When I first met Jenna and Vinnie to talk about their wedding photography, I quickly realized two things: I really liked them both, and they really valued good photography.
So I was psyched when Jenna asked me this spring to do her maternity portraits for their first child.
Most photographers recommend doing maternity portraits around 24 weeks—but Jenna barely had a bump at 24 weeks, so we waited until just 3 weeks before her due date.
She’d just come from a doctor’s appointment and had a new photograph of the baby with it’s tiny clenched hands, clearly ready to join the world in a few short weeks.
Jenna and Vinnie live in Concord, Massachusetts, and Jenna was under doctors orders to not wander too far from the hospital, so we did the portrait session at the Minute Man National Park a few minutes from their home.
Jenna and I had been sharing maternity portraits we’d seen on Pinterest—both the ones we loved and the ones that were simply not a good idea—so we both had a good sense for the types of portraits we wanted to create.
It was a beautiful sunny spring day, so we had wonderful backlighting and blooming gardens.
Jenna on the bridge that was the site of the “shot heard ’round the world.” I couldn’t help but think of how momentous this baby’s birth will be, and the ways in which she’ll change the world.
Congratulations Jenna and Vinnie! You are going to be the best parents!
She’s heading to Europe in a few months to seek a position as a trapeze artist and needed some portraits for her portfolio. We spent some time in the studio before doing some outdoor images on a wonderfully warm March day.
Great portraits have a couple of key ingredients. The first is a relaxed, fun atmosphere of collaboration between the subject and the photographer. If it’s not fun, it’s going to be reflected in the images.
Another key ingredient is great light. I love scoping out places around southern Vermont that have soft, flattering light. This alley is one of my faves!
So I set this funky red stool in the alley, and ask Alissa to do whatever feels comfortable to her, thinking she’s going to sit on the stool. Not so much.
Providing some positive direction about posing can really help someone relax and be themselves. A lot of times I’ll say something like, “What if you knelt down by the stool like this and tried a couple of things?” showing them what I have in mind. Then they take it from there, creating beautiful, natural portraits that convey both their personality and style. I love these images of Alissa.
Another example of suggesting to a NECCA grad that maybe they could stand behind the rail. Trapeze artists stand behind rails differently than most of us.
Different angles and compositions can be so much more interesting than the same old shots. Crazy blue eyes don’t hurt either.
We are so blessed to live in a town that has such a rich patina. I would never be tempted to use a green screen when I have Brattleboro as a backdrop.
Genius portraitist Josef Karsh often framed his subjects in a doorway or window to provide a frame within a frame. I love the dripping roof top tar.
Wish Alissa luck as she travels to Germany to pursue her art and joy. Alissa thanks for the opportunity for me to pursue my art and joy with you on a warm March day!