I recently read an article by Ann Douglas from The Star (yes, that high-quality, reputable paper actually produced something worth reading) about maternity photos. In an age when photography is being increasingly recognised as a valuable and accessible art form, the pregnancy (or ‘prenatal’) photo shoot has become as much a rite of passage as the baby shower.
If you’ve been debating the merits of booking an appointment but not sure you should bother, consider five reasons why you, as a pregnant woman, should show off your belly in front of a complete stranger.
1) First baby – There are lots of changes happening and all of them are new and unfamiliar to you. You’ve never looked like this before and you’re on the cusp of a major, life-changing event – why not document it?
2) Last baby – You’ve created your brood, you’re happy with the results (at least most of the time) and you’ve decided to throw in the towel after this one, when it dawns on you: you’re never going to look like this again! Get the rest of your gang in on the action and create an opportunity to record some lasting memories of the whole group bonding with baby-to-be.
3) Special pregnancy – Maybe you’ve struggled to conceive; you’ve gone the IVF route; you’re a surrogate; or this is going to be your only child. Special moments deserve special photographs.
4)You’re feeling less-than-glam and need a reminder of how great you look – Let’s face it: it happens to everyone sometimes, but it hits pregnant women so much harder because the hormones are flowing. One minute you’re loving your curves and the kicks you feel, next minute you feel like the bags under your eyes could count as check-in luggage and you missing being able to see your toes. Prepare to take some time out, set up an appointment with a photographer you respect, and allow yourself a chance to be reminded that your pregnant form looks fantastic.
5) Just because! – This may seem like a cop-out, but think about it: some women just love being pregnant or are even at their happiest when they are pregnant. I have vivid recollections of a friend who was the most spectacularly happy and peaceful pregnant woman I have ever met – that was over 10 years ago and I still remember it because her contentment oozed from her every pore. If expecting makes you feel that great, why not record it for posterity? You photograph the family Christmas celebrations and birthday parties, when everyone is smiling and happy – do the same for your pregnancy.
Regardless of why you’re getting the photos done, you will probably only have one chance to get it right – stay put until both you and your photographer are positive that you’ve got ‘it’. A good photographer won’t run a clock; they will understand that they need to stick it out until they’ve captured you and your belly in a way that represents where you are in your life right now. That being said, a good photographer also won’t keep you there for hours because they’ll take their time getting you lit and positioned properly and then move on quickly but with care. Getting through the shoot may only take 40 minutes or it might take an hour and a half. Either way, you’re never going to regret going for it.