Pretty sure I’ve just shot my last greenhouse maternity photos at Rawlings Conservatory for the winter and it had its hiccups, FOR SURE. I met Kayla and Andrew outside. Kayla looked totally beautiful in her Lydia dress from Baltic Born and Andrew was casually handsome in his white shirt and sneakers. I think we were all a bit nervous because we must’ve asked each other how we were all doing about 20 times on the walk up to the Conservatory 🤣
Once inside for their greenhouse maternity photos, I started by going over posing. I talked to Andrew about his whole purpose (being a place for Kayla to lean, being the one gazing at her like she’s a goddess, etc.) and educated him about his stance and what to do with his hands.
Then with Kayla, I showed her how to have her feet and what to do with her hands. Posing with me is pretty easy because I get my expectant couples into a base pose and then the only things that have to change within that pose are heads and hands. I like to give prompts to elicit authentic expressions or I’ll just give basic instruction like, “laugh at one another” or “Andrew look at Kayla while Kayla looks at me” – posing is pretty easy and natural-feeling, even when it’s choreographed down to the tiniest detail. The goal is for the images to come out looking like the couple just found themselves in that position and I came around the corner and photographed it by chance.
One of the hiccups we encountered almost immediately was the EXTREME humidity in the room we started in. My lens could not hang…it fogged immediately and repeatedly, despite my best efforts to keep it clean. I’d snap a shot and then wipe the lens. Then I’d snap another shot and have to wipe the lens again. It was a *trial*. Some of my favorite images from that portion of the session had to be dumped because the fogged lens resulted in a product that doesn’t meet my quality control standards. Greenhouse maternity photos are great…except when they’re not 🤣
This has happened to me before at Rawlings – I mean, we’re at a greenhouse for maternity photos, it makes sense – but this was the worst I have ever experienced. I could not get my lens to clear and I really struggled in those moments, trying to appear professional and do the job they hired me to do. Eventually, the employee at Rawlings opened the roof to let some air in and the humidity cleared which was a great lesson to me – to ASK them to open the roof before we get started (of course, if this is my last session of the year there, what are the chances I’ll remember to do this next year 🤷🏻♀️).
One series of shots that I absolutely love – and kept, despite the last one not being technically correct – is fogged over quite a bit…but I feel that the fogginess adds an ethereal emotion to it which is in perfect harmony with the overall feeling of the photo. Do you agree??
Greenhouse maternity photos are great for a lot of reasons but can be a bummer for other reasons. Later in the session, the warmth and humidity started getting to Kayla and she felt weak and dizzy –> another hiccup that no maternity photographer wants to encounter. I stopped the session and had her sit down while I ran and got her a drink of water.
Once Kayla felt that initial dizziness, it was hard for her to bounce back. She tried to continue and we were able to get a few more shots inside the greenhouse but eventually we made the decision to move outside to some fresh air. It wasn’t warm but it also wasn’t freezing and I think we were all ready for the change that being outside provided.
When I shoot at the same place over and over, which has happened a lot this winter with greenhouse maternity photos, sometimes my creativity gets stuck. I find angles and locations that work and I keep going back to those spots instead of finding new perspective. Every session starts to look kind of the same. Going outside with Kayla and Andrew, something I haven’t done with any of my other Rawlings session, enabled me to see the location with fresh eyes and utilize an entirely different background.
I hated that Kayla wasn’t feeling great but I loved the opportunity to stretch my creative muscle and this was a great ending to my winter of greenhouse maternity photos!
Liz Viernes Photography is based near Fulton, Maryland, and specializes in maternity, fresh 48, posed and lifestyle newborns and first year milestone portraits.