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Following on from my last post (“Git ‘Er Done – 5 Reasons to Book a Maternity Shoot”), where I looked at why women should book a maternity photo shoot, the next big question has to be: how much should you bare? This is a tricky one and very much depends on the mother-to-be and her tastes.

Here’s the way I think of it:

a) Fully clothed or just the belly – Your photos are going to be displayed somewhere in your home where they will be easy to see from the front door and you don’t feel like revealing an image of you in all your glory to the UPS man, the plumber and members of the local Girl Guide troop.

b) The belly and then some – You’re not shy about your figure and you appreciate the beauty of your form, but you’re probably going to hang the photos in your house where only invited guests are going to come across them.

c) The full ‘Demi’ – ‘Tasteful nudes’ can be absolutely stunning. Think backlit sihouettes or beautiful black and whites. These are great options for women who are either so in love with their pregnant form that they don’t care who sees it or women who are going to display their photos somewhere a little more private like their bedroom or master bathroom. Your photographer should be sensitive to body changes that come with pregnancy and will consider how to light you so as to positively display some of the less-flattering-yet-still-significant changes (stretch marks, anyone?)

The other decision you’ll need to make is location: keep it controlled and private under the studio lights or find somewhere outside?

Studios are a safe bet: your photographer will know how to position the lights so that you get the light you need to make you look your best. You’ll be able to get those backlit silhouette shots or be able to strip down without fear that some unsuspecting pedestrian might stumble across you in your birthday suit.

On the other hand, outdoor sessions can also produce some truly stunning results, but do come with their own set of guidelines. You’ll need to choose a location that matches what you want from your photos. If you’re wanting to reveal all, your local park might not be the best location choice, even if it does have a spectacular display of fall foliage. Likewise, if you don’t feel that you are particularly ‘girly’, speak up when your photographer talks about wrapping you in swathes of tulle or silk and consider instead an outdoor shoot featuring wrought iron or chain link fence.

You shouldn’t feel any pressure to bare more than what you’re comfortable with. Just because your sister/husband/best friend thinks it would look awesome to see you bare all in the middle of a forest, doesn’t mean you have to love the idea. Likewise, just because your mother/brother/husband doesn’t get why you’d want a photo of your in your natural splendour, doesn’t mean you’re not allowed to go and get exactly that. Think carefully about what you like most about your body right now and discuss this with your photographer. It’s our job to come up with ways to get that feeling through in your photographs.

Regardless of how much you ‘dare to bare’, keep in mind that your photographer won’t leave you feeling exposed and won’t be uncomfortable with whatever level of undress you decide is appropriate for you.

Don’t be shy – have fun with it!

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