Maternity Shoot – Call to Action

Last week I shot, processed and delivered my first ever maternity shoot. It was partly due to a friend recommending me and the other part a kick in the bum from Zack Arias and his recent post – Call to Action. Zack has been inspiring us photographers that have been sitting on the dock to make the jump and push ourselves photographically.

Our friends Jayne and Simon are expecting the birth of their first child this Friday, September 11th 2009.  And before its a little too late we headed out for a maternity shoot.  Not only was it my first maternity shoot but it was also my first non family shoot and well my first ever outdoor strobist attempt.

Zack Arias has challenged us to Serve someone with our cameras, in such a way that we as photographers will break free from our self criticism of “ I’m not good enough yet.”

So after a little research online at flickr looking at maternity photos and sending links to Jayne to gauge the style she was after, I needed a location. My wife and I had spent the previous weekend scoping out general landscape photography locations at the Brisbane Botanic Gardens at Mount Cootha. Turns out its also a great free and very diverse location for such a shoot.

I decided to go with a 1 light setup. A Vivitar 285 with a 43 inch shoot through umbrella setup on my monopod. Anna my wife helped out as a voice activated light-stand and more importantly she continued to encourage me throughout the whole process. I doubt I could have pulled it all off without her support.

We had 6 distinct locations selected at the gardens and we started in the Japanese Gardens. It had great natural light that I wanted to make good use of first. To tell you the truth I was absolutely terrified and didn’t know where to start. once we reached the gardens. Where should I sit them? Should they sit? What angle will I shoot from? How do I make them feel comfortable? So I just sat them on some open grass and just began shooting. I just asked them to sit and talk and ignore me. About 30 frames latter my brain clicked, I was checking my backgrounds, composing frames with the rule of 3rds in mind, making sure they didn’t have trees or other objects jutting out their heads. The months of reading about what to look out for while shooting just became 2nd nature. Then I found myself conversing with them encouraging them and hopefully making them feel comfortable. I guess its just like Joe McNally says “The Moment it Clicks”. That book has been a great resource of mine since August. Well recommended no matter what your level of ability.

Here is a small slide-show of shots from the afternoon. I ended up presenting them with just over 100 processed image. All post processing done in Adobe Lightroom and a few minor edits in Photoshop.

Stay tuned for a blog on my voice activated light-stand monopod rig.