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Immortalize Your Favorite Baby Photo on the Cover of National Geographic Magazine

National Geographic Magazine

Picture your baby here

I don’t know about your kids, but I pretty much think my kids should be front and center on pretty much every magazine and poster. They‘re that cute. Well, I think so, anyway.

The cover story in the May 2013 edition of National Geographic explores a possible genetic link to human longevity, and postulates based on what scientists are now discovering that babies born today could live to be 120. 

Photographing babies for the story was a challenge, but the results were so adorable that NatGeo decided that parents like me who believe their babies deserve to be splashed on magazine covers could have their big chance.

Click through for the four babies who made it onto the cover, and how you can get your little one on there, too:

  • Behind the cover 1 of 5
    National Geographic Magazine

    Just because National Geographic has some of the most stunning photography doesn't mean their photographers don't have a tough time with some of their subjects.

    Translation: Snapping the babies used on the May 2013 cover wasn't much easier than, say, photographing a lion while wearing a steak on your head.

  • It’s not easy. 2 of 5
    National Geographic Magazine

    "The cover models for our May issue were a little fussy. They laughed, they cried, and some tried to escape.

    The subjects were babies, or as National Geographic photo editor Kurt Mutchler put it: 'arguably the hardest portrait a photographer can attempt.'

    Photographing babies is a challenge for any photographer. 'Kids are complicated and different,' said photographer Robert Clark, a National Geographic veteran with more than a dozen covers to his name. 'Sometimes it was super, super easy, and other times it was incredibly difficult.'

    Clark's assignments have had him photographing Machu Picchu at night and taking extreme close-ups of a gecko's toes, but his only experience photographing babies was personal: his daughter, Lola, and a nephew."

  • No, really. 3 of 5
    National Geographic Magazine

    "To get the final four cover images Clark photographed more than 20 babies. He asked friends, called local playgroups, posted fliers in his neighborhood, and even tried modeling agencies for 'professional babies.' The assignment lasted four days. He kept the lighting in the studio exactly the same and never moved his camera from its perch on some scaffolding, all to make sure that the only variable was the child in front of the lens."

  • The secret weapon? A French giraffe. 4 of 5
    National Geographic Magazine

    "Each baby was in front of the camera for about 10 minutes, although for some 'after two minutes, you knew it wasn't going to work,' Clark said. Parents were on hand to pull funny faces and make noises, or to whisk their kids away if the shoot became too much for them. 'We have almost every kid laughing their head off, and I think every single child cried at some point,' Clark said. The children were between the ages of 6 months and 18 months; many had mastered the art of walking and were more interested in exploring the studio than staring at a lens.

     

    Clark had one secret weapon from his now four-year-old daughter's younger years: 'a funny little toy called a Sophie' —a rubber giraffe popular in France. 'Practically every kid responded to Sophie,' he said.

     

    For parents hoping to photograph their own children, Clark's advice is to 'shoot a lot' and get to know their cell phone cameras. 'The most important camera is the one you have, and people always have their cell phones on them,' Clark said. 'You might as well use it the best you can.'

  • Do-it-yourself 5 of 5
    National Geographic Magazine

    Hopefully you already have some favorite pictures of your little one stashed away on your computer or phone. Putting your tot on the cover will be a lot easier than taking the actual photo. To immortalize them on the renown magazine, click over here.

 

All photos used with permission from National Geographic Magazine

More from Meredith on Babble:

Follow Meredith on Twitter and check out her weekly column every Friday on the Op-Ed page of The Denver Post at MeredithCarroll.com

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