Bubble: Chic Maternity Photography in Manhattan

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Here’s an example of an all-day chic maternity photography in Manhattan featuring a creative model-like mom-to-be, 7 outfits including a complete absence of it, 12 setups, 3 locations, a husband, pup, and other cool props.

High Expectations, Long Preparations

Unlike my awesome previous maternity shoot in Manhattan published a few weeks ago for a client of 9 years, this expecting mom didn’t know me. Jennifer found me via Google search and right off the bat, impressed me with her high artistic expectations.

Without a second thought, she went for the full day experience and soon I learned why. Didn’t she take the preparations seriously! The inspiration board she shared with me was massive and gave me a good sense of the directions for me to develop. It mostly focused on the creative studio lighting but also included lifestyle photography. Some involved partners, some — baring all skin. Detailed discussion and preparation ensued and a few weeks ago we met for her chic maternity photography in Manhattan where she lives.

Light and Soft

We started with the basics, with Jennifer on her bed in natural light. The makeup was done by Larisa of Larina Makeup. Although started light, it later developed into several dramatic looks with a fabulous glam feel. Larisa stayed all day with us. The hair was done by Jennifer’s cousin, Glennis Cruz, who was also around all day, and didn’t she do wonders!? Glennis also dropped styling ideas here and there!

Kindly refrain from re-uploading images to social media during the first week of the exclusive feature. Share instead and give credit to @ZorzStudios. Thank you for your help!

Maternity Photos with Husbands

Including expecting fathers is always a welcomed touch. Maternity photos with husbands can be of any sort that fits the partners: gentle, family-oriented, hilarious, romantic, edgy, formal, chic, naked… There is no extra charge to include family members, either.

So, we invited the dad-to-be onto the stage. He obliged, and we went for a cozy morning bed feel:

Pop! Pop!

Then, they proceeded to the bathroom for a super fun series involving hair rolls, colored balls, and pouring an orange juice! There was supposed to be a bubble gum for an extra culture pop, but it wasn’t bubbling, dammit. Their curious, friendly puppy was wagging around, so I asked to get him in.

Cover Photo: Photographer to Praise?

After I posted this blog’s cover photo as a sneak peek, a client of mine complimented me in private for the idea. There was something to explain to her, and now to you in public.

It’s not the photographer’s merit.

At least, not always. For some, often. I see fashion photographers flashing their Instas with insanely cool setups, props, and models. If your first thoughts are “Wow, she’s such a cool photographer!” or, “He’s so talented!” you’d be naïve to give us all the credit. More often than not, there is a producer, creative director, or a stylist who actually develops the concepts for those commercial shoots. They put together all details and props. They dig through the wardrobe and infuse glam. Then, makeup artists and hair stylists transform ordinary into extraordinary.

Unless there is a tricky or creative light studio light involved (not the flat bright light everywhere!), a fashion photographer makes little effort to pose that professional model who knows how to impress, anyway. Photographer’s job is left to apply technical skills to not ruin the striking setup they are presented with. Lots of their peers with fewer IG fame and resources would do just as well!

As such, any photographer could own this blog’s remarkable cover image because the concept wasn’t even mine. Jennifer herself prepared every detail! In that bathtub shot, the client served as a creative director and stylist. I think she drew the inspiration from some online pop culture image but she arranged for particular hair styling, plastic balls, and a glass of juice idea. The light was easy and natural. All I needed to do was to coordinate the moves and watch the poses.

Well, Sometimes

Of course, there are projects when photographers themselves not only develop the concepts through own vision but also build the props (cut, sew, nail, glue, tie) or pull them all together from the unexpected sources, then twist everything, including intriguing lighting and digital manipulation in post-production. Sorry for tooting my own horn, a good example in my practice would be a conceptual Russian Calendar Girls 2013 project.

More often, though, it is a teamwork. Talented visionaries, photographer being just one of them, equally contribute to the end results. So, don’t rush to praise just the photographer:

Nude Maternity

One of the cool outfits was a mesh over a nude body, carefully posed and lit not to reveal much:

We continued with the nude segment. I wonder if Jennifer used to model… She felt comfortable posing undressed (I turn around or walk out of the room until everything is covered, anyway) but regardless, her posture and looks in the photos below beg the question… I worked with a pregnant former Miss Universe Jamaica contestant already. Who knows? I should have asked.

I used different lighting modifiers and techniques.


It was time to dress and go out for a few outdoor shots. Her penthouse with access to a rooftop garden allowed us to add greenery to a maternity photography in Manhattan without actually hitting a street or visiting any city park.

Chic Maternity

For the third location, we wanted some funky setups and found a studio for rent with all these fun props for a solid claim on the “chic maternity photography in Manhattan” title.

Let’em Flow!

Then came the fabrics, an often-used property in my maternity photography, especially underwater. We used white and red and I went both light and dark.

I was curious how a digital IR filter might affect an image and after further messing with the color channel settings, came up with this stunning B&W shot. Even thought of making it the cover image but that bathtub scene is too unique and fun to skip!

Red and Spicy

Lastly, Jennifer had two more looks and outfits in mind. The time was almost over (I’d say we spent as much time attending to hair and makeup as taking photos) so we ran those quickly, just nailing a pose or two per each outfit.

See, even an all-day maternity shoot felt short when the client was loaded with ideas and outfits to try! We couldn’t use all. I’m sure this chic maternity photography in Manhattan could have the material to hit several more hallmarks on Park or Fifth Ave to add an urban spice to it all. A second day would be in order, and I’ve done such extended maternity sessions. Nevertheless, the team mastered a remarkable set of portraits which can serve as a powerful addition to any maternity photographer’s portfolio. Thank you, everyone!

Next up: don’t miss a post-apocalyptic engagement session shot in a junkyard! Keep an eye on the blog home page.

Ed Hafizov
Ed Hafizov
Ed Hafizov is a creative director and lead photographer of Zorz Studios, Manhattan-based boutique photography studio, offering arousing and daring fashion, commercial, beauty, and wedding photography. Multiple Fearless Photographer™ award winner, named among the top 50 US wedding photographers, top 10 NY wedding photographers, winner of Adobe contests, featured by Vogue, Cosmopolitan, Elle et al, Mercedes Benz Fashion Week photographer, and a distinguished member of Grace Ormonde Wedding Style‘s Platinum List, he is eager to step out of his and willing clients' comfort zone to pursue original artwork with a lasting impression.

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