How to: At home maternity photo shoot

From optimizing my registry in 5 easy steps to crocheting my very 1st baby blanket in less than a day, I’ve found that many do it yourself projects can be quite useful and affordable options for those of us strapped for cash, time and resources. That’s what happened to me when I realized I was 39 weeks pregnant and had completely forgotten to take my maternity photos! Fortunately, by following the five simple steps below I was able to execute the perfect at home maternity photoshoot and if you follow along so can you!

Step 1: Gather Supplies

The supplies you’ll need to pull off the perfect at home maternity photo shoot are simple and include the following:

  • Camera or camera phone that has the ability to use a capture timer mode.

I used my LG Stylo 6 which has a 13 megapixel front and rear facing camera.

  • Tripod or stand

I used an old $19.99 Walmart phone tripod that annoyingly leans slightly to the left despite all that I’ve tried to fix this. I also get creative by using whatever nick knack I have laying around the house to support the camera so I can express different heights and angels.

  • Lighting

Taking advantage of natural sunlight whenever or where ever it is available is always the preferred option when it comes down to the best lighting source for your at home maternity photoshoot. However cloudy days and time constraints do exist so perhaps a ring light, or an inexpensive box light would be a minor requirement for you. But trust me its a small price to pay for priceless maternity photos and lights that can be used in the future for other projects.

  • Editing software or applications

To be honest, if you’ve got a smart phone you have the ability to edit and enhance any photo you take like a pro. Apps I used to edit my at home maternity photos were Photoshop express and adobe Lightroom. Both applications have premium paid and free subscription options and provide an easy to use interface that can meet the needs of every editors skill level. Other photography apps that are pretty popular and that I also enjoy include Snapseed, VSCO, and Afterlight.

Step 2: Location Location Location

Once you’ve gathered all of your supplies the next step is deciding on where in your home you want to take your maternity photos. Some really cool places to consider include in the baby’s nursery or in front of an open window; in the backyard or in a garden; or perhaps on a bed full of fluffy pillows or in a bathtub covered in clouds of bubbles. Where ever you decide to take your maternity photos, whats most important is that you feel comfortable and that the background and surroundings help to compliment you and your baby to be.

Step 3: Set up camera and capture timer

Once you’ve decided on where you want to take your at home maternity photos you must now decide on how you want to take your photos. This is where you can use your tripod or stand to prop up your camera or device to the desired height and position. By setting the timer on your camera (most devices have settings of 3, 5, and 10 seconds or more) you can have the camera capture your photo hands free. I’ve also found that many camera phones come with a gestures or phrase mode where a particular hand motion or saying a certain word such as whiskey or cheese will trigger the camera to capture the picture for you as well. However, If you’ve got the mula and are willing to spend the extra dollars a tripod that comes with a wireless remote is also a great investment to consider. Another helpful function available on most if not all cameras and phones is the ability to flip the screen or use the front facing camera so you can actually see yourself on the screen while shooting your maternity photos.

Step 4: Filter and edit

There are tons of apps out there to choose from when it comes to editing your maternity photos. Most are generally free and include presets and filters to help you achieve the perfect look for your maternity photo. Outside of taking the photo itself editing will probably be where you spend most of your time. Cropping, lighting, sketching and skewing. Editing is probably the most time consuming but in my opinion the most fun. Use different filters and editing tools to give every photo its own unique look.

Step 5: Print, post and enjoy!

Once you’ve settled on your favorite maternity photos you can now share them, print them, post them or even gift them. Whatever you decide to do with them one thing I hope is certain is that you enjoy them!

I hope these steps help you achieve your perfect at home maternity photoshoot and that you choose to share them by posting the links to your maternity photos in the comment section down below and to check out my maternity photos just follow the link to “My at home maternity photo shoot

What is NORMAL any ways?

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“Ughh, what is Normal anyways?” I mumbled to myself for like the trillionth time. I-have-never-been-normal…ever!

I wasn’t a normal kid. I mean, I took imaginary friend to a whole ‘nother level. One day my dad just couldn’t take it anymore and totally snapped. I guess he got fed up with me waiting on my imaginary friend during bath times. Or maybe he just hated the way I sat half way on my chair when the dinner table was full so my “friend” and I could share a seat.

On one of these occasions he completely lost it when I absolutely refused to sit all the way on the chair because, “How dare I be so rude as to not make room for my best friend during meal times…ugh duh!” It was at that moment my father stood up and started yelling, “Stop it Sutana! There is no friend! Sit in the chair and eat your food.”

“Um yeah there is,” I noted confidently as if to say whoa there daddy-o didn’t you get the memo?

Looking back now, I think this response probably terrified my dad. I mean, just the thought that his daughter may be a few screws short of a tool box sent him into panic mode and agitated him even the more. I think it was then  my life changed in a pretty profound way and I witnessed what would be the first and hopefully the only murder I’d ever seen committed in my life.

My father turned back, picked up what I believe was an imaginary butcher knife and went on shouting wildly while making stabbing motions in the air beside me. Once he regained a portion of his sanity he yelled, “Shes dead Sutana! there is no friend, I killed her, she-is-dead. Now! Sit in the chair and eat!” I sat in that chair alright… but I didn’t eat! Besides, I never got how people had appetites after funerals anyways. And although it wasn’t a funeral, in my little 8 year old mind it was a sever loss none the less.

And as a grown-up, I’m 100% convinced that nothing about my adulthood thus far has been normal. Well, sorta. I mean, hmm. What have I done that’s normal? Ah! Well…I went to college for like 6 years…annnnddd….. that’s about where that story ends. Come to think of it, I could be on my way to a masters right now. Humph… I guess there must be something about  Sallie Mae stalking me all times of the day from random phone numbers seeking reimbursement on defaulted student loans, and the fact that i have nothing to show for this debt but a few YouTube vids and a Facebook page that makes me say “Ahh, It was all worth it.”

And when it came to other normal adult stuff like relationships or even  employment for that matter, I always had this weird way of  ending things. Like my first job for example. It was at an ice cream shop on the other side of town that I only worked at 2 or 3 times out of the week. The people I worked for were the sweetest husband and wife owners who were just looking for some extra help because they were expecting their second child in a matter of months. I guess they were just so busy they hired some extra hands to run the joint while they were out doing what ever it is expectant parents do in the third trimester of pregnancy. But, when I’d finally decided that it was no longer the job for me, I literally handled it like a premature 5th grade boyfriend.

You know, the kind of relationship where its all initiated by mutual friends and classmates that say “Hey Jason likes you wanna be his girlfriend?” And you’re all like “Okay. Sure.” despite the fact that you don’t even know what a relationship is, in fact you still spell it r-e-l-a-s-h-o-n-s-h-i-p. But you just rationalize it in your mind like “meh, how bad could it be having a boyfriend? You’re like way totally past the cootie stage.”

And so this thing lasts for the longest 2 weeks of your life and it is full of awkward hand holding and sitting next to each other EVERYWHERE, all-the-time. At lunch and on the school bus and at the museum field trip and during recess annnnd eventually your’e like “Skip this! I can do this all by myself! Its called an imaginary friend bro…granted mine was murdered by my father last week but Gods able.”

So then you tell your best friend to go break it off for you. Why? Because its her fault for setting you up in the first place and taking the blunt of awkward break up conversation is what real friends do for each other. And so Friday comes (because you always break up on a Friday, gives you two days to avoid any backlash) and she breaks it off for you and come Monday you and Jason are back to hopscotch and Chinese jump rope again like nothing ever happened.

And just like my 5th grade love life I just couldn’t bring myself to look into their soft blue and green eyes, and like a semi adult say, “Hey guys, I have to quit.” Instead, 2 hours before my scheduled shift I had my best friend, who mind you looks about as much like me as she sounds, call my job and quit for me. I just remember my boss being on speaker phone saying ” Are you sure this is Sutana? Because you don’t sound like Sutana. “

And  all I could think, in my best Aziz Ansari voice was… “Aghh, cus its not Sutana, this is so embarrassing!” But it was too late, we’d already gone to far. And in the end, as for everything going back to butter scotch and Haagen Dazs, lets just say when I went to pick up my last check it was the most awkward situation EVER. (sigh)

But so what! what is normal anyways?
By definition normal means average, conforming to a standard; a typical state or condition; the usual. And honestly when you put it like that, normal doesn’t sound like to much of anything I really want to be. Although I’ve done a lot of sucky things and maybe many of the quarks that make people raise their eyebrows towards me are embarrassing, or awkward or seemingly unnecessary, when reflected upon and placed in the proper light I find them empowering, and inspiring and what makes me, me.

I struggle with who I am, who I want to be and what I want others to think about me every now and then…okay that’s a lie, I think I think about it about it everyday. But in those moments when I want to cringe because a memory pops up from my past or when i want to shut out the world because I’ve hurt myself, again, and I’ve given in to a temptation that continuously proves too powerful for me or when i want to cry because I’m not the person I thought i should be by now;  I have to force myself to pause and to remember that I am not this way by mistake. That God made me this way and there is a reason and a purpose and a place for a sideways girl like me. That maybe, just maybe my brand of strange is precisely what the world needs.  And if we were all honest, even the “best of us,” looking inward at who we’ve become can find some flaw, some past failing, some undesirable thing about ourselves. But, what I’ve learned and what I’m continuing to learn to accept are that it’s those weaknesses that make us stronger, those embarrassing stories that make us wiser those flawed and fragile things that make us different and the same all at the same time. We are all our own piece of abnormal…some of us are just better at hiding it, others of us are still learning to live with it, there are those too who wear their weirdo right out there on their sleeve and then there are a number of us who rotate daily in all of the above.

The point is, I definitely don’t have it all figured out but what I do know is that I don’t quite mind being different, or odd, or unique, because the truth of the matter is, the most normal thing I can do is be me…