I’ve recently been getting more enquires about maternity photography, so thought I’d answer some of the most common questions here:
When is the best time to have a maternity photo session?
I recommend around 7-8 months. At that stage the mother to be has a nice large bump but is hopefully not too uncomfortable or puffy-looking.
Why would someone want a maternity photo session?
Pregnancy is an incredibly special and brief time in a woman’s life that it is lovely to record. Many women miss their bumps after they give birth and having beautiful photographs of that time when your baby was just yours and with you all the time can help you recall it fondly. It’s amazing to chart how your body has changed from its normal shape and to remember that the child that you are now holding in your arms or chasing around was once inside you. It’s amazing for the child too – my son loves to look at pictures of me when I was pregnant and hear me tell him about when he lived in my tummy.
Many women have phases during their pregnancy when they feel unattractive or self-conscious. That doesn’t necessarily mean you shouldn’t have a photo shoot done. If the mother to be finds a photographer that she really feels comfortable with they can work together to produce special images that she is happy with: which could be close-ups, silhouettes or more creative shots (more on this later).
Do you have to be naked?
Although many of the images I am showing are naked you do not have to be. Even if you are comfortable being photographed naked you may want some clothed pictures to show family/work colleagues and your photographer can recommend which clothes would look best. If you are getting naked your photographer should be able to provide you with a comfortable and private space so that you can relax, or do the session at your home (I have a full portable studio set up I use to make this possible).
Can we do something creative and interesting in the photo session?
I’m sure most photographers would be very happy to do this, especially if the ideas are coming from the parents to be. I have done sessions with bump painting and projecting images on to the bump, which have been really fun and resulted in unique photographs.
Can we involve our older children?
Definitely! I fondly remember a session I did where the mother was pregnant with her third boy. I photographed her two older sons painting her bump and the family wrote “We loved you before you were born” across it.
Where should we take the photos?
All different locations have their advantages and disadvantages.
A photographer’s studio should be a private place with all the necessary equipment and so could be a very good option, especially if you want images with carefully controlled lighting. However, it is a less familiar environment so you may find it harder to relax, although a good photographer will always work to put you at ease.
Taking the pictures in your own home will usually mean that you feel more comfortable and relaxed, and also has the advantage that you will be able to record how your home was before your child arrived (I now find it hard to imagine that I ever lived in a house that did not have a light sprinkling of toy cars over the floors at all times). However, if your rooms are very small, cluttered or with poor lighting it might limit the shots you can take. Photographers can generally make the best of most situations (I can bring backdrops and portable studio lights as well as being very experienced at working with ambient light and throwing cluttered backgrounds out of focus), but your should discuss it with your photographer.
Many people like to have maternity photographs taken on location, often in natural environments. There is something very special about photographing a woman who is growing a baby amongst growing plants and the images can look fantastic. With all location photography there is the potential for issues relating to weather and light especially if photographing in winter, when you may also be wearing too many layers to show your bump well. Unless you have a particularly special and private location then nude photography is usually out (I’m based in London, photographers in more rural locations might manage).
The photographs of my bump and myself are cherished in our family. I hope this information will help you to plan images that capture this incredible time for your family.