Article by- Dhaval Shah
TOUCH OF CLASS
The golden rule in photography is the same for all genres irrespective of the myriad subjects the art has pervaded into. However, each genre does have its own nuances which need to be understood, especially by all the practitioners. Photographing babies, is a delicate mixture of capturing the innocence of childhood, the purity, the varied moods and moments, without threatening to corrupt the decorum in any way.
In our attempt to inform/educate and suggest ways as to how to go about photographing babies, we offer valuable tips that would go a long way in documenting the kids and their different moods.
Tips for Photographing Babies.
Ø Babies are sensitive:
Even though It is a very simple point, yet, it is a fundamental one. Everything that happens whilst photographing babies, has to adhere to this trait in totality. This is because babies are very sensitive to the surrounding environment. By far the term environment needs to be understood in the right perspective! In short, it encompasses the aggregate of all things that is around the baby. For example the people, the condition, temperature, toys etc.
A. Sensitivity to the Physical aspects:
• The photographer needs to maintain proper hygiene – trimmed nails, properly groomed, clean attire etc.
• Be careful while choosing the props. Importantly, avoid hay and grass for newborns. The props used for the babies should be washed regularly, or else they can cause allergic reactions!
• Babies are sensitive to light. While shooting with studio lights use the lowest amount of power. Avoid continuous use of flash.
B. Sensitivity to things beyond the physical:
• Babies are like sponges. They sense and absorb emotional activities around them. If you are by nature, calm and loving towards the babies, it’ll respond accordingly. Similarly, if the baby senses fear and tension, it’ll feel threatened.
Ø Babies are moody:
Babies are unable to express their needs of food, security sleep etc and hence end up coming across as very sensitive with mood swings. A cranky baby is a result of an unfulfilled need. It is important to pay more attention to their particular needs.
• Try and know a baby’s routine in advance, and at the same time schedule your shoot accordingly.
*Babies will be very fresh and cheerful after a good night’s sleep.
* Schedule the shoot in mornings, for even the sunlight won’t be very harsh!
Ø Babies have a very short attention span:
Babies are curious about the world around them, and along with that, they are very observant too. Anything that is new to their surroundings will immediately catch their attention. But simultaneously, something new will always catch their attention instantly and they always tend to forget the previous thing!
• Try not to give the baby too many toys/props at a time. It’ll easily get them bored with it. And then it’ll be difficult to bring their attention back to something you would want .
- It is important that while shooting a baby, the entire family, should desist from calling out to the baby at the same time. This is because the baby will seem lost and doesn’t know whom to look at. It is pertinent to instruct the family members with whom the baby shares the maximum comfort and also request them to maintain the status-quo throughout the shoot.
Ø Babies need security at all times:
Security in this situation means ‘knowing’, fully well what the baby’s like and dislikes are. They need to know their environs, what their toys are, their own fan or their own blanket; and also the presence of a person they are familiar with, like their mother or the maid that looks after them.
- Try and shoot the baby in their own bedroom or within the known walls of the house! At the same time a new person with a huge camera and equipment will make them feel threatened.
- Try to make friends with the baby before the shoot! Start with sharing a toy, or else try to offer to feed the baby with what the like the most. It’ll start trusting you and help you bond with the baby. And so, when you shoot, the baby will let the guard down and behave normally!
- Ensure that the mother, maid or any other person the baby is close to is always present throughout the shoot.
Babies always love to interact with their toys, family and even their imaginary friends. These interactions make beautiful pictures. Try and capture such interactions.
• Document moments where parents are seen playing peek-a-boo with the baby, or grandparents reciting and narrating stories or the conversations between the baby and its toys, which adds another gibberish and obscure dimension to the portrait!
The most important tip is to love ‘Photographing Babies’, or else in the absence of love, the pictures will not convey what you intended to convey through the lens at all! It is worthwhile to remember that babies are closest you can get to God, and it is important that they are treated and respected in the same way!