Mama you are glowing! And you should have that beautiful belly captured! This time of life is so sweet, and no matter how many babies you have had already, it is unique and special for each one! In my opinion, Maternity Portraits ought to be non-negotiable— every child’s pregnancy should be captured! I know that isn’t always how all the cookies crumble, but it totally should be!
This blog post is specifically for helping my clients prepare for working with me, so in some ways, it is written to cater to my style. It can, however, be used for anyone looking to prepare for a lifestyle maternity session.
One of the most frequent questions I get about preparing for ANY session is “what do I WEAR?!” And while some variation of “whatever makes you feel beautiful” is great, I know it helps to go a little deeper. Here are some ideas to get the juices flowing:
1. LOVE the skin you are in, and wear something form fitting and flattering to that beautiful blossoming belly. Materials matter!
Fabric choices can be important for this session. Chiffon, knit, or lace dresses can be great options. I love full body form fitted dresses (think mermaid style), but there is also the classic appeal of Empire waist dresses as well! They never get old for accentuating mama’s beautiful figure and the flowy bottom can create such an etherial grace to your images. Lace can give a more vulnerable, intimate feel to your session- depending on how much of your body is revealed through it. I love sessions where we can accentuate the beauty, grace and feminine sensuality of a pregnant woman! Another important aspect to consider is that your shirt will reflect back to your face! PLEASE stay away from anything neon looking and usually green shades that are lighter than hunter green are just a NO. Lighting based on where we are shooting can help some of the “reflector” factor from your clothing, but PLEASE stay away from light/ neon greens.
2. SHOES should be comfortable but cute— or don’t wear any!
There is no hard fast rule that you should wear shoes in your pregnancy photos! But if you choose to, consider the location that you will be shooting in (protect your feet!) and how they coordinate with your outfit choice. Consider the environment you will be shooting in (I usually try to discuss this with my clients to help them prepare), will you be getting wet? Is there tall grass with bugs hiding in it??
3. COORDINATE attire, don’t feel like you need to be MATCHY!
It is great to wear complimentary color choices when more than just mama will be in the photos, but please try to avoid everyone wearing all one shade. It really can make the images look like giant blobs with floating heads and makes tons of extra work on your photographer in editing. At most, I would say different shades of the same color, but even that isn’t as good as just everyone wearing different but complimentary colors. I generally try to stay away from white unless it is that everyone is wearing it though because the person in white is going to affect the exposure of everything. But IF you choose to have one person in white, I think it should be mama… she is generally the center of focus for all the images so it is fine for the exposure to be compensated for her.
4. Talk to your photographer.
I have a discount link when you shop at www.sewtrendyaccessories.com (I send you access when you book!) and I give all my clients complimentary access to www.styleandselect.com to walk them through outfit coordination for their sessions. I cannot recommend this service highly enough. I have used it for my own personal sessions and love the inspiration it provides! You can buy the items directly from the site, or use it to help you look for similar options in stores! If you want to take the guesswork out of styling your session, this is the step to skip to!
5. I love bright colors.
The longer I have been at this, the more my style has begun to gravitate toward a light, airy, color-popping look, so when you choose your attire, consider choosing vibrant colors that bring you joy. Think especially of colors that mesh well with your home decor as my goal is to have these images hanging on your walls!
FOR IN HOME SHOOTS
Consider the room with the best light, even if this isn’t necessarily the room you use most frequently or normally (as long as it isn’t a bathroom).
Where I can, I want to shoot in bedrooms or on couches because these tend to be the common family gathering places. I love to capture cuddles and the shape of mama’s belly as she lays with her partner and the two of them exchange excited looks of love for each other and baby! As a professional, I HAVE to consider the lighting situation to deliver the images you are hiring me for, so I may ask us to move to a different room with better lighting if necessary.
Clean up as much as you feel is necessary.
I personally do not judge your level of clutter for your images. I may ask if you care that something is in your shot, depending on what it is, or just ask if we can declutter a bit before we use a room (sometimes this happens if a client thought we would use one room but we found better light in another, no big deal). The point is, these images are yours and for your home. If you are happy with the images with little bits of extra showing because it is authentic to your personal space, I am happy for you! But do try to prep by cleaning whatever you feel you need to have clean.
Blinds may or may not be as necessary to open, and this will be a judgement call I will make as I get to know your home, but for sure any curtains blocking incoming sunlight should be opened in the room(s) we will be shooting in.
FOR OUTDOOR SESSIONS
Bring sturdy shoes
Depending on where you may be walking around, there could be bugs and/ or sticks and rocks that you don’t want to hurt your feet. Open shoes may be beautiful, but I typically advise my clients to have one pair of shoes for walking through everything in, and one pair for photographing in. I would rather we had to slow down and change shoes before changing locations than have you getting hurt!
Bring bug repellent and/or sunblock
Only you know your sensitivities. I tend to be a mosquito magnet so I am big on fighting bugs. But I am not as sensitive to the sun, and I prefer to eat my sunscreen (more on that in a later post). My main suggestion here is to make sure you consider your comfort during this session in as many ways as possible!
Plan around the weather
This one is a little obvious, and typically, I am helping my clients with this. Obviously, if it is too dark and cloudy or all out raining, I won’t keep a session booked for that day. But this is referring to your clothing choices. Try to make sure the fabrics you dress in will not be too hot if we are shooting in the summer, or too thin if we are shooting during colder seasons. Worst case scenario, we will work fast if needed. But I don’t want to rush through your images and I want you to enjoy your session fully!
Bring a sitter
If you plan to include older children who are also toddlers, or if you plan to include pets in your session, it may also be a good idea to summon the assistance of an outside 3rd party who will help us to manage them for any photos they will not be included in. Older kids (like 7 and above) can also make good sitters, but I typically leave this to your judgement.
Consider hiring a professional Makeup Artist
I always encourage my clients to make plans to REALLY enjoy their session, and sometimes this can include getting dolled up by a pro. Having your hair and make up done before your session is a given, but why not let someone who can really pamper you and make you feel amazing do it up right for you?!
RELAX mama, you are amazing. You are beautiful and you are powerful. I will help you with everything you need, from prep to posing to choosing images after. Just enjoy this experience to the absolute fullest! You are worth it.
For Milk Baths and more…
If you are planning to include milk bath photos as part of your maternity session, check out this blog post I made about the subject. It will help you think about some of the things that may be important to preparing for that aspect of your session!
Also, check out my New Mama Resource guide for suggestions of Makeup Artists and online styling options! I really encourage my clients to go big and help themselves feel really great for the session by hiring a professional make up artist to take care of their hair and make up for the session. It can really make you feel pampered and relaxed and super confident for the beautiful images we will make!
Do you have any other tips or ideas for preparing for your Maternity Session? Reach out and let me know!