Article: Capturing The Miracle That Is Pregnancy
Capturing The Miracle That Is Pregnancy
The reasons why maternity photoshoots are absolutely worth the effort, and how to ensure you bring your story and vision to life.
Pregnancy is a miracle…it’s truly incredible how our bodies are capable of growing a tiny perfect human being over the course of nine months. Although it’s something we may only fully recognise in hindsight, as the experience itself can often feel so physically and emotionally challenging we don’t appreciate the life-changing transformation that is happening.
Not documenting these wondrous moments in time with photographs is a huge regret I now have a few years later. There are barely any photos of me pregnant, and certainly none that I love or capture all the emotions of anticipation, excitement and the whirlwind of change, probably because at the time I always felt so uncomfortable within my changing body. I don’t remember feelings of ‘feminine strength and empowerment’, and I certainly didn’t feel like a Glowing Goddess worthy of a photoshoot.
And this is exactly why you should get beautiful pregnancy photographs done. “These are not just simple pictures. They are a powerful tool for seeing yourself with different eyes during pregnancy. They are empowering and treasured memories that you and your family will cherish. This is about telling your story as you start out on this journey,” explains motherhood photographer Valentina, of Photography by Valentina, who shares her professional advice for making sure you get the desired results from a photoshoot below.
In the years to come, these pictures will be a beautiful reminder, for you and your child, of where this story began…entwined together in this moment, full of anticipation, already caring for the little life growing inside you and guessing at their personality through the kicks and cravings and planning how they will arrive into this world - but also offering a glimpse of who you were before them.
While pregnancy photoshoots are a rite of passage in many countries around the world where the expecting mother in all her glowing gloriousness is something celebrated, it’s only recently becoming more of a thing here in the UK & Ireland as we get more comfortable with embracing the concept. Perhaps part was down to historic cultural reserve, but also the association of pregnancy photoshoots with showcasing the body and often naked bump celebrity-style, so a little hesitation is understandable, but of course there are so many ways to approach it.
Maybe also the ‘photoshoot’ terminology can be a little daunting as it perhaps implies a level of vanity or professionalism, accompanied by the worry that people may think you full of yourself for posing for the images… A dialogue swirling around in our heads, because of course, this is something you do for yourself and they can be as private or as public as you choose, from who you even share them with to where they sit in your home.
The concept of the maternity photography is to celebrate the beautiful transformation your body goes through, but the real allure lies in the opportunity to freeze time before everything changes – a moment that's all about you. The journey into motherhood is a monumental chapter in life, not just from a physical side and appreciating the incredible capabilities of your body but also realising the hopes and expectations that come with it as you also transform. Perhaps in our society we don’t fully understand or verbalise the Before-and-After aspect of the evolution.
As the years fly by and your baby grows, the sentimental value of these photos only increases, becoming treasured memories to share and a visualisation of that unique bond where words are often inadequate. Many of those who have taken the leap report that looking back at those images brings a sense of awe and appreciation for the miraculous journey of motherhood. It’s something they’d now never consider not doing…
For those still feeling a little hesitant, we’ve put together what is hopefully a practical guide to explore the process and what it involves a little more.
EXPLORING DIFFERENT APPROACHES
Everyone has their own relationship to the camera, some people revel in it and others shy away, but even if you are the latter it doesn’t mean you still can’t create beautiful imagery. If the thought of striking certain poses feels uncomfortable, remember there are various ways to approach maternity photoshoots and there are no rules. Here are a few ideas to consider:
Studio Shoots: These sessions are often centred around capturing intimate and timeless moments. The controlled environment of a studio allows for creative lighting and composition, resulting in beautifully crafted images. You may not walk into the studio feeling like you have those iconic pregnancy poses inside you, but a great photographer will help you to feel so comfortable in front of the camera….
On-Location Adventures: For those who prefer a more natural vibe, outdoor photoshoots provide a chance to capture the magic of pregnancy in scenic settings. Less intensely focused on you as the subject, but also maybe a way for you to express more of your personality and relationship to what makes you happy.
Involving Partners: Maternity photoshoots can absolutely be done with partners, creating an opportunity to celebrate the journey as a couple and document the love and anticipation you share, a beautiful shot of who you are in that moment before you become ‘Mom&Dad’.
PICTURE PERFECT: THE QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF…
It’s 100% normal to feel unsure of how to approach a shoot as pregnancy isn’t always the time when you want to put it all out there! If you find yourself drawn to the idea but held back by a feeling of silliness or hesitation, consider these steps to ease your worries:
- Define Your Why: Reflect on why you're interested in a maternity photoshoot. Focus on the meaningful reasons, whether it's to celebrate your body, capture a fleeting moment, or create memories for your child.
- Communication: If your partner is unsure or hesitant, have an open and honest conversation about your desires and expectations. Express how much this experience means to you and involve them in the decision-making process.
PERSONAL PERSPECTIVE - A FIRST-HAND EXPERIENCE
As always, the best insights come from those who have experienced it themselves. Journalist Katie Banks shares her personal perspective on how embracing the bump during her second pregnancy transformed her outlook on her body and motherhood.
“I did feel a bit nervous about being in front of the camera, but also really excited too. I love dressing up, I love the transformation that happens when I do my make-up, hair and put on a beautiful dress or outfit to go out, I just immediately feel like I’m stepping into a different version of me. But pregnancy had me feeling like a bloated whale and I always seemed to be in comfy clothes. I didn’t do a maternity photoshoot in my first pregnancy, I’d been thinking about it but never took the plunge, and then afterwards really wished I had so it was on my list for the second pregnancy and I found myself so excited to start planning it.
“I loved doing the shoot. Pregnancy is amazing, look at what your body is doing. As soon as I started planning for it, I got really swept up in it and it was so exciting to celebrate the bump and the baby to be - I wanted to show my bump because I know it’s something that I won’t be doing again. As women, we do feel self-conscious during pregnancy, there’s a lot of changes and things expanding, then you look at what your body is doing and it’s amazing… so who cares about the extra pounds. I was genuinely so proud of my bump and the little boy that was growing inside.
My photographer Valentina (Photography by Valentina, see below) was so fantastic, she really supported me in realising my vision and then getting comfortable enough to go for it on the day. When I look at the pictures now, I’m still so in awe and it changed my perspective on my pregnancies, I now look back on them and see the women in the pictures - not the version of me that was always in the leggings and feeling a bit blah most of the time. The photographs capture a moment of magic and it’s a memory for life.
THE PROFESSIONAL ADVICE: 5 TIPS FOR A SUCCESSFUL PHOTOSHOOT
Discover how to prepare for the shoot, what to consider when selecting a photographer, and how to ensure that your photoshoot aligns with your vision with advice from Valentina of Photography by Valentina, a London motherhood photographer.
Maternity photoshoots are a once-in-a-lifetime event that will always hold such a treasured place in your story, so it’s important that you prepare and invest the time so you get photographs you truly love.
- Define Your Style and Vision:
Before you even start talking to aphotographer, take some time to define your style and vision. Consider the type of atmosphere, mood, and setting you want for your photos - outdoors, studio or even at home. Having a clear vision will help you communicate your desires to your photographer. Pinterest is a great source of inspiration.
- Find the Right Photographer:
When you are clear on your preferred style it’s easier to find the right photographer, whose style aligns with your vision. Look through their portfolio to get a sense of their work and make sure you connect with them. Personal chemistry is very important, as it will help you feel more comfortable and relaxed during the shoot, so meet or follow them on Instagram to find compatibility.
- Plan Your Wardrobe:
The choice of clothing plays a significant role in the outcome of your maternity photos. Keep it simple, solid colours and form-fitting dresses often work well to accentuate your baby bump. Plan your outfits in advance, keeping in mind your style and the setting of the shoot. The photographer often has some studio wardrobe you can access to so it’s worth checking. Consider bringing multiple outfits to add variety to your photos.
- Communicate Your Expectations:
Effective communication is key. Share your vision, style, specific shot preferences, and your comfort level with poses or nudity. The more you communicate, the more likely you are to achieve your desired results.
- Choose the Right Timing:
Timing is everything when it comes to maternity photography. Most maternity photoshoots are typically done between the 28th and 32nd weeks of pregnancy. During this time, your baby bump is beautifully prominent, and you are still comfortable enough to pose and move easily. Booking around your 20th week is ideal as then you can ensure you get plenty of time to plan for the day.
Check out Valentina’s website for further details on www.photographybyvalentina.com | Instagram profile https://www.instagram.com/by_valentina/