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Thread: Maternity Photos

  1. #1
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    Maternity Photos

    I've recently taken a few maternity portraits and am looking for feedback and constructive criticism. I'm still very new to portraits and off-camera lighting, but it's something I'm trying to learn, so any and all feedback is welcome!

    Lighting for the first two is a 580EXII in a apollo orb on subject's right and a 430EXII in a 32" umbrella on subject's upper left. Both flashes fired with radiopopper jrx (not sure of flash powers as I was using the RP cube system to adjust power and I didn't note the power at the time.)


    Melissa & Frog by NFLD Stephen, on Flickr
    Shot with a 7d and 15-85 EF-S @ 1/60, F/6.3 ISO 100 & 44mm


    Melissa & Steve & Baby by NFLD Stephen, on Flickr
    Shot with a 7d and 15-85 EF-S @ 1/60, F/7.1 ISO 100 & 31mm


    Lighting for this last picture is with a 580EXII in an apollo orb directly facing the subjects (and slightly below) and a 430EXII in a lumiquest softbox behind and above subjects (again, I'm not sure of the flash powers). The background I was using here was a black blanket, but there was some light spill on it making it show up a bit, so I darkened it in post to make it full black. Shot with a 7d, EF-50 1.4 @ 1/60, F/2.8 ISO 100.


    Expecting by NFLD Stephen, on Flickr

    I'm also looking for suggestions or ideas on how to improve these pictures or setups for other pictures. My gear includes a 7d, 15-85 EF-S, EF 50 1.4, EF 100 2.8 macro, EF 70-200L IS, EF 1.4 II Extender, 580EXII, 430EXII, apollo orb, westcott 32" umbrella (shoot-through with removable black cover), lumiquest softbox, two lightstands, radiopopper jrx flash triggers (and RP cubes) & various gels. Any ideas to get better shots using this gear is welcome! (I'm also continually looking for what gear to buy next... )

    Thanks,
    Stephen

  2. #2
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    Re: Maternity Photos

    You could always put more distance between the subject and the background to keep from having shadows on it. Of course that means possibly a big backdrop than what you have.
    Words get in the way of what I meant to say.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Jayson's Avatar
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    I did a maternity set a little while back and got some good ideas from here - http://www.momphoto.com/

    I used a simple backdrop of one white and one black purchased from the local Hobby Lobby craft store. It was 2 yards wide by 4 long. If you happen to clip off the sides and have some wall showing, you can always photoshop. I prefer to focus on the tummy rather than backdrops and props.

    As for your photos, I do like the profile shots. The first one, as suggested, I would move her away from the wall to stop the shadow. Get some of her lying on the floor, sitting with hands on her tummy. Have her husband sit behind her and both hold her tummy. Take a photo looking down from her head at her tummy (helps her remember what it looked like . ) I think your lighting is fine, just get creative with what your ideas, but remember that mommy will tire out easily from getting up and down so try to do all the shots on the floor at once.

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    Quote Originally Posted by andnowimbroke View Post
    You could always put more distance between the subject and the background to keep from having shadows on it. Of course that means possibly a big backdrop than what you have.
    Thanks, with the black background I was indeed limited by the size of the background. I'll have to find a larger background (maybe time to purchase one...) In the other shots, the wall was the background and I was limited by the size of the room there.

    Quote Originally Posted by jrw View Post
    Like the profile shots as they truly do show maternity. The concept of the third one is far more interesting. A little more flash on the hands and/or faces would have really set the shot apart. If you are looking at getting into portrait type work I'd suggest more lighting options to increase your flexibility. As I use umbrellas for flash units I can't make too many specific recommendations other than that two flashes is very limiting. I find that 3 or 4 allow many more options while still allowing maximum portability.
    I agree that the third one is best. How would I go about lighting the hands and faces better? More power on the existing flash or would I possibly need another flash (or two) specifically aimed at the hands or faces (possibly using a grid or snoot)? I'm also intending to get another flash (and already have another rp trigger), but just haven't been able to pick one up yet. I'm also thinking a reflector would be useful in the absence of another flash.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jayson View Post
    I did a maternity set a little while back and got some good ideas from here - http://www.momphoto.com/

    I used a simple backdrop of one white and one black purchased from the local Hobby Lobby craft store. It was 2 yards wide by 4 long. If you happen to clip off the sides and have some wall showing, you can always photoshop. I prefer to focus on the tummy rather than backdrops and props.

    As for your photos, I do like the profile shots. The first one, as suggested, I would move her away from the wall to stop the shadow. Get some of her lying on the floor, sitting with hands on her tummy. Have her husband sit behind her and both hold her tummy. Take a photo looking down from her head at her tummy (helps her remember what it looked like . ) I think your lighting is fine, just get creative with what your ideas, but remember that mommy will tire out easily from getting up and down so try to do all the shots on the floor at once.
    Jason, thanks for the link. Some great photos there! Although I find most maternity photos show significant skin, which not everyone is comfortable doing (I'm refering to the mom here). Sometimes it's a bit more challenging to have a fully-clothed mom-to-be which still shows off the baby bump. Thanks also for the background tip, I'll definately check that out. And don't I know it about the mommy getting tired! The model here is my wife though, so if she gets too tired wee can always try again!

    Stephen

  5. #5
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    Thanks for the comments and input so far...keep it coming!

    Here is another attempt...


    Maternity by NFLD Stephen, on Flickr

    I'm really starting to think that a third flash would be very useful! I'm finding it a bit difficult to get lighting on the hair to keep it from blending in with the background too much. I'm thinking an additional flash would give me the option to directly light the hair (without losing the light I'm already using). I

    'm also wondering if a boom arm of some type would be helpful in placing the light direcly overhead...anyone have any experience with this? Would it actually be useful?

    Stephen

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