Tips and tricks for baby photography
Delhi-based photographer Vidhi Sikka gets candid, tells us all that it takes to get that perfect shot of the li'l bundle of joy.
Adventure is Delhi-based 22-year-old Vidhi Sikka’s middle name; it is what drives her to tread the road less travelled, and to some measure explains her choice of vocation. “The place I am standing today, would not have been achievable if that photographer in me wouldn’t have taken over my personality since I was a toddler. Photography became the gateway to life. Capturing a moment and cherishing it for the years to follow, gave me immense pleasure and a great level of satisfaction,” she says with a grin. She started with travel photography and later shifted to portrait photography before bumping into baby photography, quite accidentally. “I love kids. And what more could I ask for in life? I get to be with kids, click them, dress them up, and watch them giggle away to glory, as a part of my job, and get paid too. The entire schedule excites me no end. I have faced all sorts of situations. I have doubled up as their caretaker, and their friend, giving them company in their mischiefs, and all of it has helped me grow too.” And each baby gifts her bagful of happy memories, and that makes her job even more satisfying.
Challenges of being a baby photographer
Challenge 1: There’s so much to carry
I have been doing shoots at client’s place so it gets really tough for me to carry all the stuff around with me for the shoot. Newborn shoots have lots of props and dresses, and sometimes it gets tiring to carry all kinds of stuff and travel.
Challenge 2: Patience
A good newborn photographer needs truckloads of patience and confidence. Like trust, confidence comes with time. However, even beginners need to have patience. I’m not talking about taking a deep breath sort of patience, but about holding everything in and keeping calm for three to four hours type of patience. Newborn sessions can take two to four hours, and you don’t know how long your course will take until it’s over! Newborns can feel your emotions. If you get frustrated and start to panic that this babe will not stop screaming, the baby can sense that. The key is to remain calm and keep your cool. Sometimes the mother gets worried, and sometimes the baby gets cranky, tired to handle the situation. It’s ok for baby to react this way. But a photographer needs to be cool as a cucumber because it is all worth it.
Challenge 3: Being a baby ain’t easy
Of course, not. I’ve had shoots where the baby wants to be fed all through the schedule. Pee or poop in between can be challenging too. Flexibility is the key to newborn photography. We have to adjust to their schedule and slot the shoot in between their sleeping and waking up hours, without disturbing their routine too much.
Challenge 4: Little mishaps
How do you keep the babies naked and not pee on your stuff? Well, that is untrue. Those little ones are most likely to pee on the props. They will pee on you. They will pee on the floor! If you want those adorable naked baby shots, you will have to expect to get peed on… and even worse, poo-ed on! This risk is worth it but.
While shooting children…
Keep it safe and sanitized
Wash all the props and wash your hands before you start the session. A baby should never, ever be put at risk for a photograph. If you are trying something daring, ensure that the baby remains safe all through.
Babies may get cranky in an unfamiliar surrounding, so it is best to shift the shoot at the client’s home. But always ensure that there’s ample natural light rule, with minimum clutter in the background. The background has to simple, muted and without too much colour or clutter so that the camera’s focus is only on the baby. Also, a clutter-free background gives enough space to explore a baby’s various moods and capture the moments, and the baby gives its best too. Always avoid flash.
Wise use of props like rattles, toys, cushions, blankets, feathers, flowers, etc., will bring more elements in the photo. But keep it simple. Avoid using too many props in one shot as the baby remains the main focus.
Keep at it
When photographing a baby, you have to be on your toes, quite literally. There may be many blink-and-you-miss-it moments, and it is a visual treat to see a picture capture a baby’s every mood, emotion, and gesture from all possible angle. So keep shooting.
Candid is best
There’s no point planning a shot with a little one, instead, prepare to capture what comes your way impromptu. The candid shots will be moments to cherish, so click it quickly. The baby’s playful moments will breathe life into the picture. Look out for that wink, nod, roll, gurgle and giggle, and capture it.
Understand the baby first. What the baby likes and spikes. Talk to the baby and make it look at you. It will help the baby connect better with you. The familiarity will put the baby at ease and help get you a good shot. The babies tend to respond to sound, so don’t forget to make funny sounds if you want the baby to look right at the camera. But be careful not to scare the baby or else all will be ruined.
Always highlight baby’s eyes, eyelashes, toes, fingers, hands, lips, nose and ears, when shooting babies because beauty is in details. The closer the shot, the better it is. Because the baby will grow up in no time, and these tiny parts will always remind of the days when he or she was a baby. An element of everlasting memory.
(Vidhi Sikka is currently working with Inflens. She can be contacted at email@example.com, and you can follow her at Instagram @vs_capturingmemories) ; Photos: Vidhi Sikka