Maternity photos can be difficult. Shooting them isn’t different than an engagement shoot or senior portrait session, but the challenge is avoiding clichés. The typical husband’s hand on his wife’s stomach shot or the husband’s beer-belly imitating his pregnant wife’s are far too overused. Along those same lines, it’s easy to fall into the same category of clichés in other areas of photography. For example, with landscapes, Antelope Canyon is unlikely to gain you praise. Unless you’re Peter Lik, your photo isn't going to turn heads. With maternity photos, a new perspective is much needed.
German Photographer Simon Schaffrath decided to do just that. What Schaffrath has created is a brilliant set of images that personify messages of inspiration for their child.
We got the ideas for the messages for our son and so we considered what would match.
'You can reach everything.' – The mountain climber
'You will find you way.' – Snowboarder in this lonely, snowy, and misty landscape
'Enjoy the moment.' – Sunbather on the lonely island
'Know your goals.' – Golfer
Schaffrath described his process for creating these images. After first sketching out each image and considering the angle of light that would be used, he photographed himself in the same fashion in order to place himself into each image as a character. He and his wife decided to use body paint as a starting point for the images. They also used miniature foliage to complete the scene. Schaffrath told me that his background as a designer helped him to create these composites. With some great images coming straight from the camera, Schaffrath was able to create the final image with some simple post-processing. Using gradients and various brushes, he was able create the sky and clouds. Other elements were added in as needed to create the individual scenes.
With some clever lighting and shooting, this project really came to life. The beauty of this process is that while it looks composited, its sense of heightened realism and creativity still makes it pleasing to the eye. This is a series of images that really changes the way people imagine maternity photos. Schaffrath put a great spin on a heavily clichéd subject, added a great message, and wrapped it up with some brilliant post-processing work.
More of Simon Schaffrath's work can be found at his Behance site.
All images used with permission.