When I announced Brook’s new arrival, I told ya’ll about round two of maternity photos that I forgot to post. And since there were a few people interested in seeing more maternity pictures of Brook, I thought I would put them out there before I got distracted again. So many of you are preggo, I thought, maybe you would like a few maternity photo shoot tips on what to do before and during your own picture session (just so that you can get the photos you want!).
Tip #1 – Tell em you style desire
It’s really helpful to tell your photographer what style you like when it comes to photos. You can even send them samples of photos that you like. Just remember, they can’t recreate the photo with you in it…well, unless they cut and paste the face…but they can gather style information from the samples. When I say style – think of it as the photo mood. Are they fun? Quirky? Serious? Romantic? Nostalgic? Ethereal? Modern? Superhero?
Tip #2 – Wear something form-fitting to the bump
I always recommend having a few tops up for grabs when it comes to maternity shoots. Personally, I like things that are tighter on the bump…granted, I didn’t follow my own advice with my own maternity clothing choices but I did have to hold the dress tighter out of view so that I just didn’t look like I had a tumor in my midsection. You definitely don’t want people to question whether or not you have just a poochy stomach…that’s for your post-pregnancy body. My favorites are tanks with texture (throw a fuzzy sweater over the top for a cold day), anything with an empire waist, tops that are tight over the entire bump with a bit of pattern like polka dots or bold flowers, button down shirts (for those expose the skin on the tummy photos) and pretty much anything that cinches under the boobs. Also, white and black tops are hard to photograph (unless the photog works the contrast really well) so take that into account. Lastly, sometimes a nostalgic item that is personal (your grandma’s brooch, your mom’s vintage scarf, etc.) can add that extra-special touch to the pictures that you will be able to share with your child long down the line. Brook’s dress (picture above) is actually a family heirloom that was timeless for a glowing mother.
Tip #3 – Where the heck do I look?
This is the number one thing that gets repeated during photoshoots like a million times by the subjects. Look at each other, look at the bump, look into the distance, look directly at the camera…they are all good options. There is no written formula for the perfect photo…just remember that this is a happy time and you don’t want to look stiff or uncomfortable. Just like in the photo below, sometimes NOT looking at the camera can bring more attention to the guest of honor…the baby belly.
Tip #4 – Break it up with something fun
Shoots can be overwhelming to people who don’t constantly have pictures taken (don’t worry – Will does not fall into that category.). So one way you can break up all that stress is by trying something fun. Take a couple minutes to have a tickle fight…have a few frames of you doing the Little Mermaid hair flip…show the photographer exactly how you feel by squatting and stretching out your back…pretend you are in labor and watch a stranger’s reaction….force yourself to laugh outloud until it actually becomes funny. Anything to break up all that stiffness. With Brook, I asked her if she would be up for a leap. I just laid the camera flat on the ground (and pushed my face into the grass) and I got a few pictures that really show part of this girl’s fun personality (and willing to do anything attitude!).
Tip #5 – Choose and Use your surroundings
This one is pretty straight forward. I like picking locations that are full of options – benches, creeks, paths, bridges and grassy pastures. A park like the one we did this shoot at can be a great option but so can a more urban location. Get out and check what different backgrounds are available before committing to a specific place. Lots of photographers have go-to locations but are open to suggestions.
Tip #6 – Hands and their whereabouts
For some maternity photos, I like girls to naturally put their hands on their bumps. On top of the bump, below the bump, and holding the bump on the sides all work for the mommy-to-be. Children can also put their hands anywhere on the belly…it’s cute and adds a very familiar, loving feel to the photos. Now…it is in my personal opinion that Daddy should put his hand on the mid to upper part of the belly. When their hand is under the bump, I always think that the photo is really just a little too intimate. It’s like he is one hop, skip and a jump away from starting a reenactment of how baby came to be. Granted, there are always exceptions to this rule…but in general, I like the Dad to act like he is feeling baby move…not holding baby up.
Tip #7 – Smile naturally
This may sound dumb but don’t plaster a perma-smile onto your face and expect greatness. The best smiles are the most natural. I like to tell people to take a break from smiling. Then their facial muscles are less exhausted (and more ready for that perfect smile). Can’t get a natural smile easily? Tell yourself jokes in your head. Or think about your favorite movie line. Or your most embarrassing moment. Or picture your father-in-laws face if the baby latched onto him.
I hope these tips help you gals out if you are planning on getting maternity photos snapped. And I’d love to hear any other tips you have for those mommies-to-be out there. Or you could just tell me how much you love that jumping picture? Perhaps it is the one on the bridge that you really adore? I love her smile in that one…and the first one…and the mood of the one on the stones. Oh heck…I love em all for different reasons.
p.s. Click here for the first round of maternity shots I did with Brook.