XS Sharon Photography

How To Plan A Stress-Free and Memorable ‘In-Studio’ Maternity Photoshoot [In Just 8 Easy Steps]

March 13, 2023

Becoming a mother is one of life’s most incredible gifts. During those special (and sometimes exhausting and emotional nine months), you and your baby will go on an extraordinary journey together – Creating a bond which will last a lifetime. Which makes it such a significant and important time in your life that should be captured and treasured forever.

Why you should take maternity photos

Isn’t it incredible what your body is capable of creating? A maternity photoshoot celebrates this truly beautiful experience and allows you to embrace the process of bringing new life.

The minute your precious baby arrives and you are consumed by day-to-day life, it is easy to forget those moments in your pregnancy, like how you looked and how you were feeling.

A maternity photoshoot gives you a wonderful opportunity to capture this snapshot in time, so you can look back and cherish this journey for years to come.

vancouver maternity photographer

Why you should opt for an ‘in-studio’ maternity photoshoot

While outdoor settings can often look idyllic in maternity photos, the reality is often less glamorous. In fact, there are many reasons why an in-studio photoshoot might be a much better option for you. Some of these reasons are:

You can factor in different wardrobe changes in the comfort of a warm, private changing room (rather than squeezing into a public washroom). Or worse – there is nowhere to change at all!

In a studio, there are usually sitting areas where you have the luxury of being able to rest, eat and drink between photo set-ups. You also know that there is a washroom nearby should you need it, which you can’t always guarantee in an outdoor setting.

In-studio will always be warmer (which is particularly nice in those colder months). It is also great to have the option of having AC during the warmer seasons – essentially you can set a temperature that suits you!

Because lighting is so crucial in good photography, outdoor shoots mean you are limited with how much time you have. To get the ‘perfect shot’ outside also means you may have to rush around between different places (particularly as a spot may have lots of people there for whatever reason). This can cause the session to feel rushed and important details can be missed in the photos i.e. your dress may be sitting awkwardly or your hair is not in place.

Choice of Backgrounds:
You might initially think that having a shoot outdoors means you have more backdrop options. But actually, this is not always the case! While it is partially true that outdoors can provide a good range, you have to do an excessive amount of walking or travelling between capture shots, which can be quite tiring after a while. In-studio photoshoots can offer much more variety through different options like coloured seamless paper backdrops, handpainted canvas backdrops, curtains, props and the manipulation of flashlights. In fact, there is a never-ending amount of possibilities!

One thing to consider though is if you want your photos taken at a famous or popular scenic point (which holds a lot of meaning to you) then this is when an outdoor photoshoot might be a better option for you.

fabric toss maternity portraits

What to do next

The thought of booking a maternity photo session can feel both exciting and overwhelming. It might even feel like yet another thing to organize and prepare for (as if you didn’t have enough!)

That is why I have brought you our ultimate 8-step guide so you can easily plan a memorable, in-studio maternity photoshoot with ease.

Read on to find the important steps you need to take so you can walk away with breathtakingly beautiful maternity photos that embrace your journey and vision.

1. Choose the Right Time in Your Pregnancy:

Each person will experience their pregnancy differently. Some moms-to-be show more prominent bumps early on, while some do not start showing until much later. 

Each body is different and I generally recommend having the photo shoot done when you are around 30-34 weeks. This is because you have a beautiful large, round bump and you may still feel comfortable posing (and have more energy). However, I have photographed ladies as early as 28 weeks.

The best photographers will always shoot at a good pace and will make sure you are having a break here and there. But even then there can still be a lot of standing and posing to do. So don’t leave it too long towards the end of your pregnancy as it can become really tiring for you and won’t seem as enjoyable.

So whatever week in your pregnancy you decide, just make sure you feel the most comfortable as this is the most important factor.

2. Note Down Different Questions:

At this point, you might naturally start to think of different questions about how maternity shoots work and what to expect. 

My advice is to write down as many thoughts or questions as you can so you are ready to discuss them with your photographer. No matter how big or small you think they are, a good photographer will happily discuss all of these things with you.

Here are some examples which may be helpful to think about:
‘What kind of styles do you shoot in?’
‘Do you have your own studio?’
‘Can my partner join me?’
‘Can I bring my other children?’
‘Do you own a client closet or have wardrobe available for clients to wear for their photoshoot?’
‘Is hair and makeup available?’
‘How long is the photoshoot?’
‘How many photos will be taken?’
‘Do you offer physical print products’

‘How long until I receive the final photos?’
‘Do you offer payment plans?’
‘Can you retouch a specific area that I feel insecure about, for example, my arms?’

Thinking about these questions now means you can get more clarity on the things you want from the maternity shoot and you can also find the right photographer who can meet your expectations. 

vancouver maternity photography

3. Do Some Research:

With your ideas and questions ready, you can start to find the perfect photographer for you. 

First, research some of the maternity photographers you like the look of. You can also look deeper into:

– Whether the photographer’s work is consistent
– Their shooting, retouching and editing style
– Do they have good reviews, what do their past clients say about their experience

It may sound obvious, but if you don’t like the things above, it is likely you will be unhappy with the final outcome of the photos. And there’s nothing worse than being advertised one thing and being delivered something completely different. 

From there, you should also check the photographer’s website and social media handles. Also, make sure you read through their reviews and feedback to get more of an idea of their authority and credibility. 

You can even look through messaging threads to get an idea of how they look after their clients. Although the final result of the photoshoot is to get amazing photos you also want to actually enjoy the experience too.

4. Book a Photographer That Can Shoot in the Style You Want:

When you find a photographer who you think can accommodate everything you want, you can then discuss their availability and whether they can meet your vision and needs for the shoot.

Try and feel confident sharing your ideas for any settings, outfits or photography styles you want to try out. A photographer that really cares about what they do will work with you to plan your shoot so it’s centered around your preferences. You can also discuss things like:

– Lighting: Do you prefer low-key, edgy, moody and dramatic images? Or do you prefer more high-key sunny, bright, and upbeat images? Maybe it is somewhere in between. Light can make or break your images so it’s important to discuss the type of mood you’re looking for in your portraits.
– Backdrops
– Set Design
– Colours
– Poses

And if you are not sure of what you want? 

This is why reviewing and liking the photographer’s work beforehand is so important. Because if you’re not sure about what you want and the photographer helps decide for you (and you haven’t properly vetted or reviewed their work), the chances are you will not like their style and therefore you will be disappointed with the final outcome of the photos. 

And remember: Don’t forget to share any medical conditions or concerns with them to keep you and your baby safe. This should always be the top priority!

low key lighting maternity portraits vancouver

5. Choose the Right Clothes and Accessories For the Shoot:

Some photographers will have a selection of outfits and accessories, called a client closet, you can use and some will ask you to bring your own. You might even prefer to wear something special you have bought just for the occasion. At my studio, I offer a client closet available to use for all my clients.

Often pregnant women opt for maternity dresses or gowns. But it’s also always fun to think outside the box and add variety to your photo shoot by wearing other non-maternity wear and stylish clothing. These could be things like:

– Loungewear
– Loose wide dress pants
– Blazers
– Crop tops
– Baggy jeans
– Mini dresses
– Bodysuits
– Lingerie
– Oversized dress shirts
– Fabrics draped

And you can even think about combining different clothing together like the examples here:

– Lingerie with a jean jacket
– Lingerie with an oversized dress shirt
– Bodysuit with an oversized hat

We like to have fun combining different looks together for effect. Some ideas could be lingerie with a black blazer or a crop top with baggy jeans. Statement jewelry pieces or other accessories like a large hat can be incorporated too into the overall look to add some further style. 

A good photographer will plan the different outfits with you so that they fit and match the different photo setups/scenes in your photoshoot. Utilizing colour theory, the colour of the clothing and the colour of the backdrop can instantly make a photo more appealing. 

Whatever your choice (and there are so many) just make sure you feel comfortable and confident wearing it. The beauty is – this will look so different for everyone. 

fashion maternity portraits with oversized hant

6. Consider Bringing Any Meaningful Props:

You might have particular sentimental items you would like to bring with you to your maternity photo shoot which mean a lot to you. 

This could be ‘baby booties’ your grandma has knitted you or something from when you were a baby. These can make a special addition to your photo shoot and add something of sentimental value.

7. Pamper Yourself:

Hair and makeup are definitely required for any photoshoot. Particularly for flash photography as the lights can really ‘wash away’ your face. So bear in mind that even big eyelashes on a person may not look as big in the photos, because of the flash.

We recommend that you shave and wax wherever needed and that you have your nails and toenails manicured and pedicured!

Not only do you look great, you feel confident and ready to have fun on the shoot! Meaning you can enjoy the whole experience so much more.

8. Get Prepared the Night Before:

It is likely you will have a stream of thoughts running through your head the night before but try if you can to get a good night’s sleep (this is always easier said than done!).

It is also a good idea to drink lots of water in the few days leading up to your photoshoot so you feel refreshed and your skin is glowing.

Instead of turning up flustered and rushed – try and lay everything you need out the day before the photo shoot. This may be your outfit, props you are bringing, or accessories like jewelry, heels or shoes and make-up touch-ups. This means you can arrive feeling well-prepared and relaxed. 

If the photographer offers hair and make-up there (this is something I offer), you can simply come into the studio with a fresh face and clean dried hair. 

Also, pack a bag of snacks, a water bottle, tissues etc so you can keep hydrated and energized. 

And that’s it! I hope this guide fills you with confidence to go off and plan the most amazing in-studio maternity photoshoot ever.

XS Sharon Photography is a Vancouver based luxury photographer specializing in magazine-styled maternity, motherhood and portrait photography. Inspired by fashion and fine art, she strives to create more than just a photo but a timeless work of art for her clients. Contact me today to find out more about my maternity photography services and how I can help create portraits of you during an extremely special and intimate moment in your life.

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