Most parents would want to capture every tiny gesture or funny expression their baby makes. This is probably why first-time parents are always seen with cameras. With the popularity of social media, this trend of clicking adorable baby pictures has only increased. But why take candid pictures if your baby can be made to look 10 times more cute professionally? Enter baby photographers! Though the trend of baby photography is not new, it isn’t gaining popularity at a rapid pace. There are many reasons for this. According to Arun Edakkara, curator of Bliss Photo Art, the cultural taboo associated with photographing infants is the problem. “If not parents, the grandparents definitely have many inhibitions when it comes to doing a photo shoot of the baby. The safety of their little one is what bothers them the most. Sometimes I feel that it is more difficult to handle the anxious parents than handling a baby. It therefore takes a lot of commitment and patience to become a baby photographer. You need to convince the parents about the security, hygiene and variety you will give them with subjects who are never in the mood to pose or pout,” he says.
According to Arun, when it comes to baby photography, the photographer has to be highly knowledgeable not just about his/her job, but also about handling babies. Moreover, he says the investment required is also high when compared to doing wedding photography, as everything from the light to the props and even the theme should be baby-friendly. Elaborating more about the reluctance shown by photographers to take up baby photography as full-time job, Arun says, “There cannot be any compromise with safety. Harsh lights can never be used on the velvety soft baby skin. One needs to spend a lot of money and time in creating the themes and executing them.”
Factors like these affect the number of baby photographers in the business. Arun, who is from a corporate background, chose to become a baby photographer once his son was born and started understanding the extent of happiness the pictures were giving him. Baby photography also has a clever technical side involved, which most parents are unaware of. According to Anita Thomas, parent of an eight-month-old baby boy, though their munchkins look amazing in photographs where they comfortably sleep like in a cocoon, look like a mermaid and even pop out of rustic trunk boxes, the thought of making the babies pose keeps many of the parents away. “I too was sceptical about doing my son’s photo shoot. I was somehow able to convince my parents and in-laws. Even though my son’s photo shoot was done when he was only one month old, to respect the wishes of my parents, I had to wait six months until I could post the pictures on social media, ” she says.
Fashion Monger Achu, concept designer at Fashion Monger productions, has a different opinion. The company has started clicking baby portfolios of late and likes to approach baby photography as a new potential area, even one percent of which has not been explored till date in Kerala. However, he stresses on the fact that the team completely loves clicking babies. “Without loving babies, you cannot photograph them. But it is the mindset of the people that needs to change. When the market for wedding photography has gone sky high in the past five years, why can’t baby photography too reach such heights? It’s all about believing in the photographer,” he says, adding that his stylist Amrutha C.R. takes extreme care in making the babies look their best while being photographed. “We, along with taking immense care about the safety of the babies, also ensure that the parents are always there during the shoot. After all, making an album of your baby’s photographs is like making memories that will last your whole life,” he says.
The photographers also add that the composite technique is what helps in bringing out magical pictures. The technique involves taking photographs by supporting the baby’s body and merging the different shots until it finally seems as if the baby is posing. “It may look like the baby is sitting in a different posture all alone, but that’s not exactly what happens behind the camera,” says Arun.
Vineeth Thamby, curator of creative 8 pixels, is of a different opinion. He says he would never prefer to make any alterations. “I don’t make the babies pose in any complicated way. Moreover, I take special care to shoot only with natural light. I respect photographers who take such complicated shots. But I believe that kids are so charming that there is no need to make them look good.”
He further adds that the market of baby photography directly depends on the attitude of the parents. He also doesn’t agree that all portfolios are shot for social media. However, all these photographers who are trying a hand at this sector jointly say that the glamorisation of pregnancy and birth, coupled with the urge to tell your story through social media have fuelled the rise of baby photography as a fad....