The best time to take maternity photos is anywhere from the beginning of your first trimester to 35 weeks, depending on how big you are. Keep in mind, every woman’s body is different. You want to have a firm, round belly, but you don’t want to be at your biggest. If you’re like me, my face got swollen towards the end and I was feeling a little puffy…ok, a lot puffy.
As a photographer that loves natural light, lighting is key for beautiful photos. If we’re shooting outdoors, I like to take photos about 2 hours before sunset when the light is a little softer. I love to back-light my subjects to give them that glow-y look and further enhance that pregnancy glow everyone talks about. If we’re shooting indoors (the couple’s home for example) I like to shoot near a window. We can achieve a mood-y look with beautiful shadows, or a soft, airy look depending on how much light is coming in through the windows.
For me, location and lighting go hand in hand. My favorite photos always end up having 2 common factors. Very simple, non-distracting backgrounds and beautiful, natural light. You don’t have to have an awesomely dramatic or unique setting to make great photos. Sometimes I end up shooting in the corner of a bedroom against a white wall. Beautiful light can turn a seemingly uninteresting location into something incredibly beautiful. Some of my favorite locations are the beach, an area with greenery (like a garden or a park), or the couple’s home.
Show off your bump in something you feel beautiful in. A few of my favorite things for mamas to wear are…
This may sound obvious, but choose a photographer whose style aligns with yours. Photographer styles can range from a more lifestyle, organic feel to a more styled, editorial vibe. Ask to see other maternity sessions the photographer has shot before and imagine yourself in them. If you can’t see yourself laying in a milk bath with flowers floating around you, maybe that photographer is not the right fit for you.
Unless you are really good at doing your own hair and makeup, hire a professional. Experienced makeup artists and hair stylists know what looks good on camera. You’re probably paying a lot of money for a photographer, so it is well worth paying to have your hair and makeup done by a professional too.
In my opinion, props and themes are not timeless and can be a little on the cheesy side. You don’t want to look back 10 or 20 years down the road and say, “Why was I dressed as a 50s pinup?” or “What’s up with the huge flower crown on my head?” My best advice is to avoid the kitsch and think timeless. Unless you’re Beyonce who can decorate and dress up till her hearts content.
The most flattering poses for pregnant women is standing or lounging. Keep in mind your bump can get lost or squished while sitting. My go-to pose is standing at an angle (rather than being completely in profile) with the front leg bent a little. This will give your body a beautiful S shape. Same things goes for laying down – make sure your limbs are bent a little to achieve gorgeous curves. Hands are also another important thing to consider. The obvious choice is to have your hands on your belly. I definitely think you should have a few photos holding your belly, but to avoid the same pose over and over, I like to have my mamas lightly brush their hair back, gently hold their dress, or softly touch their leg. Subtle things like hand placement can make a pose feel less “pose-y”.
This is an exciting time for your partner and kids too so you’ll want to have a memory with them as well. There is nothing sweeter than your guy kissing your forehead or your toddler hugging and kissing your belly. Make sure to snap at least one photo of your family before the new addition arrives.