CONGRATULATIONS! You’re expecting a little one, how cool is that?! This is such an exciting time of life, and I am so happy to celebrate it with you. The body does some crazy stuff when it’s pregnant, it’s time to celebrate your body and all of the amazing things it is doing to bring your little one into this world. With being pregnant, there are a LOT of things going through your head in general, so preparing for your maternity session might not instinctually be at the forefront of your brain. This is why I have put together a full blog going over everything you need to know about preparing for your maternity session.
You’re going to want to reach out to your maternity photographer when you’re about 12 weeks pregnant. I typically set up shoots for when you’re at 34-36 weeks along, and depending on the season this period of your pregnancy falls in, you will want to make sure you reach out early so we can reserve your date. I plan maternity sessions at the 34-36 week mark for a number of reasons. One being, comfort. Having your session at this period ensures you are not going to be super uncomfortable and we are in a good window where it’s not too early and you might not be showing, and not too late in case you were to go into labor early. If you’re pregnant with twins, we usually go around 26-28 weeks since people pregnant with twins typically tend to give birth earlier than their due dates.
Together you and I will start brainstorming a vision for your maternity session. We will talk all about what you’re most excited about during pregnancy, what your vision is for your session, what clothes to wear and even where to have your session! Prior to planning though, you will want to start thinking about what you want your photos to look like. As you start to prepare I always suggest my maternity clients start looking for inspiration in magazines, on sites like Pinterest, in pop culture, and even my past maternity sessions like this one.
You will want to decide what look and vibe you’re going for. Do you want to look elegant and all dolled up? More bohemian and natural? Edgy and editorial? Then from there, we can get into the details. Picking out outfits, choosing a location that fits the vibe we are going for and purchasing any permits or reserve any space that we hope to use for your session.
Think about if you want this to be your time to shine or if you want to share these intimate moments with your partner. There is no right or wrong answer to this, so talk it over with your partner and then we can plan the rest of your session. If you do decide to bring your partner to your maternity session, I like to split things up sorta 50/50. That way you get some solo shots with your belly documenting all the changes that are occurring, and then the other half of the session will be spent documenting the two of you with your new addition.
When choosing your location, it’s important to think about what season and what kind of weather there will be when you hit the 34-36 week mark of your pregnancy. You will want to choose a location where you can feel comfortable, confident and safe more than anything. So if hiking in the snow to a waterfall in January isn’t quite your jam, you might want to opt for a more local location or a studio location! If you love hiking and don’t mind breaking a little sweat, you might be cool with walking along the beach during July. Think about your comfort and safety more than anything when choosing your location.
Some of my personal favorite outdoor locations in the Midwest for maternity sessions include, Lions Den Gorge in Wisconsin, the Indiana Dunes in Indiana, and North Avenue Beach Chicago. If you’re looking for more outdoor locations, check out my Wisconsin location guide, for a few more of my favorite spots!
Or if you’re leaning more towards an indoor space, locations like Studio North in Milwaukee, the Sunlit Studio, and Wicker Park Studio in Chicago. Another fun option is to rent a cute Airbnb, like this adorable Milwaukee Airbnb! Extend your evening after your session and turn it into a little babymoon getaway!
When choosing your outfit, I recommend that you order a couple of outfits early enough that you have time to return your outfit if it does not fit, but late enough that you have a bit of an idea of what your body will be like at that time. I recommend ordering your outfits at least 3 weeks out so that you can make exchanges if you need to. Brands like Baltic Born have SO many great options for maternity sessions. I also have a client closet with dresses that can be borrowed so if you would prefer to borrow over buy just let me know and I can send you some options!
When trying on your outfits be sure to try your outfit on all together and walk around in it. You will want to make sure you can move freely and that you’re comfortable, in addition to getting a feel for how it looks and if you like the way it fits your body from different angles. If you and your partner will both be a part of the session make sure to choose outfits that include colors that go well together. To check out some inspiration on picking out outfits for your maternity session, head to my Pinterest board linked here!
As you prepare for your maternity session, there are going to be a lot of things you will want to think about! You will want this session to run as smoothly as possible and you will also want to save your energy for the session itself! So plan ahead, and prepare everything in advance so that you can relax the day of your session.
After you receive your outfit make sure that it is clean for your session and pressed or steamed so there are no wrinkles! If you shopped local you’ve probably already tried on your outfit, but, if your belly has grown significantly in the past week or so, be sure to give your outfit one more try on. Next, make sure your shoes are comfortable, and if they are new, be sure to break them in prior to your session.
Last but not least, check the weather leading up to your session! If the temperatures are dropping, have a coat packed that you can slip on and off throughout the session. If it’s going to be toasty, be sure to wear clothes that breathe.
As you prepare for your maternity session you will want to drink a lot of water leading up to it. Staying hydrated in the days prior is huge, especially if your session will be somewhere where there might not be a bathroom accessible. Pack an additional water bottle in a bag along with a couple of snacks. If your shoes are a MUST have but they aren’t the most comfortable things in the world, bring an extra pair of shoes to wear when walking around, and then you can change throughout the session.
On the day prior to your maternity session, hype yourself up and know you’re a hot momma! Lay out your outfit so that it doesn’t wrinkle, pack your bag and then relax the following morning. Take some time off your feet, take your morning slow, eat a good breakfast and pamper yourself. This has been the number one trick for a fun session for all of my maternity clients this year! A little rest does WONDERS when preparing for a session.
This year I have had the pleasure to photograph 6 mommas, ALL pregnant with healthy baby boys! I LOVE my maternity clients and always feel so lucky that my job is to document this beautiful stage of life for each and every one of them. For more information on how to set up and prepare your own maternity session, head to my services page for more information and then send over an inquiry!