It’s no secret that maternity and newborn photography sessions are a big investment of time and money. That’s why I’m sharing five tips to ensure beautiful photos! If you follow these suggestions, you’ll absolutely love your images for a lifetime.
Hindsight is 20/20
Most suggestions that I am sharing for lovely maternity and newborn photos come from my own experience as a mama. My husband and I scheduled these special sessions for all of our children. I am forever thankful to have those memories!
You think you’ll remember everything about every stage with your kids, but the truth is, you won’t. This is especially true when you’re pregnant and adjusting to life with a new baby because you’re likely sleep deprived and busier than you expected as a mama.
I look back at my own maternity, Fresh 48 and newborn photography sessions and wish I knew then what I know now! None of the photographers I worked with provided custom what-to-wear guides like I do for my clients. All of them probably directed me to a Pinterest board with outfit suggestions, but I didn’t have time for that as a busy working mom. Pinterest boards are great if you’ve got tons of time to pour over them; they’re not ideal if you are juggling a million things at once.
That’s why I’ve poured hundreds of hours into my own custom style magazine that helps my clients select outfits that perfectly match their vision for an incredible experience with me and stunning images they’ll love forever. I’m sharing a small sample of my tips from the style magazine here!
Whether you’re expecting a baby or getting settled with a newborn at home, these suggestions will help you create the photography session (and images!) of your dreams!
Tip #1: Wear solid colors or tasteful, classic prints
I’ve written extensively over the years about what to wear for maternity, Fresh 48 and in-home newborn photography sessions. As a mama and a photographer, I know exactly how important wardrobe is for these extra special memories!
I suggest solid earth-tones for my clients. These shades are timeless and elegant no matter what session you’re planning; they will never go out of style.
My all-time favorite shade for mamas is ivory because it flatters every skin tone (yours, baby’s and anyone else in photos with you!) and gives an ethereal, feminine vibe to your images. Ivory looks great against practically any background or in any location. It’s classic and gorgeous no matter what the season is or what the weather is like.
If ivory isn’t your shade, any other earth tone or muted pastel will photograph well. You can add in visual interest through the fabric you choose; lace, chiffon, cotton, knit or tulle looks incredible for maternity photo sessions.
Flowing, loose-fitting clothing is better for in-home newborn photography. Maxi dresses are great year round, and they’re pretty easy to find every season.
Tasteful, classic prints can work well: floral patterns and small polka dots can be gorgeous choices. Smaller prints are generally more flattering than large ones. Use some caution with prints – large, busy patterns can date your photos.
Accessories add extra pop, so take care with your jewelry and footwear choices, too.
Tip #2: Take time with your hair & makeup
When you feel incredible during a photo session, it absolutely shows. There’s just an extra glowiness about a mama who knows she looks amazing!
After you’ve selected an outfit that you adore, don’t overlook the importance of your hair style and makeup. The last thing you want to do is throw your hair up in a messy bun and hope your lip gloss is enough.
Especially first-time moms are often surprised at how much time and effort goes into caring for a baby; by the time their newborn session rolls around, they’re usually running on too little sleep and adrenaline.
Listen, if you typically wear minimal makeup and a ponytail, I totally get it. My daily look is pretty casual as well.
But your newborn photos are your first opportunity to officially show off your new baby and your growing family; these are literally images that will hang on your walls forever. When your baby graduates from college, gets married and has children of her own, you’ll be pulling out these newborn photos and wondering where the time went!
You don’t want to look at those images and wish you had spent a few extra moments on yourself. I actually had this happen with a mama I photographed years ago. She had her first baby and was so excited for her newborn session.
On the day of her photos, it had been a rough morning – baby blow out, baby spit up, ruined outfits for everyone. Mama was stressed and quickly opted for yoga pants, a messy bun and no makeup, saying she was ok looking totally natural for her photos.
Don’t get me wrong, the new mama glow is gorgeous. While this mama loved her newborn photos, she told me later that every time she looks at them, she’s sad she didn’t take 30 extra minutes for her hair, makeup and outfit. There’s nothing wrong with yoga pants and messy buns, but for special memories like these, you want to look your very best.
That’s why I encourage all of my mamas to go the extra distance in terms of hair and makeup for maternity and newborn photography. You’ll feel better about yourself during the session and afterward!
Tip #3: Hubby’s clothing matters, too!
When I was just getting started as a maternity photographer, I worked with quite a few couples where mama looked incredible and dad looked great, too – but it was clear when they didn’t coordinate their outfits!
That’s when I started sending much more specific what-to-wear guidance for both women and men. If you’re dressed for a romantic evening while hubby looks like he’s ready for a day at the beach, this clash will be obvious in your images.
You and your baby bump are the star of your maternity session; this means you select your outfit first and your spouse should complement you.
For in-home newborn photo sessions, ensure your partner is in a neutral shade that doesn’t distract from your baby. Again, earth tones are a great choice because they look good on everyone and keep the focus on baby.
This even goes for dad’s shoes – please avoid Crocs, sandals and tennis shoes for maternity, Fresh 48 and newborn sessions. They’re simply too casual, which means they’ll stand out like a sore thumb if he wears them.
I provide much more specific advice for men in my style magazine, including what kind of pants to avoid and styles of shirts that photograph best!
Tip #4: Go with a photographer you trust
Can I be honest about something?
No one is super comfortable in front of a camera right away.
Not me, not you.
I always tell my clients that the first 20 minutes of the session might feel a little awkward. This is true whether you’re working with a brand new photographer or a veteran who has captured images for thousands.
But in no time, you’ll relax and you should actually enjoy the experience of working with your photographer. When you trust the person taking your photos, it shows in your photos. You’ll have a genuine, joyful smile; you’ll laugh naturally and interact with your spouse as if it’s just the two of you spending time together.
Here are a few signs that your photographer is right for you:
– you’re excited to work with her
– you’re looking forward to your session
– you feel informed every step of the way, from inquiring and scheduling to preparing for your session and shooting your images.
– she welcomes your questions, suggestions, ideas and requests
There are so many amazing photographers in this area; I am completely comfortable saying I’m not the right person for everyone. In fact, while you’re looking for the ideal photographer for your special photos, we’re often on the lookout for a particular kind of client, too!
Here’s what that means: photography is art. All of us put part of ourselves into every session we shoot and every image we deliver. We genuinely want you to love your photos, which is pretty easy if you’re a good match for your photographers’s style.
Here are a few key things to consider before you settle on a photographer:
– does she specialize in the kind of session you want or does he photograph a variety of things?
– do you like his editing style?
– does she she respond warmly and quickly to your emails, calls or texts?
– is he open to your input in terms of location or other session specifics?
– have you spent time looking at her portfolio? are those the kinds of photos you want hanging on your walls?
You want to work with a professional who values you as a person, not as just another booking. You’ll know when you connect with the right photographer – and you should have a gut feeling if the person you’re considering may not be right for this particular session.
Tip #5: Be clear about your vision and expectations for your session
When someone schedules a session with me, they should know from my website and welcome guides that I favor naturally lit, authentic, gently posed sessions.
However, if a mama likes my overall style but requests more posed shots, I’m happy to deliver them if she’s clear about what she wants.
Remember photographers are not mind readers. If there is a special pose or shot you like, share it with me! I ask about favorite poses/images on the questionnaire that goes out to every client. When I know there is a particular moment you want captured, I can work it into the plans for your session.
Wondering what other info you can share with your photographer for an amazing session and gorgeous photos? Here are a few more things I love to learn about my clients:
– likes and dislikes (black & white vs. color images, romantic poses vs. casual ones, etc)
– insecurities about being photographed – do you favor one side of your face? Do you prefer photos of you standing vs sitting?
– previous good and bad experiences during other photo sessions
– is this a rainbow baby pregnancy? (I’ve written extensively about that here)
Simple tips, incredible photos!
If you take care with these five simple suggestions, I guarantee you’ll wind up with an experience and photos that you can’t wait to show off! I’d love to chat with you about your photo session. Send me an email with your due date and info about you – I’ll reply within 24 hours!