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Maternity Session: How to Prepare

Written By:

Maryam Salassi

Aug 10, 2020

If you’re a mama-to-be who’s considering booking a maternity session in the Bay Area, I say go for it, but you’ll need to know a few things before you book!

Motherhood is a beautiful thing. The changes that both bodies and minds go through during pregnancy and early motherhood are so incredible. It’s a phase of life that is tender, powerful, challenging, and inspiring all at once—and it passes in a flash, so capturing all that beauty is something you won’t regret.

Two women wearing white dresses standing in a field for their maternity session with bay area maternity photographer Hi + Hello Photography

It’s the perfect way to celebrate and get excited to welcome your soon-to-be newborn into the world. However, feeling a little nervous about a maternity session is totally understandable. Here’s how to prepare so that you can walk into your maternity session feeling confident and ready!

Maternity Session: Which Session Should You Choose?

I personally only offer one type of maternity session, which is 45 minutes long. However, it can also be bundled with a newborn session, which I highly recommend!

Most parents choose to book both as it really helps to tell a cohesive story, from pregnancy to birth. Every photographer has their own style, so by using the same photographer for multiple sessions, you can rest assured that your photos will follow a similar theme and look great together in a frame or album.

Maternity Session: Indoors vs Outdoors or Both?

Something else to consider is whether you’d prefer an indoor or outdoor maternity session.

Similarly to a lifestyle family photography session, having a maternity session at home captures the day-to-day feel of life at this special time. It’s about the little, real moments that you never want to forget. Indoor maternity sessions are also great for families with small kiddos. We can keep it super relaxed, and youngsters tend to feel more comfortable at home, allowing them to come out of their shells. 

A man in a pink shirt smiles and embraces his pregnant partner during a San Francisco maternity photo session

Outdoor maternity sessions are great for couples who want to venture out and capture a special place or get a bit more artsy. From the muraled walls of downtown San Jose, to the forests in East Bay, to classic views of the Golden Gate Bridge, the options for outdoor maternity sessions in the Bay Area are endless! As a Bay Area maternity photographer, I’m happy to discuss different options and help you find the perfect spot.

I highly recommend choosing a place that’s comfortable and special to you, whether it’s the park where you went on your first picnic together or right in your living room. Wherever you choose, it will be a sweet story to tell your little one someday. I would also recommend looking at some other maternity sessions for inspiration—you can find some here!  

Maternity Sessions: What to Wear

There are plenty of options when it comes to what to wear during your maternity session. First, I would consider the overall aesthetic you’re going for—cozy and casual, or a little more glam? Long, sheer dresses or wraps can look really amazing in maternity shoots, but in the end you should choose something that makes you feel comfortable and confident.

I’m always happy to go over styling options for maternity photos, but I always recommend bringing something flowy. If a dress isn’t really your vibe and you prefer your favorite t-shirt and jeans (like me), I would suggest adding a sheer, flowy robe on top. It looks amazing in the wind and adds movement to your photos (and trust me, you want that!).

A pregnant woman wearing a flowing dress walks in front of a window during an indoor maternity session with Hi + Hello Photography

If you’re okay with getting a little wet, wearing a cute bathing suit (or even a flowy dress) and getting in the water can also create some really gorgeous maternity pictures. The water adds playful and romantic elements, so you can end up with a series of images that show off both your fun and sensual sides.

Maternity Sessions: Makeup and Hair or Natural?

The goal is always to feel your best, like the beautiful mama goddess that you are!

The idea of being in a photoshoot may have you worried that you have to get all glammed up—but don’t worry! I recommend sticking close to your everyday hair and makeup look for your maternity session. You want to be able to look back and recognize yourself in these photos.

A pregnant woman wearing a flowing pink dress stands in a field of flowers during an outdoor maternity photo shoot in San Francisco

If you normally don’t wear much makeup, I suggest wearing a light BB cream and some mascara. I personally don’t wear much makeup, and this is what I do when I know I’m going to be photographed. This way, I still look like myself—but like, the best glowy version of myself. It just adds that little extra touch for the camera, but still keeps it simple and natural. 

If you do like to wear makeup but don’t want to do it yourself, I know a few great Bay Area makeup artists who I could refer you to!

Maternity Sessions: When to Schedule

How far along you are during your maternity session does make a difference. I’ve been a San Francisco maternity photographer for years now, and I generally suggest booking sessions around weeks 35-36 of the pregnancy (32-33 weeks if you’re carrying twins or multiples).

At this stage, most women still feel pretty good, aren’t retaining too much water, and don’t have much trouble moving around. Plus, scheduling your session too close to the due date can be tricky as sometimes babies come early. 

A pregnant couple stands together with their dog on a dirt road by the San Francisco waterfront

On the other hand, if you book your session too early in the pregnancy, it may be too hard to see the bump and get good shots of the belly—which is kind of the whole point, after all! 

If you’re interested in booking a maternity photography session with a San Francisco or Bay Area family photographer who offers maternity photos, let’s chat!

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