Tamara Mathias in conversation with Amrita Samant of Mommy Shots, a baby photography undertaking where the mommies call the shots.
Her shutter snaps shut a million times a minute, as she freezes snippets of life into art. Her models, sometimes nude, usually toothless and almost always below three feet are more than happy to say cheese. Meet Amrita Samant – entrepreneur, writer and, most recently, baby photographer.With Mommy Shots, her ten-month-old shutterbug venture that specialises in maternity, new born and toddler photography, she has taken on a genre that is becoming increasingly popular among new age parents. Her tagline is simple – “We believe in stories with happy beginnings.”
Amrita began her tryst with photography as a freelancer, sometimes accompanying her now – partner Rakesh Prakash on wedding shoots. Ten months ago, she decided to take the plunge and kick-start a career that combined two of her biggest interests – babies and photography.
“I love kids,” she tells me enthusiastically. “As a photographer, working with children can be particularly challenging but also very interesting. They’re unpredictable subjects so it’s never monotonous.”
Amrita first began photographing her nieces, and soon discovered she enjoyed working with children. At Mommy Shots, she works personally with parents before every shoot. The idea is to capture babies at their best – and worst.
“There are quirks that every baby has at different stages,” she explains. “And if these aren’t captured on camera, it’s easy to forget.”
Mommy Shots offers progressive peeks into a child’s life, with annual packages that organise regular shoots every three months so that the final portfolio incorporates the different stages of the child’s year. It’s usually bump to baby, I’m told, starting with excited parents-to-be and progressing to Baby’s Favourite Pastime. Amrita insists on a recce of the location before every shoot, where she discusses options with the parents. Often, she is able to come up with ideas on the spot, personalising the experience for the family.
“I ask the parents about the baby’s schedule, what she likes doing, and when she is most likely to be alert,” she says. “So on the day of the shoot, I try to finish with the priority shots first, when it’s easier to hold the baby’s attention.”
These are typically candid family portraits, taken in and around the house or at a nearby park, places that the baby is familiar with. Familiarity means comfort, so it’s often easier to get pictures of the baby in her element. Of course, every stage is a different experience.
“New born babies tend to doze off really quickly,” Amrita laughs. “It’s very cute. But it means we need to make the best of the time we have!”
She is all smiles as she tells me about some particularly memorable shoots.
“This one time, we were just packing up our equipment when the baby decided to take her first steps. Everyone was going wild. We had to whip out the cameras and coax her into doing it again.”
What has clients coming back for more is the personal feel that Mommy Shots maintains throughout the process. Every parent has their own requirements, and Amrita is more than happy to work out a portfolio that focuses on their baby’s best side. Often, parents want to incorporate their own interests into the shots- soccer baby posing in dad’s favourite jersey or little Vogue diva, playing with mum’s jewellery box. Amrita creates a storyboard of shots that incorporate costumes, props and surroundings that tell the tale. The package culminates in a complete portfolio, optionally printed as a coffee table album that preserves tiny faces between laminates.
For those parents who are looking for motion picture memories, fear not. Mommy Shots is also launching Creative Videos, to document moments before and after the baby arrives, punctuated with the family’s take on every stage of the baby’s life.
“I think it’s wonderful that more people are realising how important it is to preserve memories of their babies,” Amrita smiles.
Does she have big plans for her own, future offspring?
Her reply is quick and enthusiastic.
“Definitely! Although I worry they’ll become my guinea pigs.”
Check out Amrita’s work on www.mommyshotsbyamrita.com