Ladies, can I be bossy Kathryn for a moment? If you are pregnant, please hire someone to take your photos. I mean it. This is one of the most blessed times of your life and speaking as a mom who only took pictures of her last three pregnancies, I wish I would’ve done it with all of them. There is something so life-giving and awesome about creating life. Even if you’re hovered over the toilet or waddling to the bathroom, this is a season worth remembering. It needs to be documented, no matter how big you think you are. Because you know what? God thinks you’re pretty beautiful, as does that handsome man who helped you make that baby.
Singing the praises for Shannon (Shannon Cunningham Photography and PhotoFrolic) and Stacy (Sugarbee Photography) comes easily. Shannon takes almost all of our family photos and I’ve known her since college. She is crazy awesome. Stacy and I met because of the third-ring of hell known as the neonatal intensive care unit. Our sweet babes carry the same belly battle scars from necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) and I also just love her giving heart and awesome photos.
Below are a mix of both of their photos. Stacy took the latest round and I was so excited because of our history and her appreciation for just how amazing this pregnancy was for our family. My best tips, at your belly service.
1. Hire a photographer you love. Stalk their Facebook page, talk to their references, oogle over their portfolio. No photo session should be filled with stress, so choose wisely. Can’t afford a fancy photog? Ask a friend who’s starting her own business or a trusted family member who is handy with the camera.
2. I recommend taking pictures around the 30-32 week mark. By 36-weeks I had already delivered two of my babies and I was also entering the “I’m so miserable” stage. This way, you’re big and pregnant but not big and oh-so-miserable. It’s likely you still have some energy and by now, your pregnancy hair is at its best. The glow, as they say, is totally rocking it. If you had to pay a deposit and your baby comes early, ask your photographer how that down payment may be applied to something else. Perhaps she can meet you at the hospital and take newborn photos or do a first glimpse session at your home.
3. Dress in something that makes you feel beautiful. That’s changed with each pregnancy, but if dressy dresses are your thang, do it. If you’d rather wear jeans, own that, too. Your photos, your rules. Just do a quick once over in a full-length mirror. That helped me decide to wear boots in my latest round of pics to hide my cankles!
4. Now that Pinterest has arrived, consider creating a board of photo ideas and then sending those to your photographer. It helps you decide what photos are important to you and it also lets your photographer know a bit about your style and desired outcome. Bottom line? Everybody leaves happy.
5. The weather can be your friend, avoid the freak out. Unlike most photos, you have a specific window in which to capture your pregnancy. For all but one of my maternity sessions, the weather was meh. I did cancel the original date for this last pregnancy session because of a rain DOWNPOUR, but we opted to press forward with some light drizzle on the makeup date. Bet you can’t even tell!
6. Include your spouse and children in at least a few photos. For me, I wanted the entire family in some of our photos. That was very important to me. And, I definitely wanted some sweet ones of Scott and I. I just adore these photos.
7. Don’t let those photos sit on your computer. Print hard copies of those beauties out and display them in your home! A few photos reside in our nursery, some in the family room and others in the hallway. To me, they are timeless.
8. Ask about your photographer’s pricing structure. Does the session include a CD of photos and can you print those, or do you need to purchase all photos, both hard copy and digital, from her directly? This is especially important if you end up loving them all!
9. The belly shot. Some folks show it all, some keep it covered. I’ve done both; do what feels right for you.
10. There’s also something grand about capturing the “everyday” of pregnancy. Please don’t hide that belly in family event photos, duck the camera lens or forget to document your life while pregnant. The snapshots of me during pregnancy are some of my most favorites (and hilarious). I’ve talked before about the importance of moms being in photos, no matter how they think they look. Pregnancy is no exception. I promise, you don’t want to look back someday and wonder why you aren’t in any photos.
Get to snapping!