Great info everyone, I appreciate it (as well as the examples). I think you're right that I need to get over my inhibition and just do it while I still have the chance. I like the suggestion of draping a nice blanket over the car seat or bouncy seat to make a better backdrop.
I gave it a go the other day. This is 8x10 HP5+ rated at 800 and pushed two stops. I also shot it on 8x10 Astia, but it was just too slow for the lighting.
Edward Weston used to practise setting his 8x10 camera up quickly.
He knew that making a portrait, or landscape, often meant performing in fleeting conditions,
and there was no time to waste. He reduced the process to the fewest possible motions, and
worked hard to perform them quickly and consistently. This is a hint.
Old portrait studios used a pieces of string tied to lights, and to the camera, to be able to quickly position the various gadgets needed to make a picture.
Solve the photographic problem before you ask the baby to play with you. Watch baby sleep, sit, do what babies do. Make snaps with a little d*g*cam, study the picture. If you are committed to the non-d*g*tal life, sketch the child. Remember the point of the exercise is to "make a photo of the child", not "look at a baby through a view camera".
Practise with the camera, laying a teddy bear (or a rolled up sweater or pillow) on a table.
Here is where you sort out the angle of the camera, the lens, etc. When you get the image size
correct, tie a piece of string to your lens with a knot that touches the cheek or the nose of the teddy bear.
Now, the only adjustments you need to do to your camera is to raise or lower the tripod, and either slide the tripod to the the baby until the string touches, or slide baby to the camera.
Now, you're ready to practise with the cat.
Adjust your part of THAT comedy until you can do it.
Now, go have fun. Share the pictures.
All this is most informative to me because child photography is one of my particular interests, I have never used large format, in fact the first two words that occurred to me when I read the title of the thread was hammer and nails ! but that's maybe when they get older.
This is one of those times where a press camera comes into its own.
I've shot several sheets of our young child with my MPP Microtechnical camera. Set the focus, then with an aperture of around f8 and suitable shutter speed (according to film speed), use the RF to confirm the focus. Framing can be a bit loose, since there is plenty of film real-estate to play with.
I'm sure that using the string option would work too, especially if the end of the string had something nice a bright to get the child's attention. Have the camera pre-focused, pull the string away at the last moment and shoot.
simply use your moment to take a nice and relax shot.
Originally Posted by DrPablo