Maternity Sessions: what to know & expect
"A great adventure is about to begin." - Winnie the Pooh
The time between finding out your going to be parents and actually meeting your little one is fleeting. Wondering if baby will have dark hair or green eyes, if she'll have your chin or he'll have dad's nose, if they will smile a lot or sleep all the time - this is one of the most exciting times in your life. I am a firm believer that times like these need to be documented and captured to always remember.
Let's get right into some tips and need to know for a maternity session. If you already have your maternity session scheduled, GREAT! If not, you can certainly chat with me about setting yours up. Contact me.
I recommend taking maternity pictures between 32 and 36 weeks. If your bump is well pronounced early on or you are high risk schedule your session earlier (28-32 weeks). Taking photos for an hour can be tiring when you are further along.
Location, location, location:
The setting of your session really depends on your style and the final images you want.
Southern Louisiana has some incredible outdoor locations. We have huge mossy oaks, swamp scenes, forests, the French Quarter, plantations, barns, boardwalks, small downtowns, cityscapes, tons of parks, sculpture gardens, flower gardens, even a beach. Unless you want snow, mountains, or the dessert we can pretty much find an outdoor location that works for you here.
Another option is doing a lifestyle type of session. I would come to your home for the photos. We use the nursery, kitchen, bedroom, and living areas as a backdrop for your bump. This is perfect for couples who have their home all ready for baby and want to capture it all in photos.
The final option is having your portraits done in a studio setting - either my home studio or a rental. This is a great if you want a simpler backdrop or if you'd like a more artistic type of portrait done. The studio setting is also used for boudoir maternity.
Don't worry if you don't know what location you want. That's what I'm here for. We'll chat about what you like and don't like and find the perfect place for you.
Let's talk about what to wear. There are SO many different ways to go with wardrobe and styling.
Mommas, showing your bump off is a big reason for this session so be prepared to draw attention to it. That doesn't necessarily mean we will show bare belly or have you wear something skin tight (unless you want). Poses are geared to showing off bump. Dressing to be comfortable is important especially because you are carrying something so precious.
If you choose to wear your own floor length gown, it should touch the ground when you are standing straight (sometimes our bumps pick those things up and our ankles show). When it touches the ground, it looks more expensive and makes for a better photograph usually.
Jeans and a simple t-shirt are adorable for maternity sessions. It's simple and keeps focus on baby.
Some of you mommas have thought this through and know exactly how you want to look and what you want to wear for your portraits. That's cool, my advice to you is to ask me before you purchase a gown. I have a client closet that is ever growing so the dress you want, I may already have or I may want to have so I'll purchase instead of you.
You can wear pink or blue no matter what the sex of your baby is. Some people just look better in pink.
Pick comfy shoes. This far along usually comes with swollen feet so keep them puppies comfortable. If you are wearing a long gown I won't see your feet anyway. If you are wearing something shorter or posing for me to see your feet, barefoot is usually best.
Wear nude, supportive undergarments.
Professional makeup and hair is always recommended. I have options for these services in some packages through The Color Lab Salon.
For the dads, comfort is key. When you're uncomfortable it tends to show on camera.
With that said I think dads are best in a complimentary color or pattern to mom. If mom is in a solid gown, dad should wear a pattern or a different color that doesn't clash.
It is best that if you are dressing in a gown or long dress, dad needs to be in something less casual than his every day wear.
If mom is in jeans, then dad can wear jeans and a different color shirt.
We will be able to see dad's shoes so choose accordingly.
You guys are important too but let's be honest, we all care about the baby bump.
I also have a client closet full of gowns, bodysuits, and accessories that my clients are welcome and encouraged to use. These gowns are made for showing off your bump in the best way possible and to be photographed. I offer consultations for you to come check out the dresses and try on before your session. That way you can see what they look like, how they fit, and choose your favorite. If there is a certain style you like that I don't have, we can chat about purchasing a dress for your session.
Parents who have no clue what they want or what looks good, I'll help. It's part of my services to help you style your session to you. That's mom and dad's clothes, hair, makeup, shoes, jewelry - I help with whatever you need. We can communicate in whatever way your most comfortable (text, phone, in person) to figure out your style and what would look best.
Before your session
There are some prep tips to follow before your session.
A few days before:
Check forecast and chat with photographer to confirm details.
Treat yourself to a mani and pedi.
Drink plenty of water. (Hydrated skin glows.)
Avoid salt to help swelling.
Try on any outfits you are bringing.
Confirm your hair and makeup appointment (if needed).
The day before:
Gather any props you want to bring (baby shoes, sign, ultrasound).
Relax and get a good nights sleep.
The day of:
Use clear deodorant.
Wear loosing clothing to avoid marks on your skin.
Get hair and makeup done.
During your session
What we will actually do.
These photos are all about connection. Connection between you and baby and connection between you and partner (if attending) or partner and baby. We also want to be sure we see the beautiful bump so there will be a lot of touching and holding the belly.
I practice "promptography" for maternity sessions. That means I'll place you in a general pose and give you a prompt to do. Then I capture the result of whatever I tell you to do. So I may have you hold your belly while your spouse whispers a cereal in your ear. The result is usually a pure laugh or smile. I may ask you to look down at baby and imagine what his/her smile will look like. The love that I capture is pure and real.
We definitely like to limit the amount of walking we do depending on location especially during summer months. So we will do a large variety of poses in one location or close to it.
There is something special about getting this time in your life captured forever. I've had 3 babies (not that long ago) and I have trouble remembering what it was like. But when I look back on my photos it puts me back at that time. Baby kicks, excitement, nervousness, heart burn, back aches, growing life. It's all worth documenting.