Having never done a pregnancy shoot before, I jumped at the opportunity to assist a friend in a shoot he had arranged. Now I have done a number of studio shoots before so I felt quite comfortable to begin with. I was obviously a little nervous never having met the couple before so had no real idea what the client was looking for. Now I obviously had a few things I wanted to try, but there were two things that would affect this, one would be a misunderstanding on the type of shoot expected by the client and two the fact that I was assisting. I have not assisted before and have so far been happy working on my own. I was concerned that I may try to take over the shoot. I hope this did not happen but you will need to ask my friend that one! Now as probably most photographers will tell you, when it comes to a pre arranged shoot, you can tend to have too many ideas to realistically complete in a single shoot. But I suppose that it is better to have too many ideas before hand just in case the client is unhappy with something you are proposing. Now this hasn’t happened yet but there is always the possibility. As always we ran out of time rather than ideas.
After meeting the couple, Mark & Catherine, we found the couple to be very relaxed which is always a bonus when there is an element of nudity involved in the shoot. For some people this can be a problem as very few of us are entirely happy with our bodies. There has to be an element of trust that you will try to do everything in your power to make the subject look at their best. The beauty of digital is that you have the opportunity to show the client early on what you are getting which can put them at ease, especially as they won’t necessarily have any idea what an image will look like from the lighting in the studio at the time.Now I will be honest that when it comes to lighting in the studio I don’t describe myself as an expert, I like simple lighting, I think it can be so easy to over complicate lighting and the simple fact of simple, is that in most cases the simplest lighting is the most realistic. By this I mean we are used to things being predominantly lit by a single source (the sun), so a single main light is important.That said now, I do have some other lighting tricks I am happy that once introduced will enhance an image without compromising its overall simplicity. A rim or hair light can be effective and then a backdrop light will help to give some more interest and even quickly offer a variety of shots from a single set.I prefer to work in the studio with Bowens, however I agreed with Wes (the other photographer) to try to do a complete shoot with some Nikon SB 900’s. Between us we had 8 lights (until one of mine appeared broken), and we set them up before the shoot as three banks that we could use when we needed them. Overall I was very happy with the quality of light we had achieved however the hardest thing I found to get my head round was the lack of a modelling light. This turns out not to be a big problem as simple lighting is simple to adjust.At one point I wanted to have some ambient light in the shot so using what I had to hand I brought in an old “red-head” video light (no control over intensity), so had to temper the exposure to begin with based on the light available. As a result we used the colour correction filters that came with the flash units to match the best we could to balance. I was very pleased with the results.Finally as with any shoot, it is always important to keep an eye out with whats happening as sometimes shots are there that you don’t expect. Wes was working on a pose as he was working in I noticed a lovely abstract in the midst, and not wanting to interrupt him in his flow, I left him to it and when he finished I jumped in and got one of my own favorites of the shoot showing a close up of the bump with four natural and relaxed hands in the shot too. As all photographers will no doubt agree, getting hands right and natural is very difficult especially with non professional models.
The shoot was a great opportunity to try something new, work with someone I have not worked with before and come away with some images I am very happy with. Now I just have to convince the client.