Vanita Sama loves photographs. Especially ones starring her family. “Our first experience shooting family pictures was in the US. On our return to India eight months back, we looked around for a studio where we could get our children’s portraits done, but nothing came up,” she says. Then, a friend mentioned Celebrity Kids Portrait Studios (CKPS) and the couple headed there with their two-and-a-half-year-old daughter, Annika, and four-and-a-half-year-old son, Rohan. One hour of power-packed fun and half-a-dozen pictures later, the Samas were hooked. “We’ve been back to the studio twice and have come back with incredible pictures,” says Sama.
Spread over 3,500sq. ft and three floors, CKPS is perhaps the only modern studio in India which specializes in family photography, with an emphasis on children’s portraits. “Unlike typical, stuffy photo-studios here, CKPS is designed with children in mind. We believe family photographs should convey something about relationships,” says Radhika Shrivastava, director of Celebrity Kids India Pvt. Ltd, which collaborated with the US-based CKPS to set up the studio in New Delhi two months ago. So, at the studio you’ll find all kinds of props such as crazy hats, cowboy suits, wings and fairy dresses.
We observed a session with the Samas and collected a few pointers:
The best images of children can be taken within half an hour or so of the shoot. “Dilly-dallying makes kids cranky, and if you think extended photo sessions will get good pictures, you are mistaken,” says Shrivastava.
Make sure the photographer knows your kids’ names and ages. “This way, we waste no time on introductions,” explains Shrivastava. Also, let the photographer know how many pictures you want, who will be in the photos and what kind of settings you are partial to, to avoid confusion on D-day.
Relax the children. “We play with the kids and never give them too many instructions. For young kids, games such as bubble blowing, tickle toes, peek-a-boo, work like a charm,” says Tracy Burton, chief photographer. For newborns, she has a different formula: “Make them comfortable; don’t do things which are unnatural, such as forcing them into a sitting position.”
For good, candid shots, carry toys your child is familiar with.
Ultimately, good family portraits are a form of art, according to Shrivastava, and it is important to know which part of the house you are likely to display them. Once the photographers have this information, they can suggest settings, props and poses which will work.
(Packages at CKPS start at Rs5,500. Call 099110 09865 for appointments.)