Mary Helen’s first maternity session.

Keeping it natural, simple, and light.

Mary Helen is no stranger to these pages as we have combined forces several times in the past. She has been on the road a lot this past year or else you’d be seeing a lot more of her. I truly cherish every chance I can get to work with her. So, when she said she was going to be in town for a few days there was no doubt that we would join up again.

But this time there was a twist. You can figure it out yourself by looking at the resulting images.

I love, love, LOVE working with expecting moms. There is a special air about them that is magical. That glow just adds to the effect with my style of luminous portraits. It also dove-tails nicely with my desire to show that all women are beautiful and deserve to be immortalized that way.

mary-helen-maternity-session 1

Mary is magical already. I call her my Disney Princess because her eyes and face reference the iconic cartoons, in my opinion. She can go from sweet and innocent to dangerous imp in a heartbeat.

So we did our thing. It was short and sweet – like Mary. We kept the set up simple and opted for a more honest look. No special lights or set ups. She didn’t put on make-up and I didn’t retouch the photos at all so what you’re seeing here, aside from a crop and some sharpening, is the raw truth.

I adore them. I think its time to move away from over-processed, heavily edited images that look nothing like the person that is in them. Yes, blemish removal, if done right and for the right reason should still be an option. But re-shaping people, adding things that aren’t there, taking out things that are isn’t helping anyone. I think it actually does damage to the person’s psyche but that’s a topic for a whole different entry.

If the photographer is doing their job right during image capture then there shouldn’t be a need for a lot of editing later. My goal for a while now has been to put more effort in the photo session and do as little editing as possible in post production. Fix the color, take out a few temporary blemishes, crop, sharpen, and be done with it.

Mary has promised to return when she’s further along for another session. I made her pinky swear that it happens. In the meantime, I hope that more people look me up for their own maternity session with me. It’s a special time in a mother’s life and they deserve special images to remember it by.

Mark Knopp is a boudoir/portrait photographer living in Virginia Beach and covers the Hampton Roads community. Contact him today at for you photographic needs.


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