Tips for Taking Maternity PhotographsPosted: October 27, 2010
If you know anything about me, you know that I don’t take pictures of people. Like, almost never. When I go on vacation, I will take the requisite photograph of my traveling partner and me once or twice (maybe three or four times if I’m feeling randy), but other than that, I focus completely on the buildings and the scenery, finding them endlessly more fascinating than yet another photograph of me standing in front of some landmark. I suppose some would say that makes my photographs slightly impersonal, but it’s what I do and I don’t plan on changing that any time soon.
However, in a desire to challenge myself a bit, I offered to take maternity photos of two of my closest friends who are expecting their very first baby in a few months. There was very little pressure: I did the photos for free, and I figured that if nothing else, I was certain I could get a handful of decent shots out of the session.
We met up at Aldridge Gardens two Saturdays ago (turns out I would get engaged that night, although I didn’t know it at the time!) and spent about half an hour traipsing about, although not too much as I didn’t want my friend to go into labor then and there!
A few things I learned:
- Think hard about the list of poses you want to shoot, because chances are, when you get to the scene, you will have completely forgotten what you only slightly thought about beforehand.
- Ensure that your subjects (makes them sound like science projects, no?) wear solid colors. Fortunately, I remembered to ask my friends to do so ahead of time so this wasn’t a problem.
- Don’t shoot in the middle of the day. Okay, I knew this already so it’s not like I learned it the other day. The “golden hour” is always, always your best bet, but let’s face it, it’s not always possible to shoot at this time. To work around this (it was 2 in the afternoon when we had our photo session), I tried to remember to have my friends not face the sun as much as possible, because when one faces the sun, one’s face tends to get scrunched up. I found myself laying on the ground several times to get photos in which my friends weren’t staring directly into bright sunlight, or covered in very harsh shadows. Work with the light you are given.
- Don’t be afraid to tell your subjects to stand a certain way or to put their hand on someone’s shoulder, for instance. Get the shot and make it good. Don’t regret afterward that you didn’t tell them to stand differently.
- Tell your subjects how great they look, because they do! It’s scary being in front of a camera lens, and since most of us aren’t professional models, it’s up to you as the photographer to ensure that they are relaxed and natural.
That’s it! I’m hardly the person who should be giving tips out on things like this, but I felt like I did learn a lot about photographing people from that one session! Now, if I ever choose to do this again, I think I will be much more prepared as long as I keep the previous bullet points in my mind!