Today I wish to share with you the maternity photos that I shot last April for my close friend Anita. This is her second maternity shoot. For her first pregnancy I decided to play around an Alphonse Mucha themed shoot, whereby we used Anita's home entrance as a background for some of her shots.
However during her first pregnancy she was expecting a girl, whereas in the last shoot she was expecting a boy. Therefore we both decided that the shoot would have to be completely different. Being very creative herself Anita always researches extensively prior a shoot and she is one client whose wardrobe has infinite options to work with in terms of clothing, she is blessed with gorgeous hair that just stays put with not much effort, and she is also stunningly beautiful. Way before the day of the shoot dawns, Anita usually would have sent me quite a good number of photos for inspiration. Though this helps me focus and narrow down on what she wants, I do not linger long on these images and do not even try to replicate them. I love surprising Anita and showing her that other shots work well too. It is exactly this dynamic between us that helps us come up with different ideas for her shoot.
During her last maternity shoot we met early. Sometimes clients can't always make late afternoon shots, in fact we met for her shoot during the worse time possible....when the sun was high in the sky thus making it challenging to work with extreme shadows and highlights. We started with a few shots indoors, however when Anita put on this gorgeous baby blue dress, I knew that the shots had to be outside. We started off with a few poses against a rubble wall which worked pretty well (see below).
Then out of nowhere Anita brought out a Chinese paper umbrella, and that is when we got the great shots I was after. I got her in nearby field and directed her on how to hold her umbrella and move, something which comes very easy for Anita. What she did not realise though was that the umbrella served as the perfect light diffuser, so soft lighting fell on her face and most of her body, thus avoiding burnt out highlights for the photos as well as a squint free face for her.
For these shots to work though one has to shoot for post processing. It is not just the umbrella that made the shot, it is also shooting with care by envisioning in advance how you want the final photo to look like. I was after soft pastels so contrast was not high on my agenda, however I knew that I wanted detail in my highlights especially the parts of the skin exposed to direct sunlight. In such cases, one would benefit by metering under exposed to have all the detail available for post processing.
On another day we had our second part of the shoot, where we involved the whole family, so little MJ was running around and trying to get her to look for the photos was somehow a feat, however in their back garden they have a small field with happy yellow flowers, and there were beans ready to be collected. So we shot the family session outdoors, luckily it was an overcast day so they were no squinting at the camera. Kids, and how to pose them? Just don't try to pose them. Get them entertained but giving them something to do and touching mummy's tummy is a good way to get them aware of the new arrival. - (No photos to protect privacy).
I hope that by following this blog post you can get an idea of how you can approach a maternity shoot with more care, thus giving your clients, the best shots you can come up with. Do allow yourselves to experiment, to go with the flow and most importantly make your client feel comfortable with you. Remember pregnant mothers are going through body changes that can be quite overwhelming, so show them that with your work you are making them look beautiful. They cannot see their big belly as beautiful, but you can. So thanks to your work you are making someone else feel good as well as giving them lasting memories of their pregnancy.
Special thanks goes to Anita for always being so innovative during our shoots, but above all for trusting me with her family photos. Thank you dear, you are wonderful!