When babies call the shots

Right from baby bumps to snaps of the newborn, new-age parents want to document every milestone of their babies

Aneena Varghese was nine months into her pregnancy when she contacted a baby photographer about documenting her journey from pregnancy to motherhood. She took a ‘belly to baby package’ that the photographer suggested. “The package covers one session with the mother and her baby bump and another when the baby arrives.” Aneena is not the only mom who wants to frame memorable moments of her child.

A shot by Midhu Sreenivas

A shot by Midhu Sreenivas  
| Photo Credit:
Midhu Sreenivas

From black-and-white frames of babies in rustic baskets to little ones dressed up in colourful fairytale costumes, social media is flooded with adorable pictures of babies. A trend started in the West by photographers like Anne Geddes in the ‘90s with her portraits of babies dressed as angels or posing in blossoming flowers, the concept of baby photography, according to photographer Midhu Sreenivas, is catching on in Kerala.

City-based baby photographer Aneesh Hareendran says a newborn’s features change within two weeks. “And while in the West, parents usually capture these minute changes, right from birth through childhood milestones, in our country there’s a belief amongst some that babies should not be photographed till they are at least a year old,” he says.

Aneesh Hareendran

Aneesh Hareendran  
| Photo Credit:
Special arrangement

However, techie Siby Madaswamy, who moonlights as a photographer, feels that young parents don’t stick to all those beliefs. He and his friends Rahul Sasikumar and Syam Nath, who run Rule of Thirds, a photography company, are often hired to cover baptisms. They recently received “a few bookings from parents who wanted pictures of their newborns. Celebrities have created a trend of sorts as they pose with their baby bump and later with their babies,” he says.

Mothers Neelima Singh and Geethu Krishna have favourite photographs of their children. And all were taken by baby photographers. If Anneena’s favourite frame is that of her then 11-day-old baby smiling in his sleep, both Neelima and Geethu adore the picture of their babies with their fathers. “I love the expression of pure love and joy captured on my husband’s face as he holds our son,” says Geethu.

A shot by Right of Thirds

A shot by Right of Thirds  
| Photo Credit:
Special arrangement

With the advent of user-friendly cameras and camera phones, nearly anyone can click a picture but Neelima feels it takes a trained photographer to catch “rare and precious moments.”

As a photographer, making the child comfortable is essential and that needs patience.

Midhu encourages the mother to give her infant a bath and ensure that the baby’s tummy is full before the shoot so that the child is calm.

Baby trouble

  • Talking of the challenges of photographing babies, Aneesh says: “As a photographer, you have to be alert to click the right photo at the right time. Babies always call the shots during the shoot. Clicking images of newborns is tough as you can’t ask them to pose. Taking pictures of babies five months and above is easier as you can keep them engaged. However, while some children are co-operative, others can be cranky or full of beans.”

“I stop once I sense the child is getting irritable. The child’s comfort is paramount and I don’t push on just to get that perfect shot or to finish the shoot.”

Midhu Sreenivas

Midhu Sreenivas  
| Photo Credit:
Special arrangement

Although the photographers come prepared with properties for the shoot, some parents have wraps, headbands, baskets or other props they want to incorporate in the frames. “I had a mom ready with a bumble bee costume, a crocheted outfit, hair bands and what not for her baby,” says Anchal-based Midhu.

The shoots are usually always conducted at the child’s home as most parents are reluctant to travel with the baby.

“If they have a garden, I prefer shooting the child amidst the greenery or else I create a space within the home. And no, I do not superimpose pictures. What you see in print is what I have actually shot,” says Aneesh. Lighting too, plays a key role, and the photographers try and ensure that they shoot in natural light whenever possible.

While some are content with a pen drive containing the photographs taken, others request for prints and an album.

Rahul Sasikumar, Syam Nath and Sibi Madaswamy

Rahul Sasikumar, Syam Nath and Sibi Madaswamy
 
| Photo Credit:
Special arrangement

Aneena’s son, Aadam Chris has just started to roll over and army crawl. She plans to call the photographer to click this new milestone of his.

“I want to try and capture each of his milestones. These photos will be a box of memories I will cherish.”

With people willing to spend money and time to capture magical moments of their babies, it looks like it is babies’ day out.

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