Words & photography by Daytona Lamade
Since becoming a photographer years and years ago, and especially since specializing in women’s portraiture for over a year now, maternity sessions have been one of the most joyful things for me to document. Pregnancy flies by, (so I hear), and it’s easy to miss the opportunity not only document this tender moment in your life, but also find an intentional time to feel beautiful in your amazingly powerful body.
Why Professional Maternity Photos should be a must-have for your pregnancy
Pregnant women have long been worshipped in ancient cultures, and you can carry on that tradition by setting aside time to bask in your own pregnant glow. In the midst of 9 uncomfortable & unglamorous months, setting aside an afternoon to do your hair, makeup and wear something that makes you beautiful can be an incredibly grounding ritual. So many mothers schedule their maternity photos out of begrudging obligation to commemorate a big life event, but shift your focus. Take the opportunity as a gift of space and time to revel at the amazing process that their body is facilitating. Tip: Schedule your session sometime between 32 & 36 weeks. Your belly will be sweet & round, and you won’t be completely uncomfortable and disenchanted with still being pregnant.
Because pregnancy is a big deal.
Even if it’s your seventh pregnancy, this is such a fleeting, lovely time and these photos can act as a bookmark before this next big shift. What did life look like when you and your partner were about to become parents for the first time? What did life look like when you only had two children? What did life look like when you were about to embark on the journey that is single motherhood? What thousands of lessons had you not yet learned? Invest in something tangible to look back on how sweet or scary it was on the cusp of it all.
This will be a beautiful keepsake to show your children. To give them a true-to-life visual of where and how they and everything else came to be. What a beautiful, visceral way to show them that they were loved even before they were earthside, that there was a time before them, and that parenthood started the moment you learned of their growing presence.
Considerations for your maternity Session
Start by narrowing down a creative vibe for your session: we’ve come a long way since a hand-heart on your belly in a city park. You can opt for a glamorous editorial style session in a studio, a softer, candid energy in your home, or something lightly styled outdoors. Will these photos be only of you or will your partner/children be in some as well? Options are genuinely limitless here, but remember to not indulge in fast photography trends and rather get to the heart of what feels honest and beautiful for your pregnancy. Obviously, the best place to start hunting for inspiration is pinterest, but it’s also a great idea to stockpile inspiration in a folder on instagram.
Once you have a cohesive idea of the style of photography you’d like, start doing research for a photographer that can bring it to life. Look for a photographer with a strong maternity portfolio, a clear process for booking and shooting (with a contract), rave reviews and most importantly: someone you feel comfortable with that can easily answer any questions you may have. Pinterest, instagram, facebook and personal referrals are all incredible avenues to find a photographer.
Consider if you’d like to schedule multiple sessions: does your photographer offer newborn and family photos as well? It’s worth asking as many photographers will offer bundled pricing if multiple sessions are booked in advance.
How do you want to display these photos afterwards? Do you plan on ordering prints? Many photographers provide a full service experience by offering print collections, albums and wall galleries and can take the headache out of planning and ordering on your own (not an insignificant task with a new baby at home).
Your own styling comes down to personal preference. A beautiful dress or a cropped sweater could be your ideal outfit, or you could be in a delicate bra and panty set. Some women want their pregnant body to be documented completely naked. Whatever you choose for your outfit, hair and makeup, just make sure you are comfortable and that the look feels natural, pretty and empowering for *you:* if you’re a bike shorts and a t-shirt kind of girl, don’t feel pressured to rent an evening gown for the occasion.
If you’re considering a maternity session more the the editorial/lifestyle school of styling, I would love to be your photographer. Either way, I hope these tips and things to consider ends with you getting maternity portraits that leave you feel powerful, beautiful and deeply in touch with your maternal energy.