A dream waterfall maternity portrait session, Ithaca NY

Diana had contacted me when she was about 28 weeks pregnant, she knew she wanted some maternity portraits to celebrate the arrival of her newest little girl in late October. With her previous pregnancy, the maternity portraits didn’t come out as well as she had hoped for, and so she really needed the job done right this time.

We set plans for a combined studio and outdoor portrait session, so she could have a nice array of both indoor and outdoor portraits created. We spent time corresponding on her lunch breaks from her busy work schedule so that she’d have every thing she needed for the day of the shoot. No detail was left unplanned….

She showed up the morning of her shoot prepared and relaxed and we began with a dark backdrop to achieve the more classic, black and white portraits you see here.

ithaca ny, maternity portraits, maternity photographer

ithaca ny, maternity portraits, maternity photographer


After a few outfit changes, we then moved on to a white backdrop to achieve a high key effect. My older son Banyan, happily played with her 3 yr old son and the toys he brought along with him so he would be content and she could relax into embodying the radiant goddess that she clearly is.

maternity portrait, ithaca ny, pregnancy, upstate NY, finger lakes

We would ask him to step in for a portrait here and there, and because he was already so psyched to play with my older son, he happily obliged. There was no pressure for him to “perform”, or time constraints on my part. His joy was naturally present, because he wasn’t being bribed with chocolate or forced to wear an outfit he didn’t feel comfortable in. When I work with toddlers, this is my approach. A happy toddler = a happy mom = a happy photographer = candidly amazing portraits that are authentic.

I no longer do “mini” sessions for this reason, or force time constraints on my clients. When you book with me, you have my freedom of time for the morning or afternoon, and we can all just relax and actually ENJOY our time together. I think this clearly shows in the resulting portraits with children smiling at the camera and their parents, also feeling joy because they feel its going so well and aren’t stressed out at all.

After a couple of hours playing in the studio, we then set out to a nearby waterfall, that I had previously scouted out to ensure a lack of tourists! I’ve done many photoshoots in the past where a client feels like every person in the vicinity is watching them get their portrait session done, and it yields a stressed client. For this reason, I find the off the cut places where there is guaranteed to be just about no one present.


My assistant and I helped Diana hike down into the waterfall and ensure that her dress didn’t get wet so that it would still fly so freely up into the air. I set up my lights, and we began having fun. Here is a behind the scenes photo, so that you can see my assistant is letting the dress fly and then running out of the frame. Clearly, I simply photoshop him out! ūüėČ Meanwhile, her son and my son happily played on the rocks nearby while we did the portraits, and would again, call him in for a shot or two.

maternity portrait, ithaca ny, pregnancy, upstate NY, finger lakes

      maternity portraits, ithaca ny, fingerlakes, upstate NY, pregnancy

It was a incredibly hot day for September, a whopping 87 degrees. So once all the fly away dresses portraits were captured, we got ourselves into the water to cool down. Yes, me, my gear and a stunning pregnant mama, all spent time happily playing in the water until we felt satisfied with the results.

maternity portrait, ithaca ny, pregnancy, upstate NY, finger lakes

Mission dream waterfall maternity portrait session accomplished!!! Diana now has some amazing portraits to celebrate the 9 months that she carried her little one into the world. We had our gallery reveal session yesterday and she decided upon a lovely wooden keepsake box, heirloom album as well as some beautiful canvas prints to display in her home. After the baby is born, she will have beautiful portraits that she can show her daughter when she is grown. Its not every child, that gets to see portraits of their mama looking so radiant in a waterfall~ I feel so honored to have been able to capture this special time in her mothering journey.

maternity portrait, ithaca ny, pregnancy, upstate NY, finger lakes

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