scrims or additional light source. It was shot with a Canon 5D (original) and a Canon 85 mm f/1.2L lens. I had a Canon 1DS Mark III on set as well but I prefer the focus reliability of the “good ole 5D” in extreme heat. Lighting was somewhat tricky this day as it was partly cloudy and lighting conditions were changing briskly and frequently. I kept my ISO at 320 for the cloudy conditions and just changed the shutter speed accordingly when the sun came out. The settings for both images were ISO 320, f2.2, 1/1600.
“Post processing this image was really important for me to do myself. I had a specific look in mind which included muted, almost pastel tones. The images had a lot of energy already and I didn’t want high contrast, vibrant color. The colors were manipulated in ACR [Adobe Camera Raw], bringing down the reds and greens especially. When moved into photoshop for a final edit, only a slight contrast was given to pop the kids. The background was then masked out, leaving it more muted and less contrasty.”
LAURA’S EQUIPMENT FOR THE SHOT
Camera: Canon 5D (original)
Lens: Canon 85 mm f/1.2 L series lens
Settings: ISO 320, f/2.2, 1/1600th of a second
Other: Natural light, 60-inch round scrim. Post: descreased reds and greens, masked background.