Classic Pregnancy Photography Workshop – February 2nd, 2013

Thanks for your interest in this workshop.  I promise to make it worth your while.

If you are ready to enroll, click here.

Over the last thirteen years, I’ve refined a method of creating beautiful pregnancy images and I’d like to share my technique and insights with you. As a pregnancy photographer, you’ll have the opportunity to create images that will be handed down for generations as family mementos.  As an artist, that feels great.  As a business person, assuming you sell your photography, it makes the cash register ring, too.

Photographing pregnancy is different from other types of portraiture in several respects.  First, the emphasis is usually not on the face, nor on the figure as a whole.  This means the lighting has to be different, as do the angles that you photograph from.  Another huge difference is that the subject, in all likelihood, will not have her usual level of grace, fluidity or energy.  And very possibly, she’ll be more self-conscious about her figure.  All of this adds up to different challenges then you might be used to.

In this workshop, You will learn a lighting system that provides plenty of flexibility and drama.  I’ll explain what a low-key lighting scheme is and why it works best to emphasis the subject matter.  You’ll learn about what clothing and props work best and what ones don’t work.  And I’ll gives you tips on how to elicit a variety of expressions from your subject, a sure-fire way to boost sales.

You’ll receive instruction and you’ll have time to create your own unique images under my tutelage, complete with a model release allowing you to use the images in your advertising.

Here are some sample images of our model, KitsuJitsu, taken on January 5th.
Click on the thumbnails to see the entire image:

Classes are three hours in length, starting at 10:00 AM and 2:30 PM on February 2nd.
Limited to eight participants each, tuition is $129.00.

Early registration discount: $99.00 thru Jan. 19th.

Pilot Imaging, the DC area’s premier photo lab, is sponsoring this event and it will be held at their studio – 663 Southlawn Lane  Rockville, MD 20850

Click here to register.

For additional information, call Jim Guzel at (202) 362-2008

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7 Responses to Classic Pregnancy Photography Workshop – February 2nd, 2013

  1. Steve says:

    I live in the metro DC area — always looking for solid teaching resources.

    But — sorry to write this — your posted images for the pregnancy seminar fall far short of pro competence.

    Ratio of fill to main is wrong for the subject’s emotional context / Shooting angles do not show the model at her natural best / A dark background leaves viewers clueless about space in the enviro.

  2. Jim Guzel says:

    Obviously, the above comments on the images attached to this workshop din’t leave me warm and fuzzy. But it is one person’s considered opinion and it does provide a jumping off point for some discussion. So here’s my reply:

    1) “But — sorry to write this — your posted images for the pregnancy seminar fall far short of pro competence.” Ouch! I’ve no idea what Steve’s credentials as a photographer but here are mine. Thirteen years as a full-time professional portrait photographer, during which time I spent three years teaching at the Washington School of Photography, including figure study. I’ve had images published, unsolicited by me, in Ebony Magazine and Popular Photography, the latter including a short essay on how I sell fine art images in addition to those sold to my portrait clients. I was the education/program chairman for three years for the Professional Photographers Society of Greater Washington. I’ve also done several presentations to that group, along with almost all the major camera clubs in the DC area. And I have won first place prizes in two photography contests open to submissions on a national level. And more specific to pregnancy, I expect and regularly achieve sales easily in excess of $1000.00 for pregnancy sessions, which normally last about one hour. Since I offer a 100% money-back guarantee, I would think it safe to assume that my clients are happy with their investment.

    2) “Ratio of fill to main is wrong for the subject’s emotional context” Steve, have you ever heard of Rembrandt? Seriously, I think this is a style preference issue more than anything else. Low-key lighting, the technical subject in this workshop, is generally regarded as very well suited to emotional content. High-key lighting (white clothes and background, light shadows) is no doubt more frequently used for pregnancy but it also has it’s drawbacks. In particular you see everything, which in my opinion distracts from the pregnancy and facial expression.

    3) “Shooting angles do not show the model at her natural best” No, these are not the ideal angles for figure. But by and large, they are the best angles for pregnancy. Why? If your concentration is on the tummy, as is the case in how I approach pregnancy, there are very few ways you can turn the body and have that show best, especially since this model was not yet seven months when I shot these images. To be fair to Steve’s criticism, the images that were taken from a ladder, shooting down, certainly compress the figure and the lighting is somewhat flatter (less shadow = fatter figure). I shot these angles to illustrate possibility and to put real emphasis on facial expression, which is not the case in the images shot while I was kneeling. Experience has taught me that a client is very inclined to purchase at least one image framed in this manner. One other comment: about half the women I’ve photographed in pregnancy using this type of lighting have remarked happily about how, overall, their tummies showed nice and big but their legs and butt looked pretty slim considering how much weight they had put on. I’ll take that to the bank every time.

    4) “A dark background leaves viewers clueless about space in the enviro” Of course! That’s what it’s supposed to do. First of all, this style is about the pregnancy, not the nursery, conception bed or anything else. Second and most importantly, this is a workshop primarily intended for beginner/intermediate photographers. The style is very easy to grasp and set up, nor does it require a lot of equipment; composition is only concerned with the subject (again relatively easy to grasp); and it requires little or no props and/or the studio to store them in. In other words, it is something I can teach in three hours and have a reasonable expectation that the students will actually grasp it, walk away with a couple of portfolio-worthy images, and be able to come close to duplicating it on their own. This in turn should allow them to make back the cost of the workshop several times over the first time they use it for a paying client without buying anything else except a sheer black scarf, assuming they have access to two lights. Sounds like a good deal to me.

  3. Mark Salo says:

    I enjoy attending Jim’s workshops. Yes, Jim’s style is often high contrast. Sometimes I go for a similar look and sometimes not.

    There are many photographers in this area and around the world with many styles of photography. I wish that Steve had included his last name or some other way that I could view his style.

    Mark Salo

  4. Alton says:

    This workshop was all that I expected and more! Jim provided outstanding instruction and insight into his approach for this type of shoot as well as answering all my questions about alternative styles and considerations. Everything from the Q&A with the other photographers as well as the studio accommodations helped to enhance the overall experience. Finally, the model’s grace, personality and beauty comprised the magic that made the entire workshop so amazing.

  5. Mark Salo says:

    As always, I enjoyed your workshop today. And as always, your workshops are double whammies: You demonstrate lighting and you demonstrate working with a variety of models.

    I liked that your lighting gave different effects depending in which direction the model posed. And I liked the kiss of light projected by the third light.

    Your model was lovely and easy to work with. Her baby bump was to die for and her hands were so graceful. Plus your advice was invaluable.

    I posted this image but I might work with it some more re: focus point.


  6. David S. says:


    Thanks for a good workshop! And in the fullness of time… a follow-on workshop with this same model and her young son could be great for a “mother and child” workshop. Hoping this can be arranged. By all means, do keep me and the other workshop participants posted.

    Thanks again!

    David S.

  7. David S. says:

    P.S. Jim,

    Thanks for including the lighting diagram (and technical comments re: f-stops) in your follow-up e-mail to the workshop participants. As you commented during the workshop, yes, I do take copious notes at your workshops — in particular trying to sketch out the lighting setups and what f-stop settings you used for a given setup. The diagram you sent out is much clearer than my own scribbled handwriting, done most often in lower light conditions — without the overhead room lights on — and often while trying to balance a clipboard or other hard writing surface on my knee to support the paper.

    And of course, thanks for your great responsiveness to my questions and the questions of all the participants — that is how we can learn best.

    Thanks again,

    David S.

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