22 January 2014

Photographing Pregnancy Annoucement

Pregnancy announcements have been on my mind lately as we made our announcement to our Facebook friends and family this week! 

I have collected a few of my favorites from around the web and want to walk you through the process so you can photograph your own pregnancy announcement to share your happy news with the world.

First, let me just say that it is such a relief to finally have the word out there and to have an excuse for my growing belly and shrinking wardrobe. (This week I wore my skinny jeans just one more time. Sigh. See you in July favorite pants!)

Alright, now let's get down to business. I'll walk you through the cheats and set ups of four pregnancy announcement photographs (the first one being my own photograph). 

Idea One: child in crib with eviction notice 

When Joseph and I first saw this circulating on Pinterest, I knew it would be a great idea for our announcement. I thought it was funny and clever and I knew J would complete the shot with one of his silly faces. 

Character(s): your adorable first born child

Props: crib, eviction notice, camera

Setting: child's bedroom (preferably with an open window and lots of natural light. You can tell by the shadow that my window is to the right of my camera.)

Camera Setup:  
shutter speed- 1/200 seconds (when photographing kids I always aim for at least 1/200 seconds to be quick enough to "freeze" their motion and all their silly faces)

aperture- f/ 3.2 ( at this aperture I have both his face and the eviction notice in focus while also letting more light enter the camera in his dark room)

ISO- 1600 (I chose a higher ISO because I could handle a little noise as long as my image was sharp and with everything in focus)

Taking the Picture:
Make sure to focus on your child's face (specifically the eyes) because that is the most important. I had my husband stand directly behind me to help keep J looking at the camera and making cute faces. As long as your child is happy (and not crying because they think it is nap time) take plenty of pictures so you have a variety of expressions to choose from.

 Idea two: mom and dad with baby onesie

I found this cute idea from make bake & love on Pinterest and I couldn't get over it's simplicity (or her cute dress).

Characters: mom and dad to-be

Props: baby onesie or any baby outfit (with optional name and date), styled outfits for mom and dad (using intentional patterns, colors, and textures is what gives the photograph personality), camera, tripod, shutter remote (optional)

Setting: anywhere with good lighting! The above location works because they are standing in open shade with a non-distracting background.

Camera Setup:
shutter speed- Because you will be photographing two adults who (hopefully) can handle holding still for more than 30 seconds, your shutter speed doesn't need to be as fast as if you were photographing a child. I would start at 1/100 or 1/60 seconds.

aperture- As long as both parents are standing the same distance from the camera with the baby onesie at about the same distance, you won't need a great depth of field. Depending on how much to want your background to blur, I would start at f/ 3.2 and see what is in focus. 

ISO- This will depend on if you are taking the photograph indoors where you will need a higher ISO or outdoors in sunlight or open shade where it will be lower.

Taking the Picture:
Have your spouse stand in your desired location. Set up your camera on the tripod and either zoom with your lens or with your feet until you see your desired image in the viewfinder. (In the above picture, the couple is cropped at the shoulders). 

Adjust all your camera settings and then ask your spouse to hold the baby onesie in place at his/her side. Focus on the baby onesie. Either press the shutter with a timer, or have your remote ready. Hurry into your position in the photograph and hold the baby outfit (at your side if you want yourself in focus too). Always always take as many as you need to get the perfect shot! (That's why we shoot in digital!)

Idea three: husband passed out on the floor with the positive pregnancy test

Every time I look at this picture it makes me laugh! Obviously the scene was planned but I think every dad to-be can relate to this feeling. 

Characters: mom and dad to-be

Props: pregnancy test (doesn't have to be THE pregnancy test if that weirds you out), camera, shutter remote (optional)

Setting: Indoors, in a long room with great lighting. I think part of why this photograph is so good is because the mom to-be is silhouetted in light so you can see her surprised body language.

Camera Setup:
aperture- this is the key of this photograph! Because the photographer used a narrow depth of field (small f/ stop number, something like f/2.0 or f/2.8) only the pregnancy test is really in sharp focus with all the funny details (the passed out dad and the surprised mom) are blurred in the background.

ISO and shutter speed are less important on this picture. Make aperture your first priority and then set the ISO and shutter speed to achieve correct exposure. 

Taking the Picture:
 From experience I know that for this shot you will be laying on your belly to set up your camera, it just has to be done. Your camera needs to be set up on the floor, angled up just a little bit at the front of the camera. I like to fold my camera strap and slide it under until I get the angle I want. The angle assures that you can see mom's whole figure in the background and not just her floor level feet. Be sure to focus on the pregnancy test.

Either press the shutter with a timer, or have your remote ready. Hurry into your position (probably mom should do this, might be hard for dad to quickly get back into position) in the photograph. Always always take as many as you need to get the perfect shot! (That's why we shoot in digital!)

Idea four: family feet with a pair of baby shoes 

I have seen a lot of this variation floating around Pinterest. This one is my favorite because the personalities of the family members show through even when you only see their shoes. The different styles, colors, and patterns of both the shoes and the pants make this photograph fantastic.

Characters: mom, dad, and any older children

Props: adorable pair of baby shoes, camera, tripod, shutter remote (optional)

Setting: this really can be anywhere with great lighting. I like the example shot on the brick path because it contrasts well with the shoes and really makes them pop.

Camera Setup:
shutter speed- If you have small people in your picture (age not necessarily height), then you will need a fast shutter speed. I happen to know for a fact that kids would rather not stand still while you snap away. Be ready with at least 1/200 seconds.

aperture- Because all members of the family will be standing next to each other (and be on the same focal plane) you will not need a really wide aperture to get everyone in focus. F/3.5 or f/4 would be a safe place to start.

Taking the Picture:
Line up your cute little family according to age, leaving  a spot for yourself. Remember to set out the baby shoes! Set up your camera on a tripod and tilt the camera down just a bit to eliminate distractions in the background and to just focus on the shoes. In this picture they cropped just below the dad's knees.

Focus on the center family member's shoes. Either press the shutter with a timer, or have your remote ready. Hurry into your open position in the photograph. Always always take as many as you need to get the perfect shot! (That's why we shoot in digital!)  

Have a cute announcement idea but can't figure out how to make it happen? 
Write me a comment or an email and I would love to help.

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