I can't believe I'm already 38 weeks and looking forward to having my baby girl in the next couple days! Time flew by and I'm so thankful to be able to look back at this special adventure though photography. It captures more then a picture, it captures a moment in time when my husband and I are expecting our first child and all the emotions and joy that is pared with that event.
I wanted to share tips on how to have a successful maternity session for your own cherished pictures! I collaborated with an incredible photographer, Sarah Tolson, who creates gorgeous maternity/newborn/family shots. Together we made my pregnancy pictures (click HERE to view gallery!) a way to share tips with you on how to get ready for your photo-op! Please enjoy the video and all the pictures Sarah took. If you would like to contact Sarah for your own session, please follow the links provided!
Sarah Tolson Photography
Location- Fisherman's Cove in Laguna Beach
White Dress- Forever21
Blue Dress- Irene's Story
Questions I asked Sarah:1. How long do photographers normally do for a session?
It depends. My maternity sessions are usually 20-30 minutes so mamma stays comfortable, but if she requests an hour session, I'm happy to do that too. My newborn sessions are 2-3 hours, and my family sessions are 1 hour.
2. What is the best time of day for on location shooting?
Golden hour. It is one hour before sunset, and that is when you will get the most flattering, glowy, golden light for your session, no matter the location.
3. What type of location is your favorite to shoot?
I love the beach for maternity sessions. There is something earthy and wonderful about a mamma to be, walking through the water, with her hand on her belly. Love it!
4. Do you have any recommendations for the best type/color of clothing that works best for pregnant mommas?
I tell my mammas to keep it simple. Usually we will do a gown type of look, and then do a more casual jeans and tank look. Solid colors or small patterns look best. I don't recommend busy patterns for any of my shoots. It also helps to think of your location. If you are going to the beach, whites, blues, neutrals all will look gorgeous with the background. If you are doing a forest/field session, bolder colors look great there. But really, if there is an outfit you love and feel beautiful in, that is the most important thing, because that will shine through in the final images.
5. I’m not a model, so how do you recommend your clients to pose?
The first couple of minutes of shooting, I don't usually get usable images. My clients are always nervous, no matter how gorgeous they are! So I direct them to stand a certain way, touch their hair, look down, etc. A good photographer will understand that their clients don't do this for a living, and direct them accordingly. :)
6. Do you like your clients to come in with ideas for shots, or do you like things to be more organic and candid?
I like a mix of both. I love to see what the client looks for in images before hand so I can tell them, yes, we can definitely get that shot, or no, that's not my style. If someone sends me images or a pinterest board and I am not a good fit for them, I've learned to say no to that client. I want both of us to be happy with the outcome!
7. When should you schedule a maternity shoot?
I tell my mommas to schedule between 30-34 weeks. Enough time for the bump to show, but not so late in the game that it is hard to move around. It depends on the mom too. If she's showing early, or needs special consideration, I will make it happen within her time frame. I had a client schedule her maternity session (on the beach) and all the walking kicked in her labor! She went into labor that very night and delivered 5 weeks early!
8. Should I bring my partner, kids?
Absolutely!! Just make sure your photographer knows what kinds of images you want with your partner and your kiddos.
9. Do you have a studio or do you do on location?
I do open my front room up for newborn studio portraits, but other than that, I am on location all over Southern California.
10. What are some of the best ways to display a baby bump?
Maternity gowns are a gorgeous way to show off the bump. There are a ton of options on Etsy and all over these days. I love a black or white tank and jeans too. I always tell clients to keep it simple and timeless so their images stay timeless too.
11. Why do you love maternity shoots?
I may cry typing this.. I don't have ANY images when I was pregnant with my two kids. I was too self conscious and didn't want to see it. So if a picture was taken of me during pregnancy, I was hiding behind a husband, or a Christmas tree, etc. Not a single belly picture. I regret that choice greatly. My daughter just asked to see what I looked like when I was pregnant with her and my heart broke a little. :( So.. I want every mom, no matter the size, shape, style to have a great maternity session and treasure that glorious belly, and be able to show their teenage daughter when she asks. Because.. she will ask.
12. How long does it normally take to get the edited pictures?
I give my clients a 2 week deadline, and I strive to have their images to them by the 2 week mark from their session. If it's a super slow season, I can get it done a bit earlier, but since I hand edit every image, I want to take my time and make sure it's perfect.