“The cobbler’s children have no shoes.” I think this phenomenon applied to me when it came to having my first two pregnancies photographed (or in my case not photographed). I only had my third and last pregnancy photographed.
I regret not having my other pregnancies captured. Each maternal journey was so very different and influenced the person I grew into over the past eight years. I treasure the images I do have of me being pregnant and knowing what they mean to me on a personal level inspires me to put heart and soul into my clients’ maternity shoots.
When pregnant you have so many things to plan for and preparing for your maternity shoot can seem daunting. It needn’t be. I have put together an easy-to-use guide with planning tips, styling tricks and more to make sure you get the most out of your maternity photo session.
When should I book my maternity shoot?
Good photographers are often booked up well in advance so I recommend that you make your booking at least 3 months prior to your session date. The session can be done between 34 and 36 weeks of your pregnancy (after that you may be too uncomfortable or too close to your due date).
It is important to decide what style of photography you prefer and book a photographer that specialises in that particular style of photography. I have a life style approach to my maternity sessions and am a natural light photographer. Most of my work is done on location. If you however like a more styled approach, you might prefer someone that specialises in studio photography.
Most photographers can make useful locations suggestion with consideration of light, preferences, weather and more, however sometimes it can be special to do a session at a location that has sentimental value to the parents.
What to wear: Colour Contrast Guide
My golden rule: Compliment. Don’t match. Contrast brings depth and dimension to photo’s so avoid wearing all white or matching tops and bottoms.
What to wear: Brights vs. Neutrals
You do not always have to shy away from bright colour. It can bring excitement, personality and fun to your session. Just avoid the ‘rainbow effect’ by having everyone in different, bright colours. Decide who your ‘star of the show’ will be (sometimes the pregnant mom or sometimes a sibling if this is not your first pregnancy) and let that person wear the bright colours.
What to wear: Patterns
Try to avoid pictures or logo’s that may date. You want your photographs to be timeless. Patterns can however, like colour, create an interesting focal point if worn correctly – just don’t go pattern crazy!
Accessories & Props
Scarves, hats, bright boots, belts, jewellery etc. are always fun and can bring out your personality. A fun idea is for your accessories to draw out or compliment something your partner is wearing. Accessories should however bring that small point of difference and not dominate. Props can provide something to interact with during your session, but make sure they are simple and meaningful.
Layers & Textures
Wearing layers will allow you to create different looks without a wardrobe change. Textures can be worn with neutral colours in much the same manner as patterns. Textures like tweed or crochet can bring beautiful depth and character to your images.
It is important that you wear comfortable shoes, however don’t underestimate the importance of shoe style and choice as they can make or break an outfit. If uncertain, bear foot is best!
The best shoots are the ones where the mom-to-be and her partner are game. If you are at the beach, you need to make peace with the fact that you will most probably get a bit wet or sand up your nose. If you are in the field, chances are you will meet with a couple of thorns or ants. So make the effort and bring those towels, dry clothes and walking shoes.
Creating vs. Capturing Beauty
As a maternal photographer I firmly believe that I do not creature beauty. I simply capture it as it flutters by my lens. So my most important tip: interact and have fun with your partner and other children if applicable – that’s when the real magic happens!
All Love Alda Birth Packages include a complimentary Maternity Shoot. Below a preparation guide with love from me to you.
This article was originally written for Carmien Kiddie Blog. Alda is Carmien Rooibos Tea’s Birth Photographer and Maternal Professional of Choice.