In-home maternity work will change your images

I am not usually a big session poster for reasons I still don't understand. Mostly, I think, because it's a lot of work and I am not really into tooting my own horn. But I want to use this shoot as an example of a way for you as a photographer to challenge yourself. That is the purpose of me reinvigorating my commitment to this blog; to inspire others to improve creatively and to understand that with an arsenal of basic knowledge, you can truly shoot anywhere. So I am sharing this shoot to show you what is possible in someone's home.

I have said before that so much of a photographer's job is to counsel her client through the anxiety and nerves of being in front of the camera. When you are working with pregnant clients, insecurities are at their peak. In my experience, the best way to do this is by shooting maternity in the client's home.

When she is in her own environment, the client feels completely herself and doesn't have to think about who is watching and the outfit she hung up in the backseat of her car. She's surrounded by the preparations of welcoming a child into the home and is comforted knowing her bare feet will be on familiar ground.

It presents a unique challenge to you, the photographer, as well. You are forced to work in an enclosed space and be 100% aware of light sources and visual elements in the home that present framing opportunities or challenges with noise in the background. If you are working in a small space, especially, these details are of utmost importance so a laser focus on LIGHT will save you every time.

Some tech specs:

  • In rooms that are small, dark and have only one-directional window light: keep your aperture wide (f/2-2.8), your ISO at 800 or higher and so that you can use a higher shutter speed (1/100 if you're newer, 1/80 if you have a very steady hand or a tripod); focus on exposing the lit parts of your subject with these things in mind and you will walk away with breathtaking, high-contrast images.
  • In rooms that are bright and have large windows: play with backlighting your subject. Place your subject between you and a window. Keep your ISO higher than you normally would in a well-lit environment (640-800) and your aperture wide and your shutter speed very high (1/200+). You want your image to be blown out but not washed out. If you get too much haze, up your shutter speed before you do anything else. Don't worry about a little haze - you can increase your blacks in post-production if you really need to.

For the sake of anecdotal charm, this client gave birth the very next day after we shot together. We struggled to schedule for weeks and I was able to finally get her in and good thing I did or these images would never have been created!

Do you have questions? Comments? Really need help? Drop me a line!