maternity SESSION PREPARATION

Pregnancy is a unique journey that takes 9 months full of excitement, joy, sorrow, and even fear. The mix of all these feelings is something unique and makes the pregnancy go over way quicker than it actually is. The wonder of creating a new life, see it grow right in front of your eyes and building a bond with the baby needs to be captured so it will never be forgotten. 


I think having Maternity Photos taken is such a wonderful idea and here is why. Of course, it is an amazing way to document your pregnancy journey. And getting dressed up to have pretty pictures taken can be a lot of fun! But I think the number one reason that you should take maternity photographs is not for yourself, but for your unborn child.


DO IT FOR YOUR CHILD

Thats right! How many photographs do you have of your own mother pregnant with you? I don’t have a single one and I know how much I would love, love, love to have one. It is the beginning of your child’s life story and his or her first family photo. How amazing would be it to have a beautiful photograph of your mother, pregnant with you, that you could hang on your wall? Or treasure in the front page of your baby book?


WHAT STYLE DO YOU WANT?

So, the first thing that I recommend is deciding what style of maternity photographs you want. Everyone is different and has different ideas of what they think looks best. There are so many different kinds of maternity photo sessions you could have; at the beach, in the woods, on a city street, in your own home. Do you want a magical/etheral look to your photos (think flowers crowns and long, flowing maternity gowns). Or do you want a more traditional, family shoot? The options are endless and I could go on and on…

Think about how you want your photographs to make you feel when you look at them. It’s up to you and what you like. A good photographer will work with you to achieve your goals.


DO YOUR RESEARCH

Pinterest is an amazing resource for exploring your unique style. Find maternity photographs that resonate with you and create a board that you can use as a reference or share with your photographer. 

TIMING IS KEY

The next thing to consider is timing. I think one of the biggest regrets I hear women say about their maternity photos is that they had them taken too early. They wish they had waited until their belly was bigger. A large, round belly definitely makes for amazing maternity photographs. I find that right around 35 weeks is the best time to shoot. Your belly is definitely getting to max capacity but (hopefully) you still have some time before baby comes. It’s no fun to plan your shoot so late in your pregnancy and then surprise! Baby comes early!

Another reason I don’t recommend scheduling your shoot too far past 36 weeks is because once your belly gets that big, you start to get more and more uncomfortable (sorry to be the bearer of bad news!). Posing for the camera can be a lot of fun, but it can also be exhausting, especially when you have that baby inside of you to haul around. I will frequently take photos of a pregnant momma sitting on the ground and it can be a lot of work for her to get up and down several times.


COME PREPARED

I always encourage my clients to come prepared. Posing for the camera can be a ton of fun. But when you are carrying around another person it can be exhausting. Your photographer may want to take some shots of you sitting or laying on the ground. Getting up and down over and over again can wear you out much more quickly than it would have pre baby. 

Make sure you have snacks and water. That way you can stay hydrated and keep your energy up. Dress appropriately depending on the season in which you are shooting.

Bring something comfy to wear on the car ride home after your shoot. That maternity dress you bought or took from me is gorgeous, but I guarantee you will be excited to slip into a comfy pair of yoga pants when it is all said and done. 

COME PREPARED

I always encourage my clients to come prepared. Posing for the camera can be a ton of fun. But when you are carrying around another person it can be exhausting. Your photographer may want to take some shots of you sitting or laying on the ground. Getting up and down over and over again can wear you out much more quickly than it would have pre baby. 

Make sure you have snacks and water. That way you can stay hydrated and keep your energy up. Dress appropriately depending on the season in which you are shooting.

Bring something comfy to wear on the car ride home after your shoot. That maternity dress you bought or took from me is gorgeous, but I guarantee you will be excited to slip into a comfy pair of yoga pants when it is all said and done. 


HOW REVEALING DO YOU WANT YOUR PHOTOS TO BE?

Since we are on the topic of privacy and “being comfortable,” you definitely want to think about how revealing you want your photographs to be. A good, professional photographer is going to be happy shooting you completely naked or fully clothed. In my opinion, a pregnant woman is such a beautiful thing and her body should celebrated for all the amazing work it does to create life.


So, if you feel like stripping down to your birthday suit then I think you should go for it. Your body is amazing, it grew another human life and then it gave birth to that life. I love having photographs to remember the amazing process I went through. 

On the other hand, if that just isn’t your style, or you just aren’t comfortable bearing it all in front of a stranger then don’t do it. You won’t be comfortable, you won’t be able to relax, and it will show in your photos. And you might be limiting the number of people you feel comfortable sharing your photos with! So just do you…but know that anything is acceptable and finding a good photographer who is flexible is key!

SOLO OR FAMILY SHOOT?

So, you know you want to do maternity photographs, now you have to decide who you want in them. Do you want to have your pictures taken alone or with your significant other? Do you want to include any older children you might have?


If you want to have more photographs of yourself with your other children it gives all the kids a time stamp and helps them understand how old they were when their siblings were born. Each of your children will ask you how old they were when so and so was born. And you will have this visual record to show them. 

But will say that a solo (or just a couples) maternity shoot is much calmer and more relaxing than ones that include small children. 

It can be overwhelming to spend the day getting everyone ready for a photoshoot and then trying to get them all to take pictures. Sometimes a solo shoot (or even just with your significant other) is a great way to make some special time just for yourself and your new baby. You can always take candid photos of yourself with the baby’s siblings later. You need to think about what is going to work best for you and your growing family.


WHAT TO WEAR

Now for the fun part! What are you going to wear? A lot of this is going to depend on the style of shoot that you chose in step one. Are you going for something more ethereal? Do you want something more traditional?


1.MATERNITY GOWNS

Maternity dresses have come a long way. You are no longer limited to the traditional maternity dress and there are now a plethora of beautiful maternity gowns available on the internet. There are gowns with long flowing trains, there are gowns that split down the middle so that you can easily reveal your belly. They come in long sleeve, short sleeve, cold shoulder, strapless…the options are endless. I definitely think that if you are going for more ethereal maternity photographs, then a maternity gown is the way to go. The long, flowing nature of the dress creates a surreal atmosphere.


2.TRADITIONAL CLOTHING

If the you have decided that you want your maternity photos to be more traditional and you are opting to wear everyday clothing, this is what I suggest.

  • Wear something form fitting that is going to hug your belly. You want to show it off! 
  • Make sure it is comfortable! It is extremely important that you are as comfortable as possible during your photo session. If you have chosen something that is too tight, or the straps don’t fit, or it pinches you the wrong way. then you will be uncomfortable and it might show in your photos. We all know that wincing face a person makes when they are uncomfortable. You don’t want that. 
  • If you decide that you are going to show your bare belly then you want to be sure you don’t wear anything with tight elastic bands around your stomach because they will leave a mark. 
  • Please do not wear stripes. I do not recommend that anyone wear stripes (especially large stripes) in any photos because they can be very, very distracting. They can be even worse across a large pregnant belly. A good photograph brings the viewer’s eye to the subject’s face immediately. So please, whatever you do, don’t wear stripes. 


FINAL THOUGHTS

So there you have it! Now you know what to expect when you are expecting to take Maternity Photographs! Remember:

  • Decide what style you want for your photographs.
  • Timing is Key! Right around 35 weeks.
  • Come Prepared! Do as much as you can to ensure you are comfortable.
  • Location! What kind of location is going to go well with the style you chose? How comfortable are you going to be shooting there?
  • How Revealing do you want your photographs to be? Do you want to shoot in your birthday suit? Maybe show your bare belly? Or is it turtle necks and long pants? Whatever works best for you!
  • Who is going to be in your photos? Is it just going to be you (and the baby in your belly of course) or do you want your significant other, or older siblings in the photos as well?
  • What are you going to wear? Think about what type of clothing is going to work well with your overall style that you have selected.

I hope this post helps you prepare for your own maternity photo session. You should now have a better idea of what to expect and how to plan for a successful shoot! I wish you the best of luck in your photos and with your sweet little newborn!