First-time mama Annie rocks her in-studio maternity photo session with a glam, vintage vibe
I love when mamas like Annie reach out to me about maternity and newborn photo sessions, and she already has an amazing vision in mind. Annie and Christian are so excited to have a son on the way, and she wanted to celebrate with a glamorous maternity session – and mostly black & white photos!
It’s not every day that a client requests most of her images in black & white; after all, the majority of mamas prefer color, with a few black & whites sprinkled in.
While some people tend to dismiss black & whites as being kind of boring, I actually think they can be even more memorable and gorgeous than color images. The absense of color removes distractions and allows you to focus on the emotion in the image. I was thrilled to put a little extra time into the plans for Annie’s photo to deliver exactly what she was dreaming of.
Along the way, she sent me some inspiration from Instagram photos she liked, and I could immediately see she wanted lots of drama in her images. We booked time at a beautiful studio in The Woodlands, in a room with a wall full of windows and a vintage green tufted couch that couldn’t have fit Annie’s vision more perfectly!
A glamorous session with mama in black
Annie brought two dresses and a black bodysuit to wear during her maternity photo session. I encourage clients to begin the session wearing their most favorite outfit so that we’ll have plenty of time to make the most of it. This fitted black dress was looked amazing on Annie, and that’s how we began her session!
The room we rented at a studio in The Woodlands featured gorgeous light wood floors, a wall of windows overlooking the property, a stunning mantle along one wall, and a gorgeous wall on the oppsite side that acts as a neutral backdrop.
I started working with Annie and Christian along the left side, in front of the mantle with a large gilded mirror. It was the perfect classy background for this sweet couple, overjoyed to have a baby boy on his way!
Annie requested slightly more dramatic posing to show off her basketball baby bump, which was the perfect opportunity to highlight her tiny figure and highlight just how amazing pregnancy looks on her! I loved that, although she brought heels to wear, she opted to go barefoot for the entire session.
The green tufted couch!
I already had a plan in mind for Annie when I saw this absolutely breathtaking green tufted couch! It definitely adds a vintage feel to her session, and her black dress was made for this photo of her on this couch!
It took me quite a while to master the posing for laying down maternity photos. My primary concern is always mama’s safety first, followed by her comfort level. Laying down poses are totally safe, and I always position clients so that the weight is off the belly. You have to trust your photographer quite a bit to try something like this that is a little out of the box!
To get Annie set up for this series, I demonstrated every aspect of the pose myself, laying down on the floor directly in front of her. She mirrored everything I did along with me, so that there was no confusion about what I wanted her to do.
The thing is, you can’t just tell someone to lay down on a couch and “act comfortable.” You’re guaranteed to get lots of awkward photos if you don’t provide lots of specific direction and constantly reassure the client that they look amazing. It’s one of my biggest pet peeves about other photographers – it’s really not helpful to tell clients to “act natural” because most people don’t feel all that relaxed in front of the camera. They’re worried about two things – disappointing the photographer by not doing whatever “acting naturally” means, and getting photos that are unflattering.
I refined little things about Annie’s posing here once I had her comfortably arranged on the couch. We adjusted her hand placement and pulled her top knee a little further forward. This photo is just as beautiful with the client laying on the floor, but the couch is tremendously more comfortable than a wood floor!
Window light and a must-have photo
I love everything about pregnant mamas and mamas with a newborn illuminated by soft window light. You can see their natural glow and the sunlight is wonderfully flattering for every skin tone. Even better, natural light enhances both light and dramatic makeup, too.
In this series of mama-only maternity photos, I photographed Annie with black and white photos in mind, meaning I kept the background especially simple and made sure the posing highlighed her tiny figure and baby bump.
Tender moments for Annie and Christian
This sweet couple was so much fun to work with, and they have such a sweet, playful relationship. I think one thing that sets my sessions apart from others is how we have a conversation going constantly – there is rarely silence! That’s how you get such natural smiles and laughter!
This is one of my favorites of them – you can absolutely see how much they love each other, and how excited they are about the new capture of parenthood!
Every mama wants to know: how much do you edit?
Most clients ask how much editing I do on images after a session to deliver results like these.
My typical answer: not much!
I work really hard to ensure your images are almost perfect when I take them. That means refining posing, removing distractions from the background, reminding mamas to reapply lipstick when needed, asking a hubby to tuck her hair for me if it’s covering her face, etc. All of these little adjustments happen pretty quickly.
Hands down, natural light will always give us the most beautiful photos – and it’s super flattering for literally everyone.
Sometimes I’ll do little things to add extra sparkle to an image, particuarly if that will enhance a photo to meet the client’s vision. For example, Annie’s makeup looked amazing when she arrived, but black and whites can make you look a little washed out if the camera can’t pick up your blush or eye makeup. I have a set of brushes in my editing program that can add a little extra blush or eyeshadow, along with defining lashes.
I can do light skin smoothing if we’re photographing outside and mama starts looking a little shiny. A simple skin smoothing will add extra pregnancy glow, not make you look over-edited or fake.
Typical light edits like whitening teeth or removing pimples, etc are quick and easy, too!
The most common request from every mama before every maternity photo session
The one request I get from almost every mama: “can you make my double chin disappear?!”
First, I reassure every client that pregnancy/postpartum double chins happen to all of us! It doesn’t really matter if you’re super slim or curvy before pregnancy.
The million dollar easy trick to remove double chins is to have you turn your head just a little to emphasize your jaw line – and poof! The curse of the double chin is gone!
Annie did not have even a hint of a double chin to worry about – she’s one of the lucky few! But you can see in the three photos below how the trick would work, by having her turn her head just slightly. This works well for maternity and newborn photos, and I use it during every single session – even for mamas like Annie who don’t have a chin to worry about!
Up next: Welcoming Owen!
Precious Owen will make his big debut here this fall, complete with a Toy Story themed nursery! 2021 has been a year of the most amazing, creative rooms for babies, and I can’t wait to see what Annie and Christian have designed for their son.