By Diane Berkenfeld
Buffalo, NY-based book publisher, Amherst Media, (www.amherstmedia.com) publishes photography books, covering a variety of topics, educating photographers in learning what is involved in genres they may not be familiar with but want to add to their businesses. One of the titles published in 2008 is The Art of Pregnancy Photography by Jennifer George (ISBN: 978-1-58428-218-1).
Maternity photography—photography of the expecting mother-to-be in her glowing beauty—is a growing market that many portrait and wedding photographers are adding to their offerings. Many of these photographers, though certainly not all, are new moms themselves who have discovered the beauty of maternity portraits.
Jennifer George, an award-winning photographer based in San Diego, CA authored The Art of Pregnancy Photography to share with other photographers how to go about adding maternity photography to their businesses. The book, written for the advanced photographer, discusses the artistic and aesthetic aspects of maternity photography.
Annie Leibovitz’s infamous portrait of a nude, seven-months pregnant Demi Moore, on the cover of Vanity Fair magazine in 1991 greatly affected how Americans respond to such portraits—to the point that we’re now comfortable seeing and displaying these tasteful images in our homes.
The use of lighting to flatter the female form in addition to explaining how props such as flowing fabrics allow you to create beautiful portraits that show the mom-to-be but also allow for creative partial or full nudes to be captured that are quite artistic. She discusses flattering lighting on location as well as in the studio, which is helpful to the photographer who doesn’t normally shoot with artificial lighting.
George is thorough in her coverage of the genre—from discussing the aspects of adding maternity portraits to your existing business, how to go about soliciting clients and building a relationship so you become their photographer for all life events, to which types of poses work well, how to blend the lines between single portraits and add the husband or partner, and other children.
One of the most important aspects to Maternity photography is the photographer’s ability to connect with the client/subject as well as the mom-to-be’s comfort being photographed. George explains this and continues throughout the book, not only displaying examples of her own imagery but incorporating captions that explain the technical challenges of the specific images shown.
Capture alone is not the only way to create such beautiful images as the ones displayed in the volume. George talks about the way that Photoshop can help a photographer take their images to a new artistic level.
She also offers examples and suggestions for post-production manipulation techniques and includes screenshots and detailed instructions. These serve as an added educational aid, which is important because not only does she show final images, but explains in detail how they were created.
One of the most helpful parts of the book is the section on marketing and sales. George explains what types of final items clients are often likely to purchase. This is important to know, because these images, while beautiful, may not always be appropriate for display in a living room. She also goes into the tips photographers can use to build a mom-to-be client into a client for life. Such programs include the ‘First Year of Life’ Line, how to integrate baby portrait settings; as well as where to advertise to potential clients.
Another great part of the book is the section where George talks with nine other pro photographers about their perspectives on pregnancy portraits. By including the views of other photographers, the book is more well rounded and not just a solitary viewpoint from the author.
If you’re contemplating adding Maternity portraits into your studio’s repertoire, check out The Art of Pregnancy Photography by Jennifer George. The book is packed with information that will be helpful to you, and is well worth the $34.95 pricetag.