It’s Guest Blog Wednesday featuring Robby Klein!
What Not To Do When You’re Pregnant (aka WNTDWYP)
Hey there, Robby Klein here again!
For those of you who aren’t familiar with me or my past Guest Blogs, I am an entertainment and advertising photographer based out of Nashville,TN and I have a 2-month old son named Beckett! And that’s where this blog begins!
Throughout my wife’s pregnancy I probably took more photos a day than I ever have in the 15 years I’ve been shooting. I tried to think of pretty maternity photos to take of her, but if you’re familiar with my style, it is not the cute and pretty maternity type photos that some of you do so well. My editorial background tends to take me to weirder places and ideas than you would typically find in a maternity shoot.
During her 30th week of pregnancy I off-the-cuff mentioned something that she should not do while she’s pregnant, and it made us both laugh at the idea of her actually doing it as a pregnant woman. That day as I thought more about what I had said I started thinking about several crazy things that pregnant women shouldn’t do, and asked my wife if she would pose for one of those ideas.
The first idea was “boxing…”
..and after we shot the photo I realized that there was something fun and interesting about the “What Not To Do Idea” and decided that we would start doing a weekly photo until our son was here.
Things quickly escalated, as they typically do when creative decisions are left up to yours truly, and my next idea came to me pretty quickly as I passed by an old Army Tank at a VFW Hall outside of Nashville. I knew we had to use it for a photo. After a quick Craigslist hunt for a uniform and visit to our local prop shot, Art Dogs Props, we reminded people what not to do when you’re 32 weeks pregnant, “Go to war!”
I travel often and am lucky enough to bring my bride along with me most of the time. So when we found out that we’d be heading down to NOLA, where we are originally from, I knew I wanted to incorporate Louisiana into the series, which would also help diversify the photos.
I called my BFF Garrett to tell him we were coming down, and I wanted to head out into the swamps to shoot a photo! I picked Garrett because I’d seen him catch gators plenty of times in the past.
So, sure enough, one late night we headed into the swamps in search of a gator for our photo to help remind people what not to do when you’re 33 weeks pregnant, “catch gators.”
We headed back to Nashville after that. One idea that I had early on was fencing. I shot out a few emails after hitting the google machine pretty hard and found the Music City Fencing Club. They welcomed us in to remind ladies what not to do when you’re 34 weeks pregnant,“fencing.”
Like I said, we travel a good bit, so when we booked a trip to Arizona and decided we were going to swing by the Grand Canyon, the wheels started turning! I convinced an eBay dealer to meet me in person with a rattlesnake statue and found a fantastic jacket to hit the bill!
On a freezing (and snowing) day at the Grand Canyon, we reminded everyone what not to do when you’re 35 weeks pregnant, “Rattlesnake Hunting.”
By this time I had a running list of ideas in my phone. As the weeks went on, I would pick the ideas that I thought we could best pull off with the time we had. Because of our often demanding schedules and the fact that each photo was both shot and released on the week it represents (that was important to me to stick to), multiple times during this series I would realize at 4pm on a Tuesday that the following day from 1pm-3pm was the only time we had to shoot the photo! So it would turn into a mad dash of trying to track down locations, props, etc. in a matter of hours to be able to pull off the shot.
One of those shots happened when we pulled favors from every corner of Nashville just to remind you fine people at home what not to do when you’re 36 weeks pregnant, “Ride The Bull.”
I tried hard to make these images as fun, interesting and authentic as possible and, Art Dog Props really came through for me week after week! The locations were always what took the longest to find, and that was definitely the case for week 37! I finally remembered my friend Alicia is quite the adventurer and picked her brain a bit. She helped us find a great outdoor location so that I could remind the adventurous ladies of the word what not to do when they’re 37 weeks pregnant, “rock climbing.”
Around this time I was starting to feel like we were in the home stretch. I had an idea for week 40 and was getting nervous that the baby would come early and I would lose the chance at the closing image. We thought about shooting it early, but decided against breaking our rule of both shooting and release on the accurate week it’s portraying.
With the help of my buddy John and his trusty steed, we reminded you wild ones out there what not to do when you’re 38 weeks pregnant, “motorcycle stunts.”
This next idea may have been one of my earliest ideas, but for some reason I assumed getting an airplane as a prop would be easy! It wasn’t, who would have guessed.. So FINALLY after weeks of searching, we got connected with a flight school that was more than happy to help us remind the thrill seekers out there what not to do when you’re 39 weeks pregnant (besides turning a leaf blower on your wife), “skydiving.”
I never would have guessed that we would have had as much fun or gotten as great of a response with this series as we did. The stress of producing them each week just went away while we would be shooting and I saw the ideas come to life.
A few weeks into this shoot I knew how I wanted to end it. I had recently binge watched Stranger Things and fell head over heels for the show. Over a couple weeks time I collected all the items needed, and on that faithful open day that popped up, we emptied my living room and built our set as a final reminder what not to do when you’re 40 weeks pregnant, “Communicate with the Upside-Down.”
This project ended up being more fun and meaningful than I ever would have imagined! We are excited to share them with baby Beckett, who was delivered on 4/11/17, and tell him the tales of all of mom’s great adventures in pregnancy! And who knows, maybe there will be a “What Not To Do With A Newborn” series coming down the pipes…
I am someone that fell in love with photography long before I ever considered making a career out of it or financially gaining from it. I love shooting, I do it for fun daily! So when this project started, that’s just what it was, another fun thing to do with photography. I hadn’t considered what my clients would think of the project, but after a recent round of meeting in NYC and L.A. I was so happy to hear that so many of them had followed the series online and wanted to know more about it! At that point I started showing the series on my iPad at meetings and I feel like it’s really helped people see where my mind goes, and hopefully the love that I have for the craft, even when there is no financial gain to motivate.
I know a lot of you enjoy seeing more of the making of type stuff, I’ll leave you with some behind the scenes shots so you can get a little more context on how they were created.