Maternity Portrait Shoot @ Castlefield, Manchester

Close family friends expecting the birth of their second child were the perfect subject to get the ball rolling with some more portrait photography.  I was honoured to get the opportunity to take some photos, and very appreciative of such a patient couple (and child).

My hope was to provide at least a couple of nice images that would capture a special time.

Manchester means a lot to this family and therefore I thought that it would be apt to shoot somewhere in the city. However, I also knew that it wouldn't be pleasant or possible to take the shots in a location that was too busy.

I had scouted a quieter area (Castlefield) beforehand and knew that it was quite picturesque, but also quite urban, exactly the right mixture. I had also seen a number of spots that I thought would make a good backdrop.

Add to this the excellent Alberts Shed for food and drink, and you have the perfect combination.

The day went well, and I am happy with the results, although I put this down to have a very picturesque subject!

Throughout the shoot, and certainly afterwards I learnt some really important lessons.

Lesson Number 3 - Catching this shot was far more difficult than I had imagined. Using lighting equipment certainly makes children far more wary of someone with a camera.

Lesson Number 1 - Strike whilst the weather is good.

Enjoying nice food, whilst all of the good weather disappears is not the wisest move.

Lesson Number 2 - Don't choose a location with deep canals nearby when there are kids involved!!

Lesson Number 3 - Some kids do not like the intimidating look of a big soft box! Especially if they are shy of the cameras in the first place.

Lesson Number 4 - Having someone to assist is really useful. This saved a lot of time and effort in setting up and adjusting lighting. Cheques in the post!

Lesson Number 5 - Bare flash in the shot above gave quite a nice dramatic feel to the image. Just to the right was Leanne's husband (my assistant on the day) holding the SB-800 being triggered via the CLS system.

Lesson Number 5 - This is probably the one that I am kicking myself for. Never drop the shutter speed too low to compensate for the ambient light. Instead increase the ISO.

There was a series of photographs that would have looked great. Unfortunately because I dropped to 1/60sec / ISO200 some of them really aren't as sharp as I would have liked.

With modern ISO performance increasing this to 400 - 600 wouldn't have been noticeable, and would have allowed for a much faster shutter.

Lesson Number 6 - Depending on how you are going to shoot, background may not necessarily be too relevant. I thought long and hard about where to shoot, and don't really think it was incorporated to the extent I would have liked.

Anyone who likes the results and would like to discuss a similar shoot should contact me