Posts Tagged ‘Self Portraits’
Self Portraits with a baby are hard!
Yesterday was our third anniversary. It amazes me how quickly it has gone by, and how much life has changed in what felt like a blink of an eye. We celebrated our -1 (the year before we got married), 1 and 2nd anniversary with a four course fondue dinner. This year we had Olive Garden take out after Nicki went to bed and watched some TV together while snuggling on the couch. You know what? I wouldn’t have had it any other way.
At the risk of sounding cheesy, I have to admit that while packing Nicki’s bottles for day care this morning I couldn’t help but think how lucky I am. I have an amazing husband who also happens to be the best dad ever. He can always make me laugh, no matter how bad my day has been. He supported my crazy idea to go back to school, even on days when I’m ready to throw in the towel. He puts up with my momtographer crazy tendencies, and has gotten quite good himself. He even drove an hour round trip to pick up Olive Garden the night before. It’s been 5 years and I still feel incredibly lucky and blessed that he wanted to marry me.
I also lucked out in the daughter department. Nicki is such a happy baby, even when sick! She’s a (mostly) excellent sleeper. Last night? She slept from 7:15 pm to 7:50 am – 12 hours and 35 minutes! That’s the most sleep she’s gotten since I’ve been keeping track. We’ve had some rough patches for sure, but a typical night is eleven plus hours. I can tell she’s incredibly bright. Maybe even too bright. We tried to teach her to roll over with the toy just out of reach trick. What did she do? She grabbed the floor mat and pulled the toy closer to her! Silly girl.
I am so ridiculously happy with the life we’ve built, and the family we’ve started. I feel so blessed.
Note: I’m a few weeks late in publishing this. I wrote this before, but apparently never hit ‘publish’.
There’s still no sign that Zippy will be making her appearance any time soon, so I took the opportunity to take a photo of Domingo and I together (which I haven’t done since Mother’s day!)
I know, I’m a walking cliché. At least I admit I have a problem… right? Here’s a few more that are less cliché.
I still don’t think I look very pregnant front the front, let alone a couple days shy of my due date! I did finally order a backdrop & backdrop stand, so I’ll be all set for some newborn photography!
I’m not sure how many opportunities I will have to take more maternity photos, since we are now full term! While I plan on continuing to take more maternity photos right up until Zippy’s arrival, I’ve noticed my energy level has dipped significantly in the recent weeks.
I am really happy with how these turned out. I was able to capture the moment, and I’ll always have these for myself. Sure, it would have been nice to also have professional photos taken. You can never have too many photos in my book! But, to be honest, I’m starting to get way more excited for newborn photos than maternity photos.
The nice thing about maternity photos is you have several months to practice. I think I’ve improved a lot over the past five weeks. And I should have. In total, I took close to three thousand photos throughout my pregnancy! Of course, many of them are near duplicates, blurry, or posses that didn’t pan out, but that will just be our little secret. I also retook a few of my favorites as my belly continued to expand.
I’m strongly considering a professional newborn photographer, since there’ll be less time to practice. Part of the reason I took so many photos is because I was using a remote and tripod, and it’s really hard to get everything lined up and framed correctly what you can’t see what you’re doing. I’d take five or six before taking a break to notice my camera was auto focusing on the wrong thing, or I was being cropped in a way I didn’t like! I wouldn’t need so many if I was behind the lens instead of in front of it. I predict Zippy will be less patient with me while I fiddle with the tripod.
Phia (the unicorn) has been with me for over a decade. She pre-dates college, and maybe even high school. My favorite part about this photo? Zippy is giving me a good solid kick (on the left side). She wants to be in the picture too!
Belly!! This is my third post with my bare belly exposed. The funny thing? I don’t think I’ve ever exposed my belly button pre-pregnancy. I’ve never even worn a bikini in public. I did wear a mid drift once in highschool, but my belly was hidden under overalls.
And, of course, the classic bump shot, in front of the window for awesome light.
So new tips after weeks of practice:
- Experiment different levels of zoom with each of your poses. I read somewhere that amateurs (like me) tend to take photos from too far back, where pros will step in for a close crop. I ended up doing a bare belly picture a few inches closer to the tripod than usual, and I really liked that extra closeness, which led to the hands in the shape of a heart photo.
- Don’t be overly worried about being creative. As you can see, I didn’t shy away from clichés like hands in the shape of a heart, colored ribbon on the belly or even the picture frame. True, I wouldn’t expect to see them in a professional portfolio (at least not without a new creative spin), but they give you a good starting place. They also ended up being some of my favorites.
- Definitely take photos whenever you’re feeling up to it. Once I hit 35 weeks my energy level tanked. I kept waiting for good days with good sun, but my energy level and the weather never really cooperated, so I don’t have many outdoor pictures. I should have forced myself to go out more. I also have very few with my husband after 30 weeks, which is my one regret. Thankfully I have some time left to fix that!
Happy Mothers day to all the moms out there – whether you’re babies be in your arms, in your bellies, or in your dreams!
We are still knee deep in an insane to-do list, but I wanted at least one good outdoor family photo. It was my only request for my first mother’s day!
Now that we’re at thirty one weeks (7 months) along I thought I would try some more interesting DIY maternity photography. My bump is pretty pronounced at this point, and while it will get bigger, I don’t (yet) have stretch marks or a popped belly button, so I thought I would take advantage of it! Don’t worry, there’s nothing risqué.
The most important thing I’ve learned so far is to remember where you’re light source is! Light is your friend! If you think of the camera, light source and you forming a triangle, I found it works best if the angle in the corner represented by you is not obtuse (either acute or right angles are fine). Otherwise I’m usually cast in too much shadow. I then face anywhere between the light source and the camera. My preferred light source is a window, but in a pinch a lamp can do.
I also strongly maintain that this is a time to experiment with your camera. You don’t have to share the photos you don’t like, so why not snap away and get as many as possible! I’m much more of a classic bump kind of gal, but it was fun to experiment.
Nothing but Belly!
This is a pretty standard maternity photo for a reason. It’s also super easy! I did this in front our living room window in early morning when the sun was streaming through, illuminating the curtain. If you have a tripod, set the camera height to be at about your navel. I’ve got a three quarters turn to the window (so the light is on the bump) and the camera is facing me.
One of the things that makes this shot so easy is you can easily lean over and see how the photos are turning out, and adjust the camera settings as need be. The sun kept going behind clouds, so I had to keep readjusting my exposure. I really like the overexposure in this setup.
If you don’t know how to do an over exposure, and easy way is to have your camera on ‘auto’. The camera will then select an appropriate f-stop and shutter speed. Next, switch over to manual and reduce shutter speed to have a longer exposure. You can always do several iterations of trial and error until you get the exposure you want.
I also did the overly cliché hands-in-the-shape-of-a-heart shot. You’re taking these shots for you, so who cares if you indulge in some clichés? Do whatever makes you happy!
* If you’re going to do this with a bare belly, change out of any full or partial panel maternity pants in advance. That way you won’t get any clothing lines in your photos. I’ve found I often have to change for about a half hour first, just to be on the safe side.
* I sometimes forget I’m holding the camera remote and end up with a clenched fist. I find it works much better if I set the remote down, or hide it in my pocket during the 2 second shutter delay.
The layout for this picture. The yellow triangle shows the angle the camera sees.
Not going to lie, this one was much harder than I expected. For this shot I’m lying on the bed and the camera is on a tripod. The problem is I’m not as spry as I was thirty weeks ago. It takes a great deal of effort to get up off of the bed, and change the camera settings. I also don’t particularly love this shot, since my bump is much less pronounced.
In order to reduce the number of “bad shots” and thus trips to the camera I recommend using a piece of masking tape to mark the spot for your head. Domingo also helped me by letting me know where the image was being cropped so I could readjust without needing to get up all.the.time.
* Try not to tilt your head too far back when looking at the camera. At least for me, tilting my head too far back and an ear to ear grin caused my forehead to wrinkle.
The layout for this picture. Again, the yellow triangle shows the angle the camera sees. For the photo where I’m wearing the pink shirt, the camera is about 8 inches to a foot higher than I am, pointing down. It’s about 2 feet higher for the second image. The camera and the window are on the same side of me, so the light from the window will illuminate the bump.
At this point I’m almost seven months pregnant! I’ve been taking sporadic photos of myself starting at around 17 weeks (I didn’t really feel up to it prior, and my bump, while existent was not obviously a baby.) I love the idea of a maternity photo shoot, but it is one more expense that I just can’t justify right now. I consider myself a budding photographer, so I thought I would try my hand at some classic maternity bump shots. I figure if I love them, I’ve saved myself some money, and if not, I can always do professional maternity photos later.
One of my favorite maternity photos
Through trial and error – both playing with the camera, tripod and remote, and giving the camera to Domingo and insisting he practice before the baby comes – I think I’ve gotten a few good ones. Here are a few tips that I’ve learned along the way.
First, some general photography tips
You may not love the way you look now, but at some point down the line you’ll be happy to have them. This happens to me all the time. I’m such a perfectionist that I’ll take 50 photos and hate them all because my hair is slightly out of place, or my shirt isn’t straight, or it’s cropped a different way than I want. A few weeks later, when you’re bigger and look even less rested and you’re suddenly glad you have them, messy hair and all. You don’t have to share the ones you don’t like, save them for YOU.
Happy Accident: Unintentionally crop
Tips specifically for maternity
- Face the light source, so the light is on the bump. Whatever is light will be the focus of attention. If you’re like me, you want that to be the front – baby bump, boobs and face. We don’t need people focusing on my derriere! I like to shoot in the middle of the day, when there’s the most natural light possible, and supplement the natural light with an artificial light source if need be.
Another Happy Accident: Unintentionally exposure that emphasizing the light source (and also an unintentional crop)
- Have the camera pointed at your profile rather than your front for a more flattering angle that emphasizes the bump. A 3/4s turn where you’re not quite profile but not facing the camera either also works nicely. It also helps to bend the knees slightly rather than have a straight leg. A bent knee emphasizes curves and can help mask extra lbs.
- Don’t look at the bump, look about six inches in front of it, especially if you’re not sticking out too much yet. Another good strategy when looking down is to give three quarters face rather than look straight at the camera. Looking down while facing the camera makes your nose and forehead prominent.
In this one Domingo is looking at my bump and I’m looking a few inches in front of it. I’m also turned three quarters while Domingo is closer to facing the camera. I think it’s a more flattering angle on my face then his. If you look very closely, you can tell I’m not looking at the bump. I just wish my hips were turned a little more so my butt doesn’t look so big.
- Pick a top that’s at least a little form fitting. The shirt in the above photo wasn’t very form fitting and hangs off my chest, hiding the shape of the bump. In a couple of the photos (like the one to the right), my bump is completely absent from the photo. It’s not so bad in the above photo with the placement of Domingo’s hand on the top of the bump to reveal its shape. But if you compare that photo to the ones with the light pink tank top (or the other photos from other posts) you’ll find the more form fitting ones a bit more flattering.
It helps if you stand in front of a simple surface like a blank wall. If I was more serious about this, I would get a backdrop. I plan on getting one before the baby comes so I can do newborn photography, but these days I’m just a little too busy with other chores. For now it’s not too big of a deal, it’s easy enough to edit out the background.
Left is the original photo, right has the background edited out with a slight filter to look like a vignette. It’s not perfect. You can tell the wall has been digitally removed (the strands of hair are the giveaway.)
I really do own more than 2 maternity tops. I promise.