When I found out I was pregnant for the second time, one of the first things I did was secure my maternity photo shoot. I know that sounds totally crazy, but I had a complicated pregnancy last time and spent my whole 3rd trimester in the hospital. Taking maternity photos was my chance to really celebrate this pregnancy and our growing family.
I decided to schedule the photo shoot on our 5th wedding anniversary at the same place where we did our wedding photos, so it’d be even more special. It’s fun when dates work out like that! As part of our wedding, we sealed a time capsule that was to be opened in 5 years. We thought that incorporating the time capsule into our photo shoot would be a great way to celebrate and reflect on how much our lives have changed in 5 years.
We filled up a wagon with our props, and umbrella and a change of clothes for everyone. My toddler wanted to ride in the wagon, too, so it was quite full. We roamed around the garden and anytime our photographer found an interesting spot, we’d grab our toddler and do some photos.
I used a photography company that’s known for doing formal shots as well as playful ones because that suits our personalities the best. We spent about 1/3 of the time looking at the camera and posing for photos. The rest of the time was spent interacting with each other and mostly laughing! Our toddler wanted to run around and explore halfway through the shoot, which gave us time to get shots of just my husband and myself.
We spent a lot of time tickling our toddler to get some big grins and used some phrases that always cracks him up. We also sang songs and chased him around. If your child has a favorite toy, that would also be a helpful tool in getting genuine smiles. By the end of the shoot, our son was posing himself and smiling for the camera!
5 Maternity Photo Shoot Tips:
- Location. Pick a place that has special meaning to you. My husband loves photography and we’ve been fortunate to do mini photo shoots around the Seattle-area. Every Mother’s Day, we do a photo shoot as my present and they are so meaningful to me. Since we do several photo shoots a year in classic spots, I really wanted to find a fun location where we could interact with our toddler and also get some gorgeous photos. We chose the same location as our wedding photos to also celebrate our 5th wedding anniversary. I’d recommend finding a place that also has an indoor space in case the weather doesn’t cooperate.
- Attire. Wear something that makes you feel beautiful and effortless, whether that’s an evening gown or t-shirt and jeans. I combed Etsy and Pinterest looking for maternity photo shoot clothing ideas. There were a lot of dresses that open up to show the belly, which is just not my style. I was stoked to find a long, flowy dress that completely covered my belly and could be shortened to wear the rest of my pregnancy and post-pregnancy. However, when I tried it on, it wasn’t very flattering. I ended up finding one on clearance at Motherhood Maternity that was perfect! The blue blue color coordinated with my husband and toddler’s clothes. I wore wedge heels for the first time in my pregnancy and that was a big mistake! I thought I was going to topple over at any point and my legs started aching after only 30 minutes. Make sure you are comfortable in your clothing and shoe choice.
- Time of Day. Think about the lighting and time of year when booking your photo shoot. Because we have a toddler, I had to plan around his “happy” times. He usually is in the best spirits in the morning. We ended up with an 8am shoot to get nice lighting. If I were a first-time Mom doing a maternity shoot, I’d probably shoot for the Golden Hour to get the best light. This varies depending on the season and where you live.
- Props. Incorporate props that are meaningful to you and your family. I’m a sucker for props. I always over bring, just in case it comes in handy. Our family motto is “Anything worth doing is worth OVERdoing!” I scoured Google images for fun props are found balloons, children’s books, stethoscopes for siblings to use, lots of chalkboard signs, tin can telephones, etc. We ended up primarily using the tin can telephone because I really liked how it showed a bond between our toddler and baby, which is something we have been fostering for several months. Choose props that represent your family.
- Let it Go. Shake off any dreams of the perfect photo shoot. I was really bummed because our photo shoot was rescheduled and it affected my hair and nail appointments I had arranged for the original date. So, my nail paint was chipped and my hair wasn’t the way I wanted it because I did it myself at 6am. The weather was also really iffy and I was worried it would rain at any moment. However, I knew that all my negative thoughts would reflect in the photos, so I just tried to shake it off and be present in the moment. By doing that, I enjoyed the whole experience a lot more and was completely present.
Good luck and I hope you have as good of an experience as I did! Seeing this maternity photo snapshot of our lives as our family of three becomes a family of four is something that we will cherish for years and years!