Preparing for a Maternity Photo Shot

Preparing for a Maternity Photo ShotA maternity photo shoot is a wonderful way to capture a truly magical moment in your life with photos that you will cherish forever. Your pregnancy is a time when your body is at it’s most feminine and sexy self and this should be captured on camera!

I did a maternity photo shoot with my second child and even though most of my photos turned out quite beautifully, the whole experience could have been a whole lot more pleasant had I been aware of some of the pitfalls of not being properly prepared!

My Maternity Photo Shoot

In 2010 I was fortunate enough to win a professional family photo shoot. At the time, I was in my second trimester expecting our second child. The photo shoot went so well that when the photographer approached me afterwards to ask if I was interested in hiring him to do a maternity photo shoot, I agreed.

We scheduled the maternity photo shoot for my third trimester (around 8 months). We both agreed that this is the optimal time to do a maternity photo shoot as at this point the baby bump is almost at it’s biggest but I would not be too uncomfortable.

On the Saturday morning of the photo shoot I arrived back at the studio with all my clothes and props prepared. I already had an idea of the type of photos I wanted so I had my hair and make-up done very naturally and as I was pregnant, my hair had a very healthy and natural sheen to it.

During the photo shoot I started to feel uncomfortable with some of the direction from the photographer. I felt that I was being pushed outside of my comfort zone and that our ideas for the photos were not aligned. I wished that my husband was there (I had brought my mother) and felt exposed. I wish that I had voiced my concerns but at the time I just felt pressured and got upset. Unfortunately this was not the end. We also had a disagreement when the photos were delivered over the terms of service. We disagreed about how many photos would be delivered, the format it would be delivered in and him using my semi-nude photos in his online porfolio.

As a freelance web developer, I am now much more forthright when entering into a business agreement with anyone. Our conflict could have been avoided if we had drawn up a contract beforehand and discussed in more detail what I was expecting as the client.

He did take very professional high-quality photographs and I am happy with most of them but I had to delete a few that he loved but that I thought were not very flattering.

If you are preparing for a maternity photo shoot, here are some key points to consider:

Maternity Photo Shoot Tips

1) Choose a female photographer

I’m sure that there are many professional male photographers in the Cape Town area who are more than skilled at maternity photography. If you know of any feel free to recommend them in the comment area.

I personally would prefer to have a woman photographer next time. I think I would feel much more comfortable displaying my stretch marks and swollen ankles to a woman!

2) Choose a photographer that you know socially or that you’ve worked with before

Over the years I have met many other photographers as I love taking photographs myself and also like to do regular professional family photo shoots. I am fortunate enough to know at least one or two professional mom photographers at school so next time I would definately ask one of them.

3) Plan your own vision for your photo shoot

Before contacting a photographer, first plan out your vision and art direction for your photo shoot. Pinterest has tons of inspiration for different types of maternity portraits. Do some research on how you envision your photographs and once you have an idea of the style you want you can then brainstorm with a professional photographer on how best to achieve your vision.

4) If you are not comfortable doing a semi-nude shoot, don’t do it

It is your photo shoot. You will forever have these photos to remind yourself of what it felt like to have your baby in your tummy. I have one portrait in exactly the same pose as this one of Demi Moore. My portrait looks beautiful and I do love it (only my husband and I have seen it). But there are other photographs that I felt looked too revealing and unflattering which I deleted. It just didn’t make me feel beautiful to do the photographs that I felt were outside of my comfort zone.

5) Sign a contract

It is imperative that you draw up a contact stipulating the exact terms of service and have both parties sign it. Ensuring that both parties are protected by a written agreement means that there are no misunderstanding with regards to the terms of service.

6) Take your partner with you

Even if he does not want to go, ask your partner very nicely to spend the two hours with you at the studio. You will need the support, trust me. Pregnant women can get very emotional and the photo shoot will most likely be very tiring. Your partner is also most likely to point out your most flattering angles because he wants to see you look your best.

7) Take lots of props and costume changes

Everyone has different tastes for their photos which is fine. Mine were more natural and that’s exactly what I wanted. My other idea was to do a location shoot in the forest or at the beach wearing fairy wings…

8) Include your spouse in a few of the photos

I never had my husband there which I regret because I have seen many other couple maternity portraits which are so stinking cute!

9) Prepare a playlist for your photo shoot

Play fun and upbeat music in the studio to keep the tone light and the pressure off. You might even want to dance around with your big bump. Or not. But pregnant women in their third trimester find many reasons to get stressed out so the music will set a nice calm or upbeat atmosphere for you to just enjoy yourself.

10) Have fun!

Being photographed is a lot of fun. It’s my favorite thing in the whole world. I would be so happy if I had paparazzi following me around all day!

Being photographed at your maternity photo shoot should make you feel like a queen and if you are genuinely enjoying the photo shoot, it will shine through in your pictures!

Here are some photos from my own maternity shoot which I styled myself.

Apologies for the grainy texture of the photos. I seem to have misplaced my digital copies so have taken these off my photo album.

IMG_2093 IMG_2094 IMG_2096 IMG_2099