It was a beautiful September afternoon with a light breeze and lots of sunshine; perfect to create outdoor maternity portraits of expectant mother Jewell and her family.
I’m thankful when clients come to me with portrait ideas. Since a picture is worth a thousand words, it’s even better to get photos of exactly the style they want. Jewell described “a Bohemian look with flowers in my hair” and sent a couple of photos from Pinterest. She also wanted to do the session in Sioux Falls. After looking at her example images, I immediately thought of Sertoma Park.
Outdoor Maternity Portraits – a Unique Beauty
Pregnant woman are uniquely beautiful. Having lived with my wife Brenda through three pregnancies, I assume it has something to do with a change in body chemistry. The same change that makes expectant mothers burst into tears and causes them to rearrange furniture is the same thing that makes them radiate their unique beauty.
Radiating beauty is a good start, but to come up with a truly great maternity portrait, you need to have a great location, dynamic lighting and clothing that matches the look and flatters the mom. In the image above, Jewell is in a classic maternity pose. The sun is behind her adding a rim light that really shows off her flowing blonde hair. Then I added some light to the right of the camera. The low camera angle gives the subject a bigger than life feeling and expands the blue sky to fill much of the background.
The family portrait is a “looking at the viewer” style pose. The camera angle is at eye-level which puts the horizon line above the subjects. Using a larger aperture (smaller f-stop number) renders the background out of focus. Again, the sun is behind the subjects and I’m adding light from the right of the camera.
Patience is the key when photographing young children and this session was no exception. Both young girls are full of life and energy. They have no time to stand still or be held when there’s lots of exploring to do. This pose has a certain “motion” to it with the older girl leaning into mom’s tummy and the impish look on the younger girls face. I suppose you could call this a “drive by” portrait. The girls were running into and out of the pose, jumping around, hiding, falling down and generally just being kids. Patience and humor go a long way to creating a beautiful family portrait with young children.
I have been adding edges and textures to my portraits. I like the depth and interest it adds to an image. Of course the hardest part of working on an image in this way is knowing when to stop. I created this image for our booth at the Etc. for Women Expo so I had a deadline, which is a good thing!
Location Portraits at Sertoma Park
Sertoma Park is a great location for family portraits. It’s a short walk from the parking lot to the field of prairie grass. The hiking path along the field of prairie grass is bordered on the south by a canopy of mature trees. The shade from the trees does a great job of filtering the sunlight. In the third image, I again used an off-camera flash. This time the light was to the left of the camera. At this point in the photo session, the young girl was done posing for pictures. This image is one of those scenes that only lasts for a moment. Capturing it is really a matter of being ready when the opportunity arises.