The Mother of All Portraits

When a woman is eight months pregnant, posing for a picture is not a very enticing concept. The art of portraiture is so often wrapped up in our self-esteem, and pregnancy can hit that a little hard. Along with the joy, hope and plans for the future, come a changing body, weight gain and exhaustion.  

Cathie Archbould started shooting maternity and newborn photography three years ago when another photographer suggested that she build a studio. She had been working for newspapers in the Yukon and Victoria, shooting mostly landscape and wildlife photography. In 2000, she started Archbould photography.  

“I was doing commercial, corporate, editorial, stock photos. I was a location photographer, I was an industrial photographer. Why would I build a studio?” she says.

Her colleague told her that in the cold, dark months of winter, she would be able to continue shooting. “You just bring them into the studio.”

When another friend became pregnant with twins, Archbould wanted to photograph her.  

“She was very shy and when she saw the first photo she was very excited,” Archbould says. “She wanted to put it up on Facebook. A few moms that I had in didn’t get their first pregnancy documented. Now they are having the second one and they don’t want to miss out.”  

That is when Archbould found how much she enjoyed the process herself.  

“I never expected to have so much fun photographing maternity and newborns. But I specialize in photographing people in their environment, so in some ways it was a natural fit for me,” she says. “With the cover maternity photo (the cover photo for this issue) I decided to marry my love of environmental portraiture and maternity, photographing the model doing what she loves, which is running dogs.”

The model is local voice talent and actor Moira Sauer. She says she had to warm up to the idea of getting her photo taken with a pregnant belly.

Even though the whole pregnancy is roughly nine months, Archbould’s advice for maternity photos is to aim for between thirty-five and thirty-eight weeks for optimum showing of the belly. This is the time when a woman is really showing in her pregnancy, and that is after all the point of the shoot.

“I had several friends who had babies who pushed me to get pictures done while I was still pregnant, and I didn’t want to, I wasn’t interested at all,” Sauer recalls. “Then I ran into Cathie who said ‘I really want to get shots of you before you give birth.’”

Sauer expressed her hesitance to Archbould.

“Cathie said ‘I know, but we aren’t going to take up a lot of your time, and you’re going to regret not having pictures of this stage of your life.’  I was already grateful the day of (the photo shoot.)”

Archbould’s ability to put people at ease was immediately evident.

“I think that’s the art of a fabulous photographer – someone like Cathie who is so good at making me feel really comfortable. It makes a huge difference,” Sauer says.

Now that the shoot is long done and the photos turned out well, the session is a testament to that period in her life and Sauer has no regrets.

“It was the best thing I could have done,” she says. “I’m so grateful to my friends who pushed me, and I’m incredibly thankful to Cathie for making it happen.”

Interested in Documenting this Bump in Time?

There are several photographers located in Whitehorse who do maternity photo shoots. Here is what a Google search produces:

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