Being a birth/newborn photographer as well a mom, my heart just breaks for those that are pregnant right now. The added stress of the chaotic world we are living in at the moment on top of every day normal fears of becoming a new mom, or even a mom again has to be gut wrenching.
I've seen so many people making face masks for our brave and hard working medical staff all over the world and was a bit disappointed knowing I have no clue how to sew. Over the last few days, I asked God to please help me find a way that I too can give back. I've heard about desperate moms literally begging photographers to please take their photos so they don't miss out on this special time in their lives. This got me thinking, what can I do personally to help eliminate this one stress from a new momma... and this morning, it came to me!
We all are stuck at home, doing our parts with social-distancing, so photography sessions just aren't possible. So what if I made a list of tips in order to help you take your own maternity photos at home? AND as an added bonus.....I will edit them for you, FREE of charge!
10 Tips For Your DIY Maternity Photos
1. When We want to see the bump so typically I suggest a session in the beginning of the third trimester but before 35 week mark. This way you're not to uncomfortable but have a great bump to work with :)
2. No fancy equipment needed unless of course you have a "fancy" dslr camera. If you have a dslr camera awesome, if not, cell phones now days are pretty amazing and will work in order to get you some great shots! If you have a significant other that is able to take your photos then you don't need to worry about a "tripod", but even if you do I would highly suggest they get in on some photos with you! And for that you still don't need anything fancy. Get a chair, some books to stack up to get the height you need and maybe a coffee mug or something to lean your phone on an you're good to go!
3. Wardrobe - Dont Hide the Bump! If you had already bought an outfit for your maternity photos or shower great! If not, anything you feel comfortable and beautiful in will work. Clothes that cling are the most flattering and will show off your bump better. Since you will be more than likely be shooting in your backyard or even inside, neutral tones work best for all skin tones and locations, but if you're a daring person feel free to wear bright colors if that's what makes you feel great! You can even use a a pretty sports bra and jeans in order to show that cute bump off for a few shots!
If you're one that normally wears makeup of any kind, have the saying, "more is more and too much of a good thing can sometimes be wonderful" in your mind while getting ready. You always, always need more makeup than you think you do on camera. Don't believe me? Take some time to add more and more as you take selfies and see the difference and to find the balance for you.
4. Location Since this post is helping during a stay-at-home order, location is limited. If you're lucky enough to have a well landscaped yard already, which most probably do not at this point in the spring season, then great! If not, I suggest looking for an area that's uncluttered without too many conflicting colors or objects. Find a beautiful fence, a plain wall, an uncluttered sitting area with not much busyness in the background. When in doubt, keep the background simple. If you have the nursery finished, don't forget to get some shots in there!
5. Lighting If you're shooting outside, have your "session" early in the morning just after sunrise or during golden hour (an hour before sunset). This will give you the best photo opportunities. Never shoot in direct sunlight, in the middle of the day. This creates squinty eyes and harsh shadows that never look good in any photo. If you will be shooting inside, keep an eye on where the light is, in previous days and different times of the day. You will want decent light coming in the room you will be photographing in but watch for harsh shadows. If you're wanting to capture a silhouette pose, you'll need a window to be able to stand in front of with bright light coming in.
6. Posing/Prop Ideas Prior to you shoot, take a look at your favorite photographers portfolio or Pinterest to get some ideas on what you like, how you should stand, where to put your hands, etc. Choose about 5 or 6 poses you love and even print them or have them available on a phone or computer to look at during your photo session. Try to keep props minimal so you focus more on the belly, but feel free to add in some cute meaningful things if you wish.
Try not to stand like a statue. Being in front of the camera is awkward for most people, including myself so I get it. As you're posing make small adjustments, raise your chin up and down, turn your head ever so slightly, small with an open mouth then with a soft closed smile. Laugh out loud or rotate your shoulders a little. You will feel silly! All of these small adjustments with each pose will help you achieve that perfect photo. Don't shoot up the nose and angles shooting slightly down are the most flattering.
7. Just keep Snapping! Whether you have recruited your partner or are using the self timer, I encourage you to snap, snap, snap. Even in your awkward moments, keep snapping, you never know what you will end up liking when you're all done. You can decide later what to get rid of. Ahhh....the beauty of digital photography. I can take 100-200 photos in a typical session, but this allows room for eye blinks, poor lighting, bad expressions, etc. And I NEVER delete anything in camera. Sometimes a little post process editing can do wonders for some photos you originally thought were trash.
8. Intravalometer Intra-WHAT? If there is one thing to have to help your DIY session go smoothly, especially if you want to get some photos of you and your partner together, it's an intravalometer. Big word, but don't let it scare you! An intervalometer allows you to take multiple images at a time, ever heard of sports mode on your camera? The difference is you don't need to be pushing the button. Set the timer and how many interval photos you want (I'd suggest 1 photo every 5 seconds) and there you go! You will get shots that show true emotion in the moment. If you're using your cell phone, you can download a free app called Photo Timer that allows you to choose the number of photos and at what interval to take. These can also be purchased for most cameras if you are going that route.
9. Have Fun! Enjoy this special time in your life and especially right now with so much negativity going on in the world. This is a true miracle you are capturing and how special to look back on and say, "hey I took those!"
10. Edits I would LOVE to help you with your finished portraits by doing some editing for you! These will be fairly simple edits as I wont be able to do a lot of in depth editing without RAW files but I'm happy to do up to 10 edits for you, FREE of charge. And!!!! You will also receive a $50 credit towards any future session in 2020! Shoot me a message on how to get your photos to me! *Offer is good for the duration of the stay-at-home order here in IN
I hope these tips help you to achieve memories you can look back on and remember how beautiful you felt and how excited you were to meet your sweet gift soon to arrive. Feel free to shoot me a message either through email or on facebook with any questions you may have and stay tuned...there just may be a blog post about DIY hospital and newborn photos!
One good thing about being stuck in the house with your 8 month old and being a photographer...you can do photo sessions whenever you want :) With Easter right around the corner and this thing we call "pandemic" that we all are experiencing, may as well document them both for this guys 8 month session.
Well here we are. Literally almost everyone in the entire world on STAY-AT-HOME orders in order to combat the COVID-19 virus and the sickness it causes.
How are you doing? For me personally, I've been struggling...a lot. It's a scary time of uncertainty, for everyone and even more so for those that are vulnerable healthwise and for those that are self employed and/or running a small business.
With most of us on the requirements to stay home and practice social distancing, photographers are hit pretty hard - just as hair dressers, nail salons, and massage therapists. We just cannot do our jobs without interacting with other people. Unlike other jobs, it is just not possible to service you over video chats, as much as we would love to do it! We have all cancelled any upcoming sessions and our income has stopped! I personally haven't done a session since March 8.
Of course there are ways to shoot from a distance with many telephoto lenses that are out there. Could I shoot a family session while maintaining social distancing? ABSOLUTELY! Will I under today's stay-at-home order? NO WAY
There is a new type of session that has exploded around the nation. Maybe you've heard of the front porch sessions. The theory is, the photographer takes family portraits while maintaining their "social distance" by shooting from the sidewalk or street, which is fairly easy to do as long as all parties involved are understanding and abiding. Now if you've been around children and especially ones that totally love their photographer :) they want to run to you, hug you, show you something neat, etc etc. It would break my heart to have to yell for them to STOP, especially since most wouldn't understand as to why. (See the end of my post for tips on how to take your own porch photograph)
What is happening with these sessions is not in accordance with the strong recommendations and advice we are being told with the stay-at-home order. Yes we are able to still go outside, take walks in our local neighborhoods, for now and all essential businesses are remaining open at this point. Sadly, as much as I would like to consider it, photography is not an essential business.
Photography involves continuing to operate a non-essential business. Portrait photography involves the gathering of people and at least one person (usually the photographer) having to leave their home in order to do so. With a stay-at-home order by doing so photographers, as a non-essential business are not leading by example and not helping in getting us all through this crisis as quickly as we can. It gives the sense that "well they did it, so it must be ok". It also puts them at risk (those with legitimate businesses) for financial penalties in some areas.
Don't get me wrong...I absolutely LOVE the entire idea behind these documentary sessions of the current times, but I just feel they are not responsible and really how are they any different than park sessions which are an "every day business as usual" type session.
Photographers, and families considering any type of engagement in social interacting at this time, PLEASE just STOP! Only together as ONE will we win this battle in a timely manner. And when that happens, the sun will shine brightly, the trees will bud, and the leaves will still change color and we all will have come to realize how precious our families and life in general truly are. Everyone will want to to get that portrait they had been putting off all of these years and photographers calendars across the world will be so abundantly full!
STAY AT HOME!
How to take your own "front porch photo"
Find the location where you will be taking your photo. (porch, back deck, couch, etc) Watch how the light hits that location at different times throughout the day. Maybe even take a couple of selfies in the different lighting in order to find which you like best. Most people think super bright sunlight is the best when in actuality that's not always true. Many shots taken in bright sunlight, your photographer has done lots of behind the scenes editing to make it beautiful. Photos taken in soft light such as early morning or an hour before sunset (golden hour) are ideal. Even a cloudy, overcast day tends to be "perfect light" to take a photograph. The clouds act as a great filter.
2. Don't Stress
This photo does not have to be perfect. This is not going in photo contest. The importance is to document you and your family at this moment in your life. It can be as creative or simple as you want it to be just don't stress over it.
3. What to wear
Wear what you want! If you feel like getting full on dressed up, DO IT! Just want to take an as-is, "here we are" type photo, GO FOR IT! I'm giving you permission to just be you! Walk out on the front porch and capture it!
Whatever camera you have is the best camera to use! This includes cell phone cameras. As photographers we sometimes get wrapped up in the "perfect" photograph with perfect lighting/equipment and fail to take the every day snapshots from our phones of our families. You don't need an expensive tripod either. Use a chair with stacked books, set your timer on your phone, prop it up with a coffee mug and TAKE THE PHOTO! No special equipment is required to do this.
Don't let this one scare you. It's not anything super fancy and is not required but will make things alot easier for you if you have small children and/or pets. An intervalometer allows you to take multiple images at a time, ever heard of sports mode on your camera? The difference is you don't need to be pushing the button. Set the timer and how many interval photos you want (I'd suggest 1 photo every 5 seconds) and there you go! You will get shots that show true emotion in the moment and you may even get some pretty hilarious shots by doing this. These obviously can be purchased online to hook to your camera but you can also get some awesome apps right on your phone to use.
6. Set up
Get everyone together and check to make sure everyone is in the viewfinder. It's better to be further back as you can always crop in later.
That's it guys!! Those are my main tips in order for you to get a great photo of your family while you're all together...I mean let's face it, how often are we all together? Take advantage of it! Stay tuned for my own "front porch" family photo.
I'd love to see all of the photos that you take! And if you'd like me to edit it for you, I would be happy to do some quick edits. Send me a message on facebook and I can tell you how to get the photo to me.
After the storm, comes the rainbow!
Having had our fair share of storms, we have been blessed to get our miracle rainbow baby. So many stood beside us along our journey and we will forever be grateful. This led me to think of a way to give back... and the Rainbow Baby Project was born!
So much "sweetness" in the studio here lately. Another one of my Grow with Me Babies has graduated!
I had the privilege of photographing Beckham for 5 of his milestone sessions this past year. I absolutely adore the friendships that develop with the families of milestone babies and being able to watch them grow in their first year. His mommy and I have had a blast planning each of his milestone sessions and he's been such a fun little boy to photograph.
We did a "Wild ONE" theme for his cake smash session and he was so stinkin adorable. He was definitely on the move and a tad hesitant at first but by the end was splashing in his tub time to clean off the cake.
I will sure miss his sweet little face every 3 months. Check out some of my favorites from our session below.
Spring is right around the corner! I will be booking Spring/Easter Mini sessions now through March 29 with limited times. Each session will be up to 30 minutes and include 5 digital images with a print release for $85. Don't forget, if you book 3 minis this year your 4th one is free!!
John is turning ONE next week and was in the studio for the end of his Grow with Me sessions. These sessions are so much fun and it's a bittersweet moment not only for the mommy's but for me as well. I saw him from the time he was in his mommy's belly to his newborn and 6 month milestone sessions and now it makes my heart so full to be able to have a little celebration for his 1 year birthday!
The dinosaur theme his mommy chose will go in my top favorites list for cake smashes that I've done so far. She gave me her vision as far as theme and color choices and I ran with it!
John warmed up quickly and flashed his adorable little smile at me even before we started his session, which was the norm for him. He was all smiles for his 6 month as well. As long as we didn't put him "in" anything he was happy! We had to trick him to get him in the egg (hidden snacks most always do the trick) and the bath was slow going at first until he realized he could splash then he was a happy camper. He had me cracking up with his super cute little snapping of his fingers, dancing to the music with mommy. And at the end we got him showing everyone how he is "so BIG"! Check out some of my favorites from his session below!
Cake Credit: First Bite Delights
"The most important thing is to enjoy your life - to be happy - it's all that matters." -Audrey Hepburn
When Arya's mom said she had been dreaming of a session like this since before she ever had children, I knew it had to be special! It was something I had never done before and it was so much fun working together to create "Arya & Co." I hope it was everything she envisioned.
And when you are lucky enough to celebrate your birthday with your friend...being happy is what it's all about! These two were adorable, celebrating the big #3, 3 months apart.