Photo of the Day

Eye-Catching Portraits and Photos of the Week for May 8 

May 8, 2023

By Hillary K. Grigonis

Motherhood is a title that encompasses so many different emotions that it is difficult to put into words. Yet, somehow, portrait and lifestyle photographers can capture the indescribable moments between a mother and a child. In honor of Mother’s Day, we’re featuring motherhood pictures from Rachelle Welling, Doug Weittenhiller, Kelly Brown, Laura Parkin-Warner, and Nicole Ashley Photography. 

Rachelle Welling 

© Rachelle Welling

“Being a mother myself, I find capturing the unique bond between mothers and their newborns is both sacred and rewarding,” said photographer Rachelle Welling. “That first year can feel like a second and an eternity at the same time. I want to pause those fleeting moments that mothers will cherish long after their babies have flown the nest.” 

In this motherhood studio session, Welling wanted to capture the emotional and empowering experience of breastfeeding and how those two feelings can coexist. She used a Nikon Z6 II with a 24-70mm f2.8 lens and a strobe light to capture the shot. 

Doug Weittenhiller, Twig and Olive Photography 

© Doug Weittenhiller

This capture by Doug Weittenhiller of Twig and Olive Photography illustrates the balance between encouraging a child to move forward and holding on tightly to the fleeting moments. “Everything to a child is new: from the touch of wet sand to the gentle, salty breeze, to just the act of walking,” said Weittenhiller. “A child has no sense of danger, so they are free to explore with a mother’s guidance. Not every person we photograph would want their child running on a cold New Zealand beach. Mom’s gentle touch right next to the water’s edge shows her desire for her child to explore her new world and do so safely. That’s the power of a mother’s love — the balance between pushing forward and holding tightly.” 

Weittenhiller knew that to get a motherhood photograph like this on a western New Zealand beach, he would have to wait until blue hour to avoid the sunlight blowing out the waves. That presented a challenge as it made the shoot past the toddler’s usual bedtime, but the little girl’s love for the water helped. The image was captured on a Nikon Z9 with an adapted Nikkor 35mm f1.4 G lens. 

Kelly Brown 

© Kelly Brown

Portrait photographer Kelly Brown often constructs her own props in order to bring her vision to life — and that was the case with this maternity image as well. She constructed the set inside her studio. The build both helped Brown carry out her vision and teach other photographers how to safely bring creative concepts to life in a class for She took the shot with a Canon R5 and RF 28-70mm f2 lens, with a Broncolor Siros 8 and a 150cm Octobox as the key light. 

“This photo represents feelings of joy, loneliness and isolation that are often felt due to the physical and emotional changes women experience during pregnancy,” she said. 

Laura Parkin-Warner, Rose Photo Co. 

© Laura Parkin-Warner

In 2021, Laura Parkin-Warner began The Breastfeeding Project, an ongoing series she says is designed to normalize nursing and fight the outdated and misogynistic ideas associated with it. For this image, she wanted to photograph mother Sophie feeding her baby naturally in a natural environment. She took the image using a Canon 5D Mark III and the Sigma Art 135mm f1.8. 

“I adore meeting the mothers and hearing about their stories—not one woman has the same motherhood or breastfeeding journey, and I find it fascinating learning about their personal experiences,” she said. “The thought that my photography could be empowering women or helping to support those unsure or struggling with breastfeeding is a wonderful feeling.” 

Nicole Ashley, Nicole Ashley Photography 

© Nicole Ashley Photography

This photograph by Nicole Ashley Photography embodies the precious moments of emotion that exist between mother and daughter. Nicole Ashley took the photograph with the Canon EOS R5 and the RF 50mm f1.2 L USM lens. 

“I find so often it is mothers behind the lenses capturing their family and they are more hesitant to be in the photos,” Nicole Ashley said. “I love making mother’s feel beautiful and love showing them the importance of existing in images with their children.” 

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