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Thursday, July 28, 2011

smile for the camera... you and your baby bump!

This is a special post for my dear friend Heather who is half-way through her pregnancy and coming home to Maine in a couple of weeks, just in time for me to photograph her growing baby bump! She is nervous about it, not sure that she even wants photos of her bump that she doesn't think is such a little bump anymore. I told her she'll love it, and because I'm one of her best friends she is listening to me and allowing me to take a few shots! I can't wait!

So to get ready I told her I'd post some pictures I've taken of others and some photos by my good photographer friend, Beth Wallace, who took pictures of me when I was 7 months pregnant with my son a couple of years ago. I would say the best time to take the photos is after 6 months when your belly is most likely showing pretty well and before 9 months so that you are still feeling comfortable and have some energy left in you to take some pictures.

(NOTE: All photos of me, big belly in the maroon or bright green sweater, are taken by photographer Beth Wallace of Beth Wallace Photography in New Hampshire, all other photos are taken by me, Angela Avery)

Maternity shoots are fun. I promise they are! I definitely cherish looking at the pictures of my belly when I was pregnant. It's something I want to remember, because I know it won't ever look just like that again. I think pregnant women are beautiful, honestly I do. I also am a person who loves taking pictures. So of course I'd encourage anyone to get some maternity photos taken.

However, I should add here that despite my own personal opinion that it's nice to get pictures done, I'm not oblivious to the fact that many, I'll say it again - many, women are just not comfortable with their growing bellies, changing bodies, and they don't want to remember looking the way they did while pregnant for 10 months. I do acknowledge that. If you are in this category, which many of my close friends are, it's OK. You are not alone. You just might not want to read anymore though because I'm going to try to entice you to get some photos done!

Taking daddy-to-be along
It's nice to take dad along with you while getting the photos done. I couldn't find a day that my husband wasn't working so we did our shoot without him, but I do encourage people to take the dad along. They make the photos that much more special. It also puts you more at ease, knowing you aren't the only one feeling stupid with the camera pointed directly at you. It's also nice to get pictures done of your second child in the belly or beyond. Your belly is never the same with each pregnancy, and your growing family around the baby bump makes the pictures even more special.

What to wear
It's best to wear solid colors like this wonderful mommy, Kristen, did this summer. It's great to bring a couple of changes of clothes, too, if you're feeling up to changing. It just changes the look of the pictures and can be nice for different photos. Try to wear something you feel most comfortable in. For me, that was my favorite maroon sweater. I just felt like it was fitted and really cute on me (and it's hard to find something you actually feel "cute" in when you're 7, 8, 9 months pregnant, so even if the shirt isn't something spectacular wear it anyway because you'll feel good in it, which will show in the pictures.)

You will also want to make sure you are well hydrated before and during your photo shoot, but also make sure you go to the restroom just before so you are most at ease and comfortable. Your photographer wants to get good shots of you so you enjoy the pictures later, however she also is not expecting you to do acrobats or walk for hours to get those good shots. If you're uncomfortable with a pose she suggests just say so or offer up another idea. Pregnancy is all about being in tune with your body and your needs, so remember that especially when you're in front of the camera.

Close-ups of that glow
I think it's also nice, as the photographer, to try to get at least a couple of photos of the mom-to-be's face. It's usually glowing, happy, full of anticipation. It's nice to capture that look on a gal's face.

Take along some baby items
When I went on my photo shoot with my friend she asked me to bring along some cute baby items to include in the pictures. It was such a cool idea. I love the pictures now of the baby socks and bear I took. Whenever I see that bear in my son's room I remember taking it to these pictures, one of the first things that made me realize a baby was coming.

So think of taking some booties, small shoes or socks, a hat or two, a bear or other stuffed animal, a favorite book, a rattle, etc. They add to the pictures and make it seem more real like a baby will be here soon in place of that belly!

What do you want to remember?
The best thing my photographer friend, Beth, asked me to do was think of my pregnancy and if there was something I would always remember about it, something interesting or a weird feeling. I said the first thing I think about when I think of pregnancy was not being able to see my feet! She took a picture of that feeling. I LOVE this!

Strike a pose
As for other poses, it's really up to you and your photographer with how comfortable you are, what your style is, and which aspects of pregnancy you want to remember. Of course belly shots are the most important. Just have fun with it! When else will you feel like showing off your belly?! Many people don't feel comfortable showing off the bare belly, but if you do it's definitely a good thing to capture, to remember just how different your belly looked.

Honestly, it is a fun thing to get some maternity photos done of you. You can frame them in your living room like I did with one of my belly, or you can lock them away in the back of the baby book for only you and your husband to see. Either way, you don't get this chance back, so if you're at all interested in having pictures done don't wait, get them done.

Most of all, relax and have fun with it!

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