DIY Maternity Photos

I didn’t take any maternity photos for my first pregnancy, so I wanted to make sure I got them done this time around. I started gathering quotes and the recommended photographers averaged about $400 for the package, which included about 5-10 edited digital images and 1 hour of photography. That price was just not in my budget so I figured I’d just try it myself and do it on the cheap. Here’s what I used for my own maternity photo shoot…

Camera and lens:
I’m an amateur photographer who owns a secondhand Canon Rebel T2i camera. I learned that for occasional, amateur photographers, the camera body is all you really need. There are places like Henry’s or Vistek that rent out lenses, so you can pick one up for $30/weekend. And they have all kinds of lenses, so you can select one based on the kind of photos you want to take. I used the Sigma 35mm ART 1.4 lens, which retails for about $900US. I really could have got away with just using my kit lens, but I wanted to use this as a learning opportunity as well.

Other equipment, if you’re your own photographer:

  • Tripod – Make sure you have a tripod that’ll position the camera the way you want it
  • Remote – A remote would definitely make things easier. My remote decided to stop working, so I relied on the timer.
  • Prop or stand-in – I used my son’s large Olaf doll as a prop to set focus. I would put the doll in my spot and set my AF (auto focus) point and then switch my lens to MF (manual focus) so the lens wouldn’t refocus when I switched out Olaf for myself.

I was going to shoot on one of the coldest days of the year (-25 degrees celcius), so shooting outdoors was not an option. I didn’t have any large bare walls that I could use either. So I just bought a $3 white painting sheet to create a plain backdrop and I also used our large patio window as a background. Other backdrop options:

  • Rent from camera store – $25-50/day
  • Buy from camera store – $75 and up
  • Buy fabric from fabric store – $5-20/meter (60″ wide)

Photo editing software:
I shot all my photos as RAW files and used Adobe Photoshop. I don’t quite understand RAW files but if you have the time to play around with editing, make sure your camera is set up to save this way. This will give you the most editing flexibility/creative options.

Hair and makeup:
I don’t wear a lot of makeup, so I had to make a few adjustments to my daily look for it to be “camera ready.” I added a little more eyeliner, darker eyeshadow, blush and lipstick, and I was good to go.

I used a few outfits that I already owned. The good thing about photos is that you can “fake” the fit of clothing. The item of clothing doesn’t necessarily need to fit right. You can pin things up or leave things open and just hide these alterations from the camera. I also quickly made a dress from a jersey knit and stretch lace. The fabric cost me $10 and I spent about an hour putting it together. It looks pretty plain in person, but I think the lace turned out great on camera.

$43 later ($30 lens, $10 dress, $3 backdrop), here are some of the final photos:

Soccer for Toddlers

I signed my 22-month old son up for soccer sessions with Lil Strikers. The class we joined is for 18 months to 2 years, but they do have classes for kids up to the age of 9.

For his age, my main goal was for him to get some exercise and release some energy so we can go home and enjoy a good, long nap. I don’t expect him to learn any soccer skills but it’s likely he’ll learn a thing or two, even if it’s just learning that the ball goes into the net.

My soccer knowledge is very limited, but from the looks of it, the classes are structured in such a way that their activities do translate to skills that can be applied to a game of soccer.

It’s actually really cute to watch. For the first half of the 10-week session, here’s what they do during the 50 minutes:

  • Stretching
  • Stepping on the ball – The tots are asked to step on the ball, one foot at a time (with the help of the parent for balance). I assume this is for trapping.
  • Jumping over the ball – None of the tots can do this on their own, so they’re all swung over the ball by their parents. Jarvis loves it.
  • Running – “Red Light/Green Light” “and Freeze” games
  • Throwing and kicking the ball – Throwing would be used for throw-ins, I’m guessing; and the kicking is obvious. Jarvis much prefers kicking over throwing. And I may be a bit biased, but I think he’s a pretty coordinated kicker :)
  • Tower building – Yes, the tots build towers with mini pylons. How is this useful? They’re supposed to kick it down when they have it built. It’s a kicking exercise. This one is entertaining to watch because you can watch their creativity.
  • Obstacle course – There’s a tunnel, hoops and a net. Most of the time, the kids just go back and forth in the tunnel, but the idea is to get through all the obstacles and kick the ball into the net. Fun times.

Once all that’s done, they’re all given stickers. I love this because the sticker distracts my little guy almost long enough to get to the car without any struggle.

He’s had 3 classes so far and I can’t wait to see how he progresses. He’s at an age where he’s constantly observing and learning, so it’ll be interesting to see what he picks up next.

33 Week Update

Four more weeks until full term!

I’ve been counting down the weeks because I’ve been a bit nervous about baby lately. At my 29-week appointment, my fundal height was measuring unusually small at about 24 cm, which prompted my OB to send me for an ultrasound for further investigation. He did say that these measurements weren’t always accurate, hence the ultrasound. Regardless, of course I did some Googling — what if the baby wasn’t growing? What if she had some sort of disorder? What if I deliver prematurely due to complications? The answers weren’t always positive. All these worries for nothing though, because my ultrasound actually not only confirmed the baby wasn’t small but she’s in the 68th percentile. The baby’s head is down and everything is where it should be. So, we’re still on track!

  • Total weight gain: 28lbs… and feeling very heavy. I’m still doing prenatal bootcamp but I’m getting slower each week. It’s becoming more difficult to keep active, but I’m trying! I even joined a few Fitbit challenges to help motivate me.
  • Sleep: Still good. I’m mostly sleeping straight through the night and getting about 6-7 hrs
  • Highlights: I sorted through and washed all the hand-me-down clothes I received for the baby. Going through all the cute girl clothes has been very exciting.
  • Food cravings: Oatmeal (steel cut oats)
  • Symptoms: Some sharp and strong kicks from the baby that stop me in my tracks
  • Mood: I haven’t been in my usual grouchy mood. I think I’ve actually been pleasant this week :)

To compare, here’s my post at 34 weeks for my first pregnancy.