How to choose the right maternity photographer

You’re in the middle of a life-altering experience as you prepare to welcome your child into this world. Your body is rapidly changing – we’re talking about you, cankles and stretch marks– and soon, your life will too. Understandably, you want to mark such a momentous occasion with photos that will become cherished keepsakes.

But, with so many photographers out there, how do you know which one to choose?

FINDING THE RIGHT PHOTOGRAPHER

Couple looking for a photographer on their laptop

 

To find the right fit, you need to look at what’s most important to you. Come up with your non-negotiables. What is it that you can’t compromise on when it comes to a photographer?

There are five areas you should consider before deciding:

  • Price
  • Style
  • Overall experience
  • Quality of work
  • Personality

 

PRICE

Pregnant woman shopping at her laptop with a credit card

A girl should always keep her eyes on her bank account. Perhaps you’re feeling the financial strain from buying all that adorable baby gear and maternity outfits and you’re worried about money. If that sounds like you, you’re going to want to focus on finding a photographer whose fee is in your price range.

While a photographer’s price may seem, at first glance, higher than you wanted to pay, it can be a good measure of their experience and quality of work. Value-priced photographers are generally less specialized, often engaging in all types of photography, from headshots to weddings and everything in between. They may not always have the needed skills for properly posing and styling a maternity session.

If price is your main concern, there is nothing wrong with choosing a value-priced photographer. You should be aware, though, the quality may not be as high as it would be with a photographer specializing in maternity shots.

Channel your inner Nancy Drew to do a little detective work to ensure you understand what’s included in the price your photographer quotes you. Otherwise, you might catch yourself flying into a pregnancy-hormone-induced rage when you get your final bill.

Some photographers advertise a low initial price to bring new customers into their studio. But that can be deceiving. You’ll need to consider if they offer packages or a la carte pricing, as well as any hidden fees they may charge. A la carte pricing can sound appealing, but it can be more expensive than you anticipated, especially if your photographer gives you dozens of great images – you might buy more than you expected.

That low price your photographer offers also may not include digital files or prints. This can be an extra expense you didn’t anticipate.

STYLE

Black and white image of a pregnant woman in a photo studio

Some mothers-to-be have no idea as to the style of photographs they prefer. Others, though, have a firm idea of what they want. If you know what you’d like to see in your maternity photos, you should focus on finding a photographer whose style matches your vision. If you want a fine-art vibe for your photographs, can they pull that off?

Matching your taste and vision with your photographer’s creative preference and ability can result in some out-of-this-world photography that can bring your photoshoot to the next level.

EXPERIENCE

Photographer in a busy studio checking her laptop

While there are some extremely talented new photographers out there, you want to be assured you’re in good hands with maternity photos. You only have a small window of time to work with and you’re already likely feeling the strain from your busy schedule. You want your photos to be done correctly the first time, and for this objective, there’s no substitute for experience.

Ask to view a photographer’s portfolio and pay attention to what you see there. Do you see a wide variety of photos, such as school pictures, weddings, and more? Then they might not specialize in maternity photography – they might only dabble in it. It’s nice that a photographer can shoot an amazing landscape picture, but that doesn’t tell you anything about what they can do to minimize the bags under your eyes since you haven’t have a good night’s sleep in weeks.

Here are some questions to ask before deciding on a photographer:

  • How long have they been shooting maternity portraits?
  • Do they specialize in maternity & newborn portraits, or are they more of an all-purpose type of photographer who doesn’t specialize in anything?
  • Do they know the best time to capture maternity portraits?
  • Do they use lighting modifiers that best accentuate a pregnant figure?
  • Are they familiar with poses that may not be safe for pregnant women, such as reclining on their backs?

 

QUALITY OF WORK

Woman curating her photographs at a desk

When looking at a photographer’s portfolio, concentrate on your gut reaction – if you can feel it with your baby doing all that kicking. Sometimes people have trouble putting into words what makes a photograph great, but everyone knows a fantastic photo when they see it. They may not be able to explain why it’s an outstanding picture, but they can feel it.

What do you feel when you look at your possible photographer’s portfolio? Do you feel the emotions leaping out of the picture? Are their images magazine-worthy? Do you think they use too many filters, or that the photos are excessively retouched? Are you happy with the lighting they used in the images? Do they take high-resolution photos that lend themselves to adjusting for various-sized framing options?

PERSONALITY

Fun photographer with a camera

A photographer who can put you at ease is priceless – if you choose correctly, it can feel like you’re hanging out with your best friend and they’re taking some informal pictures of you.

You’re at a stage in your life when you might not be looking or feeling your best. If that extra weight has seemed to go straight to your face instead of your belly, you might hate having your picture taken. And those pregnancy hormones we mentioned? They can leave you feeling more emotionally fragile than usual. Don’t worry about your imperfect appearance – a great photographer can find all the right angles to flatter your figure and face. You may want to keep them on speed dial after your pregnancy ends because you’ll love their expertise so much.

Having a photographer who makes you feel comfortable is a key element to how you’ll feel when you look back at those photos years from now. If you remember how indifferent the photographer seemed, you’re going to be annoyed when you see those pictures. And instead of hearing about how you couldn’t wait for them to be born, your child will roll their eyes as you launch into your hundredth story about how rude your photographer was.

Also, people tend to stiffen up or act less naturally when having their picture taken. If you want to look like a supermodel and not a celebrity police mugshot, it helps if your photographer can put you at ease or make you laugh.You’ll end up with photos that look much more natural.

 

WHERE CAN I FIND A MATERNITY PHOTOGRAPHER?

Woman holding her pregnant belly while searching on a laptop

Decent photographers are easy to find, but great ones aren’t as common. Remember, anyone with a camera can call themselves a photographer.

You can find an expert through word of mouth from friends or through online channels such as Yelp, Google Search, Facebook, and Instagram. But when you find one you’re interested in, don’t rely solely on one social media channel, such as Instagram, when checking them out. An established photographer will have a presence across multiple channels.

If a photographer’s only means of communication is through Facebook or Messenger, we suggest you move on. In today’s world, that’s simply not professional and super sketchy. The majority of high-quality photographers will have their own website, an official email address, a physical address, and a phone number.

If you call and they seem abrupt or annoyed, they might not be the best fit for you. If you leave a message and they don’t return your call promptly, you should also move on. Your pregnancy will pass quickly, and your time is too precious to spend trying to chase someone down. In your single days, did you spend all your energy chasing a guy who didn’t seem interested at all? Nope, and you shouldn’t with a disinterested photographer either.

Make sure to check out any reviews you come across online through Yelp and Google. Concentrate on the most recent reviews as they reflect where that photographer is at now professionally. You should also read the bad reviews because that can give you a complete picture of the experience you might have.

 

MAKE THE TIME

Pregnant woman smiling while holding her phone

A nine-month pregnancy might seem like an eternity when you can’t wait to see your baby’s beautiful face or hold your precious child for the first time. But you’ll be surprised at how quickly the time passes, and you’ll always want to remember every kick you felt and the emotions brewing in you as you waited for your baby to draw its first breath.  Read our article discussing 5 reasons why every expectant Mom should do a maternity photo shoot.

That’s why taking the time for maternity photos and finding the right photographer will be one of the best investments you’ll make as you prepare to welcome your child. No matter how many decades have passed since you’ve given birth, your maternity photos should take you right back to those months and emotions. And someday as your child prepares to have their own child, they’ll look back at those photos and understand exactly how you were feeling at that moment.

5 Tips to Prepare for your Newborn Photo Session

The minute you saw your baby, you fell head over heels in love. Those chipmunk cheeks, wrinkly hands, and their tiny little body have filled your heart with so much joy. You keep trying to memorize every detail before they get bigger – their sweet smell, the way they smile when they’re sleeping, the grunts, and the feel of their hands grasping your fingers. You want to remember every minute of these special days for the rest of your life.

As a new parent, you finally understand why other parents tell you to cherish these first weeks. Your child will grow so quickly. It won’t be long before they transition to a toddler, and you’ll be struggling to remember how soft their skin was, and how their sleepy head seemed to fit perfectly on your shoulder as you rocked them to sleep. That’s where newborn photo sessions come in handy – preserving these precious, fleeting days.

Your newborn’s photography session should be an exciting time for your family. But parents often find themselves worried and anxious about preparing themselves and their babies for the big occasion. With a little planning, you can relax and enjoy the session, knowing all your bases are covered. Years from now, you’ll be glad you booked a newborn photo session so you can stroll back in time to the days when you didn’t have to share your child with the rest of the world.

Follow our top five tips to make sure you and your baby have a great session that documents this special time in your lives.

 

SCHEDULE YOUR SESSION AHEAD OF TIME

Woman holding a clock next to her pregnant belly

 

Most photographers will only do newborn sessions when infants are between 5 to 14 days old. That’s a small window of time, so you need to be thinking ahead!

By scheduling in advance, you and your photographer will be prepared for when your baby decides to make its grand entrance.

Also, scheduling your session ahead of time will make it less likely that your photographer will be fully booked when you call. Waiting until the last minute to schedule your session might mean you won’t get your preferred photographer, and you’ll be stuck shopping based on availability instead of finding a professional who fits your preferred style.

A good time to start the booking process is around your second trimester. Reach out to the photographer you want and tell them your due date (and answer any other questions they might have). Then, once your sweet baby is born, let your photographer know the exciting news, and you’ll get an exact date for your session.

 

KEEP YOUR BABY AWAKE BEFORE THE SESSION

Happy baby smiling in bed

 

It’s no secret that infants sleep a lot. But sometimes, their sleep patterns don’t cooperate with our plans. If you want your little one sacked out during the photo session, so you can get those adorable sleepy newborn poses, keep them up for a while before your photographer arrives.

Making sure you keep your baby awake prior to a session is a great way to guarantee they will sleep through most of it. That will lead to peaceful pictures, instead of ones where they look enraged or red-faced from crying.

 

FEED YOUR BABY 20-30 MINUTES BEFORE YOUR SESSION

A mother feeding her baby with a bottle

 

What’s cuter than a milk-drunk infant? (Hint: the answer is nothing!).

Newborns are some of the hungriest creatures on this Earth. You don’t want their photo session disrupted by their frantic cries for milk. Feeding and burping your infant right before your newborn photo session begins means less crying, better sleep, and relaxed parents (and photographer!).

Avoid giving them a full meal in the one to two hours before your session. If they seem hungry, try to give them a small snack to get them through. Then, slightly before your session, you can feed them a full meal and expect a happy, tired baby in return.

Most photo sessions last around two hours, which leaves plenty of time to refuel if your child wakes up expecting a snack. Just make sure to have an extra bottle on hand if you use formula.

 

UNDRESS TO IMPRESS

A smiling newborn baby covered with a blanket

 

About 30 minutes before the session, change your baby’s diaper into a loose (but not too loose), clean diaper and swaddle them. Since most photographers prefer babies to be naked during their session, undressing them beforehand is a timesaver. It also means you won’t disrupt their sleep cycle by trying to get their onesie off. A loose diaper is best because it will avoid creating diaper marks around their waist.

A great way to do this without waking them up once they’ve fallen asleep is to change their diaper, swaddle, and then feed them. You’ll be taking care of everything at once. By breastfeeding (or bottle-feeding), they’ll be able to calm down quickly, and most likely fall asleep immediately after (if not during) their eating time.

Are you worried your newborn is going to get cold? Keep them swaddled until your photographer arrives. They’ll be able to advise you on the next steps before they start taking pictures.

 

SIT BACK AND WATCH

Woman relaxing on couch with a cup of tea

 

This one’s for you, Mama.

Your photographer knows what they’re doing. Let them run the show. As a mother, you may have that innate urge to pick your child up with every grunt they make, and it can be hard to see someone else handling them. This is why it’s important to find a professional newborn photographer with experience and positive reviews.

Photographers know how much your infant means to you, and they are treated accordingly. Any experienced newborn photographer will know exactly what positions will be comfortable for your child and how to move them delicately so they won’t wake up.

Your photographer should be used to working with worried parents and will know how to put you at ease. However, if at any point during the session you start to feel uncomfortable, make sure to let your photographer know. It’s just as important for you to feel comfortable as it is for your little one.

Also, try not to stress if your tot is being fussy. Babies can feel their mama’s stress or tension, so if you’re calm, your infant may relax too.

 

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

To prepare for fussy moments, you’ll want to have a few things ready — a pacifier, a bottle of formula/breastmilk, a swaddling blanket, and a few clean diapers. If nothing seems to be working to calm your bundle of joy, ask for a break in your session while you try to get things under control.

A few other things you should keep in mind when it comes to your baby’s newborn session are:

• Most photographers include props, but if there is something in particular you want your photographer to include, let them know.

• Try to keep the volume down to maintain a calm environment. When you get overwhelmed, you and your baby can both feel it. Staying relaxed and quiet will ensure a calm atmosphere.

• Make sure you come prepared to be in a few of the photos. You may not be feeling like a supermodel quite yet, but getting in the photos with your infant will create some lasting memories you’ll both treasure.

• Wear neutral colors like creams, mild tones, and soft hues for intimate portraits.

• It’s best to avoid chunky jewelry and watches, which can be distracting elements and will look dated years from now. Strive for timeless photos that will be staples in your home for decades to come.

• If you want to capture your entire family with your newest addition, the best time to do so is toward the end of the session. Consider having the rest of your family show up at the end, so the noise level from the extra people doesn’t disturb your baby.

To read about more tips for your session, read on.

 

DRINK IT IN

It can be tough for moms to relinquish their caregiver role, even for an hour or two as newborn photos are being taken. However, take advantage of this time. It’s a much-needed mini-break for you. Unlike a maternity photo session, your newborn photo op is all about your baby.  You can spend it watching an expert who excels at their craft, and possibly learn some photography tips while you’re at it.

Years from now, when your son towers over you, or your daughter raids your closet, your keepsake photos will remind you of those precious days when they were still little enough for you to carry in your arms.

5 reasons why every expectant mom should do a maternity photo shoot

Pregnancy is a beautiful thing, but it doesn’t always feel that way. While you may be lucky enough to enjoy some perks, like glowing skin, luxurious locks, and a cute baby bump, you’re also going to see the downsides of pregnancy – swollen ankles, newfound tiger stripes, and a rollercoaster of mood swings.  Sounds fun, right? Since expectant moms often aren’t looking or feeling their best, they may question whether they should take maternity photos at all. As they scroll through Instagram, they can feel huge, especially as they compare themselves to that perfect-looking Insta-mama.  She walks ten miles every day and brags about it in her stories, so it’s hard not to feel inferior as you polish off that sleeve of Oreos.

If you don’t feel like you’re rocking this whole pregnancy thing, you should still have maternity photos taken. Even though pregnancy can have its less-than-enjoyable moments, your body is doing an incredibly beautiful thing. You’ll never regret documenting this change with maternity photos.  Here are five good reasons why every mama-to-be should schedule a maternity photo session.

 

BELIEVE IT OR NOT, YOU’RE GOING TO MISS YOUR BUMP!

Pregnant woman taking a selfie in her bedroom

 

From the moment you see those two parallel lines on a pregnancy test, you start dreaming about the day you’ll get to hold your newborn in your arms. At first, it feels like time is inching by, and you find yourself saying things like “I am so tired of being pregnant.”

You’ve probably complained about your aching back, sleepless nights, and frequent heartburn to all your friends and family. “There is no way I’m going to miss this,” you state matter-of-factly while sweating buckets on a relatively cool day.

But as time goes on, you’re going to miss that bump!  It won’t be at first, but as the months pass and your baby starts to crawl, you’ll scroll through your monthly pregnancy photos on your phone while absentmindedly rubbing your belly.

You may find yourself uttering those words you never thought you would: “I miss being pregnant.”

The truth is, while pregnancy is hard, there is something simultaneously magical about it. You’re growing a new life, and you’re the only one your child is depending on. You feel their every hiccup, every kick, and every headbutt to your ribs. You’re completely connected.

Once it’s over and done with, you’ll find yourself wandering down nostalgia lane and remembering all those baby kicks (and the ability to eat whatever you wanted guilt-free). So, it’s especially important to capture these moments because you won’t be pregnant forever, and your pregnancy will fly by quicker than you anticipated.

Having maternity photos to look back on will be a standing reminder of that magical time when new life was gestating inside your belly. When you see those beautiful pictures of yourself, you will always smile.

 

YOU’LL BE SHOCKED AT HOW BEAUTIFUL YOU FEEL

Pregnant woman in a black bodysuit posing for a maternity photo

 

You’ve probably heard the phrases “You’re glowing!” or “Pregnancy suits you!” from various people throughout your pregnancy.  Between the cankles, the urge to eat everything in sight, and the fact that none of your clothes fit anymore, pregnancy doesn’t always make you feel beautiful.

In fact, most women experience a decline in self-confidence as their pregnancy progresses.  Your ever-expanding tummy may seem like the perfect excuse to avoid taking photos for a solid nine months, but it’s just the opposite!

You see, at the end of the day you come to realize the beautiful truth – you’re growing a human being – and that is enough of a reason to celebrate!  Dressing up in a way that accentuates your bump, putting on some makeup, and pampering yourself (hello, pedicure!) for a photography session may be just what the doctor ordered for a case of the pregnancy blues.

When you see your pictures after the shoot, you may be surprised at just how beautiful you look.

 

TAKING MATERNITY PHOTOS WILL STRENGTHEN THE BOND BETWEEN YOU AND YOUR SPOUSE

Lifestyle image of a pregnant couple hugging

 

Being pregnant can sometimes cause tension in a relationship, due to mood swings and the anticipated change in lifestyle. The financial pressure can intensify that stress. What you need is a way to keep your eyes on the bigger picture, not just focus on the hardships you’re currently experiencing.

Taking maternity photos together with your partner is a great way to strengthen your bond and celebrate the new life you’re bringing into this world. It’s that final chance to document how your dynamics are changing – you’re morphing from a couple into a family.

Many fathers experience a delay in bonding with their child when they’re in utero. They don’t experience pregnancy in the same way as their spouse, so it can be harder for them to build the attachment to their infant until it is born.

They often don’t build a connection to their newborn until they’re able to interact with it. That’s completely different from mothers – they often experience a deep attachment to the baby while pregnant.

Taking maternity photos can help new fathers develop a strong emotional bond with their growing baby. Helping your spouse bond with your infant will also help you both re-establish your connection.

If this isn’t your first kid, you can bring along your older child to the maternity shoot as well.  Many older siblings find it challenging at first to adjust to a new baby in the family. Taking pictures with their pregnant mommy can help them understand that a new person is coming and even get them excited about the baby’s arrival!

 

YOU CAN SHOW AS MUCH (OR AS LITTLE) AS YOU WANT

Silhouette of a pregnant woman on black

 

A professional photo studio specializing in maternity portraits has an array of lighting modifiers available at its disposal. These modifiers allow the photographer to illuminate as much or as little of you as you want.

While many women choose to celebrate the changes their body undergoes during pregnancy and document them in photographs; other women are more conservative.  An experienced maternity photographer will work with you to understand your needs and your level of comfort.

One of the popular trends these days in maternity photography involves flowing fabrics that tastefully cover parts of your body while revealing the rest.  As you browse Instagram and look at some prospective portrait studios in your area, take screenshots of the photos that appeal to you.

These visual cues will help your photographer better understand the look you want.  In the end, it’s about making you comfortable and happy with your pictures.

 

YOU’LL LOVE LOOKING BACK AT THE PICTURES AS YOUR CHILD GROWS

Mother looking at an album with her children

 

From the day your infant is placed in your arms, time starts to go by fast!

One minute a nurse is teaching you how to swaddle, and the next, you’re chasing a toddler through the aisles at Target.

You’re going to miss the calm days of pregnancy where you didn’t have to keep tabs on the diaper bag or wipes every time you head to the store. You’ll miss that your baby bump couldn’t talk back to you when you get into an argument with your toddler over whether they should eat a popsicle for every meal.

As your child grows, you will probably find yourself reminiscing about your pregnancy days and how quiet the house was. You’ll love reflecting on how you had such a tiny human growing inside you, and your maternity photos will be a wonderful reminder of a time long gone.

Your children will enjoy seeing these pictures when they’re older, too. They’ll absolutely love seeing how gorgeous theirmama was when you were pregnant with them.

They won’t notice those few extra pounds and the bags under your eyes from your lack of sleep. They’ll focus on something more important than that – the love in your eyes and the joy that was radiating from you.

 

THESE PHOTOS WILL BE TREASURED!

Collage of photos on the wall

 

Scheduling a maternity photo session should be on every mommy-to-be’s checklist.

By having maternity photos taken, you’re giving your child a glimpse of a world they’ll never be able to see for themselves – the time their parents spent as a couple before they entered the picture. They’ll have physical proof of how excited you were to meet them.

As hard as it might be to envision now, time passes quickly. It won’t be long before your child may be showing these pictures to their own child. Your grandchild who might only know you as the gray-haired grandma who is always quick to offer a hug and a cookie will have the opportunity to see you in another light.

That’s a tremendous gift to give your child and the children who come into your family after them. And it’s a great present to yourself and your spouse as well. It’s something the whole family will cherish forever.

 

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