Preparing for your Maternity Session
Updated: Sep 14, 2021
Expecting a new baby is an exciting moment in every woman’s life. It a time for love and passion about new unborn baby even before they have met. The feeling of growing new life although often followed by pains and aches, makes every new mother glow and shine. And what a better time and way to capture the joy and excitement than maternity portrait session. I, like a portrait photographer, love working with expecting mothers and her husband or partner to craft beautiful and artistic pregnancy portraits. I feel like each mother deserves to have these moments captured and recorded in framed prints to remind her of the day when she was so in love with her unborn baby.
It could be a daunting task however to find the right maternity portrait photographer who has the experience and skills to create these portraits. So many questions:
– When is the best time?
– What to wear?
– How to prepare for the maternity portrait session?
To help expecting mothers prepare for their pregnancy photography sessions, I have compiled the following list of 12 tips.
1. Pick the Best Time:
I recommend to schedule your session is between 31 and 36 weeks of your pregnancy. During that time, woman’s belly has a lovely round shape. The transformation of your body is both beautiful and in the same time interesting to capture on photos. After the 36th week most women start to feel too bloated and uncomfortable during the session. Another advantage is that also gives you plenty of time to select a dress from my collection of over 130 maternity gowns, you could also order your own maternity dresses online, just remember -processing time takes about 3 weeks + shipping time.
2. You Needs Are Unique:
It’s a good idea to discuss with me any ideas about poses, look, location or props you might have in mind. I have done over 200 maternity sessions so I have the experience of how to make you look beautiful. You however may have something special you are wanting in your session so please let me know. I want your experience to feel unique just as your needs and expectations are unique. Discussing them would help me to be in sync and prepare. If you have collected any maternity portrait examples, bring them to the consultation session. here are so many great examples on the web: Pinterest or blogs. Even printed magazines or friend’s albums could be a source of inspiration. Visual examples are easy to understand and discuss. With that said be sure to book a free consultation session. If you are out of town we can of course discuss things through chat and send each other photos of examples. If you are in town or can make the extra trip I welcome you to come and look at my closet of maternity gowns so we can find something that fits your needs and you can be better prepared for your session.
3. Printed Portraits Are Beautiful:
Even though we are in the digital age and many folks tend to keep their photos on their phones and multiple social media pages you will want to consider having some of your photos printed. My online gallery allows you to order prints and canvases that will be mailed to you directly. We can also do an in person review session of your photos if you wish to plan out an order. At my studio you will see many different examples of different canvases sizes and print sizes including printed albums and accordion books. I can work with you to plan out a your individual package. If you just want digital media you can just do that as you do have the print rights to have your photos printed anywhere. I always suggest though that you do order from me as the photo labs I use are for professional photos that use archival quality paper and inks which means they should last.
4. Your Body Will Be Photographed:
During pregnancy woman’s body goes through transformation and is not usual for stretch marks and birthmarks to appear. I will know how to pose you so that these are less or not all visible. The same is true if any parts of your body have developed sensitivity during the pregnancy. Be sure to discuss this with me if you have anything about your body which you are not fully comfortable with. If you have any tattoos which you don’t want to show up in your final artistic images, let me know so we can use your clothing or posing to hide this. The other option is to ask for retouching in post-processing to remove these completely from your final images.
5. Having Company Is Fun:
Don’t be afraid to bring your husband, significant other or friend with you. Your other children as also invited to attend your maternity photo or older children to your session. If you are traveling in from out of town you especially may want someone to come with you just for company sake. Having someone else around can help with the overall experience. If you are looking for a more intimate session then you may opt to be photographed alone.
6. Calm Down and Enjoy:
This is the most important and yet most neglected advise I can give to my clients. Sure you will be excited and would do anything in your power to look great in your images, but if you are not relaxed or uneasy, then this will show into your final photographs. So take a mental note to yourself and plan to relax before the session. Try not to schedule anything to close of too hectic before the session. Go to your favorite spa, pamper yourself with manicure and pedicure, have your hair and makeup done in a salon instead of you trying to do everything before the session. Taking a short nap is another way to feel relaxed and well rested. Also to add to your radiance by lathering up with a nice, luxurious lotion about an hour or two before your session. This will minimize any redness or dry skin. It will also keep you more comfortable if you’re dealing with itchy skin — a common side effect of expanding skin! Do skip oily or greasy lotions and opt for super absorbent lotions, instead. Applying an hour or two before your session gives it plenty of time to soak into the skin.
During the session, let the me take care of the details. Enjoying the moment and sinking into the excitement will make you look and feel great. This is all what the maternity portrait session is all about. You are beautiful and your maternal glow is amazing. It is great to be mother and you should enjoy every minute of it. You hired a qualified and skilled photographer. Let me take care of the photo shoot.
7. Clothing Does Matter:
Stretching garments and clothing can leave marks on your beautiful round belly. Plan to remove any tight clothes and elastic bands from your body at least 2 hours before the start of your session to allow any marks to disappear. This includes socks, bras, snug underwear or maternity pants. Dressing in robe or lose dress will keep your skin smooth. Wearing slippers or slip on shoes would make it easy for you to take them off. Not having skin marks is especially important if you plan to have semi-nude images taken. The beauty of your belly and body would be spoiled by any marks left by the clothing or undergarments and these could be easily avoided by simply planning ahead. If we are planning on doing an intimate session in studio then I would almost such coming in with some very loose clothing.
8. Posing Helps Create Great Photographs:
Big part of having beautiful pregnancy portraits is the posing. Most of the session I would direct you and explain how you should pose, but if you have any specific pose or poses in mind, make sure to talk to me before the start of your session. Also discuss about what poses you are comfortable or willing to put a limit up to. Are you looking for more intimate or more conservative poses? Are you looking for high key (bright and white background) images or low key (moody and black background) images instead? Are you looking for color or black and white images? More lifestyle or more artistic? These are all personal preferences and expectations which will help me to pose and capture for you. So don’t assume. Talk to me and agree before the session.
9. Different Looks Are Interesting:
This is one reason I have over 130 maternity gowns to use for your session. You can add an additional gown to your session as a small upgrade and get additional looks and photos to choose from. My most popular package is a combination of studio and location maternity session. The studio session allows you to have a more private intimate session or even a super glamourous session as you don't have to deal with weather, light or crowds. Let me know ahead of time that you plan to add an additional gown so that I can plan for the additional time as I would want to give you as many options as possible for your final selections. If you plan on bringing your own outfits then plan to bring different clothes and outfits to your session. You would spend at least one hour and you most likely wouldn’t want to appear in the same clothes on all of your images. Having different outfits in your pregnancy photos is a good idea. It will also give you a chance to catch your breath and try different styles. In general, fabrics which adhere to the body shape are best choice so your round belly can be well visible. Stretchy fabrics and clothes which you can slip into and unzip easily are the best.
10. What type of of look do you want in your session:
What type of look do you want to accomplish or what do you feel comfortable with? Do you want a more conservative look with sleeves and closed belly? These gowns tend to hug the body and help define the shape. Do you want an open belly gown? I have some options that open right above the belly showing belly and the legs. Other gowns are more like robes which can cover in some areas. Some are two piece skirts that allow you to just show the belly by itself. Do you feel comfortable showing your arms or do you want your arms covered. Each mama will have different tastes and comfort levels. Some may want to go semi-nude and just wear a bra and panties or perhaps a fabric draping over them. Let me know so we can plan out your desires and work around your comfort level.
11. What to bring?
This is a common question on what to bring with you. First off think of what style of look you were going to go with. Since you may end up wearing a gown that shows your shoulders you don't want a bra with straps. This means sports bras are a definite no. First it doesn't give you any shape or support but then the straps almost always show in the photos. You want something that is going to help shape you and the sports bras just don't do that. I usually suggest a strapless bras for most looks and sometimes a strapless push up bra helps give you that extra shape. I mainly suggest that you get a nude color however some may choose other colors such as black or a matching color based upon the gown they are wearing. Note though when wearing some a dark bra and panty with a light color gown it will show which is why I prefer the nude so eyes are not drawn to it in the photo. This is one reason I ask mama's to look at my gown collection and let me know what they are looking at so I can let them know how shear it is. If you choose to wear something that shows and then want me to remove it from the photos there will be an additional editing fee. Some may not choose to wear a bra at all especially when doing a fabric shoot although the silicone bras work very well for these type of shoots. Panties can vary again. I would suggest against a thong unless doing a fabric drape shoot and again make it nude color to make it easier to hide. Lace panties or bikini bottoms are popular if doing an open belly gown that you feel comfortable showing. If not go for boy shorts. Try not to wear the spandex bottoms that are tight as it will affect your skin requiring more editing later.
12. Don’t forget The Accessories:
Finally, the accessories. Many women think this is not a good idea for maternity session, but when applied with moderation and with a good sense of taste, accessories add additional focal point and interest to your photos. And this is not just jewelry? You can bring baby shoes, ultrasound picture of your baby, banner you are your husband created, pictures, stuffed animals or simply your favorite flower. Possibilities are endless. Be creative and you would later enjoy the results. The above suggestions are ways of personalizing the session for you. I also have accessories such as floral crowns, hairpieces and other jewelry to add to your session.
If you would like to schedule your free consultation today you can always reach me on my Facebook page , or use my contact page for other methods of contact such as phone or email.