In my first two years in business I didn’t have the opportunity to take that many pregnancy photos. When reflecting on this I thought maybe it was because I have always had a “come as you are” attitude to wardrobe and clothing. I say I am “the photographer for mums who wear jeans and kids who wear gumboots”. My target clients are generally super pragmatic. Typically they are not the sort that want to flounce around in flowing dresses and boho hats immortalising themselves.
In the last quarter of 2022, I did suddenly book several pregnancy photos jobs. Several of the mums said they booked me because I show “normal, real people” on my website and socials. I really enjoyed these sessions because photographing just one or two adults was such a contrast to most of what I do.
When photographing families – and even more so extended families – the sessions are fast, chaotic and often very loud. I generally am moving at warp speed to get the shot before someone moves, talks, blinks or in the case of toddlers makes a run for it.
Suddenly when photographing pregnancy I was able to work quietly and with finesse. I could set up the shot and step back and look at the scene before bringing my camera to my eye. I could go up to mum and fix her hair or clothing. I could have one parent ever so slightly adjust an angle. I could really pause and observe the light. I could be more considered in how I composed the shot. I could explain what I was doing and thinking and I was able to try some new techniques.
I reflected on these sessions and how they were allowing me the chance to grow and perfect my art. I decided I wanted to do more of them. The question was how? At first I thought maybe I should get a few maternity dresses. I stated going down that rabbit hole but quickly pulled myself up. No, Kate, don’t do what everyone else does. Dresses aren’t even your brand. Don’t follow the crowd.
I sat and I thought. I never did pregnancy photos myself. I was too busy getting through detective school and rushing to complete that qualification before maternity leave. Turns out I was my own ideal client. A little tough, a little badass and definitely not a dress wearer. But who was photographing the less conventional or traditional mums? I spoke to a photography friend and she commented “but pregnancy is about being soft and gentle and growing new life”. For some yes, but not for every mother to be.
And so came my idea of offering Fierce Mama photos. I wanted to really work on offering less traditional pregnancy photos but still in the forest and gardens spots in the Dandenongs where I usually hold sessions. Things like a crossfit mum in leggings and a singlet or sports bra, an artist with paints and an easel, a musician mum with her instrument. I was excited.
Professional photos very often focus on the changes to a woman’s body as she grows new life. That is beautiful, so, so beautiful. I, however, wanted to show that amidst all that change you can hold onto parts of yourself. You can continue your hobbies. A mother can retain the edgy side of their personality. You can be both the unique you and a mother to be. I wanted to showcase the mothers that weren’t being seen in the industry, on socials or in the media generally.
I put out a model call and got a number of great responses. I’ve set up shoots over the coming months. Now to see if I can capture my vision and beyond that whether this is something there is a market for. At best there is and it will be a chance to grow my business. And if there isn’t that is ok. This idea will allow me a chance to try things, to grow and to do something a little different and a little creative. I can’t wait to see how it unfolds.