05 Mar Kristine Set the Maternity Shoot Bar
Kristine is no stranger to my lens, I’ve had the pleasure of capturing her and her family for years now. Every single frame I take of them somehow look amazing – they are incapable of taking a bad photo. They show up, I setup lighting and run the camera, and it’s guaranteed gold. And this maternity shoot, well… it was no different. Kristine came in and rocked the shoot. She’s definitely set the bar.
I naturally start every shoot aiming to capture each individual’s spirit. Trying to find a more intimate and powerful perspective to reveal. It’s something that became second nature to me as I shot years of fashion photography, seeking out the direction I could take the shoot to create that sheer visual impact, yet making it revealing to an individual’s character. So, for years now, I don’t take a photo of someone because they need a photo of their face with a smile on it. I take a photo of them, a few layers deeper, smiles or no smiles. Peeling the onion down a few layers, the photo session and the resulting images is an experience. This is why I love the second or even third photo shoot with the same client. You just keep peeling that onion with the established relationship. So, now, after that long-winded explanation to my point – what shoot a maternity shoot “look” like?
Kristine, here, is one active momma, and in more that one way. At well into her seventh month of pregnancy, she is still running daily. Yes, I said running. And not like, “hey I’m going for a walk/jog around the block,” but the, “l’m going to go for a 5+ mile run or do a marathon on a slow day.” This leaves the common man in plain wonderment. That’s possible?! Like, your ankles, and the baby for that matter, are cool with this? After this daily death defying act, she jogs herself home where she home schools her three other kiddos. Like I said – active.
There are so many maternity photos out there where it feels like a woman’s beauty and womanhood are completely bypassed to focus on a belly (yes, I know the actual act of being pregnant itself is a portion in the representation of a woman, but I think you know what I’m getting at. I hope). I feel that the maternity session should be a good mix of mother and belly but with more emphasis on the woman. In other words, it’s a photo shoot about a woman having a baby and this stage of her life, not a shoot about a belly where a woman happens to also be there by association.
7-months pregnant and still with legs like a dancer, we weren’t going to tone down this shoot. This is a session to celebrate Kristine, her womanhood, the pregnancy, and the fact she looks this amazing. She was proud of her active life, I could tell she wanted that captured. And while looking this good, I practically photographed her like I would any other non-maternity shoot.
No. Heart hands. None. That’s the running joke at maternity shoots. After years of uncontrollably rolling my eyes over countless (it really is endless) cliché photos of peoples’ hands on bellies, it’s a rule of mine. I won’t take a photo of it (that and a host of other repeat offenders on the list), and Kristine and I had a laugh with it through our shoot. We’d have her setup in one of the looks and she’d slowly bring her hands up to her belly and give me a funny look. I’d pull the camera from my face and joke back, “ok, so we’re done here then?”
After completing some great looks in the studio, we ventured out to get some dramatic shot in the fading light. We designed a long, flowing dress to amp the shoot up even more, while still making sure to acknowledge the baby bump.
I’m glad Kristine’s adventurous spirit meshed well with my photo ideas. The shoot was a blast, we made some amazing images of this time in Kristine’s life. I’m also happy to report that I got to visit to her home a few months later to see the artwork on the wall in the baby’s room. Always a pleasure to see the final artwork mounted in clients’ homes.
Oh, and here’s a photo of the cutie who was hiding in her belly. See, I told you. No one in this family can take a bad photo.