Updated: Apr 28, 2019
I'm very excited to be sharing this set of photos.
As some of you may know, I've been practicing staying true to the essence of documentary style photography, which means creating space for real connection and documenting that instead of directing or having my clients focus at the camera. It's very much an awareness of the moment and recognizing the subtleties that make life and relationships so meaningful.
Maternity, thus far, as been the most challenging with regard to being more "hands-off" and documenting real moments. I think it's because there is a tradition of posing a woman who is expecting because, let's face it, pregnancy is the most beautiful thing in the world. But I feel there is more to tell with the photos, because pregnancy is such a transformative time, especially for a family of three who is welcoming a new baby. The time and connection that Steph, Trevor and Jack have right now is special, and preserving their connection, preserving how the three of them operate, as life is about to change in fun and exciting ways - feels valuable to me.
Steph's session was the first time I went in completely hands-off for a maternity shoot, taking the same approach I would for a true documentary family shoot. There were a handful of times that I jumped in and offered a pointer or said "pause for a second", things like that, but most of it was letting Steph, Trevor and Jack enjoy their time together.
We spent 1.5 hours together on a weekend morning at the beautiful Sorich Park Open Space in San Rafael. The trail head is lined with giant eucalyptus trees which is absolutely jaw dropping.
Jack marched,. marched, marched for most of the trail, until he discovered wildflowers he needed to pick for mom. He traveled with his dog Dodo and a pair of binoculars which came in handy for "taking my picture" as well as for spotting hawks flying high in the sky.
On the trail, I wanted to focus on telling the story of their morning through images of interactions, laughter, and of course capturing Jack's excitement to be out and about with mom and dad. This was also a nice time for Steph and Trev to relax together, as the two of them have been busy opening an amazing microbrewery in San Rafael called Pond Farm Brewing.
When we reached the end of the trail, Steph and Trev put down a blanket in this glorious patch of grass overlooking the valley. Jack ran around picking flowers and played imagination games with his parents.
I switched between my 35mm for some up-close shots as well as landscapes.
See the blanket pile to the right of Steph and Trev? Jack is snuggled up, hanging out in there while his parents enjoyed a few moments together.
I also hung back a bit and put on my 70-200 zoom lens so that I could give everyone physical space to connect without the sound of the shutter.
Steph's brother was in town and joined for the hike. It was really special to document the bond between siblings as well as how much Jack adores his uncle.
The views were glorious, and we caught some really sweet moments in front of this jaw-dropping background - and wow, we couldn't have asked for a more beautiful day.
On the way back I took a few moments to focus on Stephanie and to take a couple of portraits. We had some nice conversations about life and photography. It's always nice to take a little bit of time to focus on mom, as well as to give her some space to decompress and connect with her baby.
We mixed the documentary style with some somewhat posed portraits on the way back. The sun was shining through the eucalyptus trees just right, and it created a really lovely scene. Everyone was relaxed from the walk, Trev had his picnic blanket wrapped around his shoulders which I love because it tells a story, and Jack was beaming from ear to ear talking about some of his favorite characters from The Nutcracker.
Here are a few more of my favorite pictures that didn't make it into the storyline above. Thanks for reading, and thanks to Stephanie, Trevor and Jack for a really special session.