Anne Geddes is known around the world–if not instantly recognisable by name, then most certainly by her famous photo art of babies in various positions of adorable repose: tucked into cabbages, nestled in a pumpkin patch, or sprouting straight from a flower pot. Now the celebrated photographer has collated a series of old favourites and never-seen-before shots, capturing the magic of tiny people; and she’s spreading the baby love by sharing her top tips for getting the perfect snap of your own little bundle.
Her works have been published in over 80 countries, and Geddes’ 1996 book, Down in the Garden, became a New York Times best-seller, effectively etching her into 90s nostalgia forever. She’s still creating, though, and her latest coffee-table book, Small World, is a retrospective of her career thus far; the result a collection of images–of pregnancy through to toddlerhood–as mesmerising and heart-melting as it was twenty years ago.
When asked the secret to her knack for getting the most adorable shots out of a notoriously uncompliant demographic of model, Geddes shares the following advice:
Keep it simple.
Lavish props and flashy background do not a beautiful picture make. It’s about natural lighting–early morning or late afternoon light is best, and of course, a happy baby. No frills necessary. And never use flash, it’s an automatic atmosphere killer!
Shoot in the morning.
Speaking of happy babies, first thing after their feed is prime time–capitalise on this small window, because things get cranky (and uncooperative) fast.
Get down on your little one’s level–that’s how they see the world, and you want to capture that fleeting perspective.
Be in the picture.
“Always try to include yourself in the image as often as you can,” says Geddes. You’ll be so glad you did when you and your child can look back on special moments of you together.
Let your babe’s budding personality fill the frame; if this means refusal to wear a cutesy headband in favour of a bucket, let it happen, and enjoy the fun.
Don’t stop taking photos.
The small gap of opportunity to take candid shots of your children–without them feeling self-conscious and making the end result stilted and unnatural–is so small. Take as many photographs of these early years as you can. You can always apologise to your embarrassed teen after.
Anne Geddes’ book Small World is available from Taschen.