Look beautiful for your maternity photo shoot! Pregnancy is a special time of your life and for many women, (although you may not feel like it) you are at your most natural, feminine and beautiful self. During your pregnancy, your hair is rich and thicker, your breasts are fuller, your skin is glowing and your body has more curves. For many expecting mothers, there’s no better way to remember their pregnancy and chronicle their journey to motherhood than a professional maternity photo shoot. Here are a few tips to help you look and feel your best in your maternity photo shoot.
The most important element of looking beautiful in your photos is the photographer. Find a professional photographer with strong technical skills and experience in pregnancy photography and holds a specialization in it. A professional maternity photographer will know how to light, pose and photograph you in angles that flatter your face and body.
HOW TO CHOOSE YOUR MATERNITY PHOTOGRAPHER
Choose a photographer whose style most resonates with you. There are so many styles out there—do you like in-the-home lifestyle maternity? Studio maternity? Soft palette, light and airy? Modern fashionista with vibrant colors? Boho chic? Belly boudoir? By choosing your photographer by style, you can be assured that you will get images you want.
Explore their portfolio as well as their recent sessions. Are the mamas posed and photographed beautifully? Are there flattering poses or good angles in their work? Are there a variety of mamas with different body types and do they look great? Are the images sharp, properly exposed with good lighting and framed well?
Also look for consistency in their work. This is a way to differentiate an amateur from a professional. An amateur photographer’s portfolio may show nice images, but those images are a compilation of one or two accidentally good images from many sessions. The professional will show quality images consistently in both their portfolio AND recent work on their blog. If you hire an amateur to shoot your session, you accept the risk that there may only be one or two good images from your session vs. the 20-30 great images that a professional will provide in your gallery. When you hire with quality in mind, you buy the assurance and the peace of mind that your special moment is captured perfectly before it is lost in time.
While years of experience may not necessarily equate to quality, very often the photographer with years of experience has had the time to hone their skills.
While price is an important factor, it should not be the most important one. Like any quality products or services out there, good photography is expensive. Why? Because it is not easy to create quality images. Bad photography is even more expensive. If you don’t like your photos, you have wasted your time and money. If there is a chance to do the maternity shoot again, you end up spending more money for the re-shoot for a better photographer. It’s often less expensive to get it right the first time.
WHEN TO COME IN FOR THE SHOOT
For expecting mamas with singletons, a good time to do your maternity photos when you are 28 – 32 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 – 30 weeks as twins tend to arrive much earlier than singletons.
PROFESSIONAL MAKEUP AND HAIR
I highly recommend professional makeup and hair. Not only will this make your photographer’s work easier, 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. Neutral looking fake lashes can really flatter your eyes.
This beautiful mama with her day-to-day makeup (top) vs. the same mama with professional hair and makeup done (bottom). What a difference!:
Trust your photographer 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
Wear whatever you feel comfortable and pretty in. Here’s a list I provide to my clients: the first one is mandatory, the rest of the list are suggestions.
- Neutral strapless bra and seamless underwear
- Black bra and panty set (for those black background belly shots)
- White/ivory bra and panty set (for those white background belly shots)
- Lingerie sets
- 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 ups sweater or cardigans
- Men’s button ups top (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)
If your photographer specializes in maternity, they will likely have maternity dresses, wraps and accessories in their studio available to use. The benefit is you don’t have to go and buy maternity dresses that you only wear a few times. Please check with your photographer about their gown use policy. Depending on the gown’s quality and intricate detail work, there may be rental and/or dry-cleaning fees.
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. Please check with your photographer on how they will address this. Seasoned photographers will use portable flash if necessary.
Advantage is convenience and control. You can shoot anytime regardless of weather.
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 and shooting hours are limited to the golden hour of sunrise or sunset (when the quality of natural light is at its best). 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.
A great maternity photography session will not just produce stunning and gorgeous images, but also make you feel confident and beautiful.