mamahood · new mama · pregnancy · Random Thoughts

Rocking your maternity shoot

One of the most exciting parts of pregnancy is the maternity shoot stage!

While you’re well on your way towards the end of your pregnancy and meeting your new baby, you’re in for an exciting experience with your maternity shoot.

If you’re still busy marking items off your third trimester to-do list, this is one item that needs that tick!

I couldn’t wait for my belly to pop with each pregnancy.

Not only is it such a beautiful sight (although you won’t be seeing your feet for a while), but it meant that my maternity shoot was around the corner. It took a while got my bumps to really pop out so I had to be a little patient.

Each of my photo shoots were different, although with two of them I used the same photographer.

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I loved the experience from the beginning until the end!

I’ve heard of some maternity shoots going completely sideways, which made me really grateful that all three of mine went very well.

You can’t exactly re-do those photos a few months down the line, nor make up for it with your next pregnancy because every pregnancy is different. Your baby bump with each baby is unique.

Maybe I’ve got you thinking, “But do I really need a maternity shoot?” It’s really a personal choice for each mama-to-be to have one or not.

I always knew that I wanted to have one with each of my pregnancies and that’s what I set out to do.

What I’ve learned from all my maternity shoots: it helps PREPARING for them.

As with any photo shoot, you don’t just walk in and wing it. Some planning has to happen before the time.

If you want to ROCK it, you need to know how to do just that.

I’m here to help you prepare for your upcoming maternity shoot and rock it!

Find the right photographer

I don’t think it’s something people think about a lot.

The misconception that I’ve heard so many mamas have is that if the photographer is expensive, they must be great at what they do. If not, it won’t be someone you want to use. It’s not always the case, really.

I shopped around before making a decision on a photographer I liked. While there were some impressive portfolios I looked at, I didn’t ‘click’ with the photographers; some because I didn’t share the same ideas with, others couldn’t do what I had in mind.

Don’t be afraid to do some window shopping and reading online reviews for photographers before deciding on the one you feel would best fit you.

Book appointment well in advance

Photographers are busy. They don’t only do maternity shoots, but weddings, engagements, birthdays, etc. They get booked up pretty quickly. DON’T wait a week or two before you want to have the shoot done because the chances of your photographer of choice being available are very low.

I would suggest booking your maternity shoot at least a month, even two, before your date of choice to secure your spot.

Timing is so important

You want to show off your baby bump to the world through these photos. While you might have taken thousands of selfies of your bump, professional photos are a whole other level of awesome.

You don’t want to have them done too early in your pregnancy because you might not have much of a bump to show off.

Nor do you want to wait until the very end in case you got into labor.

Most photographers recommend anytime between 31 and 35 (some even push it to 36) weeks because by then your bump really starts showing more and you’re still in the safe zone. So less stressing and more enjoying!

Share your ideas with your photographer

They know what they’re doing. If you have any ideas about what you would like to do for your maternity shoot, share them with your photographer.

They can tell you what works, what doesn’t, what else can be done and ease your mind so you can enjoy your day.

Have a theme in mind

Why not choose a theme for your maternity shoot? Depending on the season you’ll be doing the maternity shoot in, you might have to get a little creative to achieve the feel you want. There are so many themes to choose from and it can be difficult to choose just ONE.

Dress to impress

You get to dress up! Not only what you wear will define your baby bump, but you’ll look stunning! You can always pick something from your wardrobe to wear, or you could purchase something specific. There are even options available to rent a maternity dress for the photo shoot. You can find the details at the end of the post.

Touch up on make-up

Even if you’re not a fan of make-up, wear some. Even if it’s just a little bit to add some color to your face. I did my own make-up with my last two photo shoots and it really didn’t take up much of my time. If you’re set on low key, you can stick to mascara, brush and lipgloss.

Lather up a little but not a lot

It’s important to keep your skin moisturised throughout your pregnancy. Your bump growing results in itchy skin and change in hormones could add on dry skin. I used Happy Event Antenatal Lotion during all three of my pregnancies, and even postpartum to care for my skin. I started using the lotion very early in my pregnancies and the results of how healthy my skin remains, even postpartum, is truly amazing.

On the day of your maternity shoot, try not to use too much lotion as you might shine a little on the photos. So moisturise as you would each day, but avoid using too much for the shoot.

Maternity shoots include a lot of hand photography. Meaning you’ll have close-ups of your bump, and your hands on it. Double check the day before your nails are clean and neat, maybe add some nail polish on them. Use lotion on your hands too, nothing worse than showing off your beautiful bump and having dry hands ruining the photo. It happened to a friend of mine a few years back, and the photographer never edited them and well, she doesn’t show those close-up photos often.

Props, anyone?

Once you’ve settled on a theme for the shoot, the endless possibilities of the prop world fall into your lap. Props are a fun way to make the photo shoots interesting and lively, and depending on the theme you’ve chosen, you can decide on what props to go with. You can either collect your own props for the shoot, but many photographers have their own collection of props so by sharing your ideas with them, you can find even more ideas for your shoot.

Location, location, location

What kind of shoot do you want? Indoors and intimate? Outdoors and open? Deciding this might be easier if you already have the theme in mind. However, it might not always work the way you would like it to. If you want an outdoor shoot with a flowery background… in winter? Chances are, that idea might not work too well with what you’re going for. If you want a flowery background, with different props and even backdrops, you can have the same shoot indoors in a studio.

If you find the right setting, some places offer indoor and outdoor places to have the photo shoot done. So apart from the photographer, you’ll have to do some research on locations, depending on your theme and what you would like.

Make it a family thing

Include your husband in the maternity shoot (after all, he is a part of your pregnancy). If you have older kids, let them join in as well. While you and your bby bump are the prime focus of the maternity shoot, mixing it up a bit with your family creates memories to look back on in the future.

Just remember to coordinate the outfits for everyone that will be participating so you don’t have anyone sticking out like a sore thumb on the photos, and stealing the limelight from the mama-to-be.

Have fun

Really, have fun! There’s nothing more I can say on this. Don’t stress out too much with the time leading up to the shoot. Try and get a good night’s sleep the night before the shoot and enjoy the experience as it unfolds.

You look amazing!

If you’re feeling self-consince about putting yourself out there like this, don’t! Remember, you look amazing, baby bump and all. Maternity shoots are a fun way to show off your bump and they capture the essence of your pregnancy.

When I stood there, having my photos taken, with my belly all over the show, I never felt the need to hide away or show less of it. I wanted to show it off more than ever.

A special thanks to:

*Lynette from Lynette van der Bijl Photography for the amazing photos of my maternity shoot and for everything you did to make the day possible and beautiful.

See her work on her Facebook page as well.

*Jana Meintjes from Silver Swallow Design for sponsoring the stunning dress for my maternity shoot and making me feel beautiful on the day.

If you’re interested in more of her designs, please visit Denize Xenia.

*The Hertford Country Hotel for allowing us to take photos there and making the day perfect with your gorgeous venue.

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