Tips for a Memorable Maternity Shoot
Tips for a Memorable Maternity Shoot
Social media has really changed the way we view photography over the last decade. From the selfie to the food shot, people are now taking more pictures than ever before; and documenting those pictures on their feeds as though everyone they know simply must experience what they are in this moment.
Instagram has only made this desire greater, creating an opportunity to tell a story through photos; a story that is often the glamorized version of what is really happening in our lives.
Don’t get me wrong, I love that people are discovering a passion for photography. And I even love some of the trends that have come about because of it. For instance, the rise of the maternity photo shoot.
It used to be that when a woman was pregnant, she might have a friend snap the obligatory side shot of her growing belly at her baby shower. That picture would then go into the baby book and serve as the reminder of what she looked like while pregnant. But it wasn’t anything special. There certainly wasn’t any gauze wrapped around that belly, making it to look like a little baby cherub.
Nothing like today, where women schedule maternity shoots months in advance, and the true beauty of that pregnancy is commemorated with a photo shoot meant to capture and preserve just how magical that belly is.
For the record, I’m not personally a fan of the overly stylized maternity shoots. The boudoir themes and lace fluttering in the wind isn’t really my thing. Like all my photography, when I schedule maternity shoots, I focus on a more journalistic style; aiming to capture images that commemorate what actually is, not anything too themed or forced.
So when I am giving tips on creating a memorable maternity shoot, it is with those thoughts in mind. I see these photo shoots as an opportunity to really create some beautiful and true to life images; those that will tell the story of your pregnancy for years to come. They are certainly more involved images than that random shot taken at your baby shower might have been, but they don’t involve your belly being intricately painted or your stretch marks being photoshopped out.
Here’s what I think makes a great maternity shoot:
- The Inclusion of Your Partner: In most cases, a pregnancy comes to be because of the efforts of two people. So whenever possible, I think celebrating the love that led to that pregnancy is one of the best ways to create a memorable shoot. Yes, I might suggest a few solo images, but for the most part—the pictures of both you and your partner together are going to be the ones you cherish most.
- Natural Settings and Laughter: As a journalistic photographer, I tend to prefer to capture you in your element, simply enjoying the moment you are in. So we might talk about locations that mean something to you, and I’m far more likely to encourage you and your partner to engage in a conversation or to have fun with each other as I snap pictures, than I am to try to force you into awkward poses. I believe the images that catch the eye are those that convey a genuine sense of love, comfort and warmth; and that happens when you let people be themselves, in their element, as the camera is snapping away.
- Time it Right: If you wait for your maternity shoot until too late in your pregnancy, you are going to be uncomfortable the entire time. Plus, you run the risk of going into labor early and missing your opportunity. Of course, if you schedule your shoot too early, you run the risk of having not really “popped” yet, and proceeding without much of a belly to show. For most women, scheduling a maternity shoot around their seventh month is the best way to go.
The beauty of a quality maternity shoot is that these images don’t just have to reside in the baby book or online; they can serve as your first family photos with your newest member, and therefore make great framed additions to your home.
So, yeah, I love seeing women upgrading from that single bump pic that may have been taken long ago. Because there are only so many times in your life when you will have a baby growing inside of you, and honoring that—commemorating that belly—is a beautiful thing to do.