Saturday, 17 December 2016

A Guide for Baby Photography



IT'S FUN
Photographing babies is challenging and a lot of fun as well. My experiences with photographing babies have been delightful. They smile from the heart and express what they really feel, unlike us adults. When a child smiles eye-to-eye, it boosts my confidence, that I’m doing a great job and that things are going well. 

SAFETY FIRST
Though it is fun, it is a great responsibility as well. One has to take care of a lot of things. Not only the parents but the photographer should also be alert while clicking photographs of babies especially newborns (5-10 days old). Babies are very delicate and anything can hurt them. A lot can go wrong, though the probability is very low, but why take chances? Make sure your photographer keeps the safety of your child first especially when setting up lighting and other equipment.

There are some tips that you should keep in mind before going for a baby photo shoot.

1. Book your shoot in advance keeping your due date in mind. The ideal time for booking a newborn photo shoot is 1-2 months before the due date. This will not only give you time to get things ready for the photo shoot (like toys etc) but it will also give time to the photographer to get his/her appropriate equipment ready for the shoot.

2. Keep your child's favorite toys, pacifiers etc. with you, ready all the time during the shoot. Photoshoots can be irritating for babies, especially when flash or external lights are used. This can make your baby irritable. 

3. Be ready to act like a clown. Babies sometimes like to 'not smile' when we want them to. To make them smile. Both photographers and parents need to act silly just to make them laugh. However, no one can make a baby laugh if he/she doesn’t want to! Get ready for some funny faces.

4. Always carry your baby's requirements with you, e.g.: Water, diapers, food, brushes etc. Sometimes shoots can go on for long hours just to capture priceless moments. 

5. Keep yourself free. Be ready to cancel all appointments, meeting etc. for a day. A shoot usually takes not more than 2 hours; however, it can go on for hours.

  Here is an info graph that might be helpful for you for your planning/bookings. 

                                                          


Hope this article was helpful for you. Just a few more tips. You are going for a photoshoot that will preserve this beautiful moment for you to enjoy all your life. So, relax, have fun and go with an open mind. No need to set rules for yourself and for the shoot. Just keep it sweet and simple, don't expect it will be perfect, it will never be but that’s the beauty of it. Embrace your child's quirky smiles and those shrill cries. These moments are rare and you get a chance to experience them only once in a lifetime. 
Here are some links from where you can purchase baby props for your baby's shoot: 
http://amzn.to/2gVHEl5

~

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Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Life in Riddles

I remember those days when I used to go to the outskirts of the city for picnics, with my cousins, uncle, and aunt. All stuffed into one car with baskets full of edibles snugly stuck in between me and my cousin, in the middle of the back seat. It usually used to be a long musical journey, filled with fun. Back then the air felt fresh unlike today and the road sides were still lined with 100–200-year-old humongous eucalyptus and banyan trees, that showered leaves on the road with every blow of the breeze. We used to try catching the falling leaves. Even if we failed, the wind would brush our hands, appreciating our little efforts. Our imagination ran wild, we imagined that the swinging trees were happy seeing us and were waving at us with excitement.
When we arrived at our destination, which was a village in the middle of farmlands, we were greeted by the villagers. It was the warmest welcome, that I've ever experienced till date. It was around 5:00pm and the sun was about to set. The light was so perfect that it covered the whole field filled with ready for harvest mustard, with a golden hue. Soon a blanket of navy blue studded with twinkling stars was over us. You could clearly see hundreds of starts, bright and beautiful. That night, during dinner for our entertainment a special quiz was organized, where one person asked some confusing question and ended them with “batao kya” (which is Hindi for what is it?). It was really interesting, entertaining and a lot of fun. I later came to know that this form of questions are called riddles. I was very intrigued.
12 years later, a few days back while I was sipping coffee, I was discussing with my mom, about riddles, how entertaining they are and how this art form is being forgotten, when our house help riddled us this:
Me mara tere liye, Tu na mar mere liye,
Me khada yahan tere liye, Tu mar raha mere liye
Which in English is:
I died for you, you please don’t die for me,
I’m waiting here for you, You are dying for me.
(Answer to this riddle is a worm hanging on a hook as a bait for the fish).
It’s so amazing to listen to such riddles, he told me that people in the village still use riddles as a form of entertainment and at the same time with the digitization of few villages this art and the art of Dastangoi is slowly dying, which is really sad.
But to my surprise, there are still few people who are keeping these art form alive. I came across one such personality during a music fest, his name is Ankit Chadha, known for his love for storytelling and Dastangoi, he truly engages and mesmerizes his audience. Recently while surfing the net I came across his new book, Amir Khusrau The Man in Riddles.

The title and the cover of the book aroused curiosity within me, but I was a bit skeptical before buying it. If I should buy the book or not, it’s for kids, will I enjoy it or will it disappoint me ? Were some questions that created havoc in my mind. It took me a while to shut these recurring thoughts and I finally ordered the book. After going through few pages, I fell in love with it. Not only it has quality stuff but the feel and the illustrations are so good that it qualified to become one of my favorite. Most importantly, It made me feel what I felt 12 years back. The Same old memory came to life after reading this book. The book is based on Amir Khuseau’s work and life. Though it is for kids, I can assure everyone who loves the works of Amir Khuserau and want to enjoy reading something new should definitely give it a try.
A riddle from the book (also my favorite)
Saamne aaye kar de do
Its victims are neither scarred nor slain
Maara jaaye na zakhmi ho
Yet each one is split in twain
Arath tu iska boojhega
I you seek to riddle me this
Munh dekho toh soojhega
Facing it won’t be amiss
Answer: Aaina, Mirror
Thanks for reading…

Change of Thought

For the past few days, I have been thinking of doing something new, something that is not limited to just one topic. Though I like photography, I sometimes feel that indulging in just one area can sometimes become boring and it can lead to burnout. The specialty or the uniqueness of that topic is lost somewhere in the oblivion. Gradually you start to think about it too much sometimes overthink some topics and the flame of interest dies
So, I have decided that I will be writing more blog posts on various topics. That doesn't mean that I will not write about photography. Photography is a very important part of my life and in no way, I can ignore it. However, from today this blog will be more about me and my thoughts rather than just photography. Thoughts that are fleeting and what I feel about things. 

Friday, 23 September 2016

DOCUMENT YOUR LIFE

MOMENTS

Yesterday I was sitting with my mother cleaning the cabinets and drawers when I saw a small rectangle shoebox amidst some papers. When I opened the dusty old, purple shoe box I found old family albums, photographs; sepia, black, and white, professional, candids etc. The box was filled with our photographs, memories of our old house, parents, grandparents, friends, and family, we playing board games and drinking coffee, just chatting with buddies.Those happy moments and sad moments, photographs of our childhood, my parent's childhood, their marriage. It was every segment of our life, beautifully documented and preserved in those glossy sheets.


Image Source: favim.com

Soon this shoebox became so important that we kept on looking and digging into the box for hours. One album after another. Time flew right by us while we were traveling through time ourselves. It was such a beautiful moment, it's hard to explain and hard to express what type of feeling it was. It's difficult to categorize such feelings. It was just amazing. It affected me so much that I actually took a beautiful old photograph of my parents and I got it enlarged and framed. I will prefer such candid moments a thousand times than any professionally clicked photograph of my parents. (That reminds me of prints, why one should get photographs printed, but that's worth another post).
Since then I have been thinking about it for quite some time now. Why have we stopped clicking the small moments of our life? Moments which are not significant, moments that are slow and mundane? After all, these moments are what we treasure for life. Not those that are clicked in a studio or retouched by an expert. Nobody is going to remember who clicked perfectly clean background, filtered, blemish free, the stylized flawless photograph of yours. Not even you or the pro photographer who clicked it. Trust me he forgot about you the moment he delivered you the prints.  Some of you might find it odd, some may find it weird or some might even agree with me. To be honest this is what I feel. I don't want clean backgrounds, distraction free photographs, I want raw photos, photos that matter, not those that would look great on an advertisement board or the TV or on your desktop as a wallpaper. 
Capture moments, emotions, feelings. This is what photography is made of. This is what we call art. Like I always say, your camera is just a tool that you use to document stuff, content is primary everything else is secondary. 
Now let us talk about learning photography and how this can help you improve.  
Start documenting!
When you'll start documenting your life, you will get a sense of what it is like to connect with your subject or feel the emotion and the energy of your environment. Your photographs don't need to be perfect, noiseless or even straight. Experiment! document moments that tell a story. Start narrating and practicing story telling. Your content and the context is the king, rest is secondary. Let me explain you: Wake up early on a Sunday before anyone else and click your house. (Let's name the project "A Lazy Sunday"). Click the silence and track those morning light filtering through the window. Then when they wake up click them squinting (yes it is annoying for your subject, but hey! they are your family, they'll understand). Click them during breakfast, lunch, while watching TV, watering the plants or cleaning the car. Basically, document a day every week to improve. Trust me when you'll click every moment of that day you'll start to improve and understand what it is to create and tell a story. You don't have to post those photos online, get them printed if you want, but do try this. Once you do you'll see the difference in your perception and your vision will expand. Apart from improving your photography skill, this will also help you preserve precious moments of your life which you could later show it to your children or your grandchildren. You'll document a lifestyle an era. 

So get started with this project. And if you found this article  helpful, then do share, like and comment. In case you practice this method do share your experience with me, I would be glad to hear from you.
You can find me on twitter (twitter), Instagram, facebook or mail me at sagkap94@gmail.com