Maternity Session Guide
Maternity portraits are one of my very favorite things to photograph. You’re at the precipice of this huge, wonderful change in your life and that energy is so beautiful. Many pregnant mamas are nervous about the thought of a photo shoot featuring their changing bodies at a time when they don’t always feel their best - but with a little preparation and me as your photographer, you will not only enjoy the process, but be SO GLAD that you took the time to document the beginning of your new baby’s story. Most importantly, think about how priceless these photos will be to your child one day - what better reason can there be?
WHEN TO COME IN FOR THE SHOOT
For expecting mamas with a single baby, a good time to do your maternity photos is when you are between 31 – 36 weeks along. Your belly is full but you are still comfortable to pose. For expecting mamas with twins (or more), come in earlier around 26 – 32 weeks as twins tend to arrive much earlier than singletons.
PROFESSIONAL MAKEUP AND HAIR
I highly recommend professional makeup and hair. You will feel beautiful and confident at your session. However if it’s not in the budget, your going-out-on-a-hot-date makeup and hair is fine too. Natural-looking fake lashes can really flatter your eyes.
Trust me to direct you in posing so you can look your best. What makes maternity photos different from other portraits is that the images focus on you, your personality, feelings and the bond you have with your much-awaited baby. Many maternity poses such as hands on the belly and eyes looking down express emotions and connection to your belly. Other maternity poses empathize the beautiful curves of your body.
WHAT TO WEAR
The cardinal rule is to wear clothing that makes you feel beautiful. If you feel confident, that will shine through in your photos. Start with good undergarments! A well-fitted bra and supportive maternity shapewear will make anything you wear look better. Solid colors, maxi dresses, and open necklines are universally flattering. Make sure that you choose fabrics and silhouettes that hug your curves and show off the belly. A thin belt just under the bust can give shape to looser dresses or shirts. Layers like scarves, cardigans, and jackets along with accessories can change up your look without the need for changing your outfit. Don’t forget to look for your session outfits in the “regular” sections of stores too! There are beautiful dresses with high waistlines that look amazing on pregnant women.
Having accessories that you feel might be fun to try is always a good idea. However, try to keep the jewelry to a minimum as jewelry tends to be distracting for the photo viewers later. Jewelry adds interest to the photographs but too flashy or too massive, and then the jewelry becomes the focal point instead of you and your belly. If you are in doubt, just bring them along. The worst thing that could happen is not to use them.
Wear whatever you feel comfortable and pretty in. I provide this list to my clients:
Neutral strapless bra and seamless underwear
Tube top or belly band
Regular jeans (not maternity ones) and camisole top
Buttoned shirt or blouse
Long, flowy or form-fitting dress (e.g. tube dress or a summer maxi dress)
Button-up sweaters or cardigans
Men’s button-up tops (for significant other/husband)
Coordinating outfits (for significant other/husband and/or children)
Any favorite scarves, accessories, jewelries, etc.
Any sentimental items (e.g. baby ultrasound image)
Consider the location of your shoot and the advantages/disadvantages of them.
Indoor (e.g. in the home)
Advantage in the home is comfort and connection to familiar surroundings. You don’t have to worry about the weather outside. Disadvantage, you have to clean your house so it will look good in the photos. The lighting may not be optimal.
The natural beauty of a pregnant woman in a beautiful outdoor backdrop is simply breathtaking! The parallel of a mother about to bring to life into the world and Mother Nature is a powerful one. Disadvantages are that the shoot is weather-dependent. Reschedules can happen and may trigger the rescheduling of other related appointments (e.g. professional makeup and hair artist, florist, venues, etc.) Remember your sunscreen and bug spray! Be prepared to walk/hike to the location and change outfits outdoors.
PARTNERS, SIBLINGS, AND PETS
Although some women are more relaxed being the only subject at their maternity session, many expectant mamas want to include their partner, other children, or even their pets. Personally, I think including people and pets you love is a wonderful thing for your portraits! Partners and siblings should take their clothing cues from mom - staying in the same range of tones (neutrals, pastels, darker tones). Do keep in mind that matching outfits tend to look very dated. If you are including siblings and/or pets, it’s often a good idea to take photographs with them first (while they are “fresh” and most excited), then have a grandparent or friend pick them up so you can relax and finish the shoot with your partner or alone.
Bringing your husband or partner with you is what most couples do. Posing with and embracing your loving husband or partner helps to communicate your emotions for each other and usually makes a very meaningful portrait. It’s best if your partner brings a dark solid colored top and a white or light colored top. If you plan to bring one or more of your children, having them touching your belly, makes a good interactive portrait as well. Your children should wear simple solid color clothing free of any patterns or logos. I also recommend to consider being bare feet for a more relaxed and natural feel and look.
Relax! Your maternity session should be a lot of FUN. Hopefully you’ve chosen me as your photographer because you love my work and trust my artistic vision. Remember, don’t be afraid to try new things even if they sound a little crazy at first. You might be surprised at how amazing the light is in that “ugly” location or how lovely your reflection looks in the water. However, you should always feel 100% comfortable so make sure that you are communicating with me - it’s always okay to say no, your comfort and safety is my top priority.