For a city dweller, a maternity photoshoot in Poconos means fairytale, adventure, and enchanted forests. It is also an escape from the wearing place that NYC became in 2020.
Phew, three months without blogging… During the onset of the lockdown because of coronavirus in March 2020, I looked into filling up free time. I happened to had started a colossal year-long business project in January (80% done now) but I could still handle digging out the blogging treasures that I didn’t have time to publish. Even put together a list of around 10 stories for you…
However, a whirlpool of new projects took over: announcing the children fantasy art and welcoming its first visionary families, my research on scams targeting photographers, a unique art initiative which I am keeping under wraps until later this year, the lockdown social documentary in my community involving 14 families, and opening my school Zorzkool with its first online photography class for moms. Thrown on top of that business overhaul, I ended up working more hours these months than if the pandemic with the stay-at-home orders didn’t happen. I could only scoff at friends’ Netflix marathons (wouldn’t mind if I could) and complains of boredom…
Then the fragile idea of reopening shaped up in May and with that, the most daring clients came out, those who cannot wait — the expecting moms. I have seven maternity photoshoots in works so far and they are my main clientele at the moment, including three underwater maternity sessions. Engagement and wedding clients are next, with a few cool blogs in the pipeline.
Meet miei amici Francesca and Michele, who moved to the US a few years ago from Italy. We did an engagement session for them and a wedding in 2018. They are now expecting and we decided on a maternity photoshoot in Poconos.
I never got to publishing their engagement shoot — another example of having to pass on even cool photoshoots when timing is scarce for blogging. The session took place in Staten Island and here are a few kiss-picks from it, along with a wedding shot from a cruise ship:
Our shoot discussion started early May. They wondered if I was ok with shooting and asked about the location. I’ve just worked with those 14 families on my Lockdown in Poconos social project and shared what safety measures I could take (mask, social distancing, and zoom lens).
NYC, once a US coronavirus epicenter, was more behind in phasing out than the isolated and sparsely populated wooded communities in Pennsylvania where I moved two years ago. So, when I dropped the phrase “enchanted forests” to take them to, only the extra expense of renting a car and driving for two hours would be in the way.
As I shoot more and more in the Poconos area, I started putting together a little inspiration board of the local scenery for my metropolitan clients. Shared it with the guys and they were convinced to have their first and thus special maternity photoshoot in Poconos.
We went with a half-day photoshoot so I could take them to several locations. We started at the Raymondskill Falls, where I once brought my wife for our baby’s first photoshoot. Thing is, there is a slippery steep hill behind the fence down to the water (see backstage shots at the end). I could carry my own baby, and my wife is a trooper, but I did not expect Francesca on her 8th month to go down there! She saw my wife’s images and was keen on claiming a similar prize. (Jumping ahead, I had a young Indian pregnant lady making her way down there last week, too.) Yet, I had to stop her from going into the water as the algae-covered rocks were slippery.
Next stop was an abandoned watermill half an hour away. That’s where their Great Dane Dakar gets into the spotlight again! The dog has a special story, which I will tell at the end.
Lastly, we drove another half an hour deep into the woods on a dirt road which I once discovered accidentally. They greet you with a sign “Drive at your own risk” and you may be there an entire day, undisturbed by a single car or hiker. I love going there for a quiet moment… The sun was setting, and we caught its last rays gently pouring on Francesca’s bared belly. To conclude this magical maternity photoshoot in Poconos, we climbed the toppled trees where I once shot my older daughters.
As with all half-day and all-day sessions, Francesca was not only able to cover multiple locations involving driving but also do several outfit changes. I am often asked by the expecting moms if I offer maternity wardrobe. Because I strive to keep my maternity photography unique, I opted against using the same dresses over and over again. The photos may look unique to you but as I say, I kinda shoot for myself… I want to be inspired by each pregnancy session. Seeing a dress that I had used multiple times in the past would tarnish that thrill factor that keeps my photography going. Instead, I send my moms-to-be to online stores where they can either rent or buy their maternity gowns. The individually selected outfit will express their personality and style. Stores like Pink Blush Maternity sell such dresses for just $50-100!
And now, enjoy this songlike maternity photoshoot in Poconos!
Click images for full size. Kindly refrain from re-uploading images to social media during the first week of feature. Share instead and give credit to @ZorzStudios!
Makeup: KR Cosmetics
Michele snapped some cool moments behind the scenes:
One from me:
Sadly, this glorious dog who is only 5, may not see the birth of their baby… They dreamed of him playing and growing up with his big brother. Dakar has just been diagnosed with cancer, a very aggressive T-cell lymphoma in dogs. Without a therapy he will live no longer than 3-4 weeks, with therapy – another 6-9 months.
To survive, Dakar needs a stem cell transplant from a donor, technically known as allogeneic peripheral blood stem cell transplantation. Only one veterinary center in the world can provide this treatment — Dr. Suter at North Carolina State University and his pioneering work on canine lymphomas. Dogs have been already treated successfully, but Dakar would be the first Great Dane in the world with a T-cell lymphoma to receive this treatment.
Francesca and Michele are fundraising. If you can, kindly donate any amount via GoFundMe. Thank you!