Capturing the world’s newest citizens
Clients call newborn photographer Krystle DeSilva ’the baby whisperer’; she has a knack for calming babies during a shoot.
“I think babies pick up your energy,” she said.
And when the knack fails her, she has a few tricks up her sleeve, like a shushing mobile phone app that mimics the sound parents make to soothe their babies.
She started Krystle DeSilva Photos in 2014 and always thought that when her own baby came along, photographing it would be a cinch.
“It actually didn’t turn out that way,” the 36-year-old laughed. “When my son was born in October I set up a photoshoot for him.”
Things did not go so well.
“Having just gone through birth, trying to sit down and stand and position a baby was difficult,” Ms DeSilva said. “I breast fed so he would smell me and fuss. It made taking photos a bit more challenging.”
But she persisted and was able to take a beautiful photograph of her son.
“I had it printed on canvas and gave it to his grandmothers,” she said. “It meant a lot to them.”
Growing up, there were not many photographs of her and her family. Ms DeSilva thinks the cost of film in the 1980s may have been a deterrent to her mother.
Determined to make up for the lack, she started taking photographs at family events and parties when she reached high school.
“I was always interested in capturing the moments in my life,” she said.
As an adult, friends asked her to shoot their special events, engagements, birthdays, weddings. She fell in love with newborn photography when her friends started having children.
“I liked that it was a slower pace,” she said. “Typically, when I get a baby they are nice and sleepy and cosy and do whatever it is I want them to do. I don’t feel rushed.”
In 2015, she took the Dream Baby newborn photography course in Boston, Massachusetts, offered by Amy McDaniel and Nicole Smith of Dewdrops Photography.
“I wanted to make sure I had the right technique,” she said. “I wanted to be sure I was doing things the right way.”
Through the course she learnt that while newborns are fragile and delicate, they can handle a lot.
“As I did more and more photo shoots I became more confident,” she said.
But, she is always conscious of the baby’s safety. Babies are usually photographed on a beanbag 2ft off the floor, at the most. And there are always towels and blankets around the beanbag in case the baby should slip.
Like any other industry, newborn photography has its jargon. The froggy, the taco and the sunny side up, are names for newborn poses designed to maximise cuteness.
“The froggy is the most popular pose,” she said.
In this pose newborns appear to sit with their chin on their hands and their legs straddled. An adult supports the baby while the photo is being taken, but through clever photo processing the adult hands disappear.
Sometimes clients have to come back another day if the baby won’t settle.
“I had one parent who came in and said I’ll forewarn you, my baby is so fussy,” Ms DeSilva said.
The baby had howled through a family shoot with another photographer.
“I said we’ll see how it goes,” Ms DeSilva said. “There are techniques you can use to calm a baby.”
But the baby did settle, wining Ms DeSilva the title of ’baby whisperer’.
Ms DeSilva runs her business in her spare time, and works full-time as a human resource manager in an insurance company.
“I find that because the human resource work I do is so analytical and detailed the photography is my release to get my creativity out,” Ms DeSilva said.
The most challenging aspect for her is the smallness of the Bermuda market. There are not enough clients with newborns to sustain her.
“If this is going to be your full-time profession, you have to touch every niche within photography,” she said. “I have shot birthday parties and weddings. I will shoot whatever people want me to shoot."
The Covid-19 pandemic has not had much impact on Krystle DeSilva Photos, so far. Ms DeSilva found out she was pregnant in January and was focused on her pregnancy through the lockdown which began in March.
“Whether Covid-19 happened or not, I was not going to have a busy year because of my pregnancy,” she said.
She shoots out of her home. While she is working with her photography clients, her husband, watches baby Andrew, now three months old.
She is now taking on new clients.
For more information see her on Facebook and Instagram @KrystleDeSilvaPhotos or at krystledesilvaphotos.zenfolio.com, call 333-6987 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.