maternity photoshoot photography photoshoots

Maternity Photoshoot Number 1

For anyone expecting and would like a photoshoot but curious about my technique, please see Jessika and Josh’s shoot from 2016 here Please follow along as I describe the details about how this shoot took place.

Jessika and Josh
Jessika and Josh Maternity Photoshoot, 2016

We did this photoshoot in October of 2016 in Roseville at William Taylor Park along Dry Creek near the Miner’s Ravine trail. This park is in the Enwood neighborhood which is across from my neighborhood, Sierra Vista near the Crooked Bridge. At the time, Jessika and Josh lived in the neighborhood only a few blocks away.

Dry Creek near Miner’s Ravine Trail in Roseville in February, 2023

This park has changed a lot over the years. Enwood is still among my favourite neighborhoods in Roseville just for the proximity to the creek. The street to get to this park has a dead end and is very narrow. Back in the day this park was just a field adjacent to this riparian woodland. I remember because in high school my friend Dan knew this girl, I think her name was Alisha. She lived across the street from what today is the park. Apparently Alisha did not go to school but just stayed home all day. So we would come here to hang and smoke for lunch. I remember Alisha was this real skinny girl with long blonde hair. Her house was dark, musty, dank, and vintage.

At Folsom Lake in 1999 with Dan.
Dan in blue Cubs hat and I (Gabe in white shirt) at Folsom Lake, 1999

For this shoot we shot entirely at the park. I used my trusty Canon Rebel T5i, EF 85mm f/1.8 USM, 600EX-RT speedlight, and ST-E3-RT transmitter which was a new addition to my pack at the time. I employed my Interfit foldable butterfly dish as a light modifier for the speedlight. This shoot took place on October 22, 2016 from 3:50PM to 6:02PM. October in Roseville is a nice time to shoot outdoors for the length of daylight and mild weather.

Behind the scenes.
Thank you to Josh for sharing this behind the scenes photo.

The beauty dish in the behind the scenes photo is foldable and made by Interfit. I bought this from Action Camera in Roseville. When I purchased this I also bought the shoe mount flash accessory mount made by ProMaster. The Interfit foldable beauty dish has a Bowens mount because it was designed to be fitted onto a strobe which are more expensive and often less portable then a speedlight. The ProMaster accessory mount is like an adapter for using shoe mount flash such as the Canon 600EX-RT. With the accessory mount I can mount this modifier on to any of my light stands such as the Kupo 080AC seen in action in the behind the scenes photo above. I bought the Kupo from PhotoSource in Sacramento several years ago.

Canon 600EX-RT when it was new.
Canon 600EX-RT when it was new.

As I mentioned previously, the Canon ST-E3-RT was a new addition to my kit at the time. It took some time getting used to and in fact I still struggle to fully understand everything this transmitter (and speedlight) can do. The menu settings on both the transmitter and flash can be difficult to navigate. However, I was able to learn how to wirelessly connect the transmitter and speedlight for full remote operation. Sometimes I get confused about the flash metering systems such as TTL and ETTL. Someday I would like to experiment with using stroboscopic flash where a slow shutter speed is used in the camera and the flash fires multiple times in one shot to capture an object in motion.

Canon ST-E3-RT
Canon ST-E3-RT speedlight transmitter

Shooting with the Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM is such as joy. I particularly enjoy all the bokeh you can achieve with this prime lens. With that in mind, I have learned from my past experiences shooting wide open and getting blurry photos where the nose or eyes of my subject are in focus but everything else drops softly out of focus. To prevent this I kept my f stop around f/4.5 at 100 iso and around 1/100s of a second.

Photo of Gabe holding Canon 85mm lens with T5i body.
Photo of Gabe holding Canon 85mm lens with T5i body. Photo by Tory Scroggins.

In addition to the speedlight/transmitter/modifier combo, I employed my ProMaster 5-in-one reflector disc. I believe this is 42″ wide when unfolded. I used the gold side with mixed results.

Ashlee holding a reflector while on the screenshot of Vampire's Thirst
Screenshot of Ashlee holding a reflector while on the set of Vampire’s Thirst in 2016 at Sacramento City College. Check out the film here and here.

Approaching golden hour, the sun was at the right angle for me to use my secondary tripod as a reflector holder with some grips I bought from Home Depot. As you can see in the photo below, the reflector was too low and caused some glow in the image which almost works for me. I have since learned that the reflector needs to be held up high and downward. I have employed assistants with this task but they hardly understand the importance of bouncing light into the eyes so again, I get mixed results.

Jessika and Josh gold reflector
Jessika and Josh with the gold reflector too low.

The next photo is an example of where the low reflector works. This is because the subject, Jessika, is sitting on the grass. The light bounces right into Jessika’s eyes giving a nice golden sparkle.

Jessika on the grass.
Jessika on the grass with the reflector bouncing light into the eyes to shine.

Have a look at a few sample images below and be sure to check out the rest at

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