About a month ago I wrote a blog post about the Top 10 Pregnancy Trends for the Modern Mama, and on the list was having maternity photos taken with a professional photographer. Scrolling through these gorgeous photos taken by photographer Kaely Hankison, it's no secret as to why capturing these milestone moments is totally worth it. I've combined my own personal experience with Kaely's expertise to bring you solid advice that's been proven to bring out the best in a maternity photoshoot. As you plan for your first photo session, follow these simple steps to ensure the best experience and photos possible.
1. Pick the Date - Every woman's body is different and our bumps begin showing at different stages. You want a clearly defined baby bump but you don't want to push it off too much towards the end. For one thing, you may go into labor very early and miss your opportunity and you tend to really pack on the extra pounds during the last 2 months.
2. Professional Photographer - My most import tip for your photo session is to invest in an experienced and talented professional photographer. If you've never hired one before, you may have initial sticker price shock at their rates but trust me, it's worth it! Make sure you thoroughly look over their portfolio and ask lots of questions before you begin working with them.
If being able to look through raw proofs is important to you, make sure you have that conversation before you book. Every photographer has a different work process and this may not be something they offer. For me, having a first look gives me a chance to select my favorites and takes the guessing work out for the photographer. Ask your photographer if you can have both digital and printed copies of your images. Often times digital images will have watermarks which is fine as long as it doesn't disrupt the image. If you ever share on social media, make sure to properly credit the photographer.
3. Pinterest Inspiration - Create a mood board with photos that inspire you. If you search "maternity photos" you will see thousands of high quality results. Get a feel for the type of style that you like, this is your photo shoot and it should be tailored to your taste.
4. Maternity Gowns - These dresses can get pricey and you could easily spend a couple hundred on a dress if you wanted. But through this process Kaely taught me a neat little trick, Amazon sells maternity gowns at the fraction of the cost. I bought this white dress for $25, such a steal! Keep in mind that you're paying your quality and while this dress looked great in photos, the craftsmanship isn't anything special. Other sites to shop are Fillyboo and Sew Trendy.
5. Nude Undergarments - Many maternity dresses have an element of sheerness to them, even when you don't intend for them to be sheer. Make sure you have a bra and panties that matches your skin tone and has no patterns. The camera will pick up things you wouldn't expect and the worst thing is to look at your photos afterwards and realize that your hot pink panties are showing through your dress.
6. Location and Lighting - If you are unfamiliar with the fundamentals of photography, all you need to know is that lighting is EVERYTHING. Make sure your photographer is shooting either very early in the morning or around an hour before sunset to get that perfect dewy glow.
7. Primp and Proper - The smallest details can sometimes make a big difference in photos. Make sure your dress has been steamed or ironed to remove all wrinkles before the shoot. If the fabric is especially prone to wrinkles, I don't recommend wearing it on the drive over. Slip into the dress upon arrival.
Making sure your nails are either freshly painted or bare is also very important because you will have many close-up images of your hands holding your belly. Chipped nail polish is an unsightly distraction and can take away from the image's quality.
8. The Night Before - Make sure you drink lots of water and get plenty of sleep the night before your photo shoot. Dehydration and fatigue will show up on your face and it will make your session feel more like a drag than a fun time. Believe it or not, posing for photos for a couple hours can really tire you out. You'll need your energy to keep the momentum going!
9. Relax - As a blogger I've spent many hours in front of the camera but I still get a little tense and stiff at the beginning of a photo shoot. The best photos come from genuine and spontaneous moments, which means your favorite snapshots will happen when you're relaxed and having fun.
10. Side Profile - With a big baby bump, you want to find the most flattering angles that highlight the bump and still gives you a shape. Often times a straight on photo of a pregnant woman just makes her look boxy and bulky. Holding your belly with your hands helps to define the shape. Look through your inspiration board and find flattering poses. Practice at home in front of the mirror, seriously!
I met Kaely by chance a few months ago and it already feels like a starstruck connection. She's such a talented photographer with a keen photographic eye and impeccable aesthetic style. She is located in the Sacramento, Ca area but is willing to travel. For a custom quote feel free to contact her directly through her website.
"My love language is taking pictures of connection. The big moments and small, the loud, the quiet, the in-betweens that you might miss. I went to school for filmmaking and in the process started doing still images. My photography style is focused on natural posing, light, and movement. I want the images to be as organic as possible and rely on the natural quirks or emotions in every relationship. Whether it's a soon-to-be first time mama basking in this time before birth, or, a newly engaged couple loving on each other before their forever starts."
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