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Maternity Photo Ideas

You are over the moon and anticipating the moment when you get to hold your new baby in your arms. The wait seems eternal but you have so much to keep you busy, shopping for necessities and cute, tiny clothing, getting your home ready and decorating the nursery. I remember my list of "things to do" being endless. I'm a planner so I stocked up on groceries and had meals planned. My suitcase was packed and ready to go to the hospital, but that was a very long time ago. Today there are so many choices. While some women choose to go to the hospital or birthing center for their birth experience, others choose to welcome their newborn in the peaceful, calm environment of home. And as if there aren't enough choices to make, then there are maternity and then newborn photos!

Maternity photos have become a "must have" during pregnancy and I love that. Not for the reason you may think though. I love capturing these moments for expecting mama's because I remember how it felt. I loved being pregnant, the miracle of my body growing a tiny human, feeling them move... all of it. The endless changes that my body went through, all part of the miracle and I embraced it. Back when I had my babies, maternity clothing was typical moo-moo type dresses and huge t-shirts that said "BABY" with an arrow pointing to the belly. No joke! It was the 80's and it was a fairly reserved time as far as pregnancy. But me? I wanted pictures of my growing belly so I had some taken and I still laugh as I remember peoples reaction! They were shocked, at least the few that actually saw them. My mother was traumatized that her daughter would have her photo taken at 9 months pregnant, wearing just a bra and underwear. Truth is, I loved being pregnant and becoming a mother was one of my life's most amazing moments so I wanted to document it all. I have birth photos as well and if you think people were shocked by my wanting photos of my belly... well, you can imagine!

We've all seen photos with mama's in long flowing dresses showing off her baby bump, right? They are sweet and perfect for the more reserved mama and I do many session like that and I love them all! But I also love the raw, intimate photos of pregnancy. The truth is that there is no right or wrong way to do maternity photos and no set time to do them. It's decision for you to make and you do what you feels right for you. Let's talk about some of the choices.

Let's start with when to do your maternity photos. Some will say between 32-35 weeks of your pregnancy is the best time. I say that anytime that you are comfortable and want to do them is fine. Now, I wouldn't encourage doing them when you have the tiniest little baby bump but the choice truly is yours.

Things to consider when planning:

Will you be able to move around comfortably in the location? This is where I think later is better at home because of the comfort factor but that's not written in stone. The gorgeous mama above in the deep red dress was a trooper! They choose the location and it was so beautiful! However, it snowed that morning creating slippery trails that we hiked on for almost a mile to the location. Mama was in winter boots and lots of layers and we went slowly for fear of her falling. She was amazing and the session was gorgeous! Three days later she went into labor and had twin girls!

Most women will find that they can't move around as easily as they near the end of their pregnancy. So think about that when choosing the location. Be sure to talk to your photographer as any maternity photographer will have experience and suggestions in the area that you live in and location that you and decide on.

If the months have flown by and you are thinking it is too late to schedule a session, it's not. Your photographer will make sure that you are comfortable and look gorgeous regardless of where you are in your pregnancy. Let's be real, some pregnancies are shorter than the "normal" and others are longer. I think about a dear friend of mine that gave birth to her sweet little guy really early. He spent time in the NICU as a preemie and is the most amazing 4 year old little boy now but the only pregnancy photos that she has are his baby booties on her belly that she took on her cell phone when they placed her on bed rest at around 20 weeks. I wish that I had known her then because we would've done a beautiful session in her bed so that she would have those keepsakes. So again, ANYTIME is the right time to capture these precious moments in your life. Call your photographer and they will make it work for you! We are in the business of capturing your special moments, whatever and whenever they may be.

Now where to do your photos and things to consider. I live in Asheville, NC nestled in the mountains with the Blue Ridge Parkway providing epic backdrops. Waterfalls are everywhere and beautiful locations are endless. Do I love these places for sessions? ABSOLUTELY! That's part of the reason why I chose to relocate my business here. There are some incredible places that require a fairly easy hike and I've found a few spots that are right along the roadside at overlook points on the Blue Ridge Parkway that have pretty grassy spots and mountain views that go on forever. The key is to find a spot that you will be comfortable getting to. Not all mama's are up for a hike in their last few weeks of pregnancy, some are. Again, talk to your photographer. My job is not only taking beautiful photos, it's the whole planning process, snapping and editing your images and then delivering your gallery and helping you to choose prints, canvas or albums. Working with your photographer will make choosing the right location so much easier.

If it's late in your pregnancy and you aren't comfortable going far from home or if the weather isn't cooperating and it is freezing outside, the comfort of your home is a prefect place too. I promise that you don't need an epic location or a perfectly selected wardrobe to have beautiful maternity photos.

This beautiful mama opted to have her photos taken at her home, in their bedroom where she will soon give birth. The session was short and her comfort was the priority. Her husband was there to lend a hand moving the birthing pool out of the way (yes, they are ready and waiting anxiously for the arrival of their baby). Truth is, I love the intimate feel of this session as much as I love the epic mountain ones.

What should you wear? Simple. You wear whatever makes you feel comfortable and beautiful. If you are more comfortable in a long dress, talk with your photographer and plan your session for that. If you are comfortable and want to wear lingerie, showing the many changes in your body, then plan your session around that. Again, there is no right or wrong. Do what feels right for you.

Should you include your your partner? Other children? Or just you? Again, your choice. I love doing family sessions with a pregnant mama but make it a point to capture her alone and with her partner as well. Some prefer to do the session with just their partner and some alone or a combination, your photographer should be open to any or all of them.

In the end all of the choices are yours. There is no right or wrong time, place or clothing to wear. Pregnancy is the beginning of your motherhood journey, one of the most raw and emotional journey's of your life. Capturing these moments should be about what feels right for you. I encourage you to talk openly with your maternity photographer to be sure that you are getting photos that tell your story. Most maternity photographers will also offer newborn sessions and that's a story for another day.

For now I will say that there are as many choices when it comes to newborn photos. Most of my newborn photos take place in the loving arms of their parents because babies thrive with touch. Though you will have some super sweet photos of your baby swaddled securely too. I won't pose babies in poses that are not natural to them and the best location for them is in their home, although I've done newborn garden sessions too. If you're in the WNC or Upstate SC area and would like to know what I offer for packages, feel free to reach out. I'd love to chat!


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