As someone who has never had the opportunity to be pregnant myself, I marvel at how amazing my pregnant clients’ bodies are.
Check it out. Your body is creating new life!
You may be one of the lucky ones who loves being pregnant! You might be sick every day. Being pregnant might be everything you dreamed of, or it may not be what you expected at all… No matter your path, trust me. This is guaranteed to be something worth looking back on.
Do you mind if I get a little personal?
I sometimes get push back from my clients about maternity photos. Very frequently I get inquiries from expectant moms saying, “I definitely want to get newborn pictures. I’m not sure about maternity.” For some, it is stronger than others. I have heard “I don’t like being pregnant – It’s not what I expected – I am not going to want to remember this.”. For some, it just isn’t a priority.
Many of my readers and clients know that my son is adopted. I haven’t been pregnant myself, so I can’t speak from direct experience about this. But I can speak about my experience with a time that I thought I would never want to remember. Between age 16 and 20, I spent my time fighting Leukemia. Even when it was “over”, I spent the next few years fighting my way back to some semblance of “normal”.
During those 6+ years, I felt like my body was not my own. All I wanted in the world was to get past it as quickly as possible, and never look back.
Looking back now, I wish I had more evidence of that time. I wish that I not only had evidence of the depth of the struggle, but I wish I had evidence of the joy that was there underneath it all. I wish I had pictures that showed how much my family loved me and fought for me. I wish I had pictures of the time my cousin brought me a nerf gun when I was in the hospital on Christmas Day, and we watched the South Park movie and ambushed each other with the nerf gun in my hospital room. I rejected the possibility that some day I might forget. That I might want look back and see everything that has changed, as well as seeing important pieces that have remained constant. And that I might want to share these memories with the people in my life who have come later. That I might be proud of how far I have come. That my story might inspire people. That it is ultimately a vital part of who I am, and that it will touch everyone in my life. That the memories belong to everyone who was there to support me, and everyone who loves me for the rest of my life.
I forgot to take a step back and see that this experience was about more than just me.
For some reason, in our culture, wanting to be in the picture is often seen as self indulgent and self centered. It’s so weird!
Think about the pictures that mean the most to you. If you’re like most people, some of those images involve your family. Aren’t you glad they exist? Give this gift to your own family! Shed any feelings of insecurity, or obligation. You don’t have to take pictures of your pregnancy. You get to take pictures of your pregnancy!
When your child gets a little older, and you tell them they “grew in mom’s tummy,” imagine their delight when they are able to see it with their own eyes. Without any concrete evidence, from a toddler’s perspective, the concept is ridiculous. It’s preposterous! They can’t remember having been in someone’s tummy. They look at their body and see that they are obviously too big to fit in there. But when they see a photo of their own mom pregnant with them, something clicks. Seeing these images brings the concept into a concrete territory. It makes it feel real.
And here’s the thing. This maternity story is about your life, not just your body.
Lifestyle photography is about capturing who you are right now. It’s about you as a whole person. It is about more than just the shape of your belly. It’s about your life changing in an unimaginably big way. It’s about remembering a time, just like any other, that is impermanent. It’s about who you were before, and it’s about who you are becoming. It’s about your joy.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again.
You don’t have to take pictures of your pregnancy.
You get to take pictures of your pregnancy!
And I’m here to help you do it right.
Here Are Some Photo Opportunities You Won’t Want To Miss!
- Anticipation. How do you celebrate and anticipate your new baby? Do you do yoga? Dance? Snuggle up on the couch and read? Does your partner listen to your belly or try to feel the baby kick? These are all things that will communicate a message to your child. The message is that they were loved from the start. That they have always been loved. That they are a part of your family. That they belong.
- Change. Some people take photos of their belly every week, or every month. You know what I mean – the profile shot to show how big their belly is. And that’s fine! My recommendation is this: Let go. Let go of feeling like you have to capture a specific number of images, or like you have to capture pictures at specific times. Take photos when you feel like it. Ask your partner, or friend, to take a photo in that moment when you realize you can no longer button your coat, or see your toes. Get photos of yourself wearing your real clothes and doing real things. And, along the way, find a time when you can get a good profile shot. Some of my favorites are looking down and smiling, imagining holding your baby in your arms. Or throwing your arms up in joy. Or even being hugged by someone you love. You will enjoy seeing these moments of change, whether you know it now or not.
How To Make It Beautiful
- Find good light
- Look for nice light while you’re going about your day. Notice places where there’s plenty of light, but no direct sun. North-facing windows are a dream. East and West-facing windows are great as long as you choose the right time of day. If you have a south-facing window, you can put a white curtain over it to soften the light.
- Can you see the light in their eyes? If so, you’re on the right track!
- Try this: One way to highlight shape is to use back lighting. Try standing in front of a light source, like a window, or even outside with the sun/sky to your back. Have the camera look into the light. Turn sideways and make sure the light is behind your belly. This is a really fun technique to play with when you are pregnant!
- Joke around
- Seriously. The best maternity photos are natural images of you being you. Try to crack jokes with the person holding the camera. They are probably nervous, too, and the more relaxed you are the more likely they will be to capture your joy.
- Change your crop and angle
- Most people aren’t used to photographing pregnant people. You might not find a flattering angle the first time around. Try at least 3 angles every time you take a picture, and take a lot of pictures to maximize your chance of getting one you are happy with.