TPF Noob!
Feb 8, 2012
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Hello Everyone. I am new to the forum but not new to the world of photography. I have been shooting for about 10 years now. I'm not going to call myself a proffessional although I would love to be at some point, but I am a very serious enthusiast. I specialize in all aspects of Equine photography and dabble a bit in landscape. But I have come across an issue of a relative of mine wanting me to do maternity portraits of her this weekend. I am not in any way a portrait photographer and so have no idea where to start, and I have told her of such. But she sees all my other beautiful photos and automatically thinks I can do people just as well as I do horses. After doing some extensive research on me own I am at a total loss. Some say do directional light, other say in the shadows, some say put subject with back to the sun other say facing, and some say to only shoot on overcast days for the even tone. What is best? She does want them outdoor in a local park which is good because I don't own a flash, I have always found natural light to be better for me. I do however own a 5 in 1 reflector although it is fairly large being 40x60" since I use it for my equine photography. Is this too big? Do I go out and shoot as if shooting horses just a different subject or is it a totally different deal? Any tips/suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
Shoot her the same way you shoot horses, if you can take a good picture of a horse you can take a portrait.

Choose your backgrounds first, place the subject in the frame. Shoot late in the evening so you have good light. Use thin depth of field if you can.

Relax have fun.
The only problem you'll have is posing. Try it all! The basics, tried and true are to shoot in open shade, shoot with YOUR back to the sun and avoid deep shadows. So, do all of that and then do the opposite. You'll find something you like in there.
The reflector-absolutely use it!
Direct, indirect, shadow, these are all valid methods. Whether they are appropriate in a given situation is up to you and the client. What I would suggest you do is sit down with her and spend an hour or two searching materinity images on-line, and get an idea of the poses and situations she likes. Once you have a few in mind, then go back and reverse-engineer the lighting.

I think you will find it VERY challenging to produce quality portraits without at least some supplementary lighting (FWIW, all light is natural, there is no such thing as a synthetic photon). Your feflector will be useful but will need direct lighting to be the most beneficical.
Thank you for the tips everyone. Hopefully it goes well, and I guess I just need to experiment with different things to see what works best.

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