I had the opportunity to catch up with one of the founding members of the Association of Italian Photography of Babies and Children–the www.afineb.it. I’ve mentioned this before, but the translation of the title doesn’t do the acronym justice. I connected with a bunch of the group’s founding members, so you expect to see more child portrait photography on the blog.
Three years young, Isabella Allamandri Photography is a Pisa, Italy-based business focused on family, child, and newborn portraits. Although located in Europe, Isabella’s work is influenced by Australian-American styles. This doesn’t mean you’ll find a kangaroo eating apple pie in her photos. As a modern practitioner of child portrait photography, we’ll let Isabella explain more about the elements present in her portraits:
My portraits of babies and children are conceived in the tradition of the Australian/American style: Fresh portraits preferably shot outdoors in natural light. This approach helps capture the nuances of seasons, which are as fleeting as the growth of the children. Like many photographers who specialize in this area, my experience in newborn and child portrait photography began with the birth of my sons. After three children, I realized how much we rely on memory. I needed photographs to keep special moments for myself and future generations. I realized other parents had the same urgency to preserve similar treasured memories.
Favorite Recent Shoots
I always tend to fall in love with the most recent session I worked on! If I have to choose, I pick two sessions and a personal project.
The first session was at the sea on a windy and hot late summer day. The little actors were two fantastic brothers. What was unusual for their age is that they both started to the study cello. I shot portraits of them with their wonderful instruments.
The second session was unplanned: I took my kids and our dog into the woods. Fortunately, we are early risers. The early morning light provided a fairy tale atmosphere. It was a cold morning, but we were wrapped in a light that warmed us and our souls.
My personal project is “#timeforschool” – which showcases my youngest son who is six. I shot a photo each week of my son’s first school year. I chose black and white for each image and captured special moments: The stress of the first day of school, losing a first tooth, first piano lesson, and the excitement for the first “very good” in school work.
Describe Your Style
I love photographing newborns because their fresh perspective at the dawn of life fills me with joy. Having to do with the world of small children, I’ve developed a style that tries to look like their way of being. Sometimes I opt for documentary-style as there is nothing more beautiful than lifestyle to tell about a family in the making. Other times portraits are posed with specific sets made for newborn photo sessions. I often adapt these to the personality of the child.
I especially love babies between 6 and 9 months. They are so full of smiles and confidence in the world. At this age I play a game during the session. This helps catch tender or clumsy expressions. I believe the photos we most appreciate for years are not perfect in the conventional sense. These personalized photos are immensely valuable to parents.
I live in central Italy’s beautiful Tuscany. This is an area rich in beautiful places for photo shoots: The sea, the rolling Tuscan hills, and the magic light of the woods create fantastic images.
Photoshop is an indispensable tool for modern photographers—particularly for child portrait photography! I consider post-production an essential element of my workflow. It’s necessary for me to bring the rough shot close to the idea I had when I took the shot. I rarely alter a photo differently from what I imagined.
Because I consider post-production such an important element of my workflow, I am often looking for tools that can make this job easier. For this reason, I love actions and presets. I customize these as well as the Alien Skin Exposure plug-in. These tools allow me to place my personal vision on the experience.