Every mom or dad knows that going from a liquid diet to a solid diet is a process, for both parent and child—which is why Cow & Gate, one of the biggest baby food brand’s in the U.K., hired Marseille, France-based photographer Lisa Tichané to help them create an informative (and adorable) guide: The 5-Step Weaning Plan. Lisa’s experience photographing babies and children definitely aided her in capturing the mixed emotions towards vegetables (something we can all relate to) and the happy messes that often are a product of babies new to the chomping game.
How did you collaborate with the producer/stylist to create these images?
I was in close contact prior to the shoot with their Creative Director and Account Manager to discuss and plan every single detail of the shoot. Our shot list was impressive and the planning was crazy tight but everything went smoothly thanks to a very effective and professional team! The casting was amazing too, our little models were absolutely perfect!
Were there any unique/interesting/adorable details about the shoot that you can give us?
When you photograph 12 adorable babies, cute moments happen pretty much every second which is why I love those baby shoots so much. That being said, you also need to be ready for unique challenges because they seem to pop up all the time! We really wanted happy faces and wide smiles and we sometimes had to work really hard for this. Our little models were so overwhelmed by all the fascinating things around (new place, new faces… at least 20 people in the house pretty much all the time which creates LOTS of distractions for a young baby) that their expressions were very serious at first. One of the babies was SO serious despite all my efforts that I had to ask my assistant to lie on the floor under the high chair to tickle the baby’s feet. It worked like magic, the baby is laughing hysterically and we got exactly the shot we wanted, you would never guess that someone else was involved. Sometimes my clients ask why I need an assistant—I wish someone had been there to document this moment because this is the best evidence that it’s simply CRUCIAL to have an assistant when working with babies!
Another funny memory is the clapping shot. We needed an image that seemed very simple at first: a clapping baby with a proud/happy expression on his face. Our models were a set of 7-month-old twins, and the first twin was an enthusiastic clapper, but he was so focused on the clapping that we couldn’t get him to smile at the same time. We tried with the second twin who was a happy smiler but couldn’t clap yet. I ended up doing a composite of the twins to get the perfect image…this is pretty much the epitome of twin-ness, right??
What is it that you enjoy about photographing a younger age group?
Photographing babies is a true addiction of mine, I must say! Especially the 6-12 month-old age group that we were working with for the Cow & Gate shoot. They are funny, expressive and 200% adorable. I know that many commercial photographers avoid young kids like the plague because they are so unpredictable and can’t follow directions, which is a real challenge, I won’t deny it. But the truth is that I absolutely LOVE this challenge. You never know what you are going to get, which is absolutely scary and totally exciting at the same time. Your tiny little models simply cannot understand what you want so you really need to find creative tricks to get the picture you have in mind. It requires understanding how babies think and behave in order to speak their language and connect with them on their own level. I always end up drained and exhausted after a baby shoot, but it’s the best kind of exhaustion I know. Babies and toddlers make me stretch my mind and reinvent my work every day—it’s truly rejuvenating!
That being said, I’m glad I decided to specialize and work exclusively with babies and kids. You need lots of experience to be able to handle any kind of tricky situation (and believe me, there are always tricky situations during a baby shoot!). Years of experience and hundreds of shoots gave me enough skills and confidence to truly enjoy my work without being stressed out by the many challenges of the job.
See more of Lisa’s work on her website.
Agency: Conran Design
Assistant: Alexandre Céris
Chaperone: Susannah Boughtflower
Hair and Makeup Stylist: Erica Schlegel
Home Economist: Loic Parisot
Lead Production Assistant: Anna Hutchinson
Lighting: Michel Dupré
Wardrobe Stylist: Andie Redman