When I was still pregnant with baby N, I was fortunate to have been part of Avent’s event, “From Pregnancy to Playground”. I was one of the moms featured in the event via a Belly Cast exhibit by Mimsy Jundis and Maternity Photos by Stanley Ong. I didn’t know what to expect with both but Mimsy and Stan were both very nice and were both able to calm down a nervous momma who’s a newbie in both processes.
I’ll be talking about my Belly Casting experience soon (if you want to check out Mimsy’s page you can visit Mamaste Art here. For now, it’s all about Stan, the man behind this photo:
Yep, that’s me and Baby N. I came straight from the office, stripped down and wore a nude-colored bandeau and shorts and posed with my bellybutton popping out and Baby N happily swimming inside of me. BDW was still in the office then and so I went to the shoot by myself. In less than an hour, the session was finished and I was a happy momma 🙂 Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think about having my maternity photos taken but I’m so glad that this session was done by Stan. He was very calm which put me at ease right away. He also explained to me his vision and how he intended to execute it. I was his model that day and however awkward that meant for me, I gamely posed — which was really easy anyway because I was just asked to look at my belly and smile. These are really easy tasks for any pregnant woman I believe hehe.
I figured that a lot of fellow moms might be thinking about having their own maternity photos taken and so I asked Stan to answer a bunch of questions that you guys might be thinking. I asked online via FB and twitter too so thanks to those mommies who added their own questions to the list 🙂
Here’s the Q&A:
When did you start your professional career in photography?
I started photography in 2001 as a hobby. I always brought my film camera whenever I travelled in the country and abroad. I wanted to capture and immortalize the beautiful memories e.g. people, places, experiences that I encountered in my travels. I decided to take workshops under seasoned photographers such as Ibarra Deri, Manny Ang, Jun Miranda, Mark Floro, Raymund Isaac, Patrick Uy, and more. I shifted from film to digital in 2004. Bought my first Digital-SLR, a canon 350D and continued attending workshops. I wanted to have a solid foundation in digital photography. Aside from workshops, I also collaborated with make-up artists, stylists and models for portfolio shoots to further hone my skills.
When did you start shooting pregnancy portraits? What attracted you to this type of portraiture?
I started in 2007, when my wife Jenny got pregnant. We decided to preserve mementos of her pregnancy for our baby girl. I realized then that a lot of moms are afraid of having their maternity photos taken because they think they are big, or fat etc, etc. But my aim is to capture them in their most glorious moments and find beauty in this precious event in their lives. After all, being pregnant (and having a difficult first trimester), carrying our kids for 9 months, living through backaches and giving birth to the 2 most wonderful persons are just some of the the things that I am grateful to my wife for.
What is a maternity portrait?
Maternity portrait is capturing the beginning of a miracle. The beauty of creation. And capturing the beauty of motherhood.
Why should moms/ families do a maternity portrait?
No matter how many times you get pregnant, each pregnancy is unique and different. Each pregnancy brings forth a special individual and capturing a memento is a special reminder which you can give your child. My daughter always enjoys looking at Jenny’s pregnancy photographs of her and talks fondly about it.
Pregnancy is also a stage in a family’s life where everybody is excited – ready to celebrate and ready to welcome a new member.
When is the best time for a mom to have her portrait taken?
I normally ask moms to be between 35-37 weeks or when belly is nice and round 😀 Otherwise, mom will look like she just had a beer belly 😀
What happens during a typical session?
Before the shoots, I ask the moms if they would like to do a specific theme or show me the kind of shots they want. And I also show them the kind of shots I am planning and share photographs of maternity portraits I have previously done. I also show them the props i brought. We discuss ideas until we both agree on the theme and look 😀
How should moms prepare for a portrait session?
Just relax and enjoy the session. I always want to have fun during my shoots. I try to involve everybody (dad and children)
For Moms who may be a bit self-conscious how do you make them comfortable?
I sit down with the mom and discuss with her how the session will go. I start the session by taking some basic shots and showing it to the moms. When i see that they are enjoying, i try to interact with them more.
Do you also do breastfeeding photos? Some moms are interested and would want to know if this is service that you can also provide for them.
Because of the influence of my wife, I offer breastfeeding shots when I do family portraits. Despite being a male photographer, I am happy to say that I have photographed breastfeeding moms for the past 4 years. After being involved in breastfeeding projects, a lot of moms have commented that they were disappointed that they did not think of having such a shot taken when they were still breastfeeding. So with that in mind, I try to offer it during family portraits. I understand that breastfeeding relationships may vary – some long, some short but all are precious and it is just fitting that this precious relationship will be captured and preserved.
As a husband and artist, taking breastfeeding photographs is my way of supporting and promoting my wife’s advocacy.
What other services do you provide?
I do family portraits, event coverage and commercial works (e.g. food, landscape, interiors).
How can they contact you?
They can check out my website: www.stanleyongphotography.com or email me at stanong@stanleyongphotography
Thank you so much Stanley for capturing my beautiful belly and for answering my questions 🙂 I hope the Q &A helped you moms too.