Janice D Nelson is our featured KelbyOne member of the week—she’s an award winning and published photographer in the greater Chicago area. She specializes in professional headshots, architecture, and portrait photography, but also does some wedding and newborn photography.

Can you tell us a little bit about the image?

A friend’s daughter recently gave birth to a premie, a girl. It was a month or so later. I wanted to photograph a newborn for a while. They told me the little girl was still so small. I felt she wouldn’t be too big for the type of images I was hoping to capture. So my friend (the grandma), her daughter and the newborn girl came over for the morning – afternoon session. It lasted several hours. This allowed us to take our time and experiment with different looks and setups. I had begun collecting props, blankets, outfits, and more from local fabric stores for the time when I’d have a chance to do this. The little girl was so expressive and in good spirits. She had favorite locations in the house. We tried one look on the back porch using a pseudo nest, eggs as props, etc., that she did not care for much. We tried the studio location in the house that was setup with the lighting I expected to use, and she was not a fan. Then we went to the couch – all four of us, grandma, mom, the little girl, and me. Natural light was coming in from an East window, and we were able to have the mom sit on the couch with the newborn on her lap for a while. We also setup many pillows and blankets with different furs and soft textures. She liked that the best. Sometimes the fur would tickle her face. This one was on the couch, … may have even been on her mom’s lap hidden under the fur fabric. We captured quite a few images that day, and in each setting, the little girl transformed into another human being. You wouldn’t know all the images are of the same newborn. Her expressions kept us all laughing most of the afternoon. It was a delightful session. I learned it is exhausting though too. It really did take all three of us working together to create this image. The mom did most of the handling of the newborn. I’d suggest positions. Gramma pitched in to help with the props and the reflector.

What gear/software did you use to create this image? 

This was photographed with a Canon EOS 5D Mark III, 100 mm 2.8L Macro IS. One reflector. One big window with lots of natural light streaming in. 1/80 at f2.8, ISO 160.

How long have you been a KelbyOne member and what made you decide to become a member? 

I’ve been with KelbyOne and Kelby Training for many years. I’d have to look it up, but quite a few years maybe 2009? I consider membership nearly as valuable as my camera. I began purchasing, trying out, and collecting pro gear and became a member early on learning to use it. I studied on my time off, on weekends, whenever I could when I began. KelbyOne helped transform my goals into reality, and was instrumental in giving me the tools, training, and path to becoming a professional photographer. The ability to learn and study from the best of the best when you have spare time is invaluable. You guys are so good at what you do, and equally, so generous with your knowledge – Scott, Kalebra, and the many other pros who’ve contributed over the years. A lot of pros don’t want to share their hard learned knowledge and tips. They’ll tell you a bit, but leave some key things out. The detailed, step by step instructional videos on a wide range of topics is so helpful.

You can see more of Janice’s work at JaniceDNelson.com, and follow her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest.

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