Mother’s Day photography must start with us DEFINING THE WORD MOTHER: Wife, Sister, Lover, Housekeeper, lifesaver, chef, mentor, teacher, guardian angel, nurse, coach, storyteller, monster killer, planner, organizer, decorator, crafter, best friend, multi-tasking queen, superwoman…
…a woman we couldn’t live without.
Mother’s Day photography on Mothering Sunday should be a day spent honouring the women who brought us into the world. A pretty big deal huh?
If you are looking to surprise your Mum on this special day, there is nothing more unique than with a little bit of Mother’s Day photography. Therefore, this will be a great way to spend time with your family and a perfect opportunity to get portraits of motherhood, mothers to be, and even the grandmothers.
To begin with, before we grab the camera to hand, let’s take a step back for a second, Mother’s Day photography requires a CONNECTION that gives your image MEANING.
Furthermore, this is what keeps your image alive, and keeps the viewer’s attention, so it’s pretty vital you master and understands this before taking your shots.
With shots that are personal and family focused, whether it’s Mother’s day, or not, the best way to get that connection is to keep things natural and candid.
From the shots below you can see two very similarly positioned shots with a mother and daughter. The first, although technically very good, is very posed – it comes across a little forced, with a mountain of cheese grated on it.
Secondly, the next shot is off the cuff and candid. Looking at the shot you can see the connection between mother and child and the photographer has captured a beautiful moment, timed brilliantly. The shot might not be technically perfect, but it’s a spontaneous and intimate shot that shares a beautiful story.
Therefore, timing and a good eye are crucial if you want to capture those special moments!
Let’s start by thinking about what the term ‘mother’ means to you…
• Is ‘mother’ is a form of unconditional love?
• Or mother is knowing you are protected, guarded?
• Could mother mean you are never alone, she is always there?
• Maybe mother is always being able to go back to being a child in her presence?
Think about this as preparation for your Mother’s Day photography before simply shooting. Why not write a list?
• However, what are your favourite memories with your mother?
• What activities remind you of her?
• Does she have a particular style or look that is significant to her personality?
• Is there anything unusual that can demonstrate your connection, such as a particularly special item or object?
Usually, annual family portraits or your traditional family Christmas card shoot, photographs illustrating motherhood are often staged. Some may be posed set-ups of love and comfort that gloss over the daily trials experienced by mothers— from the physical demands of pregnancy to the difficulties that arise when raising those demanding teenagers.
This is one for those of you who love a little TLC, so let’s think candid – set up your self-timer and try this. Get your dressing gowns on and have a pamper morning on Mother’s Day. Think facemasks, rollers, makeup and nail polish!
Alternatively, you could both sit at the mirror and apply make-up simultaneously. Try using a remote trigger, or if you have a time-lapse function on your camera use that to capture some fun moments.
Try putting each other’s make-up on, brushing one another’s hair, dance around the room in your robes, slice some cucumbers and be silly with face masks, read magazines, drink tea, eat cake! Treat yourself!
These images work perfectly no matter what age you are and are always effective when done correctly. If you can’t get the same outfits or think that’s going a bit too far, focus instead on the same shades and colour palette.
You don’t have to break the bank with these matching outfits! Jeans and a plain white tee can work just as effectively as a Chanel suit darlings!
Of course, if you were a dab hand with a sewing machine, are willing to put the work in, and have been inspired by The Sound of Music ‘curtain gate’ then a photoshoot like this might work for you.
Therefore, this type of theatrical and stylized Mother’s Day photography requires an element of planning. Everything from location and weather forecast, to hair and make-up, will need to be considered before embarking on this kind of shoot.
Therefore, if you are lucky enough to have three generations present, take advantage of this opportunity.
Why not add in props, flowers, cuddly toys, capture moments having lunch together, looking at memories shared together, look at old books and photo albums.
However, it’s beautiful to see family distinctions within the face, so why not try a few side profile shots too? Keep it natural and simple to maintain focus on features. Try portrait shots, with soft lighting and muted colours too.
Recreating photographs of past times also tug at heart strings. However, the planning must be precise if you want this to work to full effect; you’ll need to try and source the same or very similar clothing. Practice the pose and find the same location – we promise all this preparation will be worth it for the end results.
Have you an old photograph of your mum in the 1990’s? Dig out an old shell suit and try and recreate those old school polaroids. If you want to surprise her with a special mother’s day photograph, this is a great one for all ages.
Nothing brings back great memories more than childhood photos. What better way to preserve those moments than by recreating some of them?
Recreating family photos for your Mother’s Day photography doesn’t have to be difficult. It’s a great way to bring family together and reminisce about the past!
Once again, you will need to be very accurate and detailed, but you’ll get lots of laugh-out-loud moments, which makes for fabulous photography.
• Same people, same photo. Is it a photo of you and your brother? Make sure he can participate in the recreation. Choose photos that the same people will be happy to recreate.
• Choose similar clothing. You may not fit into that dress or shirt from 20 years ago, but look for similar clothing in your current size.
• Strike a pose. Was your leg bent? Did one relative sit and the other stand? Keep the same positions and try to mimic the original.
• Height doesn’t matter. Time has passed – people’s heights have changed. Don’t worry about these differences, it will just add more humour to the photo!
• Set the right background. If you can return to the same place the photo was originally taken, even better!
Alternatively, if all that seems a bit too chaotic for you, then strip it back and keep it simple. Headshots are very effective and beautiful. Stand or lie side by side with your mum, you don’t have to smile, sometimes profile shots can tell a thousand stories.
Think of it as a game of spot the difference. Especially if you look very similar to your mother! Therefore, these images can be heartwarming and emotional!
Do you have similar eyes or even the same smile? Try and focus on similarities to make the most of the shot. You’ll soon see how effective and powerful these headshots can be.
Jessica Nightingale has been a member of iPhotography for many years. If you’re also a member you may recognise her for winning a iPhotography award.
We love how most of her shots focus on and celebrate women; her maternity shots, in particular, are outstanding and magical.
Jessica has such a great eye and evokes emotions through the stories in her imagery. Generally, she creates connections – not only with the subjects she photographs but also with the viewer.
It’s quite common for expectant mothers to feel anxious, insecure and often uncomfortable. Many will shy away from cameras because they look tired or feel unattractive.
But Jessica knows how to gain the trust of her subjects, encourages them and presents the whole journey in the purest form and beauty – which all serves to enhance and build the subject’s confidence.
She makes these women feel empowered and sexy, and this comes across in all her maternity photography. She also manages to convey the connection between mother and ‘bump’, a difficult task for any photographer.
As a mother herself, Jessica generally does a photoshoot every year for her daughter’s birthday and has captured some beautiful, romantic images that she can treasure forever.
Inspired by what you see and read? Why not try and create something similar yourself!
To summarise, we hope we’ve spurred those creative brain cells just in time for Mother’s Day! However you’re spending your day, remember to shoot the occasion and share your images in our iPhotography member feedback gallery.
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