Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Pregnancy photos: A gift to my niece and her family

It was a little more than 6 months ago when we got the phone call informing us that my niece was pregnant. She was very excited to give us the good news. And, of course, having an uncle who is a photographer, she asked if I could shoot photos of her pregnancy photos. Now...this is not my specialty, but I readily accepted the challenge and looked forward to photographing her at this special time.

Since Katie and her family live 3 hours from us, we had to plan a time that worked for her and my travel schedule. She is due on Christmas Day, so the time was getting tight. As it turned out, last weekend was the best time, so they drove down for the day.

I set up a pop up Westcott backdrop (using the black side) in our living room and set up a couple of Canon 600 EX-RT flash units, and we had some fun. I used two camera bodies, the Canon 1D X with a 70-200 lens to shoot tight shots and a Canon 5D Mark III with a 24-70 II lens to shoot the wider shots.

Since Katie is due on Christmas Day, we thought it would be fun to use a large bow on her stomach, signifying the perfect gift which was coming. I had Katie lay down on the floor, and I got down low to the ground to shoot straight across her. I had both flash units pointing up and at angles, effectively bouncing the light off of the walls and ceiling. (Canon 5D Mark III, 24-70 II lens, ISO 800, f/5, 1/50th sec, -0.3 exposure comp)

I wanted to try something different, shooting a photo of just Katie's stomach and not including her head. This photo makes her baby bump the subject of the photo without competing with her pretty face. I had her raise her right leg to create a better body line. This was one of my favorite shots of the day. (Canon 1D X, 70-200 II lens, ISO 1000, f/5.6, 1/60th sec)

They surprised me and brought their puppy with them. This little puppy was so cute, that I just knew we had to get her in the photos as well. With a little bit of encouragement, we were able to get her to rest on Katie's stomach and I got this shot. (Canon 5D Mark III24-70 II lens, ISO 1250, f/4, 1/60th sec, -0.3 exposure comp)

My wife, who always has great ideas, asked their daughter to write "It's a boy" on this chalkboard. We had her hold it up and kiss her mom's stomach. This was definitely a favorite of mine and is now on my home page. (Photographer's note: In the original photo, her daughter had tilted to board and it had glare from my flash. I saw this on the LCD of the camera and had her tilt the board slightly, so as to avoid the glare. But this particular frame was so cute, with her expression, that I took the board from a subsequent frame, using the clone tool in Adobe Photoshop, and dropped it on top of the glaring board from the original shot.) (Canon 5D Mark III24-70 II lens, ISO 500, f/5, 1/80th sec, -0.3 exposure comp)

Then it was time to get everyone involved. (Canon 5D Mark III24-70 II lens, ISO 1250, f/4, 1/200th sec, -0.3 exposure comp)

Nothing against Chris, but I like the cowboy hat on Katie. :)  (Canon 5D Mark III24-70 II lens, ISO 1250, f/5.6, 1/40th sec, -0.3 exposure comp)

Before they drove down to our house, they had prepared well, with different changes of clothing and they even brought this box and wrapping paper. We put Charity into the box and I asked her to pop out just enough for me to see her face. She had fun with this.  (Canon 5D Mark III24-70 II lens, ISO 1250, f/4, 1/60th sec, -0.3 exposure comp)

My daughter could not resist the puppy, and wanted her photo taken with her new best friend. (Canon 1D X70-200 II lens, ISO 800, f/5.6, 1/60th sec)

After we shot a bunch of photos in our makeshift studio, we headed out for some late afternoon photography in the fall colors. My wife had spotted this cool park in Cupertino, CA (near Apple's headquarters) which had this awesome line of trees which were in full color. This is a photo of Katie and her father (my wife's brother) comparing their stomachs. (Canon 1D X70-200 II lens, ISO 250, f/4.5, 1/200th sec, -0.3 exposure comp)

Charity was having fun playing in the leaves, so I asked her to lay down and shot this photo over her. (Canon 5D Mark III24-70 II lens, ISO 250, f/4.5, 1/200th sec, -0.3 exposure comp)

Since we already had Charity laying in the leaves, we asked the entire family to get in on the shot. I held the camera high over them and shot this "blind". (Photographer's note: This is one of those shots where you hope your focal point is on someone's face and that you have the camera centered on everyone. I usually take 5 or 10 shots to make sure everyone is looking at the camera and I will periodically check the LCD of the camera to see if I am shooting from the center position.) (Canon 5D Mark III24-70 II lens, ISO 400, f/5.6, 1/125th sec, -0.3 exposure comp)

I think we spent a total of 3 hours shooting all of these images, and then, when we were done, the mayhem began when a big old leave fight!  It was a lot of shooting, but we had a lot of fun in the process. (Canon 5D Mark III24-70 II lens, ISO 400, f/5.6, 1/200th sec, -0.3 exposure comp)

Congratulations to Katie, Chris and the extended family!


Rachel Ellentuck said...

Love the photos and appreciate reading what you did and your settings to get the photos!! It really helps me improve my concept on camera settings...saw you speak at Unique and continue to follow you!

#PraverbForever! said...

Jeff, your willingness to share the inspiration behind your shots is awesome. I love the creativity and the explanation. Thank you for sharing.

Oliver Gerasimov said...

Hi Jeff, the photos we're awesome and I know you are inspired while taking this photo because the output says it all. Good luck to your family and thanks for sharing your happy moments to us.