February 2018. My sister is expecting her third child, I am expecting a new camera. The anticipation is rising.
Its 1am, my phone is ringing. My brother-in-law is calling, contractions have started and they have to go to hospital. He asks if I can come over and take care of their children. I'm on my way to babysit my two nephews
I already have my new camera. My sister is still waiting in the hospital for the new baby, but the baby doesn’t want to come out. It seems the contractions were a false alarm. There is hope she can leave the hospital and we will get a chance to shoot a pregnancy photo session. We have two weeks until the due date.
The doctor’s give her the all clear to go home. After a day of rest, we organize her maternity photo session. We borrow black curtains for the background. We prepare props and sift through Pinterest for inspiration.
Its shooting day, I spend the morning setting up the equipment and props. The apartment turns into a photo studio.
We begin the session. To begin I start creating the right atmosphere for the shoot. I test the lighting, relaxing jazz music is playing on the radio in the background. After a couple of test shots, it looks like we're on the right track.
We also have a small helper, my sister’s 4 year old son is home and he has decided he wants to be our assistant for the day. The challenge is growing. Our little helper wants to be the centre of attention. I am trying to take a shot from above. My sister is lying in position. We are ready to take the shot, I am standing on the ladder. Our assistant/small helper has found this moment to start playing with the setup and does not allow us to take the picture. We are trying to convince him that we will play with him after the photo is taken, but nothing works. He decides to lie down next to his mother, I quickly decide to take advantage of this opportunity, I tell him to look up and not move. I manage to take three shots, one works wonderfully. The face of the little one is priceless and my sister looks serene. I called this photo "I'm lying down and waiting ..."
Slowly the other members of the family begin arriving home. A scuffle begins between the two brothers, who both want to have a photo with Mummy. I take a few more shots in various poses and a change of outfits and finally we take a family group portrait. It's almost impossible to get the four members together and ready at the same time for the picture. The two youngsters tease each other over and over again, like typical brothers. It’s the end of the day, the session is finished and everyone seems tired but happy (including the photographer) having spent the day having fun together as a family.
This day reminded me that it is not always possible to do what was planned, that you have to go with the flow, grab each opportunity as it arises and catch each unique and special moment, because it’s these moments that are not planned that sometimes turn out better than anything you could have intended. It was wonderful to be able to include the whole family in the belly bump session, I also saw how much it meant for each member of the family, what emotions it evoked and how these moments are priceless...