If some of your portraits will include the baby’s siblings, make arrangements for someone to pick up the children after their portraits with you are taken. That way, you will have the remainder of your session uninterrupted to do individual or couple portraits. Perhaps Grandma or an aunt can come with you to the portrait session, stay while the children are being photographed with you, then whisk them away for a playdate so you can finish shooting more intimate maternity portraits in privacy and without disturbance.
Collect examples of maternity portraits you like to show your photographer. You can find lots of great examples on the Internet, in books or baby and maternity magazines, or by looking at friends’ portraits. It’s much easier to show your photographer what you like than to try to explain it in words.
On the day of your maternity-portrait session, plan to relax and take it easy—both before and after the session. Plan to go to the spa, get your hair and makeup done, have a manicure and pedicure, take a long, hot bath, or just take a nap before your appointment. You want to be well-rested, relaxed and comfortable for your shoot.
A couple of hours before your maternity photo session, eliminate any clothing that causes lines or indentations on the body—that would include anything elastic or stretchy, such as maternity pants with a panel, elastic waist pants, socks, snug underwear, bras and so on. If possible, wear a loose nightgown, dress or robe to keep your body as smooth as possible, and either go barefoot or wear easy, slip-on shoes or slippers. This is especially important if your maternity portraits will include any nudity or partial nudity. Most maternity portraits do show a bare belly, so you definitely do not want any marks from restrictive clothing on the tummy area.At the very least, lower the waistband on your maternity pants or underwear so there are no lines on your tummy and everything is tucked below your belly. Wear a loose-fitting top to the actual session. Lines on your skin that appear on portraits can often be touched up by the photographer; however, this may incur an additional expense you can avoid simply by planning ahead.
Bring along any particular clothing you want to be photographed in–and bring additional clothing, as well. You can include favorite maternity clothes and stretchy, snug-fitting pants and tops. Fabrics that adhere to the body’s curves work well. If you have jeans you can still get your hips and thighs into (unzipped, of course), and pre-pregnancy favorites such as camisoles, bring those along, too. Even a negligee, high heels or a favorite hat may work themselves into a portrait or two. Scarves, shawls and lengths of soft, fluid fabrics make wonderful wraps for maternity portraits, so if you have those, bring them along. If not, don’t worry. Most maternity portrait photographers have a good selection of special items they use just for this purpose.
Bring any props you’d like to include in your portraits—baby booties, a rubber ducky or a stuffed animal you received from the baby shower or already purchased for your baby make adorable props. So does a tiny outfit, shoes, a simple rose or other flower, or a copy of an ultrasound picture.
When you get to your session, meet with the photographer and show her any maternity portraits you’ve seen and absolutely love. Discuss whether you are comfortable with any nudity or partial nudity and the overall effect you desire from your portraits. Do you want them to be soft and intimate? Low-key? Contemporary? Or classic? Will you include any family members in your portraits, such as the baby’s father or siblings–or perhaps your mother or sister? Will you want any special effects or treatments for your photos—such as black-and-white prints, sepia tones or selective coloring?
Discuss the purpose of your portrait with your photographer. Do you want a maternity portrait for your child’s baby book, or simply a personal memento for yourself or your husband? Are you after a wall portrait to be displayed in your home (whether it’s the living room for public viewing or the bedroom for private viewing)? Are you seeking wallet-size photos to give to friends and family members or include in your Christmas cards? Or do you want different portraits for all these various purposes? The answers to these questions will help the photographer create portraits you will love and that will best satisfy your needs and desires.
Speak with the photographer about any birthmarks, stretch marks or tattoos you may have. Do you want those left on final prints or removed? Do you want to be posed so they don’t show, if possible, or do you want them to be a tasteful part of your image?
If you have any physical concerns—related to either the baby or something about your body you’re particularly sensitive about–be sure to discuss those issues with the photographer, as well. He will want you to be open and honest with him, and as comfortable and relaxed as possible.
Consider if you want to purchase any special products featuring your maternity portraits. If you already know you would like greeting cards, photo jewelry, a collage, a portrait on canvas or a diaper bag, coasters, a mouse pad or some other item, talk with the photographer about those desires.
Once the photo shoot begins, relax. Enjoy the warmth of the lights on your skin. Embrace the intimacy of the moment and try to forget you are being photographed at all. Revel in that beautiful, maternal glow and enjoy the anticipation of becoming a mother. Your photographer will take care of the rest!