In the first week of August, I decided to call one of my favorite photographers, Elom Ayayee. She had taken all of DJ’s professional baby shots just a year ago and I wanted her to do same for Drew. She was so excited to hear the news and told me she had packages now which included a maternity shoot. I have always loved her work so doing my maternity shoot with her was a no brainer. I selected one of her packages, booked a date for my shoot and we were good to go. I chose the 25th of September since I figured my belly would be much bigger and I also wanted them ready by my birthday -3rd October.
On the day of the shoot, I didn’t have to take much for my appointment. She told me I could bring a dress if I wanted to but she had an in-house makeup artist and outfits for me to choose from so I didn’t have to bring anything. All she needed was a long straight wig cap and black or nude underwear since my outfits would be sheer. I wasn’t too worried because I knew whatever her concept was, would be tasteful. I still took a white dress and a headpiece as back up. I arrived at her studio in Labone a little late. Our appointment was at 11am, because she wanted to use natural lighting for the first few shots, but I had underestimated the traffic I would be in.
I immediately had my makeup done by Nana Yaa (@peachesbynanayaa, who happens to be the in-house makeup artist she spoke of). She was so pleasant and funny and we shared our new mom experiences as she had also had a daughter. Elom was also right there and gave direction on how exactly she wanted the artificial eyelash to be placed in order to give a soft demure look for my shots. She also advised on the lip colour and the overall look. She had selected an outfit, headpiece and several fabrics ready for the different shots. I loved how detailed and specific she was about what she was about to create.
In about 40 minutes, I was done with hair and makeup and I put on my first outfit. It was a white sheer outfit but I had a black bra and spanks underneath so essential places were covered. She placed a silver headpiece on my head to go with it. We did the shots with the natural lighting first because those were time bound and the others could be done with the studio lights. I stood in front of the white voile by the glass window and she got some amazing shots.
Next, we moved upstairs and I was told to stand in front of the backdrop she had prepared. I had on my headpiece which I had gotten some months earlier from Cheerybaby. When I first told her I had a floral crown she had her reservations about it (because lets face it, floral crowns for maternity shoots have been abused and over done at this point lol ) but once she saw that this one was quite different she agreed. She had a beige fabric which she skilfully wrapped around my body giving the illusion of an actual dress.
I absolutely loved her sense of direction, it was unmatched. She knew exactly where she wanted my hands placed, how high my chin should go, the direction my knees should face, how to bend my leg, how far to stretch out my neck, where to look, how to make a soft clench while supporting the fabric so it doesn’t fall apart. It was incredible. I had worked with professionals but not to this degree and I was truly in awe. From her squeals as she took the shots, I could tell she was just as excited as I was. For my two final looks, she got me into a royal blue fabric and then a navy blue lace and then I was done.
What I loved about this experience was the fact that, I felt beautiful. The experience, not just the results. Let’s be honest, a lot of times during pregnancy, “beautiful” is a very rare feeling. You wake up one day and can’t even see below your belly to even attempt shaving. You can’t seem to perform simple tasks you did before, you itch uncontrollably, cry for no reason, lose your temper every other day (those damn mood swings!) or can’t even get out of bed. You’re constantly fatigued, overeating or throwing up and the last thing you want to do is get dressed up to go anywhere.
Two weeks after the shoot, I was called in to see the final shots and I was speechless! I am never speechless. I was in awe of her work and how I looked in them. I actually looked like I was glowing and I never thought I had that pregnancy glow people spoke about. These are by far my best pictures- not just maternity pictures, BEST PICTURES PERIOD!. Thank you Elom, you are a truly gifted woman and artist. These are pictures I would cherish forever and knowing that I was also growing a human inside me makes it a thousand times better. Women are superheroes!