by  Ana Brandt

 

Creating perfect pregnancy pictures is achievable, as long as you are tapped into not only what your client desires, but also who they are as a person. Are they flexible? Were they a former dancer, ballerina, gymnast? Are they shy, quiet, reserved, or fun and loud? Where did they see your work? What is their style?

 

A clients pregnancy pictures should reflect who they are in their “expectant” self. A well tuned in photographer will be able to provide perfect pregnancy posing, regardless of whom they are photographing. So how do you achieve this? How do you know how to pose them? What if they want candids, are you still posing? What if you run out of ideas? What do you do with those that are larger in size. These are questions I hear over and over again in my workshops.

 

I have been photographing pregnant women for over 12 years. I have photographed hundreds of differently shaped expecting women and one thing I know for sure, is that every woman wants to feel amazing. I also know that many times it may take a good 20 minutes of shooting time before I can see who they are as a person. I rarely do pre consults, and so many of the new clients that come in, I am meeting for the first time on the day of the session. I actually prefer this new meet, because I can then start the session with a fresh perspective and I do not have any preconceived ideas. I tend to really absorb and feel my client’s energy and I ask a lot of questions. I am a talker, so during the session I am asking all kinds of questions about their pregnancy, how they met their partner, their expectations of parenthood and anything else that comes to mind. I have discovered so many things during my session chats.

 

For example, in one session I seemed to have a hard time getting the right angles from my client and she seemed super uncomfortable. During conversation she mentioned that she had severe back pain due to an oversized chest and it was hard to stand. I quickly had her sit down and spent the rest of the shoot paying attention to her hurting areas, and it completely changed my session. In another session, I noticed the partners were super loving to each other and moved in a fluid motion no matter what they did. I inquired a bit and to my delight, and found out they were Russian Ballroom Dancers! I asked them if they could just move and dance like they always did, and it turned into an amazing magical session.

So when I talk about “Perfect Pregnancy Posing” I am not really saying there is a “perfect” pose. What I am saying is you can perfect your sessions and the poses you do with your clients and control your imagery in such a way that it truly resembles who your clients are. To do this, I work in a “transitional posing method”; which means I use a series of fluid movements and transitions throughout the session. An example is shown below. I am continually directing the client and asking them to make very very subtle movements; such as “Look up at me, smile, turn your head slightly, look down, etc…” By shooting in this method I can keep the session flowing nice and smoothly. It also helps avoid the nervousness that comes with being photographed – not only by the client, but by the photographer as well! Once I achieve the poses with Mama, I then do the same round with Daddy and add siblings as well. Slight angles and changes in the head, belly and legs can make all the difference.

Directing is a huge part of my shooting style. I make sure that I am vocal the entire session, including compliments along the way; such as “That looks great, amazing….” “Move your arm out, Great ok now…, etc…”  I do not believe we as photographers, can be shy and quiet during these sessions. When I teach workshops I see over and over again, how the clients or models respond to the “shy, quiet” photographers, versus the “verbally, louder” ones that are directing. Each time, the client responds to direction with a positive energy.

 

If you are more on the shy side, it’s best to just practice a lot and get your confidence up! Really study your work and posing and see if it is pleasing to the eye. Are there wrinkles in the drops? Does the clothing hang well? Does your client have a double chin? Pay attention to the small details and get your confidence level up so the next time you are in a session, you can be in control.

 

Study other photographers, look in magazines and create your own “Look Book” of posing ideas that you can refer to before a session. Plan poses in your head and then try them out and perfect them along the way, make sure you are being true to your style.

 

Lastly, give yourself time! It takes years and years to perfect your shooting style and really tap into what women want.  I love pregnant women and each year I challenge myself to step outside of my own box and ideas and let the imagery flow.  I then tell myself there is no perfect pose!

 

You can view more of Ana’s work at

http://www.bellybabylove.com

http://www.anabrandt.com

 

ana@anabrandt.com

 

Ana also runs TAoPaN: The Art of Pregnancy and Newborn which provides, mentoring, clothing, support and a 24/7 online forum/workshop that unites photographers across the world on the specialty of pregnancy and newborn imagery.

http://www.theartofpregnancyandnewborn.com

 

 

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