Beautiful photo – a present for a young lady (19.07.2013)


In Estonia, it is more and more common to give girls a photo shoot as a birthday present with everything that belongs to it – hairdo, light make-up, costumes and a setting.

Photographer Annika Metsla photographs children. She gets orders for taking family photos and portraits of the children and her goal is to capture children and their emotions as real as possible. But for teenage girls, it is suitable to order a personal photo shoot. “It is an exciting experience and girls really like it,” Metsla explains. This kind of present especially excites 10- to 13-year-old girls, who really enjoy the process. Metsla has also had photo sessions with a bit younger girls as well but in those cases, the parents are usually the ones who are more excited. Hairdo, make-up, costumes, taking photos – these are more girls’ cup of tea, boys are commonly not interested in those things. “Boys are not vain enough,” Mestla contemplates. If possible, the photographer meets the child and the parent before the photo shoot to get to know them and discuss the plan of the photo session and the stylistics. “The idea of what to do and how to photograph is usually derived from the child’s hobbies. And the nature of the child also plays an important role,” Metsla explains. And that’s how she has photographed an ice princess on skates – a girl, whose hobby is figure skating and also a rhythmic gymnast, whose name is Ingel (Eng. Angle). Metsla remembers both of the shootings brightly. “The photo session was in spring but fortunately we found out that the sea in Kaberneeme was still covered with ice and the girl was able to skate and I took photos. For Ingel’s photo shoot, I drew inspiration from her name and I photographed her on the background of snow angles in the winter,” Metsla recalls. Sometimes, two hobbies are joined together, painting and hip-hop dancing for example.

The photos stay in the family album; nobody has yet let Metsla take photos for a modeling album, although she has looked for models from the beautiful frames, who would be suitable for promotional images. So far, Metsla has never done more than one photo shoot with one child, those have all been unique experiences.

Metsla believes that although styled photo sessions differ from the ordinary family photos and require the presence of a hair dresser and make-up artist, children should still be children. “I rather look for a real emotion and keep little girls cute,” says Metsla who is against thick layers of make-up and over styling.

Metsla has not involved a stylist to those photo shoots, the costumes have been found together with the parents. “Before the shoot we agree on which cloths and accessories are brought by the client and what should I look for,” she explains. It is always possible to find the costume for each idea.

To get beautiful photos, it is essential that the child comes to the shoot well rested. “Don’t plan this to the end of a school day when the child has been to different practices or rat packs,” Metsla stresses because the cooperation with a happy and active child is so much better. The process itself is quite time consuming as well. “If, for example, the girl has long hair, it takes about an hour or hour and a half to style them and then light make-up, putting cloths on,” Metsla lists everything that demands time.

Sometimes, it is also difficult to deal with children who come too prepared. “There have been cases when the child has learned some unnatural poses from the television model shows. Then it is hard to capture the children in their natural being,” she brings out one more stumbling block. “I still try to capture the naturalness.”

Metsla has been photographing since she was young. Photographing is a hobby that has become a job. “For the last 10 years, my hobby has been my main job,” she explains. Special photo sessions with children have come to her naturally. “It was a logical sequence of events. I was photographing weddings, and then came the children who I was asked to photograph and so it happened,” says Metsla who just loves to photograph people.

In the camera bag, Metsla has 2 Nikon cameras – D4 and D3S and six lenses. At home, she has more lenses and before each shooting, she needs to figure out which ones she needs. She has lenses starting from the fix lenses. “Nikon cameras are so comfortable to handle,” Metsla praises. She avoids artificial light and thus, she doesn’t carry lighting equipment. “If possible, I prefer natural light.”



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