I never wanted to have a maternity photo session that involved any nudity, draping cloth, or anything that would land me on one of Pregnant Chicken’s Awkward Pregnancy Photos posts, but I did really want to take some professional photos at some point during my pregnancy. More than having tons of photos starring my belly, I wanted family photos that would capture this time of our life. It will never just be Mr. Blue and me again in our family photos, and we haven’t taken any photos since our wedding. For all the ups and downs of pregnancy, it is certainly a time filled with anticipation, excitement, fear, and wonder. I wanted to have photos that would make me remember this very unique, very short period of our life.
All photos by Ellen Kimbrough Photography.
Early on in my pregnancy, I contacted one of our good friends, who doubles as a photographer extraordinaire, Ellen Kimbrough. Ellen, who is married to one of Mr. Blue’s best friends, has captured pretty much all the big moments in our relationship so far: engagement, wedding, and maternity, with a newborn session already planned. The best thing about using her (besides her talent) is that she knows our personalities, knows what we like, and knows how to make us laugh.
I’ve heard that a good time frame for maternity pictures is around 32-36 weeks. I knew that it would probably be best to take ours a little earlier than that because moms of multiples tend to grow a wee bit faster. Originally, I was thinking it would be best to take them around 24-26 weeks (I generally have measured 8-10 weeks ahead of where I actually am). Unfortunately, that time frame fell right in the middle of the Christmas and New Year craziness, so we weren’t able to take the photos until I was 30 weeks. In hindsight, I was definitely correct that for mamas of multiples you should take them earlier. By 30 weeks, I felt like I looked like Jabba the Hutt. (Thanks, @Mrs. Train, for once saying when she was pregnant with her twins she felt like Jabba the Hutt…It was the perfect analogy, which I have taken as my own!) Frankly, it’s really hard to get excited about taking having an image of yourself preserved when you feel like a big glub-a-glub.
The day of our maternity session, I cried at least 4 times. I felt so icky in everything I put on that I finally went out to see if I could buy something that fit and made me feel cute. After hitting up all my go-to places for maternity clothes, I had to give up and go home. After another marathon session of trying on clothes and at least two more bouts of tears, I finally just put on the one thing that I knew still fit properly with my burgeoning middle.
Thankfully, two things occurred that changed my day and crazy pregnancy hormones and emotions. First, I talked to my brother, and thankfully he actually irritated me about something. As crazy as it sounds, that is exactly what I needed to get me over being mopey and feeling badly about how I look these days. Second, when we showed up, I was so thankful that we were with a photographer who we know and love. She and her husband were both there, and right away we just fell into comfortable laughing and chatting with old friends. Before I knew it, my bad day faded away and I felt almost like my normal self.
While we primarily wanted to just have photos of our little growing family, we did take a few shots that were more “belly” focused.
A few weeks ago, I found magnetic block-style letters that made a little train, so I bought some letters to use in our nursery. They also made an appearance in one of our few belly shots. Now, they are safely back on the boy’s bookshelf in their nursery.
About two hours before we were supposed to take our photos, I literally had typed a text message to our photographer asking if we could cancel. Thankfully, I guilted myself into going through with the photos, and I could not be happier with the results. When I look at these photos, I see all the love that Mr. Blue and I have for each other. I think of the nervous excitement when we decided to start our family. I remember our shock when we found out we had two little ones coming soon. I can even almost overlook the crazy bouts of tears and the intense discomfort I feel when I look at these pictures and think that these were taken only a few weeks before our boys changed our lives forever!
Did I do everything “right” to make sure we had a great maternity session? Not even close, so do as I say, not as I did.
- Take your maternity photos before you get toooooo big, emotional, and uncomfortable! For single babies, I’ve heard 32-36 weeks is the time to have a nice bump but not be too big. For multiples, bump that up by several weeks. I would recommend 24-27 weeks. I was big enough by 25 weeks for people to assume the babies were coming soon, but not so big that I was miserable.
- Pick your outfit several days before hand. Then pick a back up outfit. :) It was way too emotional to try and figure it all out that day when I wasn’t feeling exactly lovely. It would have been less stressful if I had planned it out in advance, knew it looked okay, and could have just dismissed my blechy feelings as pregnancy hormones.
- Wear fitted clothes. In non-pregnancy life, I’m not one to wear anything too fitted as I have some lumps and bumps I’d rather not have accented. However, with maternity photos, fitted is definitely better. It will best show off the bump, and anything too bulky or loose may end up just making you look chubby, and no one wants that!
- Stripes. I’m a sucker for stripes anytime, but especially during pregnancy. The rule about horizontal stripes making you look wider actually works to your advantage here. They emphasize that sweet little life growing inside you!
- Wear comfortable shoes. Depending on where you’re taking your photos, this may be the most important tip I can tell you! I’m not saying to not take some heels if you’re up for it; just also take something comfy to wear in between or if you have to walk around some.
- Use a photographer that you know and are comfortable with if possible. Having someone know your style and personality and how to put you at ease is invaluable.
- Consider what style of maternity photos you want and plan for that early. I absolutely am in love with Mrs. Pen’s maternity photos. I soo wanted them to be my inspiration, but I didn’t think our home would be a great setting for some of the soft, serene pictures that I loved. First, we don’t have a lot of good light, and second, our house was is a Stage 5 Disaster from all of our nesting and projects. If I had planned ahead more, I probably could have managed to at least have a few shots in the style I initially wanted. We ended up just going to a local park, which fit us perfectly, and I am so happy, but I still wish I would have worked a little bit harder to make sure I got a few of they type of shots I initially had in mind.
I am so thankful for these photos and what they represent. If you’re at all considering maternity photos, I highly recommend that you go for it. I’m a big fan of preserving the memory of your pregnancy, both the good and bad parts. For better or worse, this is who we were right before we were Mama and Daddy.
Did/Would you do maternity photos?
Maternity Shoots part 3 of 81. Maternity Pictures with Punam Bean by Mrs. Bee
2. Maternity Pictures with Jen Huang by Mrs. Bee
3. Capturing this Moment: Maternity Shots, for Better or Worse by Mrs. Blue
4. 25-Week Maternity Photo Shoot by Mrs. Hopscotch
5. 37-Week Maternity Photo Shoot by Mrs. Hopscotch
6. Maternity Shoot by Mrs. Sunglasses
7. Maternity Style by Photoshoots
8. Non-Maternity Maternity Photos by Mrs. Markers