My 10 Fave 35mm Motherhood Portraits from 2019

I love incorporating a timeless film shot or two into a session when possible. That's right, film. The stuff that you have to load into a camera and is sensitive to light and takes about 2 weeks to get back from the lab. Film. The stuff we grew up with. It still exists, thankfully, and it's an absolute dream to shoot with.

Here are a few of my favorite film shots from 2019.

My very . first . film . shot. Ever (except for disposable cameras when I was little). Talk about good luck. It's no surprise this is one of my favorites. We took two film pictures from this session, the rest were digital. And this shot was unique and just blew my mind.

This session was entirely in film and we took to nature to honor this precious bond between a mama and her daughter. I love this shot, how her feet are tucked up on her mama's arm, and the colors are so dreamy.

There were several film shots from this maternity session that I LOVE. But, this one takes the cake. How perfect that at the end of the shoot the moon was rising and the setting sun highlighted this cozy mama and the cliffs behind her. When the starts align and these moments reveal themselves (how some of the best photographs happen) I just have to say thank you and share my gratitude.

The mama portraits from this session were mostly in black and white film, the other shots were more candid or documentary style, or of the whole family together. So when I got these film scans back from the lab I was so happy with the timeless beauty of this mama we captured here.

A lot of times these portraits take place at the end of a session, when everyone is comfortable and relaxed and the camera is old hat. I love this content sense of peace that comes across on this mama's face, which only a sleeping baby on your chest can create.

This photo is special for so many reasons. First and foremost, I think that some sides of motherhood need more visibility and that people need a chance to be seen, like, really seen, if they want to be. There is a special romantic side to motherhood that I cherish and want to preserve. But, I also relish the chance to make motherhood art that tells the other side. The side of strength and sacrifice, for example, which I see in this photo.

Although it might be hard to see in this photo, this mama has her tiny newborn in her hands. This photo is special to me because it represents a direction that is important in my work, that is, the artful representation of the connection and story behind a family with a newborn. The pacing. The soothing. The snuggling. I try to tell that story in my photographs, and I remember this shot being somewhat of a turning point in my film work where I tried to honor that vision.

There's a saying that some of the most beautiful things in life are seen in their briefest form. And pregnancy is one of those things, in my opinion. A woman completely transforms for a few months of her life, and it is so rare and so beautiful that I love when it is embraced in its most natural form, in a place of significance for the individual, in a moment of vulnerability and courage. This photo is all of those things and more.

This exposure was from the first newborn session where I started using film. At the very end of the session, we decided to shoot a roll of film. I tried to load the Kodak 400 Tri-X roll into my camera but it wouldn't load. Eventually after a number of attempts, it took but I was certain that the film was damaged from being exposed to light. We decided to go for it anyway, and see what happened. When I got the film back, every single image we took turned out perfectly. And even better, we captured a beautiful variety of moments that became special shots to my clients. I was overjoyed and so inspired to keep shooting film.

This session was so cool because we did it completely spontaneously in a somewhat public park in SF. It was filled with so much ivy and beautiful eucalyptus tress, we couldn't not incorporate this into the shoot. We took a variety of shots but this one sticks with me for its timeless, natural beauty.