How to create beautiful and memorable pregnancy photography?

Our family will be spending the Summer 2016 in Singapore [1]. Personally, my most favorite photography destinations are gardens and natural scenery [2]. However, with the risk of Zika-carrying mosquitoes in tropical gardens and the high temperatures and humidity that Honey Panda commented as energy-sapping, I decided to pursue indoor photography for a #pandahappyproject [6] to pre-welcome Little Princess [3].

Some challenges with indoor photography is lighting and restriction of the usage of tripod/selfie-stick, except for our own home.

I enjoy researching for maternity photography ideas, and will be contented with at least three beautiful photographs [4] that beautifully record Honey Panda, Little Prince, Little Princess and Happy Green Panda.

To quote Lin Yutang, “photographs, along with souvenirs, evoke what Marcel Proust deemed as conscious memories/memoire volontaire.”

In a nutshell, it will be great if we can have some family photos capturing Little Princess in the womb:

  1. @ our home
  2. @ a library, in a hope that both Little Prince and Little Princess will grow up loving books and reading
  3. before and after I cut my hair short

We also need to consider distance traveled as I get tired easier than usual. Thus, I prefer location(s) close to our home.

While the minimalist panda loves simplicity, props can bring out the fun elements. For example, the traveling bear [5], baby clothes, booties (we had this while Little Prince was in the womb, with a pair of kangaroo booties given by his Godparents as a souvenir from Australia).

Practice your relaxed poses. Except children with smooth baby skin, grown-ups including gentlemen need to wash face and/or apply make-up, at least to minimize the oily look.

During the photography shooting session, play calming music to allow everyone to relax. Bring Little Prince’s favorite toys to allow him to play with Honey Panda, to capture joyful atmosphere. Honestly, it’s challenging to photograph the little ones, we simply cannot pose them like we do with older children or grown-ups. To increase the probability of getting good photographs, we need to take more photos and use street photography approach. Most importantly, smile with your eyes and heart.

Since Honey Panda has no passion in taking photos, I need to teach and guide Little Prince to take beautiful photos. He can start with the beginner guide to photography, even just snapping photos using a camera phone as our Nikon SLR will be too heavy for his little fingers, in order to create meaningful memories using visuals. Instead of being strict with the little photographer, I aspire to make the process simultaneously fun and educational.

In addition, while carrying Little Princess in my womb, I am looking forward to attend the graduation ceremony of a beloved family member, an aerospace engineer! While I was pregnant with Little Prince, I also attended a PhD graduation ceremony of an important family member. These lucky fetuses got to experience the fruits of academic efforts, though I think that being street-smart is equally important as there are more university graduates and grade inflation than ever.

[1] While we need to find a good doctor to take care of Little Princess and I, I realize that I need to gather more energy to prepare for questions to inquire the 3rd* obstetrician that we will see in this pregnancy (for our first meeting) while being aware of the signs of a bad doctor (e.g. uncaring attitude, always pushes further test/procedures). Remember that compassion and competences precede credentials! I tried to ask for questions that I cannot confirm after reading and revising non-expert pregnancy notes, hopefully useful for other expectant mothers.

These few nights, I have experienced low back pain, which is worryingly a possible sign of preterm labor, hence it’s better for me to be more hardworking now. Moreover, I need to get gestational diabetes screening between now (gestational week 24 as of 20160527) and week 28. If I have more time and energy, I should consider hospital tour to confirm if there is free wifi and goodie bags always make me happy, yet the concern of the risk of infections at general hospitals (instead of specialized maternity hospitals) and being easily tired, have discouraged me to do so.

We appreciate the knowledge of the 2nd obstetrician trained in France, but due to our nomadic lifestyles and family pressure, we need to get the 3rd one, and even the 4th or 5th one if necessary.

On a side note, I crave for a prenatal or pregnancy massage.

[2] I am very grateful for some engagement (pre-wedding) shoots taken at UNESCO-listed gardens, and post-wedding photographs with the backgrounds of snow mountains and serene lakes in China.

[3] Many families (for example Rachel Tan Choon Hong of The Pleasure Monger, Liang May), in an attempt to minimize jealousy in the older sibling(s), bought a gift for the elder and white lied that the gift was from the baby. I decided to do the other way round. I told Little Prince to think of and buy a gift for his baby sister on her 0th birthday. He wanted to give her a blue police car soft toy, what a masculine choice! We also started a ritual for Little Prince to hug his baby sister in the womb, every morning before he goes to school. On 20160602, I felt a relief noticing that the 2013-born Little Prince is pretty responsible, he ensures that the air purifier, fan, and electricity are switched off when they are not used or when we go out.

In life, we need to learn that we will love some people more than they love us, although justice and fairness are good virtues. For an example, to quote an Indonesian proverb, “the love from a child is as long as a stick, the love from a mother is as long as a road” as translated from “Kasih ibu sepanjang jalan, kasih anak sepanjang galah.” Parents in general will love and sacrifice more for their children than vice versa. They do not reap 100% what they sow, but their grandchildren will perhaps implicitly be loved by their children. This phenomenon has possibly to do with evolutionary design to ensure the survival of the species.

[4] First, a photograph in which everyone looks at the camera. Second, a photograph in which everyone looks at each other or shows some interaction. Third, perhaps a photograph of Little Princess and me in a beautiful curvature, in a grateful gaze.

[5] The traveling bear was given to me by Honey Panda as the first birthday gift from him to me. Since then, the lucky bear has traveled to many countries, across oceans and time zones. After all, it serves as a comfortable pillow and bolster too!

[6] On 20160610, I created a #pandamnemonic AT PECE (sounds like @ peace) to summarize our main activities during #pandahappyproject: Adorn to beautify ourselves + Travel (e.g. a ride on a double decker bus – a favorite of Little Prince) + Pray + Eat + Create memory using visuals + Experience (play/learn)

See also URLs at the end of this post email and ref2016/how_to_create_beautiful_pregnancy_photography_20160602.txt.

20160618 I am grateful for the relatively inexpensive baby oil to remove make-up. While applying make-up and dressing up makes me happy, I find that the the amount of time and efforts to do so and the subsequent cleaning process is a lot. Thankfully, my current job does not necessitate me to apply make-up daily, though some of my female colleagues MAJ or KK do apply make-up daily. Similarly, Honey Panda dislikes wearing long sleeves and business pants for daily work of 12 hours, but the potentials in earnings and future career are too great to be concerned for the aforementioned discomfort.

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