Austin, Texas-based photographer Kimberly Davis recently created all the images for The Handmade Mama, a book written by Mary Helen Leonard and published by Springhouse Press. The book is focused on projects, edible and otherwise, that are ideal for mama and baby’s first year together, and Kimberly was in charge of all the food, still life, and lifestyle photos.
Can you tell me about the book project and how you first became involved?
This is the second book I’ve photographed with author Mary Helen Leonard and publisher Springhouse Press. The first book was The Natural Beauty Solution, a great book full of recipes for natural homemade beauty products for hair and body. The Handmade Mama is full of great recipes and sewing projects for mamas-to-be, and mom and baby’s first year. Photographically, I shot food, still life, and also lifestyle with moms and babies. My daughter was a baby when I was photographing this book so she even modeled for us!
What did it take on the planning/preproduction side to approach a project of this size?
The author lined up the models for us. We photographed real moms and babies, a mix of friends and family. We both have a prop collection of dishes and linens so we pulled what we needed.
How many shoots did you conduct to get all the images?
We had probably about 10 shoot days for the book. I have a kitchen that works well for food shoots (something we took into consideration when we remodeled) so the background for most of the recipe photos is actually my kitchen island. It’s a great space for photo shoots.
What were the shoots like?
We had some fun messes photographing the babies for this book from homemade (edible) mud pies to colored yogurt finger paint to a first birthday smash cake! I feel like if you’re not having fun on a photo shoot then you’re not doing it right. We always have fun and I think the photos are better when everyone is feeling inspired…and caffeinated (very important).
What has the reaction to the images been so far?
The book was just released so no reviews yet on Amazon but the style is very similar and cohesively flows visually with our first book, The Natural Beauty Solution which had really wonderful reviews and comments made about the photos.
What was your favorite part of the project?
I loved the opportunity to photograph lifestyle for this book and it’s special that my own daughter modeled as well. Also, let’s be real…the Mama Bars which is a recipe in the book is by far my favorite cookie bar ever! So delicious so I thoroughly enjoyed sampling those!
Anything else interesting I should know?
In terms of lighting, we really like the look of natural light but I like the control of strobes for direction or fill light when shooting outside. For most of the photos I used a 6’ softbox.
Author: Mary Helen Leonard
Photographer: Kimberly Davis
Publisher: Springhouse Press
Editorial Director: Matthew Teague
Editor: Kerri Grzybicki
Design: Lindsay Hess
Layout: Jodie Delohery
Illustration: Mary Helen Leonard
See more of Kimberly at kimberlydavisphotography.com!
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