Creative Director: Agnethe Glatved
Photo Director: Lily Francesca Alt
Photo Editor: Joanna Muenz
Baby Wrangler: Melania Sawyer
Wardrobe Stylist: Annie Caruso
Hair and Make up: Thora Vikar
Photographer: Priscilla Gragg
How long have you been shooting for Parents and do you usually photograph babies for them? ?
As a parent myself I have been a reader of the magazine for a number of years. As a reader, I have always loved their editorial images, so getting a chance to collaborate with Parents has been wonderful opportunity. I’ve been shooting for them for about three years now. Mostly the magazine focuses on toddlers so when I got the call for The Baby Contest Cover, I was so excited, I actually jumped up and down. I absolutely LOVE being around and photographing babies! Babies are my comfort zone.
Did you see the casting photos of the messy babies faces prior to the shoot?
The magazine shared all of the photos with me but I wasn’t part of the selection process, thankfully because they are all so cute! You can still see them online. The sponsor for the contest was Dreft and they created a hashtag on Instagram #MessiestBabyContest. There are some really funny ones!
How do you get the babies to respond to the camera and become engaged?
Each baby is different and each responds to different things. For example, some babies love an audience, and the photo set is full of people – assistants, art directors, wardrobe stylist, hair and make up, etc – and this is perfectly fine. Some prefer a quiet environment. In that case, I ask everyone to leave the set, then it’s just me, baby and mom. There are peculiarities that you have to be sensitive too as well. For example, some babies will respond to high pitched voices. Sometimes the baby is ok, but the mom is nervous and she can pass that on to the baby. In this instance, you have to work with mom and make her feel more comfortable and reassure her. When photographing babies, you have to trust your intuition. After spending a few minutes with a child, I’m able to decide which direction to go. Then, if needed, I communicate that with my baby wrangler. Usually we know where to go just by looking at each other. We work very closely. I mean that both figuratively and literally. Sometimes they are on top of me using all sorts of props! Ha!”
The inside cover has a wonderful variety of expressions. Did you submit that edit to the magazine?
I edited the photos right after the shoot, while still at the studio. I probably sent about 5-10 images per baby. I usually color tag my favorite for each. The cover was selected from my top two so I was very pleased with the choice. When editing babies, I look for funny, cute or happy expressions that feel real to me.
Has your bag of tricks to get a babies attention grown with the times? (do you wave a cell phone/ iPad or a toy that lights up?)
Yes, absolutely. I’ve learned so much with all of the baby wranglers I’ve worked with over the years, though we never really use cell phones or light up toys. Last year I worked with an incredible team of baby wranglers while shooting a campaign in Japan. They had this cat toy which had a stick and a furry ball on top of it. They would gently touch the baby’s cheeks with the toy and so many of the babies would give us a gentle smile. They gifted me with the prop and since then, I always carry it in my camera case. In general, with babies there are lots of squeaky toys around, so I also carry around ear plugs!
I know some of the parents and children had never been to New York before. What were some of the sweeter moments on set with the thrill of it all: the city, being a part cover
I heard that there was a baby with 4 other siblings and we were all “wowed” by the mom’s energy and effort to enter her baby into a contest and for traveling all that way for a shoot. I mean as a first time mama I would probably have considered it. As a second time mama I would be like, “nah, no time for that” and there she was with her 5th baby! She is a SUPER mom!
It was fun to see the mother’s excitement about being on a set for the first time. They were taking as many behind the scenes photos as they could. However, we did need their attention while we were photographing the little ones so our photo editor was sweet enough to offer to take behind the scenes pics with their phones