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Maternity Sessions aren’t a tradition. They are a newish trend that some have taken to full force, while others have fled from with fear. In the end, these photos are important, but not ones that are seen as “necessary.” After all, how many of us can say that we have a whole album of photos of our moms’ while they were pregnant. Not many. And we are ok! I don’t feel jilted or anything! So why get them taken in the first place?? This one is totally up to you. Every woman experiences pregnancy differently, and therefore, their reasoning is all different.
Some women really have a hard time being pregnant, and really don’t feel like getting photographed, but do it, because they feel the social pressure to get it done as everyone else is. Silly I know, but I have seen it all. Another example would be a woman who is beyond excited and so amazingly comfortable with her changing body and wants to properly document every minute of it in all its glory. Where do you fall? There is no right answer. Every single client I have worked with, is 100% on different levels. No two are the same. So why try to imitate another person’s joy/excitement/comfort/openness about it?
The same thing can be said with maternity photos. If you decide to get maternity photos done, whatever your motives are behind that choice, they shouldn’t cause you anymore stress than you already have on your plate. I mean, you are about to become a parent, you have enough things to overthink. After photographing all different women, with all different mentalities to maternity photos, I have some tips to make it as “you” as possible, and as effortlessly amazing as you can imagine. I’m talking a lovely hour or so, getting time to enjoy being together with your partner, or family, in this moment, before everything changes.
So here we go…
5 Tips for an effortlessly amazing Maternity Session (in order of importance):
#5 Do your research
This may be a given, but head on over to Pinterest or Instagram. Diving into the depths of photos on these social platforms can be super overwhelming. So don’t take it so seriously. Search hashtags on Instagram #maternityphotography etc. Now, to reiterate, this is NOT for you to create a menu of photos to hand to your chosen photographer. This is only to discover what style you prefer. There are so many talented photographers out there, and they all have their own personal and unique take on photography. So before you go googling photographers in your area and emailing them all, figure out the style you appreciate/love the most. Whether it be lifestyle, studio, formal/traditional, documentary and so on, this is an important step to making your session truly feel like “you.”
#4 Get your partner up to speed
Want to make photos of your pregnant belly even more weird? Add in a partner who doesn’t know what to do with their hands. But really this can be a super awkward situation for them. So once you figure out your style, it’s important to run things over with your partner. Do you want them in the photos? Are they comfortable with you getting photographed in your bra and underwear (if that’s your style of course)? Take the time to think about how you want them involved in this, because no, they do not have to be involved. Again, THIS IS UP TO YOU 100%. Let’s say they do want in on it all, make sure they know the vibe of the shoot and wont try to make it awkward for you. For example, let’s make sure they aren’t weirdly passionately caressing your belly when that’s way out of the norm for him. For me at least, a lot of touching the belly works for how I photograph, but in a more natural way. I even try to make a joke out of how awkward it can feel. I stress to my clients that all of my “posing” should feel similar to how they would typically stand/move/interact with each other.
#3 Plan your outfits ahead of time
This is the #1 question that is asked by my maternity clients. So much so, that I have prepared at length a guide on what to wear. There are a lot of different “rules” that you mind find online. Ask your photographer if they have any tips. In general I suggest keeping it simple, unless your style suggests otherwise. Go through your closet and pick out a few different options and your photographer can help you decide what will photograph best. It’s important that you feel comfortable during your shoot. You don’t want to squeeze into something non-maternity and heels unless it’s something you wear on the regular. Picking simple, comfy clothes can go a long way to easing any stress you may have about the upcoming photos.
#2 Find the Perfect-Fit Photographer
I know a lot of photographers who are crazy intimidated and thrown off by maternity sessions. With that it’s important to recognize that working with a photographer who is up to the job is vital. Posing a pregnant woman so that it is flattering and not all “caress the bare belly, oh and you get down and kiss the belly for me” is TOTALLY DIFFERENT than taking any normal portrait. Believe it or not, some women, from certain angles do not look pregnant. Crazy right? There are so many tricks to photographing maternity sessions that may not be apparent to any regular photographer. Not saying that you HAVE to hire a family/maternity photographer, but this is something to consider. Make sure to look at your inspiration and style and confirm that it aligns with your chosen photographer’s aesthetic. You can even show them your inspiration, but only under the pretense that you trust them to do a beautiful job. You don’t want to be that person expecting a ton of very specific shots. That’s where stress, stiff posing, and uncomfortableness comes in. That’s what we are trying to avoid, remember?
#1 Know your motives
Take a minute on your own to think about your “why.” What about this time do you want to remember specifically? Does your partner love to sing to your belly or read aloud? Do you have some pretty out-there cravings? What are the things that you would want these photos to show your future generations? This is a HUGE part of making maternity photos less awkward. If your only reason is that you found a handful of pictures on Pinterest you like and just want to emulate, this might turn into more of a sit-and-smile kind of thing. And if you are here on my website, you know at least that is not my jam. As a photographer, like a lot of others, I want these photos to pull on your heartstrings, connect to a memory, and make you look beautiful all at once. If you have a motive, this reaction is a lot easier for a photographer to capture.
Stay tuned for tips for all your photographers out there! Never be afraid of Maternity Sessions again!