We are currently in a renaissance of maternity photoshoots, with more moms than ever before choosing to have their pregnancies photographed. And I’m all for it! You’ll be looking back on these images for years to come and you’ll be able to immortalize your journey to becoming a mother.
However, with all these maternity photoshoots understandably there are a lot of questions. Between doctors’ appointments, decorating the nursery, planning the baby shower, and many other responsibilities, the last thing you want to do is search for answers to those questions. Fortunately, your maternity shoot should be one of the easier things on your pregnancy to-do list!
We’re going to do a deep dive into all the things you should know before your maternity photoshoot to make sure you’re as prepared as possible for your big day!
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What to Know Before Your Maternity Photoshoot
To get the best experience out of your maternity photoshoot, I recommend taking some time to think about the finer details from hair and makeup to your wardrobe for the shoot. This little bit of research can help you relax and enjoy the photoshoot, along with rest easy after knowing you got exactly what you wanted.
Here are the top questions you should know the answer to before booking your maternity photoshoot:
When to Schedule Your Maternity Photoshoot
It’s usually recommended that moms schedule their photoshoot between 28-34 weeks pregnant. The sweet spot is usually closer to 30-32 weeks, but if there are any health concerns or you’re carrying multiples, I’d recommend scheduling closer to the 28-week mark. The main thing you and your photographer are looking for is a prominent cute baby bump and also making sure you have enough energy to make it through your session and enjoy it!
What to Wear
Depending on the photographer you’ve hired, they may have a client closet available for you to choose from. A client closet consists of various pieces of clothing, accessories, and shoes that the photographer provides for your session. Some photographers even provide pieces for Dad and the kids! So before spending lots of money on clothes that may never see the light of day again, check to see if this is a service your photographer offers.
If clothing isn’t provided then I recommend number one deciding the theme or look you want to go for during your session. If you gravitate more towards a boho aesthetic, then I recommend earthy/jewel tones for your whole family. If your style is more light and airy, then whites/creams/pastels are the way to go. If you’re into a more editorial style then look for more classic tones like black, white, red, etc.
A great resource for planning out outfits for your session is Pinterest. You can create boards for each person who will be participating in your shoot and purchase outfits based on that. Most photographers will also help with this and maybe even send over a style guide for you to work off of.
All of my clients have access to my client closet which includes maternity dresses, gowns and edgier pieces (i.e. suits, fabrics, jackets, accessories, etc.). As a mom of 3 myself, my goal is to take as much off of my client’s plate as possible!
Hair and Makeup
This one is a bit hard to give a general answer for since it varies for each person, however, I would recommend reaching out to your photographer for what they think works best with their style. Boho, Lifestyle, and Studio maternity photoshoots might have different hair and makeup recommendations and you want to make sure your look compliments the style of photography you’ve chosen.
Once you have a style in mind, then it is time to decide whether you plan to do this yourself or hire a stylist. Most studios offer hair and makeup for an added charge or have recommendations for great stylists in the area.
Location for Your Maternity Photoshoot
Choosing a location for your photoshoot is something that you should put a little thought into simply because that might impact the photographer you choose to hire, your clothing choices, and your comfort level during your session.
Outdoor Maternity Sessions
Outdoor sessions are absolutely gorgeous however they come with their set of cons as well. For one, you may end up having to sacrifice some privacy depending on how busy the location is. You also run the risk of dealing with less than ideal weather, limited times available to shoot (i.e. golden hour), bugs, and potential hikes to get to the location. On the other hand, nothing can beat the beauty of nature as a backdrop for your maternity photoshoot. Also, being able to interact with your surroundings makes for a much more diverse gallery and photos that are much more natural and intimate than studio photos sometimes feel.
Studio Maternity Sessions
Studio sessions can feel limiting to some people since you’re stuck in one place with usually not many backdrop choices. Also, depending on the location it may be a bit of a hike, may have sparse parking, or even large staircases to get to the location. However, they allow for much more control of your session. Gone are the concerns about weather, time, privacy, and bugs. Changing outfits is much easier and you have easy access to a bathroom which is always a plus!
Do You Want to Include Other Family Members?
Your maternity photoshoot doesn’t have to be only about your journey into motherhood! You can and should absolutely document your life pre-baby with your family. Keep in mind that some photographers may charge extra for additional members of your family since it usually takes more time and energy to photograph more people, especially children.
If you would like to include extended family or fur babies in your photoshoot that’s even more reason to be very clear with your photographer about your expectations to make sure they can accommodate them and let you know if there will be any additional fees.
Do You Want to Bring Sentimental Items?
Having a baby is such a wonderful time in your family’s lives and your maternity photoshoot should personalized to represent you and your family. If there are things that are sentimental to your journey like ultrasound photos, IVF mementos, onesies, etc. your photographer should absolutely be able to incorporate them into your photoshoot.
A quick tip is to prepare for your big day like you would the hospital and prepare a bag with all the mementos and things you’d like to bring to your session in advance. This avoids the possibility of forgetting important things at home!
Do You Want to Show Skin?
This is a really common question and you only need to show skin if that’s what you want. You can absolutely have a successful and beautiful modest maternity shoot. I would recommend viewing a photographer’s portfolio to see if any of their work resonates with you and your principles before booking.
If you are interested in fine art nude or bare belly photos be sure that your photographer has ample work that you love in that vein as well. Some things you might want to be aware of are privacy if you are taking nude photos and making sure you have a clear plan in place for the vision of your session. This can be a vulnerable experience so just make sure you are mentally prepared to rock your session!
If you would like to learn more about nude maternity or boudoir sessions, we have a full post breaking down everything you need to know – Nude Maternity and Boudoir Guide
Putting Yourself First
It’s so important during your session to be very clear and open about your comfort level and not to push yourself too hard. I think pregnant women are absolute superheroes who can absolutely handle being pregnant and being a model however if any poses or movements are uncomfortable for you, you should speak up immediately.
If you’re outdoors make sure that you stay hydrated and if the trail to your location is too rocky it’s okay to speak up and maybe choose a different spot. If your photographer doesn’t provide them, be sure to bring snacks and something to drink in case you start to feel lightheaded and hungry.
Put All The Glam To Use!
Another super helpful tip is to schedule a date night for right after your session. You’ll be on a high from rocking your maternity photoshoot and looking your best, so head out for a night on the town with your partner and celebrate a job well done! Who knows, it may be your last baby-free outing for a while.
Getting the Most Out of Your Maternity Photoshoot
All in all, your maternity session should be a stress-free and fun day of pampering and posing if planned right. I hope these questions help you to navigate finding the right photographer and have a successful session.
Here at Jazmin Maybell Photography we specialize in maternity photoshoots and making our moms feel as comfortable and catered to as possible. I’d love to have you join the family and also make some truly amazing works of art. If that’s something you’re interested in then head over to my contact form and let’s start the conversation!