This is supposed to be fun! We think you will find it much more fun than you are anticipating. It will be like a trial for your newborn session. Our couples who have maternity sessions are PROS by their newborn and family sessions, and it shows!
Some things to consider before booking your maternity session, would be to browse different avenues for inspiration and get a good feel for what you like and what you'd like your maternity photos to look like. You can peruse Pinterest for ideas, research different photographer's blogs and portfolios, or even sketch ideas you have in your own head!
After you book with your photographer, whether it’s us or someone else, you’ll need to start thinking about when you want your maternity session to be done. Most couples prefer to have their maternity portraits done around 36 weeks. This timeframe ensures you'll be looking wonderfully "due" but also eliminate the possibility that you'll miss the window of opportunity FOR maternity photos. You also have to take your photographer’s availability into consideration. We only book 2 sessions per week and we only shoot portrait sessions on weekdays. This will vary with every photographer and every season.
1. Outfits : Most women have two outfits (at least two different looks) per session. The outfits you choose will depend on what type of look you're going for. Do you want to be in a formal dress on the beach? Do you want more of a silhouette look in the comfort of your own home? Do you want to highlight a particular part of your personality? With family in the photos with you, the BEST advice we can give about outfit selection is to COORDINATE rather than matching (with your husband or your family). Think color palette when picking outfits. What "coordinates" for one family, may not be what "coordinates" for another - this is just one more way your style is unique and shown through your portraits.
What colors look best on you and your fiancé and what colors go well with the decor of your home? It's nice to think about that, so when it comes time to hang them on your wall, it compliments the rest of your aesthetic. Rules of thumb: stay away from really tiny patterns (they won’t show up in your images); avoid t-shirts with writing on them (unless it is intentional). Layered pieces are great as they add or subtract to change a look. In the end, what matters most is that you look like YOU and feel comfortable!
2. Preparing your Family: You know your husband better than anyone else, so only you can help prepare him for this shoot. If your husband is completely unaware of this style of photography, he is going to think it’s really strange when we tell him to get really close to you and squeeze together as close as possible! He may only be expecting a few pictures smiling at the camera, showing off the baby bump, and that’s it! So it’s your job to explain to him why you love this style of photography and help him know what to expect! If you have older children that are going to be in the photographs as well, it is best that we work around them and how their feeling, rather than forcing them into situations that they will not be happy in.
3. Relax & Trust Your Photographer : As you’re preparing for your maternity session, remember that your photographer doesn’t expect you to be a pro at this. We work with normal, everyday, wonderful women & families ALL the time. We hardly ever work with models! We notice that with most of our couples it takes a good 20 minutes to warm up at the beginning of their shoot. So, relax and don’t be nervous. You’re going to be great at this! Trust your photographer, allow them to be creative and you’ll have an amazing shoot. We guarantee you will leave thinking "Man, that was actually way more fun than I thought it would be!"
4. Be on Time: This is really important. What most couples don’t realize is that natural light photographers are 100% dependent on the sun and if their couples show up late, they will lose that amount of time during their session due to the lack of light. We totally realize that things happen beyond our control, like massive amounts of traffic and accidents. Whenever possible, be on time so that you don’t lose any of your shooting time and pretty sunlight.
5. Location and Time: The best time to shoot any portraits is normally 1-2 hours after sunrise and 1-2 hours before sunset. This rule of thumb can be applied to any time of the year. When it comes to picking the location for your portraits, we love shooting maternity sessions in locations that mean something to our clients! We understand that this isn’t always possible, but we like to throw it out there. Like your outfits, selecting a location is yet another opportunity to express the style and tastes you hold as an individual/family.
6. Hair, Makeup: Some women opt to have their hair and makeup done right before their maternity session so that they are looking and feeling their best. We highly recommend this! If you want to do your own makeup, make sure you apply your eye makeup a little heavier than normal for your pictures.
7. Outcome: Last but not least, think about what you want the outcome of your photographs to look like and how you're going to apply them to your life! What will you do with them? Do you want to have a few prints to give or frame? A nicely framed photograph for your bedroom? A display of photographs in your baby's nursery? A custom photobook to give your husband?
These are all really great options, so it's nice to have an idea of which direction you're going to head in before your photoshoot arrives so that you and your photographer can plan accordingly.
It's supposed to be fun. Don't worry if you don't feel like a pro; we're here to hold your hand and guide you along. Just follow these 7 pointers and you will be enjoying fantastic maternity photos in no time!