The Dolon's Biltmore Maternity Session
Though I've always professed that my photojournalistic style of photography lends itself to most any genre of photography - or rather, any life event - I've shied away from maternity sessions because I've always thought they were overdone. Perhaps it's my hubris showing, but while I think photos of a glowing mother-to-be in a flowing dress and flower crown showing off her about-to-pop belly can be gorgeous, it's not a style I adhere to. So, when I got a referral for a couple in town for a couple days wanting to schedule a maternity session at the Biltmore, I hesitated, but decided to schedule the shoot to at least see if I could put my own storytelling spin on the session conveying the couple's joy, contentment and excitement in their season of life.
As it turned out, Lauren and Chris were the perfect couple for me to make my entré into the maternity world! Down-to-earth, open for whatever poses I wanted to try and completely comfortable with each other and the camera. Though it was the "dead of winter" in theory, we actually had a pleasant 50 degree morning with clear mountain views and a lingering sunrise. This provided the perfect backdrop for our first set of images on the overlook beside the house. I like to start each session shooting from a distance to ease my subjects into the idea of being the stars of the show and the Biltmore always provides beautiful architectural and natural details to frame these wide shots.
As I worked closer, I began to really understand the thrill of maternity sessions as I watched the two parents interact. As they laughed, hugged and told me their story they highlighted not only Lauren's belly - the literal proof of their love for each other - but showed their happiness and commitment in their interactions. Perhaps the best example of this is an image on the stairs leading back to the front of the house: as they posed, I told Chris to whisper something in Lauren's ear and while I have no idea what he said (given how goofy they were they were being, that might be best) her laughing grin says it all.
We worked our way towards the iconic overlook of the Biltmore house to capture a recognizable image and then continued on to a little grove of still-green trees. As I'd walked in I'd seen how the sunlight softly filtered through the trees and knew it would be the perfect natural backdrop for a couple maternity portraits of Lauren by herself. Even more perfect, the little one decided to make himself known right as I clicked the shutter so that almost by accident I was able to candidly capture Lauren's surprise at feeling the kick.
If I learned anything from this shoot, it was a reinforcement of the idea that you can't knock something until you try it. Now I know that not only are maternity sessions incredibly fun and rewarding, but they lend themselves perfectly to telling the story of the quiet time of parenthood before birth. Best of all, with the addition of maternity portraits to my repertoire I can tell a couple's story from proposal to engagement to wedding to pregnancy to newborn through childhood and so on to capture not only the milestones of their lives but the quiet and characteristic interactions within them as well.