I did a shoot with ERosanne recently, who is in the Third Trimester in her pregnancy and she wanted some erotic pregnant photographs taken. ERosanne is an experienced model who has many contacts and photographer friends, so when we discussed the type of shots she wanted, she mentioned she already had some typical pregnancy shots and wanted something a little more conceptual and erotic. In her words, ‘I have some lovely ‘mumsy’ type shots already and was looking for something a little different’. She mentioned that she wanted to do something with eggs and milk but had not turned those concepts into photographic ideas; her underlying concept was a woman is more than an egg carrier and milk producing machine.
How to turn concepts into photographs
Thankfully I had a couple of weeks to think about the shoot and turn those concepts into photographs. When faced with this problem I let the idea circulate around and look for connections in the props, in this case eggs and milk. There are obvious links to the fertilised egg and breast milk, lactating that sort of thing, but I wanted to tie the idea into a stronger theme.
I use my iPhone at lot at times like these, I create a new Note with the idea or theme as the heading and I jot things down as they come to me, often these ideas are triggered by other events, conversations or just by an idea popping in to my head. I guess subconsciously your brain is still working on the idea, even if you are focusing on something else. I do use brainstorming techniques, or ‘Thought Clouds’ as they are now know in these politically correct times we live in, I’ll cover brainstorming techniques in another blog article.
Over the following days I added a number of entries on the Notes app on my iPhone which I’ve reproduced (no pun intended) below. These are just random thoughts as they come into my head, the important thing is everything I think of in relation to the idea gets noted down no matter how obscure, obtuse or seemingly irrelevant it is.
Refining the ideas
When it gets nearer to the shoot date then I will review the list and decide which ideas to expand upon and remove the others. The ones I remove get moved to another Note which I use for a general ongoing list of thoughts and ideas, nothing gets deleted.
The final ideas list is arrived at by a deciding which ideas I want to shoot, which of those ideas will suit this model and will be enhanced by their posing ability, facial expressions, modelling levels, their own creativity and so on. The important point is that for each entry on the list above I have an idea of how I want to shoot it and light it. I think through the idea and consider what would look best. To help you to understand my thought process [best of luck] I’ve detailed the process on how I arrived at the Pregnancy Triptych show below.
The Pregnancy Triptych shots is derived from idea three on the list:
- holding eggs one side of tummy, baby in middle, bottle of milk
I wanted to depict the passage of time, the 9 months of pregnancy in a time-line which can be difficult to depict in a single shot, so the idea of two or more images came into my head. I could visualise the eggs in the model’s hand to start with as the first image, the early stage of pregnancy and the fertilisation of the egg. When we came to shoot the idea we also tried some shots with ERosanne holding a dildo in the same hand as the eggs, but that didn’t really look right as it tended to look like a dildo with a massive pair of testicles attached to it. I wanted to keep the first items of the idea on the left-hand side of the frame to help portray the passage of time across the frames, so didn’t want to use ERosanne’s left-hand for the dildo, so we settled on the glass of milk which depicted the change in the woman’s body and the start of milk generation. I understand that one of the earliest clues you’re pregnant is the woman’s tender, swollen breasts, caused by hormones surging through her body. Notice also that we started with two eggs in ERosanne’s hand and then swapped to a single egg for the remaining shots which is intended to show the percentage success rates involved with getting pregnant during ovulation.
In the next image I wanted to show the idea of the egg multiplying and we decided that breaking the egg was the best way to show this as it demonstrated the contents expanding and growing. I asked ERosanne to break the egg in her hand, but it proved rather more difficult, try it, it was quite difficult to crush an egg in your palm with one hand. In the end I pushed my thumbnail into the egg to crack the shell. We also tipped the milk glass more to show the build up of milk and the fact it was almost lactating.
In the end I settled on three images as I wanted the milk dribbling out of the glass on the final shot, so a Triptych it ended up as. The final shot was the egg was dripping more form ERosanne’s hand while she poured milk from the glass in her other hand. Notice too the slight change in hand position, the milk hand is higher, showing a higher milk yeild, whilst the egg hand is lower, showing the turning and dropping of the baby before birth. The last stage was to combine the three images into a single image which was done in Photoshop.
Finally, below is a gallery of the edited shots from that 2 hour session, note the gallery only shows two of the three images used