My Own Pregnancy Photoshoot And The 5 Things Not To Do

 In Pregnancy

When my friends and I talk about my pregnancy photo shoot, they never expect what I am going to say. Alas, it is also known that “the shoemaker’s son always goes barefoot”. The truth is that my pregnancy photo shoot did not go very well. Ironic that a photographer does not have amazing photos of her bump as it may be… Mine was a great lesson!

pregnancy photoshoot

In a certain way, I was extremely happy things didn’t turn out as I thought. This gave me a huge help in shaping myself as a photographer! Yet, before starting, I believe a small intro’s required. My husband and I are both portrait photographers. The idea was that he would be the one to photograph me when I was pregnant. This was almost ten years ago now. We were not the experienced photographers we are today. We did not have a lot of experience in pregnancy photoshoots, either. So, we did what we thought was best at the time.

In this blog post, I will share five things you should not do before your pregnancy photo shoot. And of course, if you are in London and you want to have a unique experience… Then why not consider getting photographed by me?

1. Leave it too late

I had always thought that the bigger the bump, the better the photographs. While for a pregnancy photo shoot this has some truth behind it, not all that glitters is gold. Yes, your bump should be pretty visible. Your breasts should be less prominent than your belly. All true, but you know something else which is true? The closer to the due date, the more tired you will feel. The little bundle of joy you are carrying will be growing like crazy in the last weeks. My pregnancy photoshoot happened during my 38th week, and this was way too late.

I always suggest planning your pregnancy photo shoot between the 32nd and the 36th week. Of course, this is completely personal and every mum-to-be is unique. I have photographed women whose belly was “camera ready” at their 28th week. I have also photographed future mums whose belly was still tiny at the 36th!

There is also another thing to consider. My little one was a week late, but it is not uncommon to be a few weeks earlier than the due date. Leaving your pregnancy photo shoot too late can leave you exposed to the risk of not having photos of your bump at all! If that’s the case, jump to point number 5!

pregnancy photoshoot

2. Stress over it

If there is one thing I’d heard a lot (which I did not believe of course) was that I was not overweight, I was pregnant. Alas, it is the same thing I say to every mum-to-be I photograph. Yes, we all see ourselves as round. We all notice the water retention and the fact that we can’t see our feet any longer. Yet, what we don’t see is how radiant we are, how the smile on our faces override the tiredness and self-judgment.

When my husband photographed me (bless him) we wanted to have our friends there with us. We thought it would have helped me. You know what would have helped me? Silence. Calm. My photographer AND my husband.

Saying this, there is absolutely no need to stress over your pregnancy photo shoot. The images will come out great, at least this is what I assure every mum-to-be I photograph. And this happens, whether you stress over it or not.

My best advice is simple: trust the professional who is photographing you and enjoy. Make it an event. Make it fun. Stop overthinking, as there will be time for that when your little one will be born! Being concerned about how you will look in the photographs is not going to help. Have you ever had trouble sleeping before an early rise? Every half an hour you stress over the time, as you will have less time to sleep. It is a vicious cycle and does not help. If you have chosen your photographer wisely, there is no need to worry. She will know what to do – you only need to have fun!

pregnancy photoshoot

3. Overdo your makeup

Camera’s eat lots of makeup. Repeat it with me. Camera’s eat lots of makeup. Yes, for a photo shoot you will need to wear more makeup than you thought. You won’t see yourself as “natural”, yet there is always a balance. When I had my pregnancy photo shoot, I knew my makeup should have been heavier… (not like I was not heavier enough for it, hehe! :P). What I could not understand was that I should have still looked like myself. A natural makeup, stronger than usual, is what 99% of my mums-to-be should wear. Of course, there are the exceptions for whom striking smokey eyes can work. For the rest of us, being ourselves, soft and gentle, will do.

Looking back, I stressed too much over my pregnancy photo shoot (read above). At a certain point, I stopped enjoying it, and I did not care about the makeup. I did not feel like myself, and I did not speak up. My husband, while still at the beginning of his career… was not skilled enough in understanding makeup. If I were there with the Fabiana as I am today, I would have known better. I’d have asked our amazing makeup artist for some toned-down makeup. I would have accepted stronger definitions on my cheeks. My lips would have held a touch more, but my eyes would have just been… me.

So… If you are considering your pregnancy photo shoot, a stronger-than-normal makeup is ok. But, you must still feel like yourself. Don’t be afraid to ask to tone it down if you feel you are not yourself. Remember, the photos will be your memories, and you have to love them!

pregnancy photoshoot

4. Think your selfies will be enough

Let’s make things clear: I let my husband photograph me because he is a photographer. I did not pick him because he is the love of my life. So, this played against him. The rapport I have with him is on a very personal level. Perhaps too much for the photographer-subject relationship to work. Of course, he was also so psychologically involved that I saw him as my husband, not as my photographer. Thus, I’d always suggest a professional photographer for your pregnancy photo shoot. A friend, no matter how good with the camera she may be… will never have the experience to photograph you as you should be.

Let’s touch another point which is trending in these days: selfies. I took loads of them when I was pregnant. You can have the most amazing phone… but, a selfie will never replace professional photographs. You cannot capture those beautiful curves, which you will have only once, from your point of view. If what you’re looking for is amazing memories… You need to stop considering selfies as viable options.

pregnancy photoshoot

5. Think those photos won’t matter

There are two types of women who are the most critical about having a professional pregnancy photo shoot: The first-time mums who think those images won’t matter… And the second-time mums who think this bump is the same as their first one. Let me tell you why a great pregnancy photoshoot matters for both.

When I was pregnant, I found all the excuses to avoid having my pregnancy photo shoot. I felt bloated, tired and I did not consider having photos of me in that state would have done any good. Yet, I went through with it. Despite not loving the images straight away… After a few months, they became super important to me. By the time my son Ethan was two or three, he was carrying one of my photos with him everywhere. “I was in there,” he’d say, “and this is my Mummy!” He was so proud to show my belly to everyone. To this day, still thinking of it makes me emotional!

I have only one child, so I cannot speak from personal experience in what I am going to say next. What I can say, is what I have learned from having grown as a photographer in the past ten years. Every pregnancy is different. Every bump carries different feelings and emotions. Every one of our little ones has their own story. As Mother’s, these stories are unique, and the way we live each pregnancy is, too. Imagine telling your second child you don’t have photos with them in your belly because… “I already had those with your older sibling”. Your pregnancy photo shoot is a keepsake of memories, for both you, and for the life, you are carrying.

What’s next?

If you are expecting, and you are considering a pregnancy photo shoot, I can help you! Please, don’t misunderstand me. I don’t expect to sell a pregnancy photoshoot to every woman who contacts me. What you should expect is a very honest chat, in which you can talk with someone who has been where you are today. I can tell you the ins and the outs of getting photographed during your pregnancy. You don’t need to be so committed, but if you are considering it (and if you are reading this, I’m sure you are) then get in touch!

PS: I have written a very interesting ebook on “the bag” AKA: What must I pack in my hospital bag? You can download it for free from here!

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