Pregnancy photo shoot in London

Happy Holidays!

It’s been a long time since I posted so one of my new years resolutions is to get this blog going again.  I really enjoy writing in it but my motivation tends to ebb and wane (as it does with almost anything else, not just blogs).  But lately I’m on a pretty big photography kick and I’m looking forward to a big life-changing event in the coming weeks so I think this is as good a time as any to start writing again.

And what’s the life changing event?  I’m going to be a Dad!  And that’s the topic for today’s shoot.  I took a couple pics of my wife Adriana a few weekends back so wanted to include them here.  I think these pictures are just fantastic and really show the “pregnancy glow” that you so often hear about.

Taking these pics also got me thinking about using flash and how important it is to understand it and use it well.  These photos were generally “back-lit” meaning that the sun was pretty much behind Adriana (actually in some cases it was also to her right depending on which way she was facing).  So I had to make sure to use the flash and that it was turned up to the appropriate amount, but I don’t want it to overpower her face and I want to make as much use of the daylight as possible.

One of the things I learned about flash many years ago that I always keep in my mind is that it’s not impacted by shutter speed – a flash unit doesn’t care if the shutter speed on the camera is set to 1/10 sec or 1/200 sec (most can’t flash faster than 1/200 or 1/250 sec though).  But flash does care about the other two components of exposure – Aperture and ISO.  So if you’re taking a picture and the flash isn’t enough (or it’s too much) you can make adjustments to Aperture and ISO to impact the flash, but changing the shutter speed won’t have any impact.

So in the picture above I wanted to make sure Adriana was fully in focus and that the background (Big Ben) was also in significant focus.  I wanted it to be a bit blurry so as not to be the focal point of the photo but also in focus enough so it was obvious we’re in London.  I found that f/11 was the perfect aperture for this photo.  I set the ISO up to 200 to give the flash a bit more “oomph” and the shutter speed turned out to be 1/100 (I was shooting in Aperture priority mode).  I left the flash on ETTL (automatic) but I often times shoot with the flash in manual to give me that much more control.

When the photo was completed, I did some basic editing in Lightroom.  I normally tend to bump up the clarity in Lightroom but with this photo I was careful not to do that overall.  If you bump up the clarity on a portrait it tends to make the faces pretty rough and gritty – not the look I’m going for in a pregnancy shoot.  So instead I used the adjustment brush, bumped up the clarity on Big Ben, the bridge and the water, and then was careful not to touch her face or body with the clarity brush.  I then shifted the adjustment brush to sharpness, and sharpened Adriana only.  Big Ben is ever so slightly out of the focal plane so it doesn’t make much sense to sharpen it.

Below there’s a few more pictures of Adriana that I took on the day, including one of me with her.  Anyway in the future I may do an actual recording of how I edit these photos (again it’s pretty basic stuff).  I hope you find this useful, I hope you have established some great New Year’s Resolutions for 2013 and I hope they have to do with taking more pictures!

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About Aaron

A love of photography and travel have led to me creating this blog. I'm also interested in science, technology and the outdoors. I currently live in London with my beautiful wife and work in the telecommunications industry.
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13 Responses to Pregnancy photo shoot in London

  1. Helen Harris says:

    Hi Aaron.
    I ended up stumbling upon your blog this evening following a link on Dri’s blog (which is my favorite travel blog). I was pretty amazed at your photographs. They are beautiful! This pregnancy photo shoot is just gorgeous! The pregnancy glow really is distinct and present, yet simultaneously, there is also a natural glow about the backgrounds. It’s as if Adriana and London were in perfect balance. They are lovely photos and I’m sure your baby girl will be delighted to have these as she grows up.
    On a separate note, one of the reasons why I was really excited to discover your blog was that one of my resolutions for 2013 is to (finally) learn how to master my digital SLR (if that can be done at all…) I purchased it 2 years ago, and still haven’t taken the proper time to play with it (sadly, I always lazily default to the “automatic” setting…) Anyways, I’ve already registered for an online intro photography course next year, and I am really excited. Your travel photographs will definitely keep me motivated and inspired :) I look forward to seeing more of your work.
    Congratulations to you and Dri on the baby. I hope she arrives safely and I wish you all a happy 2013!

    • Aaron says:

      Hi Helen thanks for the comment and for stopping by! And most importantly best of luck on your New Years Resolution – that’s really great and I made that jump a few years back when I decided to do the same thing. It has really been something I’ve enjoyed tremendously over the last few years and if I can do anything to pass that feeling on to others then all the better! Best of luck on your course and if you have any ideas for a blog entry please let me know (that’s my New Years resolution!)
      Cheers –

  2. saramorais says:

    Aawww these look so sweet! I think it’s amazing what you’ve been doing, I mean, registering all the steps from Adriana’s pregnancy and I’m sure your “Little Adriana” will be proud one day when she looks back at these pictures. I hope you both have an amazing year (and I’m sure it will be) and I’m sure she will be as beautiful, as full of energy and healthy as her parents. Wish you all the best!!

  3. Liana says:

    Very nice pictures! Wish you both all the best!

  4. Belíssimas fotos! Parabéns!

  5. Renata says:

    Lindas fotos, verdadeiros cartões-postais, de Londres e das mulheres da tua vida, claro! ;-) Ficou tudo perfeito, luz, flash, enquadramento, paisagem… maravilhoso! Parabéns e obrigada por compartilhar! Um Feliz Ano Novo para vocês!

  6. Kely says:

    Hello Aaron, Amazing pictures as usual, Pls keep posting how did you took your pictures, I attended a basics photography class last december and I’m really happy with the result of learning a little bit more and getting the control of my pictures, know I need to improve my equipment but it will take a few months until I can buy a new camera, until then I will keep taking pictures with what I got. I still need get some time to explore more your blog, there are precious info here.
    Congratulations for your pics and the soon arrival of the baby!

  7. Lovely pics! Congrats!
    The light is amazing!

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