I've written a lot about my photo sessions, and given advice on how to prepare for them. So I won’t re-invent the wheel on this post. For this post, since it’s been a while, I'm going to re-share tips on how expectant moms and dads can prepare for maternity shoots. However, before re-sharing (although these tips may still be new for some of you), I’d like to take a moment to talk about rainbow babies. If you’re unfamiliar with the term rainbow baby, ‘a rainbow baby is the term coined for a baby born after a miscarriage, stillbirth, or infant loss from natural causes. A rainbow baby arrives after a rainbow pregnancy, which is often fraught with complex emotions, including fear, relief and even guilt. While the rainbow baby-to-be is a source of particular joy, parents never forget the baby they lost, and often [refer to that child as] their "angel"…
Rainbows have long been a symbol of light and beauty after a storm. In the Bible, God presents Noah with a rainbow after the flood as a promise of rebirth...A rainbow baby embodies both metaphors: hope and healing after grief and loss, and a pathway for parents seeking solace ...’ [Definition pulled from www.whattoexpect.com by Amy O’Connor - What Is a Rainbow Baby?]
Isn’t this beautiful? The concept of a baby being sent to a mother by God, that is a promise of new life after a previous loss…. A rainbow after the storm. I love everything about rainbow babies, and my past photo session gave me the privilege of photographing the parents-to-be of a rainbow baby on the way.
My experience with maternity photo sessions have been with nervous and uneasy parents. ... and its normal. The thought of a maternity photo session makes parents feel this way because mom’s may or may not be feeling their best while pregnant; and dad’s feel uneasy because they are not sure how to pose during these sessions, or how to come off masculine in such a soft and precious set-up (true story told to me by a dad). However, with my rainbow session (yes, its my first so I’m coining it as my rainbow session LOL), these two parents weren’t uneasy at all. I suspect that it was because of the miracle that these parents-to-be are experiencing with their rainbow baby. It seems that the blessing of another chance to bring life into this world had them calm and all nerves and uneasy feelings brought to a hault. It makes sense though... When you put it into this perspective, you would have to ask yourself, what is there to be nervous about? A blessing is upon us! This session was nothing but happiness and joy. It didn’t hurt that the parents are artists. Mom is a creative artist, and dad is a musician. A true recipe for the birth of baby surrounded by love, light, and the arts.
Maternity sessions, just like any other photo session, can turn out to be some of the most momentous and amazing photo sessions if the session is well prepared for. I always say, great photo sessions don’t just happen - they are planned! This session was definitely planned. The idea was for mom and dad to be surrounded by color, and aspects of art culture. The session was taken at the Wndr Mueseum in Chicago, and a better space could not have been chosen for such an artistic couple. Its probably one of my favorite shoots because not only did I get to attend a cool art museum, but I also got to be part of such a special time for two awesome people that are expecting their rainbow baby. Quiana and Britt, thankyou for choosing me to take part in this special time for you.
... and now... Enjoy the session! Make sure to click on each photo to get a full view of this beautiful session.
If you are an expecting parent and want to know what to expect during a maternity photo session, here are a few tips on what to expect and how to prepare!
Scheduling the maternity session: One of the most consistent questions I receive regarding maternity sessions is: When should I take my maternity photos? Expectant moms are always nervous about how they will feel, and even more, how they will look on their maternity photos. Like anyone else, expectant moms want to look good in their maternity photos and not tired, exhausted, or fat (client's words - not mine). Let's face it, expectant moms are in the process of working on a HUGE project. They are creating a life, and carrying it around every day. It's a big deal! So its fully acceptable for them not to look or feel their best at all times. Totally acceptable and totally expected. With that said, there are still ways to make sure that an expectant mom looks and feels her absolute best on the day of this session. I always recommend that my clients take their maternity session photos at the end of the second trimester - around the 6 or 7 month mark. Most of the expectant mom's that I've had the privilege to photograph took their photos around this time and they all not only looked great, but they felt great. They had nice round bellies, didn't feel too exhausted, and felt cute around this stage of the pregnancy. So from personal experience, and from professional experience with expectant moms, the sixth and seventh months of pregnancy are ideal for maternity photo sessions. However if this is not possible, please do not let this stop you from taking maternity photos. Your pregnancy, with each child you have, is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Whatever month photos are taken in is a good month! The mentioned months are just time periods you can plan for if planning is possible.
Location: The location of your maternity session will play a huge part in the look, feel, and outcome of your maternity photos. You’ll need to ask yourself what type of photos you want to take for this session. Do you want indoor photos with controlled lighting and backdrop options? Do you want relaxed indoor photos in your home? Do you want to step away for a moment at your baby shower to take a few maternity shots? OR - Do you want an outdoor session with a city view; lots of greenery and flowers; or the ocean as a background? There are many options to choose from when it comes to the location of your maternity session. This decision is important because it will portray the look and feel of the outcome of your photos.
Wardrobe: The decision about what you’re going to wear in your photos is just as important as the location of your maternity session. These two factors also play off of each other and your location will have a big effect on your wardrobe. You’ll need to ask yourself if you want to dress up fancy in your session – dress/suit and tie for dad; or do you want to dress casual? Do you want your photos to be over the top, with a pretty floral headpiece or a couture gown? Or do you want to wear your birthday suit, and show off your full baby bump? It is important to remember that you’re not just boxed into having one outfit selection. In fact, I encourage that you have at least two outfits with you when you arrive at your session. This gives you and your photographer and chance to play around with different looks during the session in case what was planned doesn’t work out. The old saying, ‘If it can go wrong, it will’ comes to mind here. You always want to be over prepared for your photo sessions. Two or more wardrobe options helps with this. Make sure that if your spouse is in the photos that your wardrobes are coordinating. Your clothes do not have to match. In fact, we don't want that. Your clothes should compliment each other; and they should be either in the same color family or be complimentary colors. If you are not sure about how to choose your wardrobe, reach out to your photographer! We've done this many times and will be able to walk you through this process.
Budget: Once you’ve visited various photography websites, and viewed the various ranges in maternity session pricing, decide what budget range you can afford. If you cannot pay for your photos all at once, ask your selected photographer if they can take a retainer fee and arrange a payment plan that will be finalized by the day of the photo session. Most photographers will arrange a payment plan if necessary. Either way, I advise that you do not go cheap on your budget for momentous photos. It could be the difference between ‘What I asked for’ vs ‘What I got.’ These are once-in-a-lifetime photos for this child. You want them to be documented beautifully so that you can have these memories for years to come.
Your Photographer: Make sure that your photographer is a good fit for you. It is important that you not only pick a professional photographer, but that you also like them and feel comfortable around them. Maternity photo sessions are private and special sessions. They are sessions that should capture how you feel about the anticipation of your baby, and how much of a miracle this really is. A good photographer will have your best interest in mind when taking your photo sessions, and they will also know how to make you look good in them. Its always a good idea to talk to and get a feel for your photographer’s personality, as well as their ideas about your maternity session before the big day.