Scheduling a maternity or newborn session can be challenging. After you’ve chosen your photographer (you thought that was the most complicated decision?) is usually when anxiety hits.
What should I wear? Will I look good? Will my kids behave? Can I get to see the photos before the baby arrives? I’m here to help you navigate your nerves and tell you that everything will be all right and it will be so worth it!
Here are some good questions that you can ask your photographer about your photo session:
Indoors vs. Outdoors?
For maternity sessions, depending on when is your due date, you’ll have more options. If you worry about a winter belly, don’t panic; there is hope for your photoshoot to look as charming as a spring session.
There is a way to look gorgeous outside on a cold January day without freezing, which I dive into this in detail later on in this guide, trust me!
For newborn sessions, the answer is easy. My sessions happen in the comfort of your home, I bring my studio with me! You get to relax at home, and we photograph the new family in your favorite spots (nursery, master bedroom, living room, even the backyard — weather permits), and then we pose your baby in adorable sets. What you get is a lifestyle session with a studio touch.
What should I wear?
Here are 19 tips about styling, outfits & makeup to rock your maternity pictures!
In terms of outfits, there are 3 looks that look gorgeous on pregnant moms:
My personal favorite, you'll look like the goddess you are! The skirt also flies with the wind and creates so much movement.
These are gorgeous if you're looking for a form-fitting silhouette. They work wonders for indoor sessions.
Jeans and Fitted Top
Not every expectant mom needs to wear a dress. You can rock your session with jeans and a fitted top that makes the belly pop.
Now, for any photo session, I highly recommend that you wear makeup. It’s not necessary to go to Sephora and book a stylist appointment. Apply your makeup just slightly heavier than you normally apply it. Avoid moisturizer with sunscreen, it reflects making skin look shiny.
For newborns, I’ve also got you covered. I bring multiple photography blankets, hats, baskets, tutus, and headbands. All that you, Mom, have to do is add a personal touch; use that blanket or outfit that Aunt Carol knitted and the cute hat that you love so much...
What are good relaxation tips?
All my clients are different but most of them are super nervous (maybe terrified) when we meet for the first time.
I know that we won’t have time to sit down and meditate (which I LOVE to do) but we will have time to talk about our day and experiences until the ice is completely melted. You might be breastfeeding while I prep the sets, or we might be chasing toddlers while we play hide-and-seek talking.
Most people have a different expectation of what a lifestyle session truly is, but let me remind you that there is no studio, there are no 4 fixed walls; we’ll have either tons of trees around us or a cup of coffee at your kitchen table.
Getting to know you, Mom to Mom, is so important to me. Sharing our journeys will be a key part of our experience together. By the time I start clicking my camera you’ll be relaxed and eased (we will still be talking while I photograph everyone, it’s just how it flows).
Yes, there will be some sort of chaos (that I LOVE) but I promise we’ll have fun; photographing kids or newborns means being prepared for the unexpected.
When should I schedule my session?
This question is so interesting because there are so many reasons to pick different timings.
At a quick glance, I encourage pregnancy sessions between weeks 31-35 and newborn sessions within the first 10 days old. I dig deeper into this later on!
Differences between posed and lifestyle sessions?
My maternity sessions are all lifestyle; I’m capturing "in-between" moments with your family or significant other. I’m there to freeze the hugs, snuggles, the laughter, the spontaneous laughter, or the adorable funny face of the future big brother kissing your belly.
We play, we laugh, we talk, and we spend time capturing belly moments for you to treasure. We can be outdoors or indoors but the lifestyle theme won’t change.
For newborn sessions, the industry has two paths, lifestyle or studio posed. For most photographers these paths are exclusive for me I’m proud to have found a happy middle.
You get both experiences in the comfort of your home. I bring my studio and props to you, you’ll get a gorgeous photo in the nursery; you’ll have that family portrait that you dreamed by the kitchen window; you will have your newborn posed in baskets or wearing tutus for grandma to melt in love if you want.
Expectations vs. Reality?
Yes, you’ve seen these beautiful photos on Instagram, everyone smiles and looking gorgeous. They are definitely happy. You want those photos too!
Well, let me spill the beans. We will have fun, you’ll love your photos and experience but there will be some unexpected bells that ring. That’s how life goes, and we’re documenting it, remember?
If you’re pregnant, you might not feel great; Dad might get stuck in traffic and be late to the session; Grandma might be a last-minute addition that you’re not too thrilled about; your toddler might have fallen asleep 3 minutes before you got to the park to meet me, the expected sunshine is gone and now a thunderstorm will hit in T-1 day (a.k.a session day!)...
All these things happen. Life is unexpected and photography is one of those businesses in which flexibility is a key asset.
For most of these situations, we go with the flow and make the absolute best out of it.
- If Dad is late, no problem, there are SO many beautiful photos of your belly, or your newborn, or you and your kids that we can start with. My workflow will adjust to YOU and your family, there is no fixed order, we flow, and we glow as we go.
- If grandma joined, I’ll make sure you get photos of your tribe alone and some others with Grandma, everyone will feel special.
- If your toddler fell asleep (it happens ALL the time), you’ll let me know what’s her favorite way of coming back to life. Dad will hold him while I photograph your belly, or we’ll play little peekaboo games to get her awake and smiling.
- We might even all share some cookies in your kitchen while your newborn gets some needed quiet snuggles.
On the other hand, weather and sickness are treated with big tools. Massachusetts weather is beyond unpredictable (I joke that the weather app is the most opened in my phone). For every outdoor session, we pick a date and a rain check date. We will call it off the night before if needed, don’t let it worry you.
In sum, there is no extra cost associated with postponing a session due to inclement weather.
I’ve got your back. The same thing happens if someone in your family is sick. I understand; I’ve got two kids too. I’m a Mom and understand that life happens, so we’ll use your rain check date if someone is sick.
Every professional photographer is different; some might share their raw (out of camera) images, while others like me consider every photograph a piece of art.
I pour my heart and soul into every photography, so your final product (gallery) is my proudest accomplishment.
That said, I don’t provide unedited images. I want you to get the wow-factor with every photo in your gallery. Your gallery will contain images with the highest standard of quality, composition, and post editing. Your gallery is a piece of art.
Another way of viewing it is that you’re hiring a chef. Every plate that leaves the kitchen is cooked and presented to perfection. I’m proud of every single gallery I deliver and my goal is that every client walks away with real art photography.
For maternity and newborn session, I do an expedited gallery delivery, I want you to have your pregnancy photos BEFORE the baby gets here! I know how busy life gets afterward, so I want you to enjoy your gallery with peace of mind. These photos also make a great decoration for the nursery that you're planning, for example.
Because newborns grow up SO fast, my goal is that you receive the gallery while the baby still looks like the one in the photos. I get it, you might want to use these photos to announce the new baby to the world! This news can’t wait!
So, Mom, you’ll get your final gallery 2 weeks after your photoshoot. Your heart will explode with love!
What to do with all those photos?
Print, print, print. I believe in tangible memories. Technology gets obsolete; that USB drive or external memory stick that you love some will be outdated very soon. Remember those photos that you saved on CDs?
I encourage my clients to print, displaying your family art on the walls is a wonderful idea, having a family album displayed on the coffee table is also a beautiful decor.
The beauty of printing is that you can change the look and feel of an area by just making an update to photos or canvas. Print products also often get passed down for generations to come. They make a beautiful gift for the future, too!
For big formats (11×14 inches and up) I recommend printing with a professional lab that has the printer properly calibrated and its quality is outstanding. I've got nothing against consumer printing, but they can result in images looking more yellow/red/blue depending on how the printer is calibrated. I’d be happy to help you design any type of product printed in a professional lab.
Finally, It's all about you!
Congrats on your pregnancy or new baby! I’m so happy that you’ve decided to hire a professional photographer to document such important milestones in your family’s life.
I promise that years from now you’ll look back at your photos with a big smile and a melted heart.
Remember to ask all the questions that you have. Your photographer should guide you all the way. He or she will pour its heart into it and give you a piece of their souls.
And, yes, It’s OK to be scared, it’s OK to think that you don’t look great but I promise that you will look your greatest. You’re already glowing; expecting or having a new baby sets a special glow in you.
The miracle of life is so worth documenting. Enjoy your session and let it flow, the photographer has your back! You and your family are the stars of the day.
We’ve covered the key basics on how to prepare for your pregnancy or newborn session. Now I dig deeper into the first thing you have to do to let it happen: choosing a photographer!