Maternity sessions are so beautiful, but it can be stressful when planning. I'm going to give some tips on how to prepare for a maternity session. I'm going to make this as easy as possible so that you go into your session breathing easy and excited! Here are common questions:
When should my session take place? I recommend between 30-34 weeks. Of course, if you are having twins you will probably want to do it around 20 weeks. Pay attention to how your body is reacting to your pregnancy. If you feel like you will be swollen and uncomfortable, waiting until 34 weeks might not be the best plan for you. On the other hand, some women don't really even show until closer to 34 weeks. Every woman is different.
Where should the session take place? I love this part of the planning! You might not have any clue where you would like these photos taken or you might have a location with special meaning to you. If my client has a home with a lot of natural light, I love to do it there. It's where you will be bringing baby home and where you spent so many months just waiting for baby's arrival. We can also get a hotel, BnB, or photograph it outside. There are so many options. I recommend that you look at inspiration photos and see what really speaks to you. If you like really clean and neutral, you and your photographer might want to rent out a simple studio space (your photographer might already have a studio, but if not, there are some that can be rented out). I am not afraid to move furniture around, clear out a room, and change the bedding for a client to make your home a better fit for this session.
What should I wear? Sky is the limit! Again, it really has to go with your inspiration for this session. You might want to do a sweet in-home session with your significant other in jeans and a t-shirt. A flowy dress, on the beach at sunset, might be exactly what you're looking for. I have a wonderful Pinterest board that I've started for clothing and posing ideas, specifically curated for maternity sessions. Please feel free to follow the board HERE.
Should I get my hair and makeup done? If you don't normally wear a lot of makeup or have your hair done, I would recommend keeping it closer to natural. You can find a great hair and makeup artist that can give you a natural look. I have plenty of clients that do their own hair and makeup or don't do it at all. Honestly, do what makes you feel beautiful because that's what's going to make you the most happy with the outcome of your photographs. I always have hair and makeup referrals on hand, but I'm also happy to have my client do it on their own.
Should I do this session by myself or involve my partner? Both! Honestly, if your partner is into it then I would suggest having them for at least part of the session. It makes for some really intimate and sweet photographs:
6. What heirlooms should I purchase from my photographer? This is one of my favorite things to talk about! I used to just photograph sessions and hand over the digital files and that was it. Now, I make it a point to make sure that my families are getting heirlooms that they can display and share for generations to come. Maternity sessions can be displayed as gorgeous, framed wall art, beautiful fine art albums, museum matted prints...there are so many gorgeous ways you can display these. I have a few examples of what I offer my clients bellow:
7. Do you have posing suggestions? I get asked this CONSTANTLY! I get it. You want to look and feel your best. I approach my maternity sessions much like I do any other session. I don't want it to be overly posed. I want to get you in your natural movements. I love when you feel the baby kick and go to look down, hand on belly, laughing. I love when you're moving your hair out of your face while looking out the window. You might be retouching your lipstick in the mirror and I catch that moment. I am here to help you get into some poses, but then I let you naturally do the magic, and trust me, you will. Here are some examples of some poses. Some I helped with, but most of them were just the grace and beauty of my client:
My biggest piece of advice is to not overthink anything that I wrote above. Hire a photographer that you love and trust. Go into the session without any expectations and just allow yourself to enjoy every second. This is a moment in time, before baby comes, that you'll never get to experience again.