Maternity portraits are typically taken between 28 and 32 weeks, so there’s not much room for error if you’re not happy with the results. These tips will help you get it right the first time.
Look into your options at the end of your first trimester, so you have plenty of time to research and compare different photographers, ask questions and address concerns. What’s the price point? What does the package include? Do you feel relaxed with this photographer? Will she be doing the editing? “This is a great time to get to know your photographer before the session so you can be comfortable at the shoot,” says Alicia Gines of California-based Alicia Gines Photography.
Find a Specialist
Browse the photographer’s website to get a feel for her past experience and areas of expertise. If she has a variety of examples from maternity sessions, that’s a good sign. “Experienced shooters will be familiar with the most flattering angles for your pregnant body, and know how to focus on your belly while deemphasizing other (also expanding!) body parts, like your hips, arms and legs,” says Jennifer Loomis of Jennifer Loomis Photography. “Similar or redundant images on the website can indicate a lack of creative artistry.”
Think About Style
As you consider a photographer, think about what you want your photos to look like. Are you hoping for something artistic and moody, or simple and realistic? Do you want to be in an interesting environment, or would you prefer more formal portraits with a simple backdrop? “Find someone whose work speaks to you and that you can see yourself in,” Gines says. Also ask whether she uses film or digital (or both). Images shot on film have a soft, organic look that can lend a nostalgic feel, while digital has a sharper quality, vibrant colors and an overall crispness.
“If you weren't personally referred by someone who already used the photographer and has a positive recommendation, ask them for several referrals to contact,” Loomis says. “These might be posted on the website.”
Think Long Term
Can this photographer also do your newborn portraits? You’re going to spend time screening a photographer, and presumably establishing a level of trust, so it makes sense to find someone you can use again. “New people bring uneasy feelings, which can disturb baby,” says Gines. “Trust within the group will make for a comfy newborn, which will lead to great photos.”
Don’t Rule Out DIY
Whether maternity photos aren’t in your budget or you just don’t have the time to schedule a session, you’ll still want to visually document your pregnancy. Trust us: You’ll regret it if you don’t have at least a few photos to look back on once baby is here. Ask your partner or a friend or family member who’s good with the camera to help you out and stage a makeshift photo shoot. For the most flattering photos, head outdoors to shoot during the golden hour (the hour or so right before the sun goes down or right after it comes up), when the light will be ideal for capturing warm, glowing portraits.