When I was 22 years of age and pregnant with my firstborn, there was no way anyone was allowed come near me with a camera.
I’d stacked on weight (around 20 kilograms) and I was very self-conscious and embarrassed about how I looked.
Now, over a decade later and with two more children, I regret that I have hardly any images of my first pregnancy.
I may not have thought I was beautiful then. But as I’ve grown older – as have my three children – I do wish I would’ve had the confidence to have left more photographic memories. For me, and them.
After having a beautiful maternity shoot with my second born, I was so glad I did.
10 Reasons To Have A Maternity Shoot
Here are 10 great reasons to have a maternity photo shoot… before your chance runs out forever!
#1: You. Are. Beautiful!
You might feel tired, nauseous, sore, aching and blimp-like… but from the outside, people don’t feel those things which may lead you to think you look terrible!
Instead, we see a beautiful woman bringing a new life (or two or more!) into the world, with a gorgeous little bubba growing inside of her.
Pregnancy is a thing of beauty, awe and amazement for many people – and it will be for you too if you ignore the cheeky gremlins in your mind telling you otherwise. Gosh, some women surely feel envious and jealous of you too, remembering what a special time pregnancy was and/or wishing they were in your shoes!
You will only be pregnant a few times (if that) in your entire life. No matter if you think you look far from glowing or glamorous, a skilled pregnancy photographer can easily draw out the beauty, love and femininity of pregnancy – you may just surprise yourself…
“After LTTTC (long term trying to conceive) and HG (severe morning sickness) I envisioned that the pregnancy may be my only one, and I wanted to be able to do something special to remember how I looked, capture that moment and have in years to come. Photos that didn’t look like I was grey or green and sickly. Well less like that anyway! We absolutely LOVED them!!!” — Lily Dust, BellyBelly Fan
#2: There’s No Need To Worry About Your Belly
If you didn’t feel comfortable with your belly before you were pregnant, now you can show it off knowing that it looks beautifully round, without worrying about its shape or look! A pregnant belly does a great job of hiding your squishy bits, so perhaps for the first time in a while, you have a chance to flaunt your belly and feel great about it!
A great pregnancy photographer can make you look gorgeous, elegant and glowing. Many pregnant women say that one thing they love about being pregnant is that they are less self conscious about the weight on their belly, working wonders for confidence levels.
“Loved them [the photos] and was really surprised considering how large I had gotten that she made me look elegant.” — Ang, BellyBelly Fan
“It was my first pregnancy and I was very excited and amazed at how my body could do this incredible and beautiful thing, without me even knowing how to grow a baby. I wanted to capture the wonder, the love and the difference between my normal body and my amazing pregnant body.” — Pholi, BellyBelly Fan
#3: Oh The Memories…
You might be unsure about it now, but if you don’t have a photography session while you’re pregnant, you’ve lost the chance to create once in a lifetime memories – you can’t get them back. Photos also trigger memories, feelings, emotions… they help you remember more vividly.
Even if you don’t care for the memory for yourself, I can assure you that when your children are older, they will be delighted to see the photos of their pregnant mamma, while they were growing inside of you.
“I didn’t have it done for my first pregnancy, so the second time round I wanted to make sure I didn’t end up having no visual reminders of being pregnant. I loved being pregnant and it is such a special time, so I wanted to do something nice we could keep forever.” — munchkin_mumma, BellyBelly Fan
#4: It’s Fun!
Many pregnant women I speak to tell me that they had lots of fun and laughs during their photo shoot. If you choose a photographer that suits your personality and style you want from the shoot, you’ll have a great time.
Make sure you do your homework though, and that the photographer is experienced in maternity photos – a normal photographer may not have the same creative ideas and poses suitable for a pregnant woman.
“I knew the photographer well, she had also done our wedding so I felt really comfortable around her. We had quite a few laughs on the day. I was also happy to be directed by her as I figured she would know what worked best.” — Ang, BellyBelly Fan
#5: You Can Get Creative!
It’s important to do a bit of research or give some thought into ideas or themes you’d like for your pregnancy photos – if you find things on the web or in magazines, save your favourite images to show your photographer.
An experienced or talented pregnancy photographer will be great at directing you and suggesting ideas, so its good to find out what they like to do in maternity shoots.
If you’re like me, I prefer a candid style of photography instead of cheesy posed stuff! So I made an effort to come up with some ideas based on what I wanted the photos to reflect and how I wanted to remember the pregnancy.
For my third and recent pregnancy in 2012, I wanted to reflect elegance and intimacy – it was our first baby together and very likely our last. My partner and I hired a beautiful hotel room (one of my favourites in Melbourne) which included a big corner spa in the stunning bathroom.
We lined the bath with tea candles and made a big bubble bath, taking some photos of my belly popping out through the bubbles, relaxing back – both on my own, and with my partner behind me, with his arms around me.
I loved it because it hid all my wobbly bits and it looked so glam! We also took some really cute and fun shots in the huge king sized bed – we were both topless and my partner was lying behind me all snuggled in with his arms around me, which looked stunning against crisp white sheets (the photos were taken from above).
He bit my earlobe in one of those pictures, which made me both laugh and squirm at the same time, which made for a very funny photo! We also used a parasol by a window while I was wearing a sarong around my waist and more.
Recently, I have seen a few photographers do some absolutely stunning underwater maternity shoots. Just beautiful! If you haven’t seen any yet, look it up, even just for the wow factor!
There are loads of great ideas out there which can reflect your own personal style and tastes – its a great chance to let your creative juices flow and let your imagination run wild.
“The photographer managed to capture how we felt. In love, excited, content and full of hope.” — Rosey
“I wanted to be able to remember the joy of being pregnant and one day show my little munchkin hw big he made mummy’s tummy!” — BubbaT, BellyBelly Forum Member
#6: A Chance To Bond With Your Partner
The pregnancy photography I had with my third baby (first baby with a new partner) I hold very dear because of the emotion behind it. We had a crazy, whirlwind journey and it felt like a moment in time where we stopped and connected in a big way as an expectant couple.
Sure I still looked like I had the extra kilos like my last pregnancies, but I didn’t care. It felt intimate and special, and you can really see that in the images. Looking at the photos I can bring myself right back there, and feel so much love and appreciation for my partner. Seeing the love in his eyes too, reminds me how lucky I am.
It can be harder for a dad-to-be to bond with an unborn baby, since the baby is growing inside of you, moving inside you, having hiccups inside of you – and not him. You might feel all warm and fuzzy when those things happen, but he can’t feel it so he doesn’t know how wonderful it is.
But putting dad in the picture (pardon the pun!) can help him bond with baby a bit more too, and it gives him some special memories of his own – aside from you yelling at him for bringing you a cheese and tomato sandwich when you asked for a cheese, anchovy and pickle sandwich!
“Pregnancy is something to be celebrated its a special time in our lives, one that may only be given to us once so I wanted to remember how I looked pregnant. I also wanted to have a record of how my husband tenderly touched my stomach, it’s a lovely way to involve dads a bit more in the pregnancy process.” — Rosey, BellyBelly Fan
#7: It’s Fun and Bonding For Siblings Too!
If you have children already, they may feel really special by being in some of your maternity photos, hugging your belly, kissing your belly – showing their love, bonding with baby. It can help them to feel important too, and a nice memory which they can look at one day and remember, ‘I was there when you were in mummy’s tummy!’
Some children may feel apprehensive about changes coming – what it will mean for them when the baby comes. Pregnancy photos with your older child(ren) is a nice way to put a fun and exciting touch to your family changing.
“They bring back happy memories of being pregnant like feeling the baby’s movements. It also makes me think of the awesome birth that followed.” — munchkin_mumma, BellyBelly Fan
#8: Professional Photographers Are Much Better Than Home Shots!
Yes, you could just take images at home, or get them done by a friend or family member. But a professional photographer can create a work of art, taking into consideration the best angles, lighting, effects, focus and depth. A professional can totally transform what would otherwise be just a shot of you, into a story, a feeling, a work of art.
They can prepare any images you may want printed and give them a great finish that will ‘wow’ not only you, but your friends and family – images that relatives may want to purchase and treasure for themselves. Great photos make great presents too!
#9: It’s Not As Expensive As You Might Think
Many people associate professional photography with costing a squillion, but it isn’t the case. Most photographers these days have many options which enable you to have a digital or CD copy of the images to use as you please.
They usually have a sitting fee which varies, then you can choose prints or digital. Considering how much we might spend photographing a wedding day, a pregnancy photo shoot which is just as memorable costs a fraction of that.
That said, you need to weigh up cost and quality. You do generally get what you pay for, but using common sense by doing your homework, seeing the photographers work and getting word of mouth recommendations can save you heartbreak if they don’t turn out like you asked or hoped for.
#10: Once It’s Gone, It’s Gone
There are only a few months in your life, per baby, that you’ll have a glorious noticeable, round belly – sadly it takes months to show and you have that in-between ‘could be a squishy tummy but could also be pregnant’ stage too!
Before you know it, the birth is over, they’ll be at school, or having their own kids, just like your parents will tell you. And those dear moments of pregnancy will be but a distant memory. Even if it’s something you do just in case you might want it later, I don’t know anyone who has regretted getting a pregnancy photo shoot – but I know plenty who regret not doing it.