What you need to know to prepare for your maternity session
As a lifelong lover of photography, I have never missed the opportunity to document my own pregnancies. However, if it’s one thing I’ve learned, not every photography experience is created equal. The amount of effort that you and your photographer put into planning your shoot will have a direct result on how the images look. Above all, I want the planning my mama clients and I do to make them feel primed, empowered, and beautiful. It is not uncommon for women to feel uncomfortable and vulnerable during pregnancy – I know that the more swollen I got, the less and less I wanted to be seen in public, much less photographed! Capturing the unique, radiant beauty of an expectant mother in a way that is also an enjoyable memory for you and your partner is what I consider the main goal for all my maternity sessions!
To make the most of your maternity session, there are a few things to keep in mind…
WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO SCHEDULE A MATERNITY QUESTION?
This is probably the most popular question that maternity photographers are asked. While every mother’s journey is unique, I generally recommend that my clients shoot between 30 and 35 weeks. While exceptions can always be made, the one mama I had who waited until 37 weeks went into labor early and we had to shoot through contraction and in mid-day sun! For this reason, I like to encourage my mama’s to schedule before 35 weeks. Scheduling between 30 and 33 weeks usually means we can capture a prominent belly while also avoiding some of the swelling that can be common the last few weeks of pregnancy.
WARDROBE: WHAT TO WEAR
It’s not secret that maternity clothes in general can be pricey, and it’s not uncommon for dresses and gowns to be a few hundred dollars. Since you will likely only wear this dress once, many clients have a hard time justifying the cost. I always encourage my clients to check out Amazon for similar gowns at a fraction of the price! While the quality may not be as good, these dresses have always photographed beautifully when properly pressed and fitted! I have also had many clients shoot in clothing that is not specifically maternity. Empire waists and sizing up can do wonders! Free People often has great dress that work for maternity shoots! I also love Lulus and Pink Blush Maternity. Be sure to plan your wardrobe in advance so you have plenty of time to find an alternative if something doesn’t work how you envisioned.
SHOW IT OFF!
REMEMBER! This shoot is about you and your bump! Be sure to choose something that makes your feel confident and beautiful while also highlighting your growing belly! When we feel vulnerable, we sometimes pick clothing that will cover us up, but loose, over-sized clothing rarely photographs well. The goal of a maternity shoot is to highlight the baby belly, so choosing silhouettes that frame and shape this part of your body will photograph beautifully. Lastly, chose an outfit that caters well to your other favorite assets. Love your legs? A shorter, body-con dress may be more your style! Or maybe you are loving the fuller chest that pregnancy often brings. Off the shoulder or deep V-neck styles may be more what you are looking for.
PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE
If there is one thing I have learned meeting new clients, it is that most people are not naturally comfortable in front of the camera. Add on the beautifully big, but also somewhat foreign, baby bump and you may be left wondering how the heck these pictures will come out not only natural, but beautiful. What I love about maternity photos is that it answers the age-old photography question; ‘but, what do I do with my hands?!’ WHEN IN DOUBT, TOUCH THE BUMP! While I always actively pose my clients throughout a session, I also encourage them to spend some time in front of a mirror so that they get a feel for what looks and feels good for them. Turn you body to different angles, play with the fabric of your dress, experiment with subtle changes in your arms, elbow, or hands. The more comfortable you are with how your body looks and moves, the easier and more natural posing will be throughout a session.
NEVER BE AFRAID TO ASK
Your photographer is your creative partner for this shoot. If you have any questions or ideas, be sure to bring them up with your photographer BEFORE your session. They can help you with everything from coordinating outfits with your partner to choosing the best props for your shoot!
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