Friday, 4 September 2020

This is a blog post I did not expect to have to write! 

Before being pregnant, I did not think I would want to take maternity photos. I assumed I would feel huge and uncomfortable and swollen ... and huge. Turns out I was right, but I hit third trimester of this pregnancy and all of a sudden decided that I wanted some photos. I can't say I enjoy pregnancy, but there is something magical about creating and carrying the little life that will forever have your heart (clearly I am hormotional). 

So, (1) I didn't think I would want maternity photos, and (2) I definitely didn't think a global pandemic would stop me from hiring a photographer to capture said maternity photos I did not think I wanted. But here we are! 33 weeks pregnant and unable to hire anyone to photograph the big ol' belly. I was left to DIY the whole affair. Five hours later (no I am not kidding) and I have some photos I am super happy with. 

Full disclosure - I trained as a wedding and lifestyle photographer for the past two years, so I definitely know my way around a camera. But honestly, I think DIY photoshoots are something anyone can do! It can seem intimidating at first, but once you get started it truly isn't too bad. And remember - you do not need 100 perfect shots - you only need a few that you love - and in the age of digital, you can take as many as you need to get it right.

Here are my top 5 tips for taking your own maternity photos: 

(1) Get a remote control for your camera. Whether you use a phone or a DSLR, having a remote is key. In each of the photos you see here, I was holding a remote in my hand - usually the hand that is holding my belly (the remote is between my hand and the bump). This will allow you to take multiple photos without having to get up and click a button each time to start a timer. 

(2) Position yourself near a window. Natural light is going to be your best friend for any portrait photoshoot. You want to make sure you are taking your photos near a window. You do not need to position yourself directly in front of it, but it is helpful if the light is illuminating your face. You also want to make sure you are in a super light and bright room!

(3) Turn off all overhead/table lamps. Any light that is not natural light - table lamps, overhead lighting - make sure all of those turn off. It is better that the photos be darker in camera and you have to lighten them in post than it is to try and lighten things up by turning on lights. All light is not created equal. In fact, different light have different tones to them. Natural light is more blue whereas artificial light is warm. A mix of both in a photograph will cause skin tones and colours to look wonky, and it will be really hard to edit.

(4) Play with aperture. This is a bit more of a technical tip, but if you have a digital camera that allows you to manually manipulate the camera's settings, try playing with the aperture. If you have never done this before and your camera comes with a "aperture-priority" mode, use this. The smaller the aperture, the wider your lens will open, the more light will come in to the lens and the more bokeh (creamy gooeyness) will be in the backdrop of your photos. I shot these photos at a 1.8-2.5, depending on the photo. Be warned though, the smaller the aperture, the harder it is to get the subject of the photo in focus. That is why I say - try playing with aperture. The more you play, the better you will get and nailing that sharp photo with a blurry background. 

(5) Show off that bump. This one was hard for me. My pregnancy style can be aptly described as "mu-mu realness." I like loose, baggy clothes - pregnant or not. But a maternity shoot is different. The whole point is to show off the bump. I decided to do a bunch of the photos with the bump fully out - just underwear, a bra, and a light airy cover up. Please know that this is not my comfort zone, but somehow it just worked out! The photos of me with less on turned out to be my favourite.