How to Prepare for Your Maternity Photoshoot

December 18, 2022

Kelsey Justice

Family, Maternity

6 Tips to Prepare for Your Maternity Photoshoot

Bringing a baby into the world is the most magical life event that should be captured for sure! It’s a time that speeds by and you are going to want to remember and share it with your little one once they are older. If you are thinking about or have recently booked a maternity photo session then the below thoughts and tips should come in handy as your prepare for your session.

Tips to Prepare for Your Maternity Photoshoot

  1. Schedule your session between 31 and 36 weeks as your bump should have popped by now. By booking your maternity session during this time you are also past the discomfort, illness, and bloating that happens earlier in your pregnancy. I recommend booking with me at least 2 months before your desired date.
  2. We know how important it is to moisturize your knees, elbows, and belly but we recommend you do so 1 – 2 hours before the session to avoid any shininess or sticky clothes. You should also avoid wearing any tight-fitting watches or bracelets that might leave marks on your skin.
  3. Treat yourself to a neutral or light-colored manicure 1 – 2 days prior to your maternity session so that you can take some beautiful shots with your hands on your tummy. You can also treat yourself to professional make-up and hair styling if that makes you feel more confident. Make-up counters like Bobbi Brown inside Saks Fifth Avenue will do your make-up at no extra cost if you buy a few products.
  4. Trust your photographer to direct you in posing so you can look your best. What makes maternity photos different from other portraits is that the images focus on you, your personality, your feelings and the bond you have with your sweet baby. Many maternity poses such as hands on the belly and eyes looking down express emotions and connection to your belly. Other maternity poses empathize the beautiful curves of your body. You may feel funny doing that, but trust us, you will look beautiful!
  5. Take the time to pick the right outfit for the maternity shoot. You should of course be comfortable but make sure that your clothing doesn’t detract from your tummy’s shape and your natural glow. Avoid large, bold patterns or clothing that is too loose. Empire waists, drawstrings, flowing tops, and wrap dresses are perfect for enhancing your shape. And of course, I am always down for a more boudoir look. If you are shooting with your partner, coordinate colors & styles – mix and match without looking like you’re in a fashion catalog. You don’t have to be matchy-matchy, but try to have the clothes complement each other. AND you don’t have to wear the same color!
    I made a pretty sweet Pinterest board for inspiration if you want to check it out HERE.
  6. Consider the location of your shoot and the advantages/disadvantages of them. The advantage of an indoor or in-home session is comfort and connection to familiar surroundings. You don’t have to worry about the weather outside. The disadvantage is that you have to clean your house so it will look good in the photos. The advantage of a studio session is convenience and control. You can shoot anytime regardless of the weather. The disadvantage is the extra cost to rent out the studio. The advantage of an outdoor session is getting all of that natural beauty of a pregnant woman in a beautiful outdoor backdrop! The parallel between a mother about to bring to life into the world and Mother Nature is a powerful one. The disadvantages are that the shoot is weather-dependent and shooting hours are limited to the golden hour of sunrise or sunset when the quality of natural light is at its best.

Ideas on what to bring are below…

Ideas on What to Bring

  • Cozy, neutral blanket – these will keep you warm if it is cold and make for some sweet moments or are perfect for sitting poses
  • Cute baby items such as shoes, hats, toys, blankets, or onesies, family heirlooms
  • Ultrasound photos
  • Warm drinks if its cold or cold drinks if it’s hot
  • Snacks – because duh
  • Umbrellas in case it rains – these can make for some really cute photos
  • Letters that you’ve written to each other and you want those emotional shots
  • Pets – check with us and we’ll let you know if your location has any rules you’ll need to follow
  • Your favorite Spotify playlist (I always bring a portable speaker because it makes things more comfortable)

Of course, only bring what you want captured or are comfortable with.

Posing with Your Partner

The truth is, I am not your run-of-the-mill photographer. I make sure couples are comfortable and fully engaged with one another during your shoot.  Long gone are the days of awkward smiles and stiff posing. I do something called permission posing that allows you to be 100% yourself so your photos are comfortable, natural, and stunningly gorgeous!

The thought of “what am I supposed to do with my hands” has plagued every single one of us any time we have stepped in front of the camera. Let me be the first to say that I TOTALLY GET IT!

Here’s the truth: You know how to love your partner FAR better than I could ever direct you to. You know what hand you like to hold, who leads when you walk, the spot you like to put your head on their chest. You’re already pros at loving on each other and our job is to capture that.

But… don’t panic.  If you still feel a bit awkward and don’t quite know what to do, I’ve got all the ideas of things you can do that will be natural for you.  Here are some quick posing tips to help in those scenarios:

  • Lean into your partner. Not physically, though that’s fine too, but I’m talking emotionally here. Look to them for support and connect with them.
  • Ask them questions “what’s your favorite memory from our first year of dating” or “remember that time you did that super funny embarrassing thing and I laughed so hard water came out of my nose?” Things like that can help you focus on what is important about this shoot (the two of you).
  • Move around! Walk, run, dance, sway, etc. If you start to feel like you need more variation or feel awkward, movement is the best way to remedy that.
  • Try to connect to each other physically the whole time. You don’t have to make out the entire time, though you can if ya want! But holding hands or standing super close will help keep you grounded and present.
  • Try to keep your hand on top of your bump or below it most of the time so it is very obvious that you are pregnant because that is what we are celebrating after all!

Trust us. I am not going to let you look weird. I am not going to judge you. I am here to cheer you on and tell you how awesome you are and how adorable you look.

The more you can let us in, put your guard down, and be vulnerable, the more your images will feel like you.

Our Process

1. We meet face to face at your scheduled date, chat and get warmed up. Arrive at least 15 minutes early. I will begin shooting at your scheduled time and will not be able to go over the appointment time if you are late unless you are willing to pay extra and I don’t have a shoot after.

2. We walk to our first spot, taking our time and hanging out. When we arrive, I make sure you get comfortable in your first pose.

3. If I can, I will be playing music over a speaker. Music just makes everything more fun!

4. We have a blast captured one of the most special times of your life and we become pals very quickly!

Okay, *NOW* you’re ready for your maternity photoshoot!

We’ve walked through all the big q’s and what to expect!

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