This is a paid post in partnership with Mom's The Word boutique.
While some days it may feel like you and your bump have been together for much longer than you'd prefer, we all know pregnancy is a temporary time in life. Luckily, it's also one you can remember in your heart and your photo album forever. If you're opting for a maternity photo shoot, read on! We've got your top tips on how to prep for your maternity photo shoot.
First, Get Inspired! Gather inspiration for your maternity shoot via Pinterest, Instagram, or any of your favorite searchable social media sites. Make a new board you can pin ideas to or create a tangible vision board by printing online photos and using magazine clippings. Include ideas for outfits, locations, accessories, themes or the overall style for your shoot. For extra inspiration, check out websites of local maternity photographers. You'll need to research photographers anyway so this is a fun way to begin your search!
A way to get clear on what you want is to think nouns: people, places, and things you'd like to incorporate into your shoot. For people, decide if you'd like to shoot solo or include your partner and/or kids in the photos. For places, determine if you'd like to be indoors, outside, in your own home, at a studio, at a special location or somewhere you've never been. The possibilities are endless! Remember to factor the weather report into this decision as well as how comfortable you are standing for long periods of time. As for the 'things' category, we're talking about accessories for you, baby items such as adorable shoes, bows, or onesies, or special items like family heirlooms, handmade signs that showcase your due date, baby's name, how far along you are, or even a gender reveal.
Next up, Find Your Photographer! When it comes to selecting your photog, there are a few key ingredients. First, ask your close friends or family members for recommendations on photographers they enjoyed working with. If you're feeling wild, post the question on your Facebook (but only if you're ready to navigate a lot of opinions). If you don't want to ask around, everyone's BFF, Google, is ready and willing to help. Search by using keywords like your town or city, style types such as "moody" or "bright", or any locations you know you want to shoot in such as a local ballpark, museum, or botanical garden. For example, a search might look like "beach maternity photographer near Surfside, North Carolina", or perhaps "Orlando maternity photographer for Disney World baby photo shoot".
While it's important to feel confident in their photo portfolio, the most important qualification for your photographer is that you feel comfortable with them. You don't need to become best friends but connecting through conversation is important. Schedule a chat on the phone or in person at a local coffee shop to learn about her shooting style, package options, rates, ideas, and how she got into her field of work. If your gut says it's not a fit, trust that and move to your next option.
Once your vision and photographer are set, it's time to Prep Your Look! Grab your laptop, some snacks, get cozy, and start shopping online. With so many options, it's best to simplify and think basics. Jewel tones, like this gorgeous purple maxi, and neutrals, like this super soft cream cardigan, always look sharp in photographs. You can never go wrong with classic black or a pair of incredible jeans. However, the absolute best look on everyone is confidence so whatever you choose to wear, be sure it makes you feel as gorgeous as you are.
If you're opting to include the whole family in your shoot, start with the hardest person to dress. For example, if your husband has a red plaid shirt he absolutely loves, work around that piece by selecting a red dress for you, and a red plaid bow tie for your toddler's outfit. If your family is made up of die hard fans for a certain sports team, bust out the matching jerseys and order a team onesie for baby-to-be. You can get as fancy or as fun as you'd like. After all, it's your maternity photo shoot!
Our final tip for your maternity shoot, and the most important one we can give, is to Love Yourself. Embrace your bump and body as you are right now without making any judgements or comparisons. If scrolling social media for inspiration makes you feel bad about yourself in any way, skip that step. If setting up the shoot makes you stressed out, ask a trusted loved one to handle it and sit back and relax. Don't allow anyone, including yourself, or anything to spoil this special and unique time in your life, or make you think you're anything less than a total babe. While planning is important, try to let go of any expectations you may have surrounding the shoot or the outcome. The most important thing is to have fun, enjoy yourself and the experience, feel how beautiful and loved you are, and remember that you will treasure these photos for years to come.