I had my DIY maternity session!
At the beginning of my pregnancy, I didn’t know that I would do it. I didn’t know I would want one! It was actually an idea that came from my husband. He said to me one day that as a photographer, who works with pregnant women, I should have the same experience.
At first I thought “no, I’m not photogenic”, but how right he was! I considered contacting another photographer to do it, but I decided that I was up for a challenge and wanted to do it myself! It was more difficult than I thought, but I had his help throughout the process, which was great. We scheduled a day to get it done, but it lasted a full weekend!
We divided it in three parts: studio, lifestyle and milk bath (yes, you read it right: I had a milk bath with flowers!). Although I got really tired during and after it, we had a lot of fun!
Throughout the sessions, I had a few insights, a few things I think you should consider when booking a maternity session, that I would like to share with you. This is definitely not a comprehensive list, they are literally things that crossed my mind while I was photographing and being photographed.
This part is an essential one for the success of the whole experience. The goal is to like the photos at the end, so make sure you know what you want in terms of style (studio, lifestyle, outdoors, glamorous diva shoot, etc), and try to convey this to the photographer.
I understand that sometimes, we just don’t have a vision in mind, as I had clients who didn’t know exactly what they were looking for.
Search for inspiration online. You can collect images from the internet that most resonate with you. Look at colours, poses, types of locations, clothes, etc. Before my shoot, I saved a few photos on my mobile that could give me inspiration.
It’s important to involve your partner, too, if he’s taking part in the shooting. I asked my husband to do the same and we were both happy with the result.
Keep in mind that your photos won’t turn out exactly the same as the photos you liked. We often don’t like the way we look, specially during pregnancy, but it’s important to give yourself a break from criticism and enjoy the unique moment you’re living in your life!
Your Physical Condition
Maternity photos must have a nice bump to show, that’s a fact! But if you wait too long to get your session, you might be feeling too big, unwell, tired, or with a sore back.
For my session, I was in my 33rd week and I was already feeling too big! I would have done it before, but the previous weeks were hard, with my mobility a bit compromised because of the sciatic nerve pain kicking in. If I’d known it, I would probably have scheduled it at the end of my second trimester (week 27 or 28), as I was feeling super well. And even if my bump was a bit smaller, I honestly don’t think that it would have made it less “maternity”.
As every pregnancy is different, I would advise booking a session when you think it’s the right time depending on your physical condition and well being. Not too early, but not too late either. Taking into consideration the types of poses that you envision (trust me, getting in and out of a bathtub with a big belly is not the easiest thing I’ve done!).
Your Stretch Marks!
Stretch marks are tough! And it’s one of those things that can be hard to predict. Some women are prone to stretch marks, others go as far as 41 weeks without them at all!
I’m a bit prone to stretch marks, unfortunately! Up to my 6th month, my belly was perfect, no marks. And again, I should have scheduled my session around that time! My only problem was that by then I still didn’t know I wanted a session! So by the time I decided that I wanted photos showing off my belly in a bath tub, it was a bit too late.
This shouldn’t be a BIG problem, if you want to show off your belly, your photographer may be able to “clean” some marks digitally. But this might put you off doing anything like photos in a bathtub for example, as it would for me If I was doing my session with another photographer.
All of that to say, keep this in mind. If you think that possible stretch marks or varicose veins might make you feel self conscious, either get your session a bit earlier (the end of your second trimester), or have a conversation about this with your photographer; build trust.
In fact, you should bring up anything that makes you self conscious, because your photographer should be able to help you feel beautiful, either during the session or after it in post production.
Of course there are many other things to consider when booking your maternity session, like your budget, you choice of photographer, etc. My intention is not to have an “ultimate list of things to consider”, as I mentioned before.
But I do want to make a point in saying that the most important thing is to enjoy yourself while you do it. It will definitely show on the images and it will make you love them even more. This is your time to shine, so shine! 🙂