I select the best maternity, family and baby photography of the year to put on my annual calendar.
I have been doing this elaborate selection process for ten years. The process forces me to look at my work and choose the best images. It is difficult because I get attached to images. Often, I have a trusted group of clients and friends who come over to help. We pop open a bottle of wine and project the images large. I like to get as many opinions as possible. Below, I have discussed each calendar and the decisions for the main images. The family images, on either side, are often more challenging to decide upon because I look for diversity, of age, ethnicity, families etc. But the image has to make me feel something, it has to be great.
Pregnant women are sacred beings. Their womb is the holding place between worlds for the new little souls. This mama walked into my studio with this headdress. She represents all that I see in these amazing women during this nine months and afterwards as they raise their children. I knew she had to be the feature maternity photo the moment I saw the film.
The back of the calendar represents my favorite family photographs from the year. These images tend to be nontraditional or they are my favorites but won’t fit as a square for the front.
This year we switched the orientation of the main maternity photo at the last minute. I created this image in December and knew it just had to be the center image. The laugh on this baby’s face as she peeks out from behind her mama, is just a wonderful moment.
This year we had many return pregnancy photography clients bringing in more than one child and felt it appropriate to incorporate this new dynamic in the main maternity photo. There were a lot of smiles in the studio this year. I also found my voice in my family photography as I created images that mirrored how I was feeling about life – happy and excited.
This year was the first year I introduced a child in the main image of the mother. It was appropriate because we saw many clients coming in pregnant with their second child. We also added a few extra pictures, changing the sidebar images from four to five because we were struggling to include the best in eight. I needed more room!
Sticking with our design, here we shifted and actually had a pregnancy photography up close and confronting the viewer and audience. I had four images on either side.
Our design was now set and here we started to get more daring with a more naked pregnancy client. These calendars were at first only sent to our clients, but later we started to send them to others in the birth industry as a thank you for taking care of our mothers. Also a note about diversity. I pride myself and my studio on our diverse clientele. I make a point of featuring this diversity on my calendars. It is important to me to show all mothers and families, from LGBT photography, to single moms to families from all ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds.
I was starting to branch out with using more fabrics and motion. This mom allowed me to experiment during our maternity photography session. I purposefully use back lighting to emphasize the shape.
This year was the first year we had a maternity client actually confronting the camera. With my mission always being to challenge society’s definition of beauty, it made sense to have a gorgeous pregnant woman looking right at you, almost challenging you to say anything about her exposing her belly.
This was our third calendar and became our standard design to feature maternity and family photography on the cover. It also was when I began looking back at the year to feature my favorite and absolute best family photographs and feature only one pregnancy photography client.
In keeping with the design of 2004, I choose three images, one maternity photograph, one of a couple and a baby photograph. All are still favorites to this day.
This was the first calendar that I did. My idea was to make something special (and small) to send to my maternity and family photography clients that they could hang up. It was simple and said what I did. I didn’t begin to do the edit of my best work until 2006.