Capturing that beautiful baby bump is always such a special session for everyone involved. Maternity sessions are increasingly popular these days as, although your pregnancy may seem to be never-ending, your time with your bump is actually pretty short (and hopefully sweet).
It’s a session that many couples go back-and-forth on whether or not they should do, but from my experience, it’s one that few couples regret doing, but a lot regret not doing. Once you have decided that a maternity session is for you, and you have selected your photographer, you may be wondering when and how to plan your maternity photos, so I have put together a few tips and things to consider to help make things a little easier for you.
1. How Far Along Will You Be
Waiting to have your maternity session until near the end of your pregnancy may sound like a good idea at first because your bump will be at its biggest, but in reality, it’s not the best time for photos. I normally recommend doing your maternity session around the 28-34 week mark so that your bump has definitely popped, but you aren’t in those last couples weeks that can often bring on extra swelling or general uncomfortableness. Having your session in this timeframe can also help reduce the risk of missing your session due to your little one arriving early. If you are expecting multiples, definitely err on the side of caution and plan for an earlier session to ensure it doesn’t get missed.
2. Time of Day
Your photographer will definitely have suggestions as to what time of day works best in terms of lighting, but we typically recommend doing your session during that gorgeous golden hour. If you have worked with a professional photographer before, you have likely already heard the term, but just in case, golden hour is the period right before sunset (and technically right after sunrise too). As the sun gets lower in the sky, the light gets beautifully soft and is extra flattering to your skin. This time changes throughout the year as it obviously moves around with sunset so check out the weather forecast (and with your photographer) for what time will work best on your session day.
3. Who to Include
Maternity sessions can be done with just Mom and bump if you would like, but I typically recommend including your partner and any older children you have as well. Not only does it help capture extra family memories for you all, but it also creates a greater connection in the images. I also love including any furbabies you have as well! If you are planning on including children or pets in your session, considering bringing along a third adult to take care of them when their time in front of the camera is done. Knowing that they are being taken care of will help you to relax.
4. What to Wear
This is one of the most commonly asked questions when it comes to maternity sessions, or really any photo session! When it comes to maternity sessions, a lot of the same recommendations apply, including avoiding really matchy-matchy outfits, logos, or clashing colours/patterns. Consider layering and adding accessories to your outfit and making sure you and your partner + family dress on the same level (casual vs. dressy).
For a casual feeling lifestyle session, I typically recommend Moms wear a flowy maternity dress that makes you feel extra special. Patterned versus solid isn’t really such a factor as long as any pattern you choose isn’t too busy (for example a super tiny pattern that will be hard for the camera to pick up properly).
Ultimately, you want to choose clothes (and underwear too!) that you feel comfortable in and that makes you feel beautiful. And if you don’t want to buy a whole new outfit for just one session, consider asking your friends if they have anything from their pregnancy that you could borrow, or if your photographer has a wardrobe collection you can take advantage of.
My first recommendation when it comes to a location is to decide whether you are interested in an urban or rural setting for your maternity session. From there, definitely keep in mind the terrain as a long hike to get to that perfect spot may not be the best idea for someone in their third trimester.
Next, is there a spot that you love spending time in, or that you frequent often? Is there a place with special meaning that would be great to include? A trail you love to walk your dog, the park your partner proposed in, or the downtown marketplace where you first met. Doing your maternity session in a location with extra meaning can really add so much to your photos!
If you live here in Ottawa like we do, you are incredibly lucky as there are seemingly endless options for session locations. From parks, trails and forests to beautiful urban settings there really is no going wrong when it comes to where to do your photos. And if you can’t think of a spot outdoors, maybe an in-home session would be the perfect fit for you! And of course, you can check with your photographer as I am sure, like us, they have a list of great places they love to shoot at!
Pregnancy is an amazing experience and definitely one worth capturing in photos! Your session can be wherever and whatever you would like: a casual walk in the woods with your family; a short and sweet session with your hubby downtown; or a styled session in the studio focused on you and your bump. They really are completely customizable and a lot of fun too! If you have any other questions about maternity sessions, definitely feel free to reach out to us or any other professional photographer.
About the Author:
Stephanie Koning is a Newborn + Family Photographer in Ottawa offering both Studio + Lifestyle Sessions through her company Stephanie Beach Photography. When she’s not hanging out with families or cuddling newborns, you can find her at home playing with her puppy, working on the latest reno or craft project, or just chilling on the couch with her hubby.