HDYDI: Capture the Beauty of Pregnancy in Photos
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!
Love the photos, K. And love the tips… I often wish I’d had maternity photos taken. With my first pregnancy, I didn’t know many people who’d ever had them…now it seems everyone’s doing them! I suppose I was hesitant…with some of our children joining our family through adoption and not having that moment with them… I guess in my heart if I couldn’t do it for all I didn’t want to do it for just one. But I do regret that… I also regret not getting very many candids of my pregnancies either… So glad you’ve captured so many beautiful moments!
Nicole, you bring up an excellent point and it’s got me thinking. I know y’all took photos at the adoption ceremony with the judge. I’ve seen many folks do that and I think that’s a beautiful idea. Every family comes about differently and I’m grateful you reminded me of that!
BTW… ALL the photos are beautiful. You are one gorgeous and blessed momma!
The photos are just beautiful. And your tips are spot-on. I didn’t hire a photographer with either pregnancy, and was living far away from family for one. I do have photos of me and my husband with the self timer. It’s better than nothing! I am so glad I have those silly self-timer photos. And the candids I have just from whatever are priceless.
One more suggestion, if you breastfeed, it would be nice to have a photo or two breastfeeding. I don’t mean full on “show some skin” photos (unless that’s your thing? It’s not mine). I have exactly ONE photo that represents the 2+ total years of breastfeeding I did. I am fully covered up, nursing my daughter while wearing a sweatshirt and baggy pants. You can barely see the child, and you certainly can’t see any skin. But I am so glad I have that one. The breastfeeding experience is such a special one (even if I swore I wouldn’t last past day 2 with my first… perserverance…)
Yes, yes, yes! That’s my priority this pregnancy go ’round is to take more photos of me nursing a sweet babe. I’ve spent 5.5 years of my life doing it, there should be pictorial proof!
I have to admit, I only have one set of pics of me when I was pregnant – and only because family was there and they wouldn’t let me out of it!
I don’t really regret it, but I’ll have pictures taken next time. My last pregnancy, coming so soon after a loss, was a very quiet and reflective time. I didn’t really want to have pictures taken. But now that I have baby girl safely here – as an active toddler now! – I think I’d be more comfortable next time with pictures being taken.
Thanks for the tips! You look lovely – as always!
I have so tried to get into pregnancy photos. Now 26 weeks along with #3, and I’m still just not that into it. I have taken some with my first two, I don’t gain a ton of weight, I just really look so puffy, even at 20 weeks. I do wish I could get my husband to take more informal pictures of me with my kids while I’m pregnant. I’ve asked many times but it doesn’t click! Like if I say “honey, can you take a few pictures of me playing with the kids that will be cute belly shots?” I get a completely blank look. Plus we have a terrible camera so even the good shots aren’t that good.
Now the breastfeeding shots, those I treasure. I have a picture of me nursing my son, with my daughter sitting next to me pretending to nurse her doll. It is one of my most treasured pictures. Again, though, I have to beg my husband for the shots and I always feel so narcissistic or self-promoting doing that over and over. *sigh*
Just jumping in here to thank you for your response to my back situation. Bless you for the suggestions. Will keep the post updated after seeing the Dr. tomorrow . Am keeping you in my prayers as well!
Aww these are great tips. I love the shot of you with the kids!
I just nominated you for a Liebster Award on my blog if you have the time to check it out 🙂 http://thesweetwonder.blogspot.com/2014/04/liebster-award-nomination-question-time.html
It might just be the pregnancy hormones but this line just made me tear up! “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.”
Honestly, I am starting to feel big. And I know I was very big with my first pregnancy, I can only imagine how round I’ll get with this one! I’m only at 26 weeks and I look ready to deliver! ( http://thewhitfordlife.com/2nd-pregnancy/ )
Daily I am torn between feelings of gratitude of this beautiful baby and feeling her little kicks, and then opposite feelings of seeing how my breastfeeding booty is growing in size! 🙂
Do you have tips on how to maintain a healthy weight during pregnancy, especially when I get so ravenously hungry?
Oh, that’s hard! I am such a bad advice giver when it comes to food choices during pregnancy. I did find that having trail mix around to munch on kept me from hunting for the chocolate. We all know how that ends. You’re beautiful no matter what!
Thank you Kathryn! She has been extremely active the last few days, it makes me feel better about the weight gain when I have a constant reminder of her little kicks. That moment when I hear her first cry will make this all worth it.