When I decided I wanted to do a maternity shoot, I immediately reached out to the amazing Celeste from Aglow Photography, and I was so happy and excited when she offered to do the shoot for us! She has been part of my and my husbands journey from the beginning, starting with our engagement shoot then our wedding and now the bump! She is just such a special and warm hearted person and I love that she feels like part of our family!
From the beginning I had a pretty clear picture of what I wanted for our maternity shoot: I envisioned something very cozy and comfortable with my husband and I relaxing and just being ourselves. No cutesy poses, no rules, just us being us. And Celeste just captured it so perfectly!
Even though I had a clear picture in my mind, I really struggled with deciding what to wear. All the posts I read regarding picking an outfit for your maternity shoot advise you wear pastels and neutral colours with no prints, but I wanted something warm and cozy and interesting. So I tossed out the “rule book” and did what works for me!
I decided on two main outfits: One chunky knit sweater with tights (an every-day type outfit for me) and a comfortable dress with an interesting print. Both tied in very well with the vibe we were aiming for, and the colours were perfect for our indoor winter shoot.
I also decided to do a mini boudoir shoot last minute, so I ended up having 4 outfits in total. (Read more on this below)
I’m SO glad we decided to do a maternity shoot and I’d definitely advise anyone to do it! Not only was it so much fun, but it captures a moment in time that you’ll never have again. It’s such a special experience growing a little human, your body is doing something truly amazing and beautiful. (edit: I am now in my 8th month and the “amazing and beautiful” has morphed into the “large and uncomfortable” – but still amazing though)
A few basics on planning your maternity shoot:
Depending on how you carry and how comfortable you are, I’d say your 6/7th month is a good time.
You’ll be showing enough, but you wont be feeling huge yet. And I think picking outfits is still easy enough. We did ours when I was 6 months (mainly due to convenience). I felt comfortable and confident. My bump was at such a cute stage and the rest of my body hadn’t started swelling yet. Being a little further along now, I see why so many people opt to do it in their 7th month (28-32 weeks), but I’m still really glad we did it at 6 months.
HOWEVER, this is 100% up to you! Luckily there are no rules with something like this! Do it when you feel comfortable and in the stage of your pregnancy you would want captured most.
I read once your maternity shoot should be when “your bump is big enough to almost be the star of the shoot, but still neat enough for you to snuggle up and do poses without it requiring a series of complicated yoga moves” (jojocooper.co.za) which I think is some solid advice.
There are so many great ideas out there for maternity shoots / couple shoots and portraiture. And the great thing is, you can do whatever you want!
Search pinterest until your fingers are blue and make a mood-board of the type of photos you like best. Soon enough you’ll see a common theme and know where your heart/mind is headed. If you’re still stumped, ask your photographer for ideas – I’m sure they have plenty!
What to wear:
The only real advice I can give is to not overthink it too much. Dress for the vibe you’re going for, be comfortable in what you wear and wear the right undies… But here are some guidelines I found helpful:
- Dress for the occasion (and season) – A pretty sundress will work beautifully in an out doors spring/summer shoot; where a slick modern outfit may work well if you’re shooting in the city streets.
- Try on your outfits the day before shooting (and don’t be afraid to ask someone for their opinion)- anyone in their 2nd/3rd trimester will tell you how fast an item doesn’t fit anymore!
- Stay true to you – Wear your jeans and t-shirt or that fancy night gown you’ve been saving. This shoot is ALL ABOUT YOU!
- At the end of the day, the outfit is less important (in my opinion) than this: HAVE YOUR MAKE-UP DONE! I’d much rather wear an old dress and pay someone to do my makeup for the shoot, than spend money on a new outfit and save on makeup. Having your make-up professionally done will make a world of a difference in your photos. It will also make you feel that extra little bit beautiful and confident (which then translates into your photos – see, only good things can come of this!)
The Boudoir shoot:
A few days before our shoot, I told my husband I’m considering doing a couple of boudoir shots. The truth is, I’ve never felt as comfortable and confident in my body as I did with this pregnant belly of mine – and I was fairly certain that feeling would fade soon enough! I didn’t want to look back at this time, and regret not taking a few bump photos.
As I am still notoriously shy, I wasn’t ready to strip down completely, so I decided on two boudoir outfits that I thought was timeless and elegant. I’m not planning on sharing many of these and they are for me and my husband to enjoy and look back on. But for the benefit of outfit inspiration, here is a sneak:
- Lace gown: Next (Don’t spend more than R500 when you shop on Next, or you’ll pay import tax)
- Over-sized button shirt: Cotton-on
- MU/H by mooigemaak
At the end of the day, you wont regret doing a maternity shoot. Even my husband, who was really not keen, enjoyed doing it. Be sure to use a photographer whose photos you like, and who you’re comfortable around AND most importantly, just enjoy it!!