Kids Portraits: Not a Child’s Play

~ by Amrita Samant

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Shot by SEL85F14GM lens

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Always in motion

The most excitement new parents often have is their obsession with the child’s well-being. The joy of capturing the little one’s first steps, first words, bumbling laughter, innocent escapades, and their curiosity filled discoveries, is simply unparalleled.

All the constant movement, however, does indeed make it difficult to capture a still that is worthy of being in your time capsule of emotions. If you’re lucky, you’re blessed in the moments they stay still just long enough for you to take a picture that turns a normal expression into a misty-eyed memory. If not, you can count on cameras and lenses with superior technology to always come in handy.

Eyes of the beholder

That’s where the picture can express itself. Like in this one, where it is not about the photographer or the viewer, but the subject itself. The essence of capturing something like this relies on expressiveness of the eyes. Subtle, yet distinct.

Thankfully, my premium G-Master series FE 85 mm F1.4 portrait lens was just the right one for this outdoor shot. The Eye-AF feature keeps the doe-eyed innocence in constant focus, despite movement, and still retains a sharper picture quality overall. The lens goes everywhere with my full-frame Alpha 7R III camera with autofocus.

Framing in control

What adds to an already difficult situation, is the lighting. Outdoor portraits come with their own set of challenges - following the child around, keeping up with movements, but most importantly, direct light. One could argue that a simple adjustment to lower ISO may just solve the issue, but how does one really control direct light? As the day passes and the sun moves, the light can really hamper the framing, no matter how satisfied you are with your composition.

You could keep the chromatic aberrations in check with polarising filters, but I don’t really like carrying all that equipment around. Honestly, all you really want is to keep colours as natural as possible without it taking a toll on your post-processing capabilities.

My 85 mm lens has Three ED glass elements to support it, and in relatively uncontrollable situations, it makes a huge difference. It minimises artificial colourisation throughout the aperture range, and brings out natural light.

Notice how the light in the foreground seamlessly adds an effect to accentuate the highlights. Balances the play of light and shadows as well.

Doing more with less

In my experience, I have only two recommendations for parents, or anyone in particular who loves capturing candid expressions. One, every moment matters, and two, go for the portrait lens! So, essentially the only bulky equipment one needs to care about is diapers, snacks, and a change of clothes. The portrait lens doesn’t add to the weight of the luggage. The light weight makes it easier to keep up with the motion.

Someday, this baby will look back upon these frames of sheer innocence, hopefully, in times of reconciliation, and rejoice in the fact that there will always be simpler times.

About Amrita Samant

A Sony Artisan and Profoto mentor, Amrita is one of the most recognised and published photographers based in India and Singapore. An absolute natural when it comes to portraying children in their element, her versatility varies from doing portraits to documenting lives of families with realism. When she is not shooting her little baby clients, she is working on non-profit projects to make this world a better place for them. She started her business 'Mommy Shots by Amrita' in 2013 with set ups in Chennai, Bangalore and Singapore, specialising in newborn and Baby portraiture. Bringing babies and photography together was only a natural move, given the love for the two. Growing from a Portrait photographer to a documentary photographer, trying to capture the reality of life and helping Children in any way possible, her love for kids is real and she is an absolute natural when it comes to portraying children in their element. Also, an educator, she conducts her workshops across the country and also personally mentors aspiring photographers. She has worked with several celebrities such as Cricketer Ravichandran Ashwin, Robin Uthappa, Murali Vijay, Lakshmipathy Balaji, Actor Nani, Actor Allari Naresh Chef Kelvin, Director Abhishek Kapoor, Actor Chiranjeevi's Family, Director Hari, Actor Reshmi Menon and Bobby Simha and many others. So if you want to tell your child’s story, one unforgettable photograph at a time, you’re at the right place. Here’s to happy beginnings, and welcome to Mommy Shots!

Story Stats & Gear Used:

Main image stats:

Exposure 1/800
Aperture 3356144/1000000
Lens FE 85mm F1.4 GM
Focal Length 850/10
ISO 250
Model ILCE-7RM3
Shutter Speed 9643856/1000000
ILCE-7RM3

Sony Alpha 7R III Full-frame Mirrorless camera- Made for professionals.

SEL85F14GM

Premium G Master series Mid-range telephoto prime.

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