What to Expect When You’re Expecting – 5 Tips to Making the Most of Your Maternity Session

“I’m a whale.”
“Big as a house.”
“Swollen.”
“I can’t see my feet.”
“I hate you.”
You’re pregnant. Very pregnant. And feeling uncomfortable is part of that process. You’re bigger than you’re used to being, and you should be – you have a person growing inside you. So many women just don’t want to have their picture taken while they’re pregnant – they feel unattractive and water-logged, and don’t want their larger self plastered all over the house. I understand that. However, there are ways to show off the beautiful bump of pregnancy without highlighting the swollen ankles. We can document the wonder of maternity without focusing on blotchy skin. Here are some of the tricks that I have up my sleeve in order to help you to continue to look your very best, no matter how big you feel. Here are 5 tips to making the most of your maternity session:
Maternity Photography
1) Schedule your session for early 3rd trimester. Most baby bumps really start becoming pronounced in the mid to late part of your 2nd trimester, putting the optimal size somewhere around 7 months. The bump will be noticeable, but you should still have some of that nesting energy left in you for an hour and a half photo session.*
Richmond maternity photographer
2) It’s all about the clothes. As with any photo session, you want to wear what makes you comfortable and what showcases your personality. When planning your maternity session, pick out items that draw the eye to the bump (and away from the other swollen parts). Use a belt to create an empire-waist top if the cute top you want to wear is hanging funny.  Avoid scoop neck tops, or use a statement necklace to fashionably hide that blotchiness you’re feeling. Wear a maxi dress or flowy linen pants to hide knees or ankles.
Richmond area maternity family photography
3) Use the seasons to your advantage. Pregnancy in winter is very different from pregnancy in summer. Even non-pregnant women feel swampy in mid-July when wandering around outside (speaking from experience), so it’s only natural to hate life as a very pregnant mama-to-be in the middle of summer. Water is a perfect element to add to maternity photos – whether it’s VA Beach or the James River, wading through shallow, safe water can be both beautiful and wonderfully refreshing. But it’s not just summer that provides opportunities to refresh yourself mid-session.  You Spring ladies have the advantage of using outdoor flowers to enhance your photos and provide excellent screens and spots for sitting. Autumn and Winter mamas can use piles of brightly-colored leaves and snow drifts as props and excuses to lie down on the job. Snow angels, anyone?
Virginia maternity photography
4) Location, location, location. Fields with tall grasses are really perfect for both filling the frame of the image and hiding ankles. See above about water – using the river or ocean as a backdrop can be perfect for showcasing the bump. If urban locations are more your thing, a busy background will help distract and fill the photo so that viewers are seeing the whole image and not, as you suspect, just your gigantic boobs. Prefer a simple, at-home shoot? No problem. Natural light and familiar environments will keep you feeling comfortable and at ease, which is the most important part of any type of session.
Family maternity photography
5) Camera Tricks. In addition to all the things above that you can do yourself, there are things that a pro photographer can do in camera to make your maternity images really special. Using silhouettes, shadows, and reflections, we can draw the viewer into the image and see only what you want them to see. Focusing on items of interest in the foreground (baby’s new mobile, if we’re at home; a cherry blossom branch; funky street sign, etc) will leave you softly out of focus in the background. Shooting from a distance and changing the perspective leaves out the crinkles and little imperfections that you may feel, while still capturing your pregnancy. Then, lastly, using black and white to create a classic feel and to remove any redness your skin may have picked up in the last few months, if all else fails.
Richmond urban maternity photographer
These are just a few of the ways that a professional session can help you document this wonderful, weird stage of your life. Want to talk about this more in person? Call me (804-286-0314) or shoot me an email so we can set up a time to informally chat about your needs.

*Obviously every woman and every pregnancy is different. If you’re pregnant and plan to get professional pictures taken, contact your photographer and talk about what’s best for you. Virginia area maternity photography.

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