It's hard to put into words my thoughts about Gemma and her circumstances and how humbled we both felt at being given the chance to document a life changing milestone in Gemma and her husband, Paul's lives that may never have happened, was against all the odds and is something which many people take for granted - parenthood.
Gemma first approached me by email to enquire about a maternity photography shoot so that she could present Paul with an album of images of her proudly showing off her bump. Nothing too unusual about a pregnancy photo shoot you might think, except that her journey had been anything but smooth and her courage at getting to this point was inspirational.
Time was of the essence, of course, because baby bumps need to be big enough for the photographs but babies sometimes arrive early. The other important factor was that Gemma really wanted the album to present to Paul on his birthday in October. The project was to be kept a big secret and so the only contact we had was via email because Paul works from home and ringing Gemma may well have given the game away. Our communication ran to many emails back and forth which resulted in me inviting Gemma into the studio for a chat in the hope that it would reassure her. We chatted about ideas and established that the sweet style of maternity photography with ribbons tied around pregnant tummies definitely wasn't Gemma's style. With a date in the diary for the session, Gemma left, hopefully feeling a bit more relaxed.
A short while later, I received an email from Gemma asking if the session could be brought forward by a couple of weeks as it was suspected that the baby, nicknamed Peanut, might arrive early and we couldn't afford to take the risk of missing the maternity photo shoot. Gemma came into the studio for the session and I'm sure she won't mind me say so, was very nervous, so she was accompanied by her close friend, Lyndsey, who offered a bit of moral support.
The session went absolutely brilliantly. We worked through several ideas, some of Gemma's own and some of ours, used different backdrops, drapes and a wind machine to get Gemma a variety of images for choose from. She said that she'd really enjoyed herself and was delighted with her images even just looking at some of them on the back of the camera.
Soon afterwards, Gemma came in to view her photographs and her reaction to them blew us away - she said she couldn't believe it was her in the pictures. She chose a selection of images which Alex designed into a beautiful digital album for her. Just a couple of hours after she collected it and a lovely email arrived.
"Hi Alex and Janet, well I couldn't keep the secret any longer and presented Paul with his present this afternoon. You've managed to reduce a grown man to tears!!!! I told him I'd organised some more shoots for Peanut and both of us once she's here and he's totally up for it, can't wait. I really can't thank you guys enough."
We are used to keeping secrets for our clients and we always exercise the utmost discretion as generally, our boudoir and maternity photographs are not published, but Gemma has very kindly allowed us to share a couple of her beautiful images.
So, we're anxiously awaiting the news that baby "Peanut" has arrived and we will meet her soon afterwards when the family come in for their first of three portrait sessions which will ultimately result in another digital album documenting the story of this very special baby's first year and we can't wait as we know that we've been very privileged to be a part of something incredibly special.