Congratulations on your pregnancy! As you prepare for your little one to enter the world and join your family, your to-do list is probably a mile long. Having a professional maternity session may seem like just another item to add to your list, but a maternity shoot can be a perfect time to remind you of the power and beauty of your body during your pregnancy journey.
You deserve to have this incredible moment in your life captured, to celebrate with your partner and family the joy of a new baby entering your life.
If you’ve never had a maternity session before, you may not know how to prepare or what to expect. That’s why we’ve put together this handy guide to everything you need to know in order to make the most of your session and get images you will love.
Schedule your session early
The earlier you book your session, the better. Your best bet is to book your maternity session somewhere between 12 and 16 weeks, around when you find out the sex of your baby. Especially if you have a specific photographer you want to work with, it’s important to book as early as possible to make sure they will be available.
Plan to book a shoot for your third trimester
The best time to take your photos is in your third trimester, between 28 and 32 weeks. At this point, your bump will be showing well and look great in photos, and you will still be able to move around and pose comfortably. While you can do your maternity session later in your pregnancy, there’s a good chance you will have more trouble posing and standing for long periods of time.
Talk to your photographer about your desires
Every photographer is different and every mom-to-be is different as well. If there are specific images you want—or don’t want—be sure to let your photographer know. Talk to your photographer about what images are important to you and whether you’re interested in doing partial or implied nudes. It’s important to let your photographer know what you’re comfortable with before your session so they can better plan out what shots and poses to do.
Your hands will appear in almost all of your images, so you want them looking good! Your maternity session is the perfect excuse to pamper yourself a little with a professional manicure.
Have your hair done professionally
Continue the pampering with a visit to your hair stylist. If you’re not sure how to have your hair done, think about what you want your photos to look like. If you’re going for a more casual look, a loose and simple hairstyle may be the perfect option. But if you want your images to look a little more formal, don’t be afraid to go dramatic with an elegant look.
Consider hiring a makeup artist
While some photographers may include makeup and hair as part of your session, others may allow you to make your own choices about how you want to look. If you really want to look your best, a professional makeup artist is the way to go. A pro will know how to do your makeup so it shows best in photos. If you decide to do your makeup yourself, you want to go a little bolder with your makeup than you normally would to make sure your eyes and lips are well-defined in your images.
Get plenty of rest the night before
I know, it can be hard to get any decent sleep during pregnancy, but if you’re able to, go to bed early and try to get a full night’s sleep. That way, you’ll be refreshed and relaxed at your session the next day.
Stay hydrated—and don’t skip breakfast
It’s critical to drink plenty of water both before and during your session. Hydrated skin will look fresh, and staying hydrated will help keep your energy up throughout the shoot. And even if you have a case of nerves about stepping in front of the camera, be sure to eat breakfast before your session.
Decide who to bring with you
Your family members are absolutely welcome at your maternity session, especially if you want to include your spouse or other children. Just keep in mind that extra people can be a distraction and can even make you feel less comfortable in front of the camera, so avoid bringing friends and extended family members along.
Bring along sentimental items
Anything special you want to include in your photos is a great addition. Whether that’s a family heirloom, your ultrasound, or even your own baby blanket or favorite childhood toy, these mementos can add special meaning and a personal touch to your images.
Choose what to wear
Whether you want to keep it casual with slacks and a blouse or wear a flowing maternity dress, or even both, take time before your session to choose your outfits and make sure they fit and look the way you want them to look. You should also pick out clothing for any other family members who will be part of the session and make sure to choose outfits that coordinate and don’t clash with your own.
Go with stretchy fabrics
Of course, you want to look good in your photos, but comfort is just as important. Be sure to pack plenty of clothes made with stretchy fabrics, like yoga pants, maxi dresses, and sweaters. This is also a great excuse to go shopping if you need a few new pieces to add to your wardrobe.
Keep your colors simple
You and your baby bump will be the primary focus of your images, so you don’t want to wear any bright colors or loud patterns that will distract. Instead, stick with neutral colors and jewel tones that will look great with any background and any skin tone.
Make sure you have the right undergarments
Give some thought to your underwear and bras as well. For example, if you’re wearing a white dress, you don’t want to wear dark panties that will show through the fabric. And if you plan on doing partially nude images, make sure to bring along lacy undergarments that will look good in your photos.
Prepare on the day of your session
Before your session, make sure to have a light snack and drink plenty of water. Pack a bag of extra snacks and any other items you think you may need throughout your maternity shoot.
Put on some non-greasy lotion
A couple hours before your session, take time to apply some non-greasy lotion to reduce any dry spots on your skin. Be sure to avoid using any artificial tanners or spray tans as they may give your skin an unnatural orange look.
Don’t wear any clothing with elastic
While you should definitely dress in comfy clothes to go to your session location, be sure to take off any clothes with elastic bands at least an hour before your shoot. Elastic leaves marks on your skin, and you want your skin to look naturally smooth. Also, be sure to remove any hair ties or other tight bands from your wrists.
Make plans for your other children
If you want to include your older children in your maternity session, it’s a good idea to make plans for someone to pick them up when they’re finished. That way, they don’t have to sit through all the individual shots of you, and you don’t have to worry about keeping them calm or entertained.
It’s easier said than done, but do your best to relax and not worry about your session. Your photographer will walk you through every pose and position. All you have to do is be your natural, beautiful self!