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  • Writer's pictureTamara Merri

How to Prepare for a Maternity Session | MA Family Photographer

How to prepare for your maternity session

  1. When should a maternity session be?

  2. What to wear for a maternity session?

  3. What kind of cosmetic steps should be taken?

  4. Should you bring props?

  5. How to pose for maternity session?

  6. Where should a maternity session be?

  7. How long is a maternity session?

1. When should a maternity session be?

This might depend on how you're carrying and how large of a belly you'd like to have in your photos. Typically, the best time for maternity photos is somewhere in the 32 week range. This is because the baby bump is more prominent and round, without being too big that mom is uncomfortable during the session.

2. What to wear for your maternity session?

Putting aside the thoughts of actual outfits for a moment, the best thing to wear is something that makes a momma feel comfortable and confident! We also want to choose something to accentuate your baby bump while still flattering other areas. While creating a life, it's possible a momma may also gain weight in arms, face, bum, and other areas. It is completely natural, and necessary for healthy for the growing baby! However, a woman generally wants to look and feel beautiful, potentially even more so during this time where her body is changing. Okay, now back to actual outfits. Here are some things to keep in mind:

Outfit types that change the formality:

- wearing a dress versus something more casual and cute like overalls

- type of a dress (flowy vs stretchy) and length of dress (floor length, tea/knee length, or short)

- the neck line/sleeve length of shirt/dress

Outfits that pair well with the season or mood:

- florals for a happy spring vibe

- velvet for winter

- conveying a mood with silk versus denim, or linen versus leather

Colors and patterns

- If you don't know the gender of your baby, neutral colors like white, tan, grays, and yellows work well. As the old adage goes for photography, when in doubt, choose neutrals or pastels.

- If you know the gender of your baby, consider whether you want to opt for pale pinks and blues for more light and airy images, or dark/punchy colors like royal blue and red for more bold photos.

- In any case, avoid busy patterns smaller than a quarter such as small checkers or crossing stripes.

Modest vs bare

- Consider whether you're interested in showing off you baby bump with a maternity dresses that is sheer or open in the front, or if you'd rather opt for no skin showing like with a long maxi dress.

3. What kind of cosmetic steps should be taken?

Hair and Makeup:

Many mom-to-be's choose to get their hair and makeup done professionally for their maternity sessions. I recommend having your hair down. Many of the mother's I've photographed are glad to have their hair down to use it to cover up their neck, arms, and shoulders if they're swelling. If you get makeup done, I recommend a natural look- but fake eyelashes are always a great idea to give a pop of glam to the photos! However, don't feel pressured to go the professional route. If you generally done get made up, there's no shame in having your session au-natural.

Nail Care:

Since your hands will be on your belly much of the time, your fingernails are going to have their close up! I recommend you take care of your nails and hands, whether at home or at a salon, including cuticle care and nail shape. As for color of nails, you can't go wrong with a neutral color or french tip. Or you get some fun press-on nails!! I know that sounds so 90s, but they've really improved and have some great quality nail options.

Skin Care:

Ensure to repair and dry or cracked skin that may show in photos. It's particularly important for skin on hands, elbows, and legs (if they'll show), and feet (if they'll show). For your face, if your skin rungs oily, I recommend bringing along some oil absorbing sheets.

4. Should you bring props to a maternity session?

Props can be a fun addition! I find that most people bring props to either a pregnancy announcement session rather than a maternity session. Props could include baby shoes and clothes, blocks to spell out baby name, the sonogram, things that say "mom and dad", nursery decor, etc. Remember that while these photos will document this chapter in your lives, they can also be used to decorate your home and nursery! So try to brainstorm what you might like on your walls! You can of course include other children if you have them, or pets if you want (not that they're a prop lol).

5. How to pose for maternity session?

You can expect to be guided through a multitude of poses both by yourself as well as with your partner / family. I have lots of ideas, but if you've gathered inspiration you'd like to share, I'm open to your ideas, too! I like to go in to every session as a collaboration to ensure that we're getting the photos of your dreams. You can expect both standing and sitting photos, if the location allows.

Here are some quick tips:

  • Hands are oftentimes on your tummy. Play around with alternating your hands on either side of the bump / having both below / both on top / one on baby to see what you like.

  • You want your leg that is facing the camera to be a little bent to add more shape to your body.

  • If there's a pose where you're looking down at your baby, make sure to first elongate your neck and then aim your chin forward then at the ground, rather than just looking down as that can cause some double chin action.

  • Arching your back a bit and then putting one hand on your back can be really flattering to add some shape to your pose. Make sure to pull your elbow and shoulder back for best posture

6. Where should a maternity session be?

The golden question! As with any session, I always advocate for a session to be somewhere that is meaningful, whether that's a spot that holds a memory to you or somewhere that you've dreamed about. While location plays an important role, remember that the most important thing is you! If there's no location you can think of that holds any kind of significance, try then to thing of a setting you'd be interested in such as a field, a mountain backdrop, on the beach, somewhere urban, or even at home! Again, if you plan to frame these images (which you should! photos deserve to live offline), then perhaps consider the current decor or theme of your home when choosing a location.

7. How long is a maternity session?

If you're working with Tamara Merri Photography, all portrait sessions are up to 90 minutes. However, I get that mama is carrying another human inside of her! So if at any point you have any discomfort or fatigue, stop! We can end the session early, or take all the rest breaks necessary. While you have 90 minutes allotted to you, the entire time frame does not need to be filled if we got tons of amazing shots in a smaller time frame.

Do you have other questions about how to prepare for your maternity session? Please leave a comment and I'd love to provide more info. Or if you're interested in working together, then please email me and let's chat!



Tamara Merri Photography


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I'm Tamara!

I'm a Massachusetts wedding & elopement photographer. I'm the voice behind this blog and the girl behind the camera. 

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