On that rare occasion when I didn’t get to know my underwater maternity photoshoot client, I find out she’s a pro model on the day of the shoot, looking accordingly. And not just a model…
Maternity clients are among the avant-garde of summer 2020. While all events got cancelled or postponed due to the pandemic, portraits were still debated. They picked up later in summer but back in June, as the coronavirus just peaked, the only ladies who could not wait were the pregnant ones.
Rohannia Mooyin was among the dozens of expecting moms who inquired, so somehow, in the midst of hecticly bringing business back on track, I did the whole pre-shoot stage without learning anything about her. I normally do this as it helps visualize the subject you are to work with. We just discussed the logistics like the pool location, size, and timing. I advised that I’d bring my fabrics to use as props.
So, it wasn’t until the day of her underwater maternity photoshoot that I find out it is for a former professional model. Not only that — Rohannia was among the Miss Universe Jamaica 2015 contestants and made it to the runner-ups! Well, a model it is, then! Models are my other area of decade-long expertise in fashion photography. Posing and directing would be natural. The pool was only 4-foot deep so I was working on the lying and kneeling concepts, as well as abstracts and closeups.
A curious development. As many may know, my photography style often leans toward a darker, dramatic side of things. It was all cool until I realized that some people are turned off by it and assume I only work in that style… One of those maternity clients this summer shared her concerns and how she almost did not book me because she believes that maternity photography needs to be on a much lighter side!
I shoot a lot in a lighter style, especially family, maternity, and children. In fact, most of the time! I just still have a personal tendency to showcase more dramatic stuff reasoning that anyone, including me, can do natural and fresh style… so why show it? I’m slowly adjusting this point of view.
What happened with Rohannia was that I avoided the darker side for her underwater maternity photoshoot, both when shooting and post-processing. Turns out, she was all for it! I tried to rework some of the doable images post-factum.
The takeaway for future clients: engage in a discussion and don’t hesitate to talk about your preferences. You will eliminate any concerns or assumptions and help your photographer prepare better!
The entire job took half a day. Rohannia also asked for photos in their apartment after her underwater maternity photoshoot so I couldn’t spread my fins like during a complete half-day, let alone all-day shoot. However, working with her husband was so fun and cute! Love their hugging shots!
By the way, “Roha” in Arabic happens to mean “life, soul”.
This underwater maternity photoshoot took place in Fairfield, CT. I shot two more maternity jobs in that 5-day travel streak, including for the only NY Afghan female DJ, then a stylish engagement session, and a commercial shoot for a gas station chain. Drove 787 miles between upstate New York, the Hamptons, Manhattan, West Long Island, and Connecticut… So, don’t bother asking me if I’m willing to come to_______. Just share your dream. 🙂