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maternity portrait tips

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How to T the Best Maternity Portraits

1. Maternity portraits or pictures usually should be taken around the 7th or 8th month depending on how big you've gotten. The pregnancy belly is the optimum size during the 7th or 8th month for portrait purposes.
Earlier than that your belly may be too small. If you're gaining a lot of weight or carrying more than one baby, you will most likely, want to do your portrait session sooner rather than later. Many women retain water and look puffy during the last parts of their pregnancy

2. At least several hours before your pregnancy or maternity photo shoot, you should take off anything that has tight elastic like slacks with tight waistbands and undergarments or bras, or even socks, in order to make sure you don't have elastic or strap marks on your skin. Don't use lotion on your belly, especially the kind of lotion to help reduce stretch marks on the day of your session. Lotion will make your belly shiny, and shine doesn't look great in pictures.

3. Tops should be form fitting...especially around the bustline. Oversized shirts, (for example, wearing the husbands white work shirt), won't show your shape and showing the shape of your belly,is the whole point of these portraits. Oversized shirts will make you look heavier and less curvy than you are and will result in a block shaped silouette and thats not a look you're going to want to project. You'll want something to cover the breasts, and yet expose the belly. Shrugs work great. You will probably want to bring a pair or two of heels even though most images will be barefoot. It's a good idea to bring a pretty bra as well as some pretty panties, even if your photographer is planning to use fabric to wrap you. Bringing a robe is a good idea to throw on in the studio in between poses. If you have large breasts, make sure you bring a skin colored bra, (nude or peach or cocoa depending), that is either strapless or has removable straps, (or you can take the straps off your shoulders and tuck them inside the cups). You'll be wearing the bra underneath the fabric draping which will most likely be a bit see through, (thus the need for the bra to be skin colored), and the bra is going to help give you the best and the most shapely silhouette in your pregnancy pictures.

4. Your hands will show....so don't forget to have a manicure and a pedicure too. Face powder is always a good idea, perhaps the best way, to eliminate shiny spots. Face blotters work to a degree, to absorb facial oil and do so without messing up your makeup. You can get face blotters at the beauty supply, your makeup counter or even Victoria's Secret. Moisturize your elbows and knees otherwise they'll often show lighter colored because of rough dry flakey skin in those areas but please don't use glittery lotion, it doesn't photograph well. Don't wear makeup with spf because spf has a reflective quality when photographed. Makeup containing spf because will add shine in your photographs.

5. It's a good idea to eat a light snack before the shoot.

6. Limit jewelry to essential pieces. While it's nice to include special or important jewelry in your portraits, too much jewelry can be distracting and may dominate the portrait.

7. It's a good idea to bring images you've torn out of magazines or found on the web when you meet with your photographer at your consultation. Showing examples is the best way to communicate with your photographer about the type of look and mood you want for your portraits. Don't expect your photographer to "do all the work", you need to put forth a good bit of effort and planning, if you want good portraits and you need to put forth a great deal of effort and planning into your maternity session if you want great portraits.

8. Be on time for your appointment and don't schedule any appointments or activities directly after your photo shoot. Quality portraiture requires a good amount of time, you won't want to rush your session and possibly have subpar results.

9 If you're planning on including your husband in your images, make sure you discuss it with your photographer so they can give you clothing guidelines such as, you'll probably want to bring black slacks or if you're wearing jeans in some images, make sure he brings his jeans as well, and he won't want to forget to either remove his belt, or bring one without a shiny belt buckle as the buckle can be a big distraction in the photo when it catches the light.

10. Don't shop for portraits on price alone. Find out what professional portrait prices are in your area. Make sure you are comparing apples to apples; don't compare department store portrait prices to a fine art studio. Take a good look at their work. Is the creativity and skill level up to your expectations? Will you feel comfortable with the photographer? After you've evaluated the situation, DON'T hire the cheapest photography studio. After all, would you hire the cheapest ob/gyn? or the cheapest hairdresser, even? The cheapest of anything can end up being the most costly; especially when results are poor. As with weddings, there is most likely no reshoots with maternity photography.

Look in our Family Gallery for pregnancy/maternity portraits and poses examples

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