3 Important Lessons I Learned While Shooting My First Maternity Session

I had researched all my poses and ideas.

Collected images off of Google to help inspire me during my shoot.

Charged my camera battery and cleared my memory cards.

And I thought I was all ready to kill my first maternity photo shoot….

But I was wrong.

Here’s is what I learned on my first paid gig and hopefully you can learn from my pitfalls.

1) Some Locations Just Don’t “Work”

Before you scoff and say “an artist works with the problem and lives in the solution” let me say that not every setting can achieve the look you are going for.

I had this idea in my head that I was going to do this sweet silhouette style shoot where I’d darken the room down and bring in the flash from the back and another to shoot a weak light across the faces of my subjects. .

In theory it was a great idea (and I patted myself on the back for it) but in real life it didn’t work. The room I was shooting in had a very low ceiling, it was a little cramped for the space that I needed to move the flashes around, and everything was painted white.

Let it be know, sometimes you just have to try. See the results. Then kill the idea if you know it won’t work. When it doesn’t work have the tenacity to move on quickly and don’t waste your time or the clients.

2) Create A Checklist For Your Equipment

After this shoot I decided that I need to make a list of items that I needed to make sure I had no matter what kind of session I was going to be working on. Even if I just scribble down on a notepad the essentials then I won’t have to stress or deflate during a shoot when something like, say, THE BATTERIES FOR MY FLASHES RUN OUT!!! And I didn’t bring extras.

Yep, seriously this happened on this shoot.

I was crushed. It was the starting to reach the “Golden Hour” and I have been concentrating on shooting with the sky and sun in the background and then filling in the subject with artificial light when all of a sudden I noticed that I something was wrong.

I stopped. Tried to test fire my speedlites and guess what? They were dead.

Now, I didn’t let it ruin the shoot and I moved into a more natural light shoot but for me I was really bummed because I had planned this shoot weeks in advance and everything was thrown down the drain.

Make a list. Download a list. Do whatever you need to do to make sure you have all the necessary equipment.

3) Pose Your Subject, Stop Worrying About The Shot

Even with the batteries in my flashes dead, I was still stoked on the images that I was capturing with natural light.

The sun was just right. The sky was starting to take on a great hue of blue. I thought all was going well.

Then I got home and popped in the memory card and started to review my shots. I was pretty heartbroken to learn that I hadn’t focused on posing my subject and instead kept worrying about the exposure of the shot.

In many of my images it’s hard to even tell that my “mommy to be” is even pregnant! What a shame!

One thing I learned was no matter what, once you have your settings locked in focus on how you want to compose your image. Where you want to place leading lines. The expression you want your model to have. And all the other little nuances that make up your art.

So I have to know, what is one knuckle head move you’ve made when out on a shoot?

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