All I kept saying was wow.....wow....wow....WOW....wow.....just WOW!! During the session, editing the session and even now while blogging. Jaw dropping, wow. Want proof? Exhibit A:
Everyone knows maternity sessions are my favorite. I'm a mom. I've experienced the power and beauty and sometimes difficulties that carrying another life brings. It's just always been something that fascinates me and gets me all emotional. I guess the reason that maternity sessions are my fav is because I ALWAYS feel something very deeply. And isn't that the point of art? To make someone feel something? If not, please correct me.....art philosophy lesson over.
Even though I have found that each session is unique and sometimes require different tac-tics, there are a few tried and true tips that I have used every maternity session. I'd love to share them with you. First, always shoot at a slightly higher downward angle. This is the most flattering angle for a woman who is between 30-38 weeks preggers. Why? Because this angle best highlights the shape of their body as opposed to shooting at an upward angle that results in kind of blobbing everything together and making them look more round than they really are. Yes. Blobbing. It's a technical term only all the pros use. Look it up. Along with shooting at a slightly downward angle, having them pop their knee out (the one closest to camera) and slightly twist their shoulders toward you also creates even more of a flattering shape for them. Trust me, you do NOT want to make a pregnant woman have body image issues because they saw themselves in a weird angle in one of your photos. That's a bad day.
Anyone else having to pick up their jaw off the floor? Oh you just wait.....it gets better. On to tip number two. Second, the more comfortable Mama is, the more natural the portraits turn out and easier the flow will go during the session. Mom's comfort level is of upmost importance. Bring bottled water. Walk slowly. Take a lot of breaks. Have your assistant help her in and out of sitting poses. Positive verbal reinforcement is key. Keep asking if she feels ok in a pose. Being pregnant isn't a walk in the park. Neither is being the subject of a portrait. Combine the two, and you've got quite a challenge. I just like to stay mindful and communicative about mama's comfort level at all times. They deserve to be well taken care of!
By the way, Natalie made her OWN flower crown! I was blown away. I have attempted to make my own flower crowns before and have failed miserably.
I was really sad when this session was over. I could have worked with these guys until dawn the next day! They were so fun and relaxed and also, gorgeous. Tip #3: when incorporating hands on belly in poses, please make sure that the hands are relaxed and natural. We don't want to handle the belly as if it were a basketball. We want soft and gentle looking hands on the belly. So many times, especially with Dad's, when asked to place hands on belly we tend to spread out fingers out. This makes the pose look a bit awkward and harsh. If clients have a hard time with hands, have them shake their hands off and relax, and then replace them on belly where you want them. This helps to avoid any "baseball mitt" or "basketball" moments. Which is cool, if moms belly is painted like a basketball and Dad is in the NBA and plays for the Spurs.
I hope you find these tips helpful on your next maternity shoot. Also, I hope your client is as talented a flower crown makes as Natalie is. I may ask her to give me some lessons! Please leave a comment below if you have any maternity session tips!