How to Prepare Your Maternity Session?


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I have been doing lots of maternity sessions in the last few months,  I guess fall season is truly the baby booming season.

Many clients asked me about how to prepare for a successful maternity session, and here are my thoughts.

When to schedule a maternity session?

The best time to do a maternity session is between seven and eight months.  By that time the baby bump is very visible and that makes it easier to capture on camera. The expectant mother is still with lots of energy to last a 90 minute session without feeling too exhausted.

There is one exception though. If you are expecting twins or triplets, try to schedule around 6-7 months.

What is the ideal length of maternity session?

In my personal opinion,  90 minutes to 2 hours is ideal and anything longer than that, you are wearing out the expectant mothers.  Two hour session allows you change one location so you can combine outdoor with indoor. If you can only have one location, I suggest to do outdoor.  Most people feel more relaxed in the outdoor setting.

  Photo at Foothills Park

Photo at Foothills Park

Indoor photo does make a great addition, though.  If expectant mother is comfortable, she can wear very minimum such as a sports bra and sexy underwear,  it is a special time with extraordinary body shape to be captured!

  At home

At home

What to wear for maternity session?

I always suggest solid color first since the focus of the session is expectant mother and baby bump. Clothes with patterns can be distracting.  

Keep it simple.  A long maxi dress fits almost every body type.  Bring a small belt or clips so that we can clip behind.   The key is to have a very tight fitting dress or outfit.

For your partner, it is best to wear solid shirt with contrast color to expectant mother.

Bring one or two small child pieces, such as a pair of baby shoes, a teddy bear that I can incorporate into photos.

  A pair of baby shoes.

A pair of baby shoes.

How to choose a location?

There are a few different ways to approach this.  Choose a location that has meaning to you and your partner, such as where you first met.  Parks and open space are generally great in the spring and fall with flowers or foliage. Architectural buildings with clean lines are great options because it draws the focus to the person and the body shape.

One thing that is often overlooked is the time of the photography session. I typically only do sessions in the morning (2-3 hours after sunrise) or the late afternoon (2 hours before sunset), because we are mostly likely to have even light and the light is often soft and rich.  

  Legion of Honor, San Francisco

Legion of Honor, San Francisco

If you choose a public museum or building, you also want to consider the hours.  Choose the hours when it is first open or 2 hours before it is closing.

There are many wonderful locations in San Francisco and Peninsula ( Los Altos, Palo Alto, Mountain View), I would be more than happy to provide suggestions based on your style.

This is my second child, how can I engage my child in maternity session?

If you are expecting, very likely your child is still quite young.  It is important to choose locations that he/she is familiar with or locations where to pique their interests.  A public park will keep them run around and occupied. I usually always bring small toys and bubbles.

It would also be great to have them participate in some of the photos. Kids are usually very excited about having a sibling but they don’t fully grasp the idea of pregnancy yet.  You can have them touch and kiss the baby bump, or sometimes simply take some photos with you.

  Through a child’s curious eyes.

Through a child’s curious eyes.

I usually always take a few extra child portrait photos.

That is about it.  Now it is time to relax and enjoy! In the next article, I will share some tips on posing.  

Interested in booking a maternity session?  Feel free to email at viviancromwellphotography at gmail dot com.