Is it just me or can maternity images be some of the trickiest types of sessions to photograph??!!? Hey! I’ve got an idea, let’s take a woman who has put on an additional 30+ pounds, whose feet are tired and body aches and hasn’t gotten a good nights sleep in weeks and build her confidence up enough to get her to rock it for the camera. Sound easy? At first, I didn’t think it was, in fact I found it outright daunting. Let’s step back… to my very first attempt at a Maternity Session. I found a gal who was pregnant (sister in law of a college friend) who agreed to let me practice on her. So far so good! The price: Free. Status: Portfolio Building. Confidence: Hiding somewhere in the closet. Thought Process: Maternity images are beautiful and magical and women who have babies, usually start out with bellies. Must photograph bellies, can’t be that hard. Besides, I’d been pregnant a few times myself… I know what it’s all about! Right? Wrong! At least I didn’t show it. The funny thing is that I (me the person) hasn’t really changed. Yes, I’ve gotten better with my camera, I’ve switched off of Auto and onto Manual – and I’ve practiced a lot since than. But I still have been pregnant a few times and I still love people and yet that me on the very first attempt was so skeptical of herself that I couldn’t allow any of what makes me shine — shine! I was lacking a really key component, confidence – not cockiness (as Shannon Sewell would say) but confidence. Forget the technical stuff (although it is a intricate part of gaining confidence), I didn’t know how to act. Maybe that sounds silly to some, but to me it was scary. My head was playing mind games with me (I really hate when it does that…) ‘Should I ask her to lift up her shirt, is that weird, will she be offended, maybe she doesn’t want to, maybe she has stretch marks, maybe I should just keep to the covered belly, besides she would tell you if she wanted to show off her bare belly, right? ! But I want to show her perfect round belly… But you’ll probably mess it up anyway and by the time you get your setting right she’ll be in active labor.’ So I never asked. In fact I never even really took her aside to take some shots of just her. There is one image of her belly (no face) and that’s the only image of her by herself. I think I can say I’ve leaned a lot since that first attempt. But more than anything what I learned was to find my own inner confidence. It’s intimidating to be in front of the camera… For almost everyone but especially when you feel more like a blimp than a blossom. I’ve learned that it’s about building trust with your clients – but if you don’t trust yourself you’ll never be able to convince them to trust you. It’s about a confidence and a deep desire to create images that are best for that particular client. I’ve learned that not only do I have to know my camera and lighting but I also have to know how to make my clients feel at ease! …. Have you found this to be true also? Are you not quite there yet? I want to know!