I often shoot intimate portrait sessions of clients in the comfort and convenience of their own home. A question that sometimes arises is how can you create studio-perfect images if you are not shooting in a studio? While there will always be a certain number of shots that are simply not possible to take in every uncontrolled (i.e. out of studio) situation, the vast majority of clients will be delighted with images taken in their own homes, gardens or nearby parks – and not just because it saves them money.
As a portrait photographer in Montreal, I have developed a growing portfolio of pregnancy photos (pun intended). A pregnant woman, usually within two to three weeks of her scheduled due date is a magnificently beautiful subject. People often refer to the “glow” a pregnant woman has, full of joy and expectation for her coming child and truly blossoming before your very eyes. One thing, however, is also true of very pregnant women: they are probably very uncomfortable. They’ve not been sleeping well. They have to pee a lot. The last thing they want to do is schlep themselves and all their gear into a car, drive to a photo studio, struggle to find parking, haul their aching bodies out of the car and into the studio and cross their fingers hoping there is a bathroom on site. Not to mention her ever-loving partner who is also probably not sleeping too well and may be receiving ever so slightly more “requests” from his (or her) spouse who, understandably, has more on her mind than worrying about tender egos.
All this to say, a photo shoot in the comfort of your own home by a professional portrait photographer is not only ultra convenient, it is relaxing, fun and can result in photos just as good as any you’ll get from a studio shoot – without the hassle.
Use what you find in the home – move furniture around (you, not your pregnant subject who should be doing whatever she feels like doing while you prep the shot). Need a backlight? Draw the blinds and position your subjects in front of the curtain. As long as it is not the middle of the night and a torrential, sky wrenching downpour, you should have enough light from the good old sun to give you exactly what you need. Fill in the rest with your on camera (or, preferably, on Stroboarm) flash and play around with bouncing it off walls, ceilings (even out of frame mirrors) to get the look you want.
Staircases, balcony, comfy chairs – everything you’ll find in most homes provide interesting opportunities for set ups and they don’t require much effort to optimize for the shoot. An additional benefit, particularly for pregnant couples (and even more so for first time parents) is that their home is now a fully feathered nest. That baby is on its way in just a few weeks! The home where the child will soon be living is the ideal space to capture the thrill and joy of being pregnant. The images that result will become treasured memories you can share with your child and enjoy for years to come.