When I was pregnant with my first son, Crewe, I had braces on my teeth and my fingers were too swollen for my rings. I loved being pregnant and feeling my baby inside me was one of the best feelings in the world . . . but I didn’t particularly want to have maternity photos taken when I felt like a knocked up teenager, acne and all.

You may love every part of being pregnant and feel beautiful. You may also completely hate it. But I bet even if you’re not feeling the pregnancy “glow” you still have that butterfly anticipation of who this child will be, what they will look like and how they will fit into your family.

One great way to share and commemorate this fleeting time is with a professional maternity photo shoot. I chose not to with Crewe, and I regret that choice. 9 years later, I don’t look at the couple photos I took in my front yard and see a pregnant teenager. I see a young (very well rested!) version of myself on the verge of a major life change. My son can see what I looked like as we awaited his arrival. I wish I could show him more than those 2 selfies. I wish I had taken the time to hire a professional and twisted my husband’s arm into participating. If not for ourselves, for our son.

30 weeks pregnant: Front yard selfies of my first pregnancy- the closest I came to a real maternity photoshoot with him.*

When to Schedule Your Photo Session

The best time to take maternity photos is between 28-36 weeks gestation. Some things to consider so you don’t schedule them too early, or worse- too late.

Belly Size: You want a nice round belly that screams “there’s a baby in here!” instead of “I’ve let myself go.” In particular for first time moms, it may take a bit longer for your belly to pop. Plus the best part of maternity photos is looking back a few years later with your now toddler. It’s truly miraculous what women’s bodies can do and so fun to see them point out mommy’s big belly.

Family History: is this your first baby? Did your sister or mom have her babies early or late? While this isn’t foolproof, family history can often give clues to your own baby’s gestation. (My mom had all 3 of her babies late, so even though I don’t have any sisters I had a feeling I’d have Crewe late … and he was 13 days overdue!)

The 41 week pregnant selfie I took with Crewe- turns out I had plenty of time to schedule those maternity photos.*

Physical Fitness: how are you feeling? If you are experiencing aches and pains early on, you may want to consider booking earlier for your own comfort. If you started your pregnancy very fit, you most likely will be ok to do a photoshoot all the way up to the end. Be sure to discuss any physical limitations with your chosen maternity photographer.

Discuss the Session with Your Maternity Photographer Beforehand

What do you want your images to look like? Now may be a good time to head to Pinterest and start gathering a few ideas. Make sure to discuss options and possibilities with your maternity photographer beforehand to ensure you capture the images you’ve been imagining. Here are 3 questions to ask yourself about your upcoming photos:

Who will be in them? Is this just you and your baby bump or will your partner be involved as well? Do you also have older children to include? Perhaps even the grandma-to-be wants to join. When I was pregnant with my second we chose a family maternity session specifically focusing on Crewe before he became a big brother! I personally felt more comfortable with this choice because the focus wasn’t solely on me.

 

My big brother maternity session for my second son, Blade.

 

How fancy do you want to get and Where do you want to go? While some women want a natural session in the comfort of their own home, others want to wear an epic dress with hair and makeup set on the top of a mountain! Discussing ideas with your maternity photographer in advance will help you determine the right location with clothing appropriate for the setting.

Outdoor, stylized with hair and makeup vs. In home lifestyle maternity

Styling/Shopping: Once you’ve determined the look, feel and location you want, you may want to hire a makeup artist or order that perfect dress. Ask for your photographer’s help with this! Many maternity photographers offer client closets and can provide a list of hair and makeup stylists they trust. (psst…Glean & Co offers a substantial client closet for newborn photo shoots, kids up to size 8 and moms XS-XL all included within your session fee)

By the time I was pregnant with my 3rd son, I was ready for that epic maternity photo shoot. I knew he was my last and I wanted to document it big and feel beautiful. I had my hair and makeup done, I bought my husband and the boys new outfits and myself 2 different dresses. We drove over an hour to the Bruneau sand dunes and froze our tushies off. Was it cheap? Not even a little bit. Was it convenient? Nope. But I absolutely love every single image from that freezing cold day and will cherish them for the rest of my life. 

My Bruneau Sand Dunes maternity session with Glean & Co photographer, Jamie Hubbs.

Trust an Experienced Boise Maternity Photographer

At the end of the day, whether you have 1 baby or 10, each baby is special and deserves to be documented. Be sure to book your session well in advance and determine how you want to preserve this beautiful (sometimes challenging!) and fleeting moment in your life.

*I had to pull these two photos off Facebook because my hard drive crashed a few years back and I didn’t have them saved anywhere else. Want to know how I now protect my precious memories in multiple formats? Check out this post all about preserving your memories.