Maternity | Nina + Family | Mill Valley CA

Updated: Apr 12, 2019

I met Nina, her husband Chad and their little guy Rowan at their flat in Mill Valley on a rainy weekend morning for a cozy and intimate documentary style maternity session.

When I arrived Rowan was finishing up breakfast and everyone was having a relaxing start to the day. I spent some time getting to know Chad and Rowan while Nina finished getting ready. I love the speed of weekend mornings: nowhere to be, just hanging out and savoring the simple moments.

This was my first documentary style maternity session. I was trying to find a balance between some directing and guidance so the images would have soft, flattering light while also making space for Nina, Chad and Rowan to have intimate and real moments so the pictures would be personal and meaningful.

The photo above was Nina and Rowan hanging out in the living room. Rowan loves his mom and loves being next to her, and I captured these silly moments while we talked about baby brother and Rowans "Big Brother" shirt.

I enjoyed these first minutes of the photo session because all of us were getting to know one another, chatting about baby brother, getting comfortable in front of the camera - and Rowan started being so silly and playful. I was able to step back and document the special bond that Rowan and Nina have.

I asked Nina to relax in the chair in their living room. I loved this spot because it was to the side of the large window, for some soft portraiture lighting, and it was also a comfy place for Nina to put her feet up. It didn't take long before Rowan was on her lap, and they read a couple of books together.

Do you see the name of the book they're reading? It's called "You Were The First" by Patricia MacLachlan. Talk about the most perfect book for welcoming a new baby into the family. I wish I had known of this when I had my second.

Rowan clearly loved this book. You could see that he was getting a lot out of it, and I'm sure it will help him adjust when his baby brother arrives.

After Dr. Seuss's Green Eggs and Ham, Rowan had a BIG yawn. :-) Rowan, Nina and Chad talked a little about new baby. I loved that these moments unfolded where Rowan was interested in his mom's belly.

Even though this was a documentary session, I wanted to get a couple of nice portraits of Nina in this beautiful phase of her pregnancy. She was so laid back and let me try out a few things.

I'm a sucker for the center of bed shot that you often see in lifestyle maternity photos. How can you not love this? So classic.

Most of the light in the bedroom was coming from the glass patio doors to the right of the bedroom, leaving the far left corners of the room dark. This gave me the idea to have Nina stand close to the patio doors, while I stood outside on the balcony to take pictures. This had the effect of highlighting Nina and creating a dark background, which I further edited to create this look. A proper portrait which captures the beauty and strength of Nina.

While we were in the bedroom, I was thinking of ways to involve the whole family. One thing I've been thinking about lately is how to turn the maternity session into somewhat of a pampering for mama. The bedroom is an intimate setting, lots of snuggles and snoozes happen here... and... what about foot rubs?

I asked Nina if she'd be open to having a foot rub from Chad because a foot rub in the third trimester is divine. Chad didn't hesitate.

I'm glad I was able to arrange a few minutes of foot rub for Nina and to also capture the cute interactions from Chad and Rowan (who was also very interested in what was going on with mom's feet). Very sweet. :-)

As we were wrapping up in the bedroom we noticed that the rain had stopped and the sun was out, a rare moment in the rainy weeks that we'd been having in Marin County. We jumped on the opportunity to head out for waffles at Equator Coffees in downtown Mill Valley, a weekend tradition.

I snapped a couple of shots along the way as well. Rowan is speedy on his scooter. On the way he stopped by an old pay phone that caught his eye. And I couldn't help taking a couple candid shots of Nina.

Equator Coffees has this beautiful outdoor seating area which was nice to enjoy after all of the rain. And y'all... the Equator Waffles looked amazing. No wonder this is a family tradition.

That's a wrap! I took off with a delicious latte and croissants for my crew, and waved goodbye to Nina, Chad and Rowan as they enjoyed the rest of their sunny afternoon.

I'll leave you with a couple of my favorites that didn't make it into the images above. Thanks for reading!

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