Why would I do a maternity photo shoot on my 3rd pregnancy? I hadn’t had any professional photos taken when carrying my 1st or 2nd child. Why now? Did I have fun? Do I love the photos? Why did it take me over a year and a half to write this post?! Read on for answers to these questions and more.
Hi, Kat here, and I am going to tell you all about my experience doing a maternity photo shoot. I actually don’t do many family photo shoots. Although I love professional photos and photography, I have a hard time getting my family on board and fitting it into everyone’s schedules. Doing sports photos is usually hectic enough and there is already a “wardrobe” chosen and everyone wears ball caps!
Anyone who has been pregnant before knows the feeling of being exhausted and unable to accomplish everything on the to-do list. At this point in my pregnancy if a situation wasn’t “on fire”, it wasn’t important enough for me to deal with!
All that being said, how did I find myself preparing for a pregnancy photo shoot? Well Jenn, the photographer, was excited about the new gowns she had just received and had reached out to find pregnant women to show them off.
I was very pregnant by this point and happy to do something creative, and commemorative, that didn’t involve wardrobe decisions! At this point I could only wear 2 pairs of pants and “flowy” fabrics had become my best friend. As you will soon see below, many of my pregnancy photos were quick pictures snapped at family get-togethers or random selfies taken with my other kids.
So I jumped at the chance to create a keepsake. Mostly to remind myself of the time in my life that I carried my last precious baby. I don’t love all the things about being pregnant but I can’t help but marvel at the complex beauty of creation and how a spark can grow into a vibrant human being.
Plus it’s hard to move on to a different stage of life and we had decided to move on. This was my last pregnancy and those precious moments go by so fast. Time seemed to speed up with every new family member, so I just wanted to have something to help me remember. Something vivid so I can feel those good feelings when they are long past. Capturing a moment “frozen in time” has made moving on a little easier for me. I know I will miss all my baby snuggles when I have only big kids, and that it will make us laugh and cry to look back on our old photos someday.
As they say, the days are long but the years are short. I have always loved photography because memories get fuzzy over time. It makes me happy to look back at fun memories and remember it in detail, even if the moments captured are less than perfect.
Photos of my 1st and 2nd pregnancies are pretty scarce, and mostly they are just quick shots snapped at picnics, birthdays, and baby showers!
I can’t find my favorite picture of my 2nd pregnancy. Billy took a picture of my daughter and I while we were at the park. I love that picture, and I’ll update the post when I find it, but we didn’t really dress up or pose. While those candid shots are well-loved and wonderful, it’s nice to have variety. I wanted something extra to hold on to as I carried a child this one last time.
Preparing for the Photo Shoot
Because I didn’t have to choose a wardrobe, I really didn’t have to do much. Jenn provided a few color choices, asked what size I wore, and she chose from her new gowns for this photo shoot.
For your shoot you can look through photos in her gown gallery. She has a collection of different sizes, styles, and colors to pick from, and all the gowns are hand washed between every photo shoot. I found it very comforting to know that everything was nice and clean.
She also brings a portable tent for wardrobe changes. I won’t pretend that this part was easy! Wiggling into a gown, while very pregnant, in a small tent, was the most challenging part of the whole experience. The results are fabulous though! I definitely thought it was worth the effort.
I almost forgot to mention choosing a good strapless bra is a great idea. You know, the type of bra you have avoided wearing since 2 months into your pregnancy! My friends and I have chatted and an underwire bra is just torture when pregnant. It was however worth wearing for a few hours to get a good profile. I wanted at least a little separation between the boobs and the belly, and the more pregnancies you have, the harder this is to achieve!
Choosing the Location
Jenn also made choosing the location very easy. She asked where I lived and suggested a few locations. I live very close to an old boarding school that was created for veteran’s children.
It has some beautiful structures that photograph nicely. I could have chosen a location further from my house if I wanted specific backgrounds. I was happy to keep it simple though. I played here as a child and my dad is an Army veteran, so that made this even more special for me.
Hair & Makeup
The beautiful thing about this kind of pregnancy shoot is that you can do as much or as little as you want. I know not everyone wears makeup and not everyone is a glamazon. I went simple for my hair and just washed, brushed, and let it dry. I did brush it a 2nd time on location because I know that it gives my hair more body.
For my makeup I went a little heavier than usual. I used a cream to powder foundation, and went heavy on the blush. If your blush is obvious you probably did it right. Subtle blush just doesn’t seem to show up on camera. I like using blush as a contour for my cheeks, and then I apply a powder for setting the makeup and decreasing shine.
If you regularly use an SPF it may make you look shiny in pictures. It’s worth considering if it’s necessary, if you don’t like super shiny skin in photos.
I used a liquid eyeliner and a black lengthening mascara to accent my eyes. If I had it to do again I might add a smidge of kohl liner to my bottom lashes, but speed was essential this day. I used a brush of iridescent cream-colored eye shadow just to brighten my eyes and a berry-colored lip gloss.
Choosing accessories wasn’t something that was necessary but I do love how jewelry can accent an outfit. Usually I feel too rushed to put much thought into jewelry but since I had no other wardrobe decisions I had time to ponder jewelry choices.
The challenge was to choose jewelry that would go with gowns I had never seen. I chose a few items I thought would work with several looks. I was glad I chose the pearls. Up close you can tell these beads have seen better days but they were a nice accent for a photo from this distance.
I didn’t love the way the wide bangles showed up in this photo below. I think I should have stuck with the thin bangles, but best not to stress over past style decisions! I still love the photo and hey, we learn by experimenting right?
I didn’t even need shoes for the one gown I wore but my shoes did show with the other dress. I will say be mindful of wearing rhinestones or buckles as they are likely to snag in the dress fabric.
I tried to choose shoes that were neutral colored and would go with different styles of dresses. I went with a gold ankle cuff sandal because my other option was flip flops or Earth Spirit sandals. While I do think Earth Spirit shoes look nice, I didn’t believe that mine would fit the style of these dresses.
I had to be careful as I walked through the morning dew because these shoes get slippery. Thankfully we did the shoot early in the day when my ankles were at their smallest! Although barefoot was another option, I like the look of these shoes with this dress. I feel so put together here.
I loved my photo shoot and I love my pictures. I was closer to the end of my pregnancy than most women are when they do their maternity photo shoots, 3 weeks to my due date to be exact (or 37 weeks).
The optimal time is often between 30-34 weeks. This time frame is suggested because many women are sporting a cute pregnant belly by this point but aren’t so pregnant that they feel humongous.
This recommendation provides a nice framework to help mommies-to-be schedule their maternity photoshoot. There are many of reasons why someone might not be able to schedule during 30 – 34 weeks. No worries because you can absolutely do a pregnancy photoshoot whenever you want!
Here are a few things I think pregnant women may want to consider before scheduling a date. First off you may want to consider inviting your kids and significant other for the shoot. I did invite mine but Billy doesn’t love photo shoots, early mornings, and didn’t want to try and get the kids off to a sitter, or photo ready for the maternity shoot.
We were honest with ourselves and decided it would be a more fun experience if I did it myself. Then I scheduled it early enough in the morning that the kids were still sleeping and my absence wasn’t even noticed. It’s not that I don’t want beautiful family photos but it was nice to have a relaxing day, where I wasn’t chasing kids with my giant belly whilst dressed in a ball gown!
On that note I am pretty certain being a little less pregnant would have made changing into a gown slightly easier and I probably wouldn’t have been retaining as much fluid. For me though scheduling this late was a blessing!
I had worked full time up to my last month of pregnancy and it was exhausting. By the time of this photo I had had a week off of work. Sleeping in for a week, made me feel more rested than I had felt through the entire pregnancy. Although I hadn’t planned to do a photo shoot, I was just so happy that Jenn reached out at the perfect time.
It was a fun experience that makes me happy every time I see my photos or talk about the experience. It has taken me this long to write about it because life happens and sometimes it takes awhile to get your thoughts and words in order. I hadn’t figured out how to express why doing this was important for me, and I’m sure there are many different reasons why someone would enjoy getting professional photos. Anyway I would highly recommend a maternity photo shoot to anyone looking for beautiful photos to remember their pregnancy by.
If you know a mommy-to-be, who loves looking at photos, you may want to consider giving them the gift of a maternity photo shoot too. It’s a beautiful memento to add to someone’s storybook of memories.
It all happens so fast. I do hope that this post gives you some insight and helpful hints for when considering your own pregnancy photo shoot. I hope that everyone has photos that make them happy when they look at them.
Thank you for spending time with me today. I really appreciate your support and if you haven’t already, please like Images by Jenn facebook page. She does so much more than just maternity photos. She takes the cutest kid pictures, some really beautiful family photos, and has some fun senior photos on display too. Check it out!