This is part of my weekly post, What to Capture, where I give you ideas what photographs you will want to capture at an event or family gathering to be sure you document the day for your memories.
To see previous posts you can see the link to the left or you can click HERE.
Your family member or friend is pregnant and you’re attending the shower. While the shower may not be as monumental as the birth, it’s still an exciting event the mother-to-be will love to have images of in the future.
We’ve all seen the photos from a similar event and usually the images are of the mama opening gifts and that’s about all. While photos of opening the gifts can mean smiles and laughs of the day documented to look back on, don’t forget the other important photographic opportunities.
The mother-to-be may say she doesn’t want her photo taken because she feels fat. Be sensitive to mama’s feelings, but try your best to gently to remind her how much she will treasure the images after the baby is born and in the years to come. Remembering how friends and family came together to celebrate the arrival of a new baby, whether the first or otherwise, is more important than feeling fat.
If you choose to hire a photographer for the day, don’t be afraid to politely provide a list of images you would like captured from the day. If a friend is helping you, they will also appreciate some guidance on moments you would like to remember from the day.
The following list are suggestions for what to capture. These are suggestions, but you should follow your instinct on what you believe should be visually recorded from the day.
Mama with friends or family
Family and friends are attending the shower to celebrate the new life and the mama is going to want to remember that her guests felt she was special enough for them to take time out of their day to attend her shower and celebrate with her. Photographs of the mama with her guests, either individually or together as a group will create a nice visual memento of the day. You can accomplish these photos through candid interactions between mom and her guests or by asking them to take a moment and look at the camera. Either way, capturing each guest in the photos, in some way will be appreciated by your mom.
Mama with both grandmothers, aunts
Along the same lines of photographing the guests is the need to photograph mom with the grandmothers of the child and with any aunts who are in attendance. Traditionally, at least in the United States, baby showers are attended only by women, but if the grandfathers or uncles of the baby, or other special male members of the family, are in attendance then it’s important to capture them with mommy as well.
Mama as she opens gifts
I don’t think mom will want photographs of every single gift being opened but a few images of the gift opening moments will be a good addition to the days’ collection of images. Photographs of the gifts themselves are less important than capturing mom’s reactions as she opens the gift. If a gift is especially special, either because of what it is or who it is from, be sure to capture some details of the packaging and of mom with the gift.
Mom with her friends playing shower games
If your baby shower features some fun shower games, be sure to photograph the moments of laughter that are sure to result from the guests interacting with each other. If you haven’t caught on, the theme of the day is “interactions” and “capturing them”.
Mom with daddy
If daddy attends the event, even to pick up some of the gifts at the end, a nice touch to the day would be to capture the expectant parents together. Daddies are important too, but often get left out of the baby shower phase, and in fact, a lot of the planning leading up to the baby’s birth. Remind Dad he’s as important as mom in the life of his child by including him in the celebration, even if it is only a photograph to say “he was there.”
Mom by herself
Keep in mind that for some women, being pregnant makes them feel self conscious. Hopefully it makes them feel beautiful because pregnancy can be one of the most special and amazing periods of time in a woman’s life. But if mom is sensitive to her appearance this day, be gentle and understand she may not want to pose for any photographs, especially if it means standing by herself. If mom is willing, good backdrops to a photo with her include the gifts or even a tree outside, if the baby shower is inside. If mom is uninterested in posing, capture her during the shower, instead of asking her to pose, which can often be uncomfortable, pregnant or not. Candid images are often the way to go when your attending an event, but of course I’d say this because natural and “in the moment” are my favorite photographs to take.
If you take the photographs yourself don’t forget to put the camera down part of the time and enjoy yourself, living in the moments of the event without looking through the viewfinder. And don’t overthink the photographs too much and cause unnecessary anxiety for a day that is meant to be fun and memorable.
What to Capture checklist, baby shower edition
- Mama with friends and family (individually or as a group)
- Mama as she open gifts (it’s not important to photograph every gift she opens)
- Mama with the grandmothers either together or individually
- Mama with aunts, sisters, friends, either as a group of individually
- Mama and her friends playing shower games
- Details of some of the gifts, little bows or teddy bears
- Mama and daddy if daddy attends (don’t forget that dads are important too!)
- Mama alone with some decorations or in a chair or with a pretty backdrop of some kind (even outside by a tree)
Don’t forget to print your images in some way, whether with actual prints you can place in a book, or in a photo album you can design online. Some suggestions for where to print include Shutterfly and Mpix. I make my memory books on Blurb, but Shutterfly also offers this service. Additionally, you can make books directly from your phone with aps such as Chatbook and Artifact Uprising.
Interested in other posts in the What to Capture series? Find more posts HERE.
This is the debut of a new feature on my blog called What to Capture. This feature will offer tips to moms who want to document their child or children’s life through photography.
I am aiming these posts at moms because often it is the mom who enjoys capturing the everyday life of her children but these tips, of course, can be for dads as well.
My main message behind each of these posts can easily be described in four words:
don’t forget the details, or if you are into non-catchy acronyms: DFTD.
This week’s What to Capture focus is birthday parties.
When photographing your child’s next birthday party don’t forget the details you might want to remember later. Will you want to remember him or her blowing out the candles on the cake? Certainly! Opening gifts? Yes! Playing with his friends? Of course!
But don’t forget to get in close too. Capture her smile as she sees the cake. Photograph her hands unwrapping a gift so you never forget how little she was. Document him laughing with his friends so he and his friends have memories of their friendships.
Do you want photos of the streamers or balloons or other decorations? Probably not, unless they have some sort of emotional connection to that time in your child’s life – for example he loved batman and the piñata was a huge Batmobile
Of course you don’t want to miss out on experiencing the day yourself so if you want to live more in the moment hire a professional photographer to photograph those moments or ask an extended family member or friend to help you document the day. If you do hire a photographer don’t be afraid to jot down the checklist of images you are interested in and politely ask the photographer to capture those specific moments or items. Many photographers will not mind if you offer them your ideas for what moments are important because they understand these are your memories.
If you are the photographer for the day, making a checklist for yourself is always helpful to ensure you don’t forget any important moments.
And, remember, if you take the photos yourself, don’t forget to put the camera down periodically and remember to live in the moment, soaking in the feelings you have as you watch your child celebrate turning a year older.
Birthday party photo checklist suggestions:
- The guests arriving;
- The children playing;
- Your child blowing out the candle;
- Wider photo of your child preparing to blow out candles so you can capture faces of the guests;
- The decorations, if they have an emotional significance for that particular time in your child’s life.
- Your child opening a few gifts;
- Your child’s reaction to gifts;
- Your child playing games;
- A group photo of your child and their guests
- You and your spouse and any siblings with the birthday child.’