It’s hard to believe it's September and already there is a slight chill in the air. Luckily we managed to fit in this romantic pregnancy photo shoot right at the end of August whilst it was still relatively warm. Sunset is my favourite time of day for outdoor maternity shoots, with the golden hour giving everything an amazing warm glow - whilst colder weather is ahead of us, the light during the autumn months can be absolutely magical as the sun dips lower in the sky.
Richmond Park maternity
As anyone who has followed my pregnancy photography for a while will know, Richmond Park is a dream spot for portrait sessions! After almost two years of photographing in this area, I am still discovering new parts of the park, depending on the time of year - and the time of day. No two sessions are ever the same because the angle of the sun is always changing! This particular spot is a new one for me, with the advantage of both trees to soften hard light, and open fields a short walk away. I always try to take into account the fact that my pregnant clients will not want a long trek across the park!
Backlighting portrait photography
Open fields can be challenging, from a technical point of view, with direct sun entering the lens from the behind the subject and making focusing tricky. However, I love the look of the light streaming around my subjects! The best way to deal with this is to use a camera body that can cope with low-light conditions (my D750 is amazing with this), placing your subject directly in front of the sun (so blocking the sun from entering the lens), or keeping the sun just ever so slightly outside of the frame (so the image is still softly backlit, but not overwhelmed with light). You will also need to increase the contrast and blacks in the image during editing, as backlighting will generally create a very flat image. As with all photography practice is key here! Even a very slight difference in angle can make or break your image.
What to wear for pregnancy photos
I love Paula’s choice of dresses here; the first a sweet floral dress which is form-fitting enough to show off her gorgeous bump perfectly, and the second a beautiful tulle dress. Portrait photographers are absolutely obsessed with tulle as it always photographs so well! In terms of colour, it’s really important to choose dresses which are going to tone with the natural landscape and the golden sunset light, if photographing at that time of day.
What lens to use for pregnancy photography?
Recently I have been mixing up the lenses I like to use during a session. For a long time I have been wedded to my 70-200mm f/2.8 Nikon zoom lens (and I have yet to give this up for child portraits!), but I am re-discovering my love of my primes for my maternity photoshoots, and especially the use of a slightly wider lens. The two images below provide a great example of the different effects created by different lenses. The first image was taken with a 50mm prime at f/2 and I love the greater sense of place and amount of sparkling bokeh in the trees generated by such a shallow depth of field. The second image is my more typical pregnancy portrait taken with a very long lens; 200mm at f.2.8 which provides a huge amount of compression. I love the softness of this image, the larger-shaped bokeh and how the client pops against the completely blurred background. It's lovely to be able to provide a client with a range of images, both from one location and pose, just by switching my choice of lens.
"Thank you so much! All t
he photos are amazing!"
I am now virtually booked up for weekend maternity sessions in autumn, so do get in touch asap if you are thinking of booking me for your own pregnancy photoshoot over the next month or two!