The goal of a professional maternity photographer is to create a truly unique experience in which the mother-to-be feels comfortable, relaxed, beautiful, pampered, and empowered from the moment she enters the studio. Your professional photographer should guide you every step of the way.
Scheduling your session
Maternity portraits are best captured from weeks 31 to 36. Of course, timing can vary.
How to feel and look your best
A maternity session is more than just a photo shoot. It is a day of well-deserved pampering that should include a manicure, hair styling, and professional makeup session. An overall natural look is best for this kind of shoot. I recommend soft waves for the hair and light, daytime makeup with an even skin tone and accented eyes and cheekbones. I encourage my clients to wear false but natural-looking eyelashes, as the curve of the eyelashes helps to create a gorgeous, feminine silhouette.
Planning a romantic lunch or dinner date with your partner after the session is the perfect way to enhance and sustain the significance of your photo shoot experience.
Things to avoid
I recommend that my clients avoid spray tanning, bronzers, and shimmers. Also, do not wear tight underwear on the day of your session. Arrive at your photo shoot in loose clothing to prevent body marks. Be sure to avoid dark or excessive makeup. Instead, keep your look clean and minimal.
Whatever your style, there are plenty of options for clothing choice and types of poses for your photo shoot. Some women choose to fully embrace their changing bodies and capture tasteful, artistic nude or semi-nude portraits, while others opt for more modest, fully clothed shots and/or outfits that accentuate their exposed bellies.
What to bring
Your maternity session is the perfect excuse to shop for a few outfits that hug and complement your pregnancy curves. You should bring at least one black dress and another in cream or white. A splash of color can also be stunning, but avoid any patterns. Form-fitting dresses and flowing maxi dresses are recommended. There are several vendors on etsy.com that specialize in custom maternity dresses created for maternity shoots.
Natural silks, chiffons, lace, or any sheer, flowing fabrics that can be draped around you and tossed in the air create beautiful images. I recommend at least four yards of fabrics for the “tossing” images and at least three yards for the full body image. It can even just be a plain white bed sheet, but with the right lighting and pose, it will look stunning. Think outside the box!
Having a background in fashion photography, I encourage my pregnant mothers to bring accessories such as statement jewelry, scarves, flowers, hair crowns, etc. Textures and colors will add dimension to your images. However, too much accessorizing can take away from the portrait itself.
Find the photographer whose style you love and with whom you connect the most. Remember, the task of your photographer is not simply to take flattering images, but to provide an unforgettable experience and ambience of relaxation and comfort in which you feel pampered and beautiful.
I believe that the most important advice I can offer is to understand that the goal of your photography experience is to celebrate you, the miraculous life within you, and capture, in portraits, the essence of your beauty and emotions as you await the birth of the greatest gift you will ever receive.
— Lola Melani is a New York photographer, specializing in artistic maternity, newborn, and family photography. For more information and to view her photography portfolio, visit her online at Lola Melani Photography.
* All images are courtesy of Lola Melani Photography