Have You Heard of a “Rainbow Baby”?
As a Charlotte photographer, I get to tell some amazing stories! With that said, you will have to follow me on this blog post and wait for me to connect the dots at the end. Have you ever heard of a “rainbow baby”? I was introduced to the idea a few weeks ago. Basically, the “rainbow baby” is the baby born after the loss of a previous baby. With that in mind, I want to introduce the story of my friend, coworker, etc. My friend had the devastating experience of losing a baby at birth. Not only did this woman lose a baby at birth, but she almost lost her life, too! She is actually lucky to be alive today! Basically, it’s the worst circumstance you could ever imagine. Just remember this story for later.
Recently, I had the opportunity of conducting a maternity shoot and I wanted to share my thoughts and experience. First of all, I must admit that I have not been practicing photography much since I have a 10-month old son running around. For me, the goal was to capture just a few targeted shots of the expecting mom. It has been unusually cold (through the winter) in Charlotte, NC, so we had to do the maternity photos inside. So, we converted my garage into a studio with white and black seamless backgrounds (needless to say, I don’t own a separate studio space and have to work within the confines of my house as a Charlotte photographer). I utilized my Nikon D700, my trusty 50mm lens, some speedlites, and a few light modifiers. With my equipment in hand, I wanted to create some drama in the photos. To do this with a solid background, I really wanted to emphasize the lighting in some of the photos and really emphasize the highlights and shadows.
With the first shots, we captured some basic poses of the subject’s belly.
With the next shot, I wanted to concentrate on directional lighting that produced highlights on the near side of the face, while quickly falling off to shadows on the far side of the face. For this shot, I used a one-light setup with the Westcott 43? Apollo Orb directly to the left of the subject (90 degrees to the subject). I was pleased with the result as it produced a nice falloff of light from left to right. I added a texture to the background to add an artistic touch. In my opinion, the resulting photo captured a peacefulness and showed some depth in relation to the expecting mom’s thoughts, feelings about the pregnancy, etc.
Moving on to the next photo, I really wanted to recreate some of the maternity photos I have seen using fabric as the centerpiece! So, my wife and I went to a fabric store to pick up some stretchy, blue fabric. We draped the fabric around our subject and pulled it extremely tight. We clamped the excess to the light stand we were using. For lighting, we used the Kacey Enterprises 22? beauty dish aimed high and above the subject for a one-light setup. I liked the “punch” of light the beauty dish created. I considered using another light for a rim light, but I thought the beauty dish created just enough separation from the background where we did not need a rim light (personal preference). In the end, the resulting photo turned out exactly how I imagined it.
The subject wanted a couple of photos with a “bare belly” look. I thought this would go well with a low-key setup. So, I utilized the Westcott 43? Apollo Orb as a key light directly to camera right of the subject. I wanted that directional light that would fall off quickly. I supplemented the key light with a speedlight with a grid behind the subject as a rim light. The resulting photo is dramatic and captured the feeling I was trying to achieve.
Let me shift gears for a moment. Do you remember the story of the “rainbow baby” that I introduced in the beginning. Ok……I probably did a horrible job of creating suspense! The subject in this photo shoot is the very woman I described earlier! Against all odds, this lady survived the traumatic experience of a near death experience plus the tragic loss of her unborn child. Fast forward a couple of years, and she is expecting a child!…..A “rainbow baby”!
As a Charlotte photographer, I love meeting people and hearing their stories!
I am so thankful for the recent developments in this young lady’s life! You just cannot explain some things in life! I must say this unfortunate story has a very happy ending. I love the last photograph (see below) in this set. I think this may be the “money shot”! I had several similar poses where the subject had her chin “down”. But, I chose one of the poses where the subject has her chin slightly pointing “up”. I love her expression in this photograph! Personally, I get a strong sense of pride, resiliency, and faith in the subject’s expression! Wow! What a statement about the human spirit…….
I am humbled to have the opportunity to capture a few moments with this mother-to-be and her “rainbow baby”!
I am a pharmacist by day, but I am a photographer in my dreams. In my spare time, I am a portrait photographer in Charlotte, NC