Designing Mom Mallika of Mikifoto is a photographer specializing in one of the most patient creative careers out there: children and youth portraiture. I had my son’s first portraits done by fellow colleague Beth Hurley and it was worth every penny… She exuded a warmth and calm that soothed her subject (my cranky Zilla who was still nursing a cold) like a charm. It seems Mallika possesses every bit that charm. Read on to hear about what inspires her and some of her tips for capturing shots of your own little ones…
How did you get involved with photography?
Like many photographers, I started taking pictures when I had my own kids. I have three boys aged 10, 8 and 3. For years, we never lived near our extended family so I took photos that were story telling of their funny personalities. I wanted my far away relatives to really know who my sons were. Soon, I was photographing friends and neighbors and my style caught on. Next thing I knew, I had my own business and entered a whole new creative world.
To me, children are most amazing in their natural state. Big curious eyes, a full lip pout, a wide toothy grin…they don’t need to be overly processed. Even when they are messy, they are so beautiful. It’s best to keep it simple. They are kids afterall!
What are some of your go-to tips for photographing children?
Get ready to move, sing and play! Ask questions. Dance. Sing a song with crazy made up lyrics. Laugh really loud. Do jumping jacks. Even potty language can go a long way. Try saying, “Boogers” really loud and you’ll be sure to see a grin.
How do you manage your work and motherhood?
It’s a balancing act! What has helped me a ton is to learn to embrace the chaos. With three boys at home and a full set of enrichment/sport activities, the week definitely gets crazy. I try to set boundaries but when you work from home, it’s tough. I have learned that taking on less clients per month works better for me. I can service those clients really well while also allowing for more flexibility and time with my own kids. It’s still a struggle but I remind myself that I love what I do and life doen’t have to be picture perfect
We love the feeling of spontaneity in your photographs! How do you capture those little moments?
For some reason, kids tend to really like me. I consider this a special gift. Maybe it’s because I am tiny and really animated But they warm up to me quickly and feel really comfortable. I think their openness is the key to capturing natural and real moments. We connect. I let them run and scream. I ask them thoughtful questions. I encourage them to have fun with their family. Everyone is having a good time.