Pregnancy is an uphill battle to be sure. The human body goes through amazing changes yet it’s nothing short of miraculous when you think about it. A new life is being created and brought into this world. Not much can really compare with it. Photos help lock in the memories but they also must convey the essence of maternity: Expectation. Hope. Excitement! And, graphically speaking: Shape. Contour. Softness. 8) That’s what I had in mind when I set out to do my latest photo project, maternity photos.
Trina, my model (and her lovely family), was absolutely beautiful. Fortunately for me, it’s impossible to take bad photos when your subjects are this good. We had a really good time making some photos and trying a bunch of different things that are typically not quote-unquote “maternity” photos. We did some nice soft ethereal window light stuff but I also did some edgier stuff that was more typical of glamour shoots. The light was hard, edgy and low-key, but I think it all worked in the end, especially in black and white. The whole shoot was done inside mainly because the weather was no longer cooperating with us. Read on below the gallery for photo geek info. 8)
Photo Geek Info: Normally speaking, I’d estimate that maternity shots should be done as soft as can be. Diffused north facing window light comes to mind – which we had at out disposal. Beautiful quality of light coming in from the windows, perfect for my 50 f/1.4 to do zero depth of field stuff. But as I mentioned above, I also had about 4 different shot setups I wanted to try, mostly involving a beauty dish, some rim light and some low floor golden glow.
For this shot we did the beauty dish over head camera right and a sweet subtle rim light on the tummy. If you look close you can see how the rim light highlights it ever just a smidgeon. I like that. I like that it is subtle, but it defines the pregnant shape without being too over the top. The beauty dish creates a really cool quality of light, soft but edgy which is very different from the typical run of the mill maternity stuff that is either flat (boring) or more status quo giant soft box territory. And the other shot I wanted to make a comment about was this one to the right. This shot is very subtle too, much softer all around feel but it’s a slick trick. Umbrella up on a stand for the soft key and then, the Joe McNally special. I laid out a big gold reflector on the floor and bounced a flash straight down into it. It makes this beautiful golden glow light come up and fill in the shadows, really embodying that “pregnant glow.” It’s an awesome light trick for bridal portraits too where you want to add a little extra fill light. Don’t overlook the floor!