My Lovely Meg :: Maternity Portrait

April 26, 2009 | Family Misc. Photos


This is my lovely wife who complained in the last critique that I don’t take enough photos of her.  I’m calling this a maternity portrait because she is 9 months pregnant. We’ve been married for 9 months and 5 days. Do the math!  Yes… this is my maternity portrait of you my dear Meghan. Because it is a portrait of you while you are pregnant.

You see, I shoot portraits of musicians but it is a rare, rare, rare instance that I photograph musicians with their instruments. All the portraits I have of myself, a photographer, are without me holding a camera. So, a maternity photo, to me, isn’t about the belly. It’s about the place in time of the woman who is pregnant.  Meghan is going to remember this time because there she was, at Lenny’s Bar of all places, hanging out with me while I was shooting an assignment. That assignment was shooting portraits of musicians. None of them were holding anything they make music with. Still a portrait of musicians. 

Meg… I love you!  I hope you like this portrait of you! 

Nerd talk – Shot with a Nikon D3, 24mm 2.8. No post processing. Straight from camera. I was going to work with it a bit but decided it was perfect just like it is… just like my wife.

Cheers, Zack 


  • Jeff said on April 26, 2009

    Man….talk about raising the bar…geez…

  • Kim said on April 26, 2009

    your words are so true & i’m sure this is a maternity portrait she will cherish. i would if i were her!

  • Sean McCormack said on April 26, 2009

    Cool. Nice work even if it’s a Nikon :)

    Also, as you are married, you should update your Altpick profile!

  • Kurt said on April 26, 2009

    would love to see a post on how you did this. you said this was straight out of the camera and I don’t see how this could have been done without Photoshop…or maybe I’m just a noob.

  • Squeeker said on April 26, 2009

    nice, Zack. =)

  • Levi B said on April 26, 2009

    Wow. Just, wow. I love your take on WHY you take the photos, regardless of what the person does, or is.

  • Alejandra Gabin said on April 26, 2009

    awwww too beautiful

  • Sheri Johnson said on April 26, 2009

    Very creative and beautiful, the photo and the wife :)

  • zack said on April 26, 2009

    @Kurt – My camera has a multiple exposure mode. Many cameras have this feature these days I think.


  • Cat Norman said on April 26, 2009

    Literally – this is my favorite picture you have ever taken. Meghan – you look gorgeous!

  • Tasra Dawson said on April 26, 2009

    Gorgeous. Each image captures a different side of her, literally and figuratively.

  • dewde said on April 26, 2009

    This is how it happens in my home. I take a picture of my beautiful wife. I show her how beautiful she is. She looks and says, “I look terrible.”

    Then I say something completely brain-dead like, “No you don’t, you look natural and lovely. Just like in real life.” She looks at me, then the picture, then me, then the picture, then in horror she blurts out, “I LOOK LIKE THAT IN REAL LIFE? YOU MEAN LIKE, ALL THE TIME? THIS IS HOW PEOPLE SEE ME??”

    Then I start to backpedal, you know… to make her feel better. “Well, maybe your lazy eye isn’t quite as pronounced in real life as it is in this picture and blah blah blah.” The rest doesn’t matter. I’m screwed. She’s pissed. I delete the picture. End of story.

    Well, unless I really like it anyway. Sometimes you just gotta keep those pictures of your loved ones. Our daughters will thank me even if she won’t.


  • zack said on April 26, 2009

    @dewde – Are we married to the same woman? If so, come on upstairs and let’s have a beer and end this masquerade.

    You know what you could do… Blog the photo before she has a chance to complain like I did! :)


  • Macy said on April 26, 2009

    Love the photo – love the explanation. Truly regretting the hands on belly picture that my stepmom made me get while I was pregnant. :)

  • cristina thornburg said on April 26, 2009

    AMAZING!! I love this portrait of Meg. She looks beautiful! I wish I could see her now! We’ll be praying for a smooth delivery and arrival of that precious baby of yours!

  • Ken said on April 26, 2009

    “You know what you could do… Blog the photo before she has a chance to complain like I did!”

    If I tried that, I’d be dead by morning :)

    I haven’t used multiple exposure-mode since my film-days. Any reason why you chose it for this photo instead of just stacking a few frames in post?

  • Levi B said on April 26, 2009

    Zack, do you prefer using multiple exposure mode, or Bulb + multiple flash pops? The same effect can be achieved with that method, right?

  • Levi B said on April 26, 2009

    That is, assuming, you have complete control over your ambient light, otherwise you’re streaking the light. Is that the only difference between the two modes?

  • Rod Leland said on April 26, 2009

    Great work, Zack. I’ve never been able to make more than three shots in one work well on the D3!

  • andy said on April 26, 2009

    Great photo…congrats on the incoming new addition, the beautiful wife with the golden voice, and the ability to do things so awesome.

    Do you ever kick back with a big fat cuban cigar and a tall cold Newcastle, and think how blessed you are? :)

  • zack said on April 26, 2009

    Why multiple exposure…. Back in film days there was a certain anxiety you had when you were shooting because you weren’t exactly sure that the pictures you were taking were going to be what you were trying to make.

    There were times of blasted mistakes and times of amazing and beautiful failures. This tension and anxiety is missing in the world of Photoshop.

    I could shoot 4 frames and then composite them in post production but what the hell fun is that at the end of the day? Then you are going to tweak this and tweak that and on and on and on.

    I’m getting more into multiple exposure because it’s sort of a crap shoot. Something brilliant might just happen and something horrible might just happen. You have to slow down, think it through, and experiment IN CAMERA!

    It’s fun. It’s a challenge. Something unusual usually comes out of it.


  • zack said on April 26, 2009

    @ Andy – Each day I know I’m blessed and each day I know how much I don’t deserve anything that I have.


  • Stacy Hughes said on April 26, 2009

    This is a stunning portrait. What a blessing that you are able to see the beauty in your gorgeous pregnant wife, even if she can’t right now. I wish you both all the best.

  • Dominic Hanna said on April 26, 2009

    awesome shot! I’m jealous this was a multiple exposure right out of camera.

    That’s probably the only feature that not on Canon cameras (unless they just started with the 5Dm2).

  • lanne said on April 26, 2009

    Bravo! I have been loving the critiques and this seems like a perfect portrait – Maternity photos are Ok (we can agree to disagree hehe) but a photo taken by your baby’s father when you at 9 months pregnant is perfect. I got the first photo of my husband as I see him 2 days ago. Been trying for 10 years. It was worth the wait. Hope the next few days go smoothly and your new little person arrives safely.

  • Sam Coran said on April 26, 2009

    oh wow. beautiful portrait. been seeing a lot of double exposures from the pros lately. I just finished reading the moment it clicks by Joe Mcnally and there were photos with double exposures too.

    gotta try this later.

    thanks for sharing.

    God bless you and your family.

  • Zac said on April 26, 2009

    Yeah, we do have the same wife, or in at least the respect, that photographers have like spouses. And it’s funny, people always think that there should be thousands of pictures of my wife, but then I tell them that she poo-poos them all, so we just take random happy snaps, but it does document us and our life together. Weirdly, her pics always involves food in some way…

    Question, obviously you inspire a lot of people, ( I hope you don’t mind that word “inspire”), who feeds you photographically?

  • Ilan said on April 26, 2009

    Like a Renaissance painting.
    Very impressive result!

  • Garry said on April 27, 2009

    You smooth talking deveil :)
    God bless you guys in the coming few hectic days .

  • Roland said on April 27, 2009

    Most pictures I have of my lovely wife are of when she is sleeping. She categorically refuses to have her picture taken and threatens to “stick that camera where the sun don’t shine” as soon as I point a lens in her direction. I can only guess what our kids and grandkids will think of her pics when they are older “why was mummy/grandma always sleeping?”

    Nice picture Zac and consider yourself lucky :)

  • A Photojournalist Who Blogs said on April 27, 2009


  • Lou said on April 27, 2009

    Very very cool… There’s that multi-exposure mode that Nikon rocks oh so well. :)

    And you’re lucky. My wife HATES pics of her taken. I get threatened when the camera even looks NEAR her direction lmao…

  • Scott said on April 27, 2009

    Zak, it’s a beautiful picture, congratulations to you both. And on a technical note, great work:)

  • Carrie Viohl said on April 27, 2009

    I’m in love with this… it’s like picasso; all the pretty bits of her face at once. *love*

  • dewde said on April 27, 2009

    @Zack – LOL! I so totally knew you posted that without permission.


  • Marcus said on April 27, 2009

    Love this Zack. Agree with you on the reason of not shooting her belly. Saw your twitter feed about the shot and was excited to see what you had done because of all your critique comments about how much you hate maternity photography and your ladies comments on you not shooting her. Haha

  • John Shim said on April 27, 2009

    very nice zack. you’re always inspiring me to push farther. thanks again for this picture. i’ll remember to blog first… ask for forgiveness later with my soon wife-to-be. :)

  • melissa said on April 27, 2009

    Dear Zach,

    I kinda hear what you are saying, the only thing I would like to point out in regards to photographing the belly is that for us ladies capturing a portrait of our bodies while pregnant is a gift for us, the preserving of a memory and an experience like no other.

    Watching our bodies morph and change and grow is amazing, beautiful and a little bit horrifying at times. :)

    Afterwards it is easy to forget what that felt like and the photos help us remember the beauty and amazing-ness of the experience.

    It is our actual bodies and an very unique experience being recorded not our careers.

    Not to mention there is something quite gorgeous (in my opinion) about the female form while pregnant-giving life to her baby in the most personal way.

    A guy with a guitar, not so much. :)

    Also there are plenty of talented photographers capturing pregnancy in very non-cliche artistic ways that should be noted.

    Plenty of people go for something much more special than the heart hands on the belly. And manage to capture what the pregnancy means for the mother…something beautiful to be remembered (afterall, most of us only experience it a few times).

    And as a mother of two with hardly any photos to speak of during my pregnancies I feel is is not right that experience to be compared with instruments and cameras.

    You are forgiven though because you are a guy :)

    I just wanted to give my two cents from a female perspective.

    Congrats to you and Meg!

  • murat said on April 27, 2009

    To be frank, one of the reasons why I started following up your blog almost daily is I found you so close to your lovely wife by your writings.I mean it.:) Because none of the guys mention about their wifes in their blogs like you do…Say hi to your wife from me and be our guest if you happen to pass by Turkey..By the way, my wife also doesnt like the photos of her taken by me though I like a lot.:))

  • zack said on April 27, 2009

    @melissa – “You are forgiven because you are a guy.”

    Yeah. See, I totally play the “guy” card when it comes to my thoughts about maternity photos! I know there are great maternity photographers out there and I would bet the best of the best of them are most likely women. It’s one of those topics that women connect with best and are most likely best suited to capture.

    Dudes do a better job of photographing guys using chainsaws. :)


  • Hilke said on April 27, 2009

    Just WOW!!

    I have two maternity sessions coming up and this post really inspires me to think different & approach them different. Hope it works out…

    Thanks a lot Zack & take care

  • Mark said on April 27, 2009

    Love it, Zack. And you’ve inspired me to try it as well.

    And I always get railed on for not taking enough photos of The Mrs. as well. And then when I do, it’s not well received. *sigh*

  • wn said on April 27, 2009

    Superb and congratulations!

  • Sissel Byington said on April 27, 2009

    I can’t wait to try this. Stunning portrait.
    Did she like this one?

  • Andi said on April 27, 2009

    Zack – Great job capturing the beauty and essence of your lovely bride! Love you both!!

  • Heather Dowd said on April 27, 2009

    Lovely narrative!

  • Meghan said on April 27, 2009


    I did! I do! He surprised me with this blog post and with the picture and I cried. Even in my swollen rotundity he helped me feel beautiful.


  • Marly said on April 27, 2009

    Beautiful wife and great husband = inspiring marriage. Keep it up, both of you.

  • Rich said on April 27, 2009

    Your imagery and words in this post will no doubt evoke fond memories when you show them to your grandchildren…

  • Steve said on April 27, 2009

    Without getting too maudlin and mushy…I think your love for your wife and your talent as a photographer, have melded together to produce a picture no one else could have taken.

  • sharon said on April 27, 2009

    Thank you for doing something other than the expected belly. Truly beautiful capture!

  • Hunter Harrison said on April 27, 2009

    Very cool effect. Love it!

  • Ramin said on April 27, 2009

    It seems like Canon users (5D) can not multiple exposures. 1. Is this correct? Am I missing something? 2. If so, can you suggest a way to do this? Many thanks in advance.

  • Les Doerfler said on April 28, 2009

    Zack and Meghan…congrats on your imminent event and a fantastic photo to remember this time.

    The quality of light and color really give it a painterly look.

    I also like the fact that you chose to multiple exposure rather than PP composite. As one, who is struggling to spend more time with the camera and less with the computer, it was nice to see.

    Zack… I would be interested to hear why you prefer to shoot musicians without their instruments. I guess being a bit of a gear hound, I love seeing guitars in shots.

  • Joe Reed said on April 28, 2009

    Meg-You look great! :) Outstanding job Zack. You captured your wife well.

  • zack said on April 28, 2009

    @Les – I typically don’t shoot musicians with their instruments because…

    1) It has been done to death and usually pretty badly.

    2) It’s cliché, expected, too safe, bourgeois, trite.

    Not meaning to offend anyone here, but I feel the same way about photographers having their bio pick holding a camera. “Hi, I’m a photographer. Don’t you see me holding this camera to prove it?”

    I don’t want the expected.

    “I’m a chef, here is a portrait of me with pots and pans.”

    “I’m a teacher. Here is a portrait of me in front of the black board.”

    “I’m a painter. Here is a portrait of me with some paint brushes.”

    See, it’s all so trite and boring. Sometimes you have to shoot those images. Sometimes it works brilliantly. Most of the time it isn’t really needed whatsoever.

    One of the worst things in the world you can do as an artist is go out and create what everyone expects to see.

    @murat #39 – Glad to have you here my friend!

    @Ramin – You’ll have to resort to Photoshop if you don’t have M.E. on your camera. Multiple layers, blending modes, and layer masks will have to take you there.


  • Les Doerfler said on April 28, 2009

    Zack…an interesting take of the “tools of the trade” aspect.

    I do get where you are coming from and have found that in my bike racing photography, I like to leave as little of the bike in the photo as I can get away with on some shots.

    Taking this a step further, when shooting a musician of a particular genre, do you push them away from the sterotypes that go with that…for example the country singer. Would you go out of your way to de-cowboy them? Suit instead of western wear? City shot instead of broken fence and pasture etc. Same with inner city rock guy…would you take them out of their element to change it up?

    BTW…I am working my way through your critiques. They are fantastic. I’m a long way from having a pro site, but as one that never went to school for photography and thus never have had any real critiques, I am learning a lot about how to think about my work. Big thumbs up.

  • Kim said on April 28, 2009

    Beautiful. Period.

  • Jack W Alexander said on April 28, 2009

    Beautiful shot Zach, I really appreciate the emotion and connection that you have in this work.

  • Susan M said on April 28, 2009

    I enjoy our photos, your blog and very late night (or very early morning)chats. Best wishes from Australia.

  • Diala Chinedu said on April 28, 2009

    Zack, I read ur blog EVERYTIME but I never comment on blogs and I just had to comment on this…MEG IS GORGEOUS and I want you to tell her that…Shes like the star of ur critique sessions…we dont even want to hear ur opinions anymore…LOL

    Also, nice photograph…even tho it was shot with a Nikon :-p

    Behind every great photographer, there is a gorgeous woman…

    Cheers mate!!!

  • zack said on April 29, 2009

    So true Diala! So true!


  • Eric Brennan said on April 29, 2009

    Meg, Zack,
    My wife and I sit down together and watch your critiques. It is a great bonding moment. She puts up with me and the camera. We do so love your interaction and as with many other comments. “Meg is the STAR”.

  • Megan said on April 29, 2009

    I just LoVe how in lOVe you are with Meg…..especially since my name is Meg! Your down to earth tell it like it is attitude is so refreshing…..keep on keepin’ on!

  • sandra lemin said on April 30, 2009


  • Eric said on May 5, 2009

    How neat, if only Canon had this ability. Great concept and execution.

  • rajat said on May 7, 2009

    so D3 had in camera multi exposure is it ?
    wow , wish canon would do the same ,

  • south pacific meg said on May 13, 2009

    So glad they don’t photograph obgyn’s with their tools of the trade…

    I went to leave a comment on this weeks ago, but the internet went down. But i’m sure it’s not too late to leave praise:-
    LOve love love the photo of Meghan! It’s beautiful. And Meg: the critiques would not be the same without your involvement. best wishes for the new babe!

  • James Kiffmeyer said on May 17, 2009

    Thanks for posting the photo, hope she likes her “Marternity” pic…

  • south pacific meg said on May 18, 2009

    James! “Martenity” is different from pregnancy don’t you know! LOL

  • David Pullum said on June 5, 2009

    Great shot,and congrats

  • pete25R said on August 26, 2009

    double exposures rock.

    I’ve been trying to get a double exposure to turn out that near that good.

    Word up on the philosophy why this is a maternity portrait.

  • Brian Thompson said on April 29, 2010

    Thanks so much, Zack, for sharing your expertise and your passion, on several levels.

  • Devon Photographer said on July 19, 2010

    I really love how you play with shots a make them a piece of art.

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