In the age of Anne Geddes calendars and increasingly creative birth announcements, it's almost easy to become immune to adorable baby photos. But a new series of pics – taken for a Milwaukee Health Department ad campaign to raise awareness about the importance of having a healthy pregnancy – is amping up the cute factor in a truly original way.
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The images, shot by Chicago-based photographer Eric Sahrmann, take the idea of strong, healthy babies to a comical level, with three different concepts, which were first sketched out by creative director Mike Scalise. There's one little guy karate-chopping through Legos, another doing a one-handed push-up, and yet another busting through his PJs (check out that tiny belly button!), "Incredible Hulk"-style.
Taking the shots was no simple task. Sahrmann started with a casting call for babies between 3 and 18 months old. Of the 30 he saw, he selected 15, and photographed 5 babies for each role. But he couldn't do it alone.
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"I hired a professional 'baby wrangler' to hold the babies into the positions that we would need to composite the final photographs. The parents were also on set to help with the positioning," Sahrmann told Yahoo Shine via email. "Some of the positions were easy to capture, but others became quite a problem."
Like getting the perfect open-mouth shot for the karate kicker, in order to make it look like the baby is screaming. After multiple failed attempts, Sahrmann had his photo retouch artist try to digitally manipulate the picture, but it just didn't look right. "Then, right when we were out of ideas and about to give up, one of the babies let out this huge yawn that I was able to quickly shoot," explained Sahrmann. "It ended up working perfectly for the karate baby." The furrowed brow on the Hulk baby also came naturally. "One of the babies started to break down fussing, and that gave us the perfect eyebrows and forehead," he said.
Each finished photo was derived from about 15 different shots composited together. "The project took a lot of people to pull off," added Sahrmann. "From the producer to the baby wrangler to the stylists to the digital artist to the parents that were willing to bring their tiny babies in to be photographed under big, hot lights."
But you have to imagine that all those extra photos for their scrapbooks surely made it worth it ...