In conversation with Studio Picturerific and Baby Pixels
Baby photography is a widely popular service in the world. Although wedding photography has been very popular in our country for a while now, newborn photography is another concept that has been gaining traction in recent years. This time, Avenue T sat down with Baby Pixels and Studio Picturerific to discuss the ins and outs of baby photography.
Studio Picturerific – capturing precious moments in a creative way
Maisha Samiha runs Studio Picturerific in Banani, with a fresh approach towards photography in Dhaka that is gaining momentum steadily. After completing a few workshops on photography from Malaysia, Maisha decided to quit her regular '9 to 5' and decided to pursue her passion.
“We are a very small team at the moment, as we are just a year and a half old. Our in house team includes myself, my sister Maisha Sahira, and my friends Kazi Azfar Tarik and Zareen Raushan. I mainly shoot and the other two ladies help me with handling the babies and setting up the props. Tarik looks into the strategic and planning aspects of our social media marketing and promotions of our services,” informed Maisha.
Maisha Samiha has been taking photos for over a decade now, but the only reason she did not start working commercially earlier is because she never enjoyed other genres that have materialized till date. “I have been taking photographs long enough to have tried them all. Wedding photography particularly was and is still now a great hype - that’s when I thought to myself what happens after a couple is married? No one captures the next phase, which is basically an addition to your lifelong memories. That is when the idea of Studio Picturerific was born. I wanted to bring about a genre absolutely new to the audience. I worked unofficially for a year, e-learning techniques of baby photography before I launched it publicly. In addition, this year Studio Picturerific became a certified newborn baby photographer,” said Maisha.
How do you deal with babies who won’t settle or sleep?
Calming babies while shooting them isn’t any different than when you are trying to soothe them in your daily life. You comfort them as you would comfort them anyway, meaning patting them on their backs if they are waking up to put them back to sleep, use a pacifier, or the parent can bottle feed them or breastfeed. You also need to check if they are too hot or too cold. Once you have comforted them they usually (in most cases) go back to sleep unless something else is bothering them and you can resume shooting. Sometimes babies have gas so then it might take a little longer to settle the baby.
Tell us about your prices and packages. Can they be customized according to your clients’ needs?
Our packages for baby shoots start from Tk7,000 and yes, they are very much customizable. Baby shoots require a lot of consulting anyway before the shoot, so that all necessary factors are taken into account before shooting them.
What does your fee include and what is the timeline?
Every baby shoot package includes props and unlimited raw photos. However, the shoot duration and the number of edited or printed photos vary according to the packages. Shoot duration varies from one to three hours depending on the age of the baby.
Do you do posed or natural portraits?
The type of photos, whether posed or natural, basically varies with age. We shoot babies of all ages, and every age has its own type. Only newborns can be posed, because as they grow older they are too active, you simply can’t swaddle and pose them in all those curled up positions any more. For example, when you do a sitter session, meaning babies who can sit and maybe also crawl (and above) you can obviously use props and use different set ups but you can’t pose them - the photos will be candids, as they will move around and will be all over the place.
What precautions do you take to keep the baby safe and comfortable?
You CANNOT keep the room temperature too cold, keep in mind they just came out of the womb and are used to being very warm. Along with that you need to understand how delicate newborns are and know how to hold them correctly, they can’t sit or stand on their own obviously and some of the newborn photo shoot positions are very tricky and complicated. We need to take our time in doing so to ensure the babies comfort. We are always holding the baby at the back of the neck carefully to prevent any form of discomfort.
How should your clients prepare for a photoshoot and what should they bring? Do you have a newborn session prep guide?
We do a lot of consulting before a shoot takes place, understanding the age/gender/personality of the baby gives us a good idea of what to expect. The clients can bring something personal if they want, but it is not required! We do have a guide for the newborn session and it is conveyed to the client during the consultation phase before the shoot.
What age of baby do you prefer to work with? Are premature babies okay?
It’s very important to do a newborn shoot while your little one is actually a newborn (within four weeks of birth maximum.) I would actually take the opportunity to use this platform to inform the audience that the best time to do a newborn shoot is while they are between 5 to 14 days old. That is when they have just got out of the womb and haven’t gotten used to the surroundings so they are naturally sleeping in those curled up positions. Secondly, they are likely to develop gas problems after the first two weeks. And lastly, at that age they sleep throughout the day, and you do not even need to feed them during the session, they can be fed before and after the session.
But say, you want a sitter session then it’s important to shoot when the baby can sit unassisted and not when he or she can sit with support. So it depends on the kind of session or photos you want.
Premature babies are okay as long as there isn’t any health condition, then we would suggest to wait till they are healthier as they could be in discomfort and that wouldn’t result in a good photo shoot.
Do you offer wardrobe options?
Yes, all newborn sessions include costumes and props. For older babies only props are included.
Can parents and siblings be part of the session?
Yes, absolutely. We also specialize in maternity and family portraits. There are packages for these sessions too.
Baby Pixels – framing the bundles of joy
Baby Pixels started its journey in 2016 with a number of experienced photographers and artists, capturing the photos of newborns in a thematic way using different concepts. Baby Pixels specializes in new-born photography, maternity photography, children and babies. The service was first initiated by Anika and Maruf, when the couple was working with ToguMogu - a baby and maternity service platform, co-founded by the duo and their friends. The unique concept-based photography started from experimental photography at home. Anika and Maruf created some artistic set designs and wonderland-like themes in order to capture the special moments of their then-new-born, Rikhia. The photos became viral in social media and parents started requesting similar photographs for their children.
The artist team of Baby Pixels consists of real life mothers who prioritize the babies’ comfort and know how to photograph them with proper care. Starting from the concepts of village cowboys or brides to Marvel’s superheroes or Disney’s princesses, Baby Pixels employs the use of set design and artistic sense to bring your desired images to life. The ideas of thematic photography and nap-time photography add a new dimension to lifestyle photography, a welcome addition to the photography industry of Bangladesh.
“The main challenge for newborn photography is to manage the baby to get the perfect shot. Usually, we have a flexible session time for parents and discuss the best time for baby when they usually sleep. At our studio, we have all the facilities to calm the baby down if any scenario arises. We also have a feeding area where parents can feed their child to calm him or her down and make them go to sleep. Our art directors are specially trained to manage the babies, so they know what to do. But in special cases, we wait and give the babies enough time to settle down on their own,” informed Nazmul Arefin Momel, the co-founder of Baby Pixels when asked how they deal with babies who won’t settle.
Baby Pixels offers various packages depending on the age of the baby or occasion. Their newborn photography packages start from Tk9,000 where clients have to visit their studio, and their art director, photographer, and set designers are present during the session. They also have toddler photography, cake smash photography, outdoor family sessions, birthday photography, pregnancy photography and baby shower packages ranging from Tk6,000 to Tk20,000. In many cases, they provide the props and decoration if the session is held in their studio. Clients also have the option to customize their packages according to the need of clients - in those cases, the package price and session times will be variable and adjusted according to the customization.
“We usually provide different props for the photo shoot when the session is in our studio. But this excludes the dress and personalized props. Many of our clients bring their own props and toys for some unique photos. Before booking confirmation, we prefer a detailed discussion with the client to understand their expectations. We try to guide the parents about the session and we also prepare ourselves. There is a lot of background work that needs to be done before a studio photo session. We need to set up the backdrops, necessary props, decoration arrangements,” said Nazmul, while discussing how they prepare for a newborn shoot.
For exclusive new-born photography, Baby Pixels recommends booking a session within 30 days of the birth. In this period, babies have a longer sleeping period and it is easier to manage them. However, they have other packages and arrangements to photograph babies older than 30 days as well. For toddlers or kids, they mostly recommend outdoor packages as kids aged more than one year want more freedom to roam around.