Friday, November 15, 2013

DIY Maternity Photos Using your iPhone

My husband and I are both awful at taking pictures. Since I've been pregnant, the only pictures I had of myself were the once a week bump shots. We've been to parties, gone to happy hours, and socialized with our friends. But we have no pictures to prove it. I wanted to snap a few pictures in order to do a name reveal for our little sweet pea on Facebook, for our not so immediate family and friends who didn't already know her name. I didn't necessarily need to involve my hubby in this, but we were both home and the weather was so nice it turned into a mini photo shoot. 

I had some friends asking who took the pictures, who the photographer was, how they were edited, etc. I thought it was easiest to explain it all in a blog post. Hopefully you will find this helpful, and if you're camera shy it might entice you to take some pictures to remember your pregnancy. I took my maternity pictures pretty early on, I'm just now in my third trimester and I was 26 weeks in these photos. My bump is small, but that's okay. I would rather take these pictures while I can see my feet and haven't entered full-waddle-mode quite yet. 

The best part about the process is you don't need a photographer. My husband and I stacked two of those 21 gallon plastic totes to create a flat surface that was almost level with my chest. To hold my phone up, so it would be hands free, I created a tripod using the cap from a spray paint can. I found the instructions here.

In order to take multiple shots you need an app. The iPhone doesn't have a self timer, and even if it did you would have to make constant trips back and forth to set a timer. I used an app called Fast Camera. It was free when we downloaded it, although it may have a cost now. This app takes continuous photos. By the end of about 10 minutes, with a couple changes in position plus starting and stopping, we had 500 photos to choose from. Most of them are us moving around, or making hideous faces. I did manage to get some great shots. Pictures in their raw state are fine, especially when you have a beautiful background. I found the pictures to look a little flat, so I used Photobucket to edit them. This is a free website where you can upload and edit your photos. You can straighten them, change the focus, add a filter, and do a ton of other edits. All for free. Then you just download the picture. I love it, especially because I find iPhoto to be pretty limited. You can straighten, crop, and adjust the pictures some with iPhoto, but I find Photobucket to be even better.

I'll go ahead and post a few side by side pictures of before and after editing, just to show how much you can change with a few simple tweaks. I used Pages to get my photos side by side, then took a screen shot. So these are no where near the original quality, but I think they'll do for the blog. 

We started out standing in the center of this bridge facing each other. We took a couple pics holding a little pair of her shoes, a pumpkin, holding hands, etc. My husband bent down to kiss my belly and I thought it was so sweet. The original picture is easy to get lost in. It's large and wide, and none of the colors pop. I cropped it to be a vertical shot with us in the center. I used a filter on this picture that deepened the colors around the edge, and brightened us up a bit. It added a slight fade, which I like. 

This shot started with my husband sitting up high, and I stood between his legs. He hopped off and stood behind me, with his arms on my belly. I said to make a little heart with his hands, and I just placed my hands on top of his. The original shot our expressions are terrible. I look like a giant because I'm in front of him, and my boots made me taller. I didn't use a filter on the picture to the right. I just cropped out our faces, bumped up the brightness and contrast to smooth over minor imperfections, and made the focus the center of the picture which helped soften the background a bit.

This picture is my favorite! I have 8 pictures total that turned out best (out of hundreds!), and the one above is the only shot where we're in this exact position. Mainly because we weren't posing for five minutes at a time, he just kissed my forehead and I smiled. The next picture after this you could tell he was already pulling away. This picture definitely needed some help. It's pretty crooked, the colors look a little washed out, and my shirt looks pretty wrinkled over my belly. I straightened the picture, cropped it, and slapped on another filter. It's actually the same filter as the first picture, but I changed the saturation just slightly so the tree leaves would stay green and bright.

So there you have it! An easy way to DIY pictures that look good enough to print and frame. I can't wait until baby is here so we can take more pictures as a family.

Oh, and about that name . . .

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