Now, more than ever, I am acutely aware of the many luxuries I once took for granted, including having a professional take photographs for my blog or to help document life’s milestones.
For all of my new moms, I specifically empathize with your feeling of disappointment that this is not how you envisioned your first moments of motherhood. Giving birth during a pandemic is not something any of us prepared for. In the grand scheme of things, I admit, that it seems trivial to complain about not getting the maternity and newborn photos you had been planning for months, but there’s a feeling of loss nonetheless. So, for my first Mother’s Day, when Bugsy asked what I wanted to do to celebrate, I quickly exclaimed an “at-home photoshoot!” and am so glad I did. Luckily for me, despite his disdain for photos, he’s actually quite talented. So with a little preparation, we were able to capture some beautiful portraits of my first Mother’s Day.
You may be thinking, how am I supposed to stage a photoshoot at home without a fancy camera, photographer, backdrops and props, but I assure you there are simple ways to elevate your home photos, even if all you have is your phone and a reluctant partner. So, here are a few tips to help execute an at home photoshoot so you don’t have to miss out on capturing special moments during quarantine.
Plan Your Look & Get Coordinated
Every good photo starts with a good outfit. Whether you intend to be photographed alone or with other members of your quaranteam, be sure you’ve given your look(s) some thought. Trust me, I know how hard it is to get dressed these days, but your pajamas or old t-shirt and shorts will not make a good foundation for photos. For in home photos, try opting for neutral palettes and patterns to not compete with your backdrop. And, if you intend to take photographs with others, be sure your outfits compliment each other (and no, coordinated outfits do not mean matching t-shirts). For my photos, I wanted looks that evoked Spring and wore a pale yellow floral midi that I purchased just for Mother’s Day and dressed baby in beige knit overalls and white onesie.
Think About Your Backdrop
The backdrop to your photos is almost as important as you, the subject. A few things to keep in mind. If you have options, choose a room/space with walls of softer colors as light will reflect against them and project them onto you, leaving your skin tinged in the same hue as your walls. Find a clean and neutral background (avoid anything too busy) so the focus of the photo remains on you or find a location where the background frames you as the subject. For my photos, I chose two locations – the living room, where our windows acted as a clean neutral backdrop and the nursery, where the artwork and bookcase acted to frame us in the photo.
Take Photos on a Day When You Can Take Advantage of Natural Light
Natural light that’s soft and diffused is always the best lighting for photos. The trick is to wait for the light coming in through windows to be indirect to avoid glare and shadows. The best time for photos is when the room is evenly flooded with light, usually during the morning hours before the sun is too bright or late afternoon before sunset. In this way, the light will be at eye level and flood your face, avoiding awkward shadows or spots of light. We took photos around 11:00AM.
Always Face Your Light Source
You’ll want to make sure that you’re facing the light source. If the light is behind you, you ‘ll risk becoming a silhouette in the photo or being flooded out by the light, which makes sitting with your back to a window tricky. Another option is to angle your face toward the light even if your body is not to ensure your face does not get lost.
Have Inspiration Handy
Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and with Pinterest, you should never be without an armful of inspiration before you snap a photo. The best way to get that pic is to have one you like handy. I often find that once the camera comes out, I forget what I wanted to create, so having a few inspiration photos will help you execute the perfect photo, from the angle in which the photo is taken to your actual pose and positioning.
Practice Your Pose
This may sound silly, but practice does make perfect. First, get in front of the mirror and figure out which is your more flattering side (everyone has one). Then, be sure to angle your good side to the camera. Second, practice your pose to see how you look. If it looks unflattering in the mirror or a test shot, don’t do it! And, whatever you do, do not just stand straight in front of the camera with your arms down – no one looks good that way, no one.
Hope you all had a very Happy Mother’s Day!
Let me know if you try any of these tricks and how your photos came out in the comments!