These simple tips will guarantee beautiful images you’ll love forever!
April 19, 2019 UPDATE: I’ve made serious updates to this post since it was originally published in August 2017! Enjoy!
Here’s a secret I share with every mama during her maternity photography session: these photos aren’t just for you!
That may sound crazy after all the effort you put into getting ready to celebrate your baby bump. Most mamas spend several weeks (or longer!) searching for the perfect outfits to wear. Makeup and hair appointments are scheduled far in advance. They curate the perfect outfit for hubby, right down to the socks he wears.
So when I tell her that the photos aren’t just for her, she usually looks at me like I’m a little crazy.
The thing is, mama, while it’s my job as a maternity photographer to make your session a magical experience and highlight the beauty of pregnancy, the truth is, I’ve got your baby in mind as I’m snapping away.
These photos are a brief glimpse into your life before you ever lay eyes on your child.
They capture you and your spouse just before the big adventure of parenthood begins… when you’re dreaming of tiny fingers and toes. When you can’t wait to see her face. When you’re so ready to kiss his cheeks and snuggle her tightly.
That’s a beautiful gift to give your child.
“We were so ready to meet you,” you’ll say to your child some day as you look at these photos together. “We were already so in love with you.”
Now that you know my little secret about maternity photography sessions, here are my best tips for incredibly beautiful photos.
My favorite tried-and-true tips for a gorgeous maternity photography session:
Personally, I find long dresses or gowns to be the most flattering. This one is flowy and romantic, while highlighting Maddie’s lovely curves. Because it’s not very fitted, we ensured she was always hugging her bump in every photo to highlight the roundness of it and give it extra shape.
Another option is a dress that falls right at or below the knee. The way Lauren is standing makes her dress look a bit shorter, but this length worked well for every pose and situation during her session. If you opt for a shorter dress, ensure you can comfortable sit down without it riding up too much. The duster Lauren wore added some movement and elegance to her outfit, and was a gorgeous contrast to her shorter dress.
Before your photo session, try on your outfit with the accessories, bra and underwear you’re planning to wear to ensure it all comes together perfectly. Skinny straps like on this dress means you need a strapless bra. I encourage mamas to always wear nude undergarments to avoid the risk of them showing through clothing.
Solid colors are timeless and elegant. The focus of your photos is you and your bump, and sometimes patterns/prints can distract from that. They can also date your photos. I love this image of Liisa and Warren because I see their love for each other and their daughter – and I’m not distracted by prints or patterns on dad’s clothing. Mama is in the spotlight, just as she should be.
If you’re planning a couples or family maternity photography session, you select your outfit first and plan everyone else around you. This means that daddy-to-be (and other kids, if you have them) should wear clothing that compliments yours. You’d never want to take away from the vibrance of this purple gown and put dad in a busy print or clashing color. This is actually one of my studio gowns, so when Roxanna chose this before her session, I told her to ensure her husband wore something very neutral.
Keep accessories tasteful and simple. Cathy looked amazing in this fitted blue midi dress. She added in this black jacket for some photos, went without it for others… and even borrowed my brown duster for a couple shots, too! Something as simple as a jacket or cardigan can add so much variety to your photo gallery!
Spoil yourself – get your hair and makeup done! Real talk from a mama of three girls: after baby gets here, you’ll likely enter the zone of yoga pants, dry shampoo and little makeup. When you’re sleep-deprived with a newborn, the last thing you care about is curling your hair and applying your lashes. Take this opportunity to spoil yourself! Roxanna had two friends do her hair and makeup and she looked stunning!
Pick out a couple outfits that make you feel gorgeous – you can always make time to change! Liisa kicked off her maternity photography session in a playful, casual striped short dress and then changed into the ivory gown from my studio closet. This blue dress had special significance to her, so we wrapped up with this outfit. I loved the delicate floral pattern, even though I’m usually a fan of solids. Hubby’s shirt blends perfectly with the floral print.
Details matter, so make sure you don’t have chipped or peeling nail polish on your fingers or toes. April had her nails painted a soft pink for her session. Can you imagine how distracting it would be if she would have had chipped nails in a dark color against this ivory gown? Every little detail matters in these photos, so don’t overlook the small stuff. You don’t have to get your nails and toes done (although pedicures are heavenly when you’re pregnant!), but at least ensure your nails are trimmed and free of chipped polish.
The tone of your husband’s outfit should match yours. If you’re in a cute dress like this one, he should not be in casual shorts and sandals. Notice how Bobbie complements Cathy, but kept his overall look casual by rolling up his sleeves.
Jeans with holes, rips or tears won’t photograph well. Save those super trendy pieces for daily wear and select pants that are ironed and well kept for your photos. While I personally think dresses work better for maternity photography sessions, some mamas just prefer pants or jeans – and that is TOTALLY ok! Amy’s sweet lace top and well-kept jeans look great here.
If you’re stumped for what to wear or just don’t want to shop – I have a stunning collection of wraps, gowns and accessories for clients to use during their sessions. In fact, several of my studio pieces are pictured above! This way you don’t spend hundreds of dollars on a gown you might never wear again.
These are just a few quick and simple tips. Once we get you booked for a maternity photography session, I’ll send you my exclusive Celebrate Motherhood Style Magazine that is packed with 50+ pages of even more photos, details, tips and tricks for the most gorgeous maternity session ever!