We had our first family photo shoot when our twins turned 7-months-old. This was a special day for us since if felt like our life had come full circle. Sunil and I actually met on a photo shoot. We both submitted our headshots (he sent in his Friendster profile photo. Throwback to 2005!) for a casting call for Indian models in New York. Don’t get me wrong, neither of us had aspirations of walking the ramp in Paris, we just wanted to have some professional photos of ourselves. We were both selected and assembled at renowned wedding photographer Jay Seth‘s studio with a group of other young working professionals. We were told the photos were going to feature in Bharat Matrimony’s new spin-off magazine, Desi Match, and as billboards for Khazana boutique in New Jersey. Jay picked Sunil and I out of the lot and said, “you two are going on my cover.” We went in to hair and make up (by the one and only Sushmita Patel), and I donned a pink and gold wedding lehnga and Sunil a gold sherwani. Here we were, pretending to be a newly-married couple on the very first day we met.
I laughed nervously, but Sunil put me at ease. He whispered, “Relax. Let’s have fun with this.” He still has a unique way of making me feel secure and bringing lightness to any situation.
After the shoot, Sunil and I went our separate ways. We reconnected five years later and went on our first date. We reminisced about our shoot and then just hit it off as we talked endlessly about growing up as Indian Americans, our love for all things Punjabi from bhangra to rajma chawal, and our take on what truly matters to us in life. We married (for real this time!) in 2013 and of course Jay was our wedding photographer of choice. We enjoyed our newlywed years, and had our twins, Krish and Suhana in 2017.
Jay was so thrilled for us and said when the kids are sitting up on their own, let’s do a big Gupta family shoot. It turned out so well. They get it from their mama and papa! Here are a few of our favorite shots.
Here are a few things I learned when it comes to photographing kids:
- Be prepared. Pick out their outfits, backdrops, accessories (headbands, sunglasses) the night before so you have seamless transitions from one outfit or location change to the next.
- Let there be light. We shot indoors with natural light and no flash (this is distracting for the kiddos and they will inevitably blink). We also shot photos outside around 11:30 when the sunlight was not too harsh, yet they still got to rock their little sunnies.
- Stick to your schedule. All kids are happiest in the early morning after they’ve had their first feed of the day. We blocked 10:00 – 12:00 pm for our shoot which was perfect timing. Their tummies were full from their 8:00 am feed, we gave them a bath, and they were active and energetic by the time we were rolling. They got a bottle at 11:00 am at the halfway point and then we went outside for the second half of the shoot. As soon as we came back home, they were put down for their nap and they slept soundly. Whew!
- Play with your built-in backgrounds. Our best shots were on our bed with colorful throw pillows in the background. I used a grey wood vinyl backdrop I found on Etsy which we hung from the foot of the bed and had them pose on our shag rug. These photos looked like they were in studio! We also captured the babies on their play mat, doing what they do best – jumping, bouncing, and giggling.
- Do a monkey dance. In order to get your little ones to look squarely into the camera, you’ll have to entertain them! Use jingling toys, rattles, bells and shake them near the camera lens. Their gaze will be fixed on the toy and if you sing, dance, shake, rattle, & roll, you’ll get them to give you their million dollar smiles.
Doing a photo shoot around the 7-month-mark is best since babies are able to sit up on their own and even crawl around a bit, but aren’t walking and getting into everything. We loved this phase of their lives and are going to cherish these photos! Thank you Jay Seth Photography for your matchmaking skills, and capturing these family memories.