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.

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