A couple months ago, a friend of mine who just also happens to be a past wedding client and photographer himself, Lance, reached out to me about a shoot idea he had been cooking up. Basically, he wanted to plan a creative shoot to capture a handful of maternity photos for him and his wife Lynne. They’re currently expecting their first child and I could tell right away that he had something pretty original in mind. The last shoot I had planned out with Lance was for his and Lynne’s first anniversary shoot a couple of years ago which also involved some pre-shoot planning.
Knowing that Lynne wouldn’t want a typical maternity shoot, I knew Lance wouldn’t be coming to me unless he had something pretty special in mind. Well, he did, and even though we both almost lost a few toes during the shoot, it came out exactly how he wanted. The shot below is from their first year anniversary shoot, but scroll down to read about the maternity shoot and the meaning behind it. I copied it directly out of his email to show you exactly how he explained his thought process and what he had envisioned for the final product. Of course, once I heard it… I loved it.
So for a while Lynne and I have talked about having this shoot inspired by another song from another band we listen to. "Bayside" is the band and the song is titled "landing feet first".
The lyrics from the verse we are referencing go as follows...
"I've considered what I'd be like
if the ocean poured in from both of the coasts
And we set sail to find out
Just where our boat would go
But I don't think that I'd want to know
Cuz it would just make time
So I could see your smile
With our brand new life in tow"
Lance explaining how he envisioned the actual shoot going and the look he was interested in pulling off.
The look I’m thinking of isn’t quite “fugitives on the run”, or “post apocalypse” or anything like that. Something with maybe a carney or great depression kind of feel to it. I'd like to pick up some old leather or worn cloth luggage or trunks off of Craigslist/Facebook marketplace for cheap. Have them placed out of focus either next to us, in front of us or the boat, etc that's maybe in frame but not the center of attention.
One shot I kind of rough sketched has me standing waist or mid thigh deep in the water with maybe grey wool pants, suspenders and a wrinkled white/white pinstriped dress shirt with the cuffs rolled above the elbow holding on to the bow with one hand. The stern of the boat with maybe just alittle side showing is closer to camera than I with Lynne either sitting across the stern or maybe even out of the boat, to the right, on land still, obviously pregnant.
I'm attaching a picture of a really rough sketch.
On the day of the shoot, the temperature was in the mid 30’s, easily the coldest day in a long time. While Lance knew he was going to be going in the water, I don’t know why I thought that I was gonna be able to shoot this from standing on the dry land. Within 5 minutes of getting Lynne and the boat in the water, I was up to my knees in what felt like 20 degree river water with my jeans and work boots on. If there was any shoot that I wish I had brought someone along to take BTS shots it would have been this one. I had light stands in the water, braced against trees to keep the water current and wind from knocking them over. Plus, within about 20 minutes of shooting I had just about lost all feeling from my knees down. It was tough to complain though, as Lynne was in a dress being pulled around in a boat with nothing to block her from the elements.
We shot for about an hour before calling it quits, luckily timing the sun just right. I’m really happy with how these came out and I know it was what the two of them had in mind when they first presented the idea to me. While I took the photos, it was Lance and Lynne who brought this idea to life.
The entire shoot was shot with the Leica SL and 50mm f/1.4 Summilux or 75mm APO Summicron. While the sun was coming through pretty bright, I decided to use a couple of AD200’s on light stands in the water to add some fill light. We also lost the sun pretty quickly, so a few of the shots below don’t really have the sun backlighting them. Rather an AD200 with full CTO creating an almost identical look to that of the sun before it went down below the horizon.