May 21, 2021

What to expect Maternity Photo Session

Knowing what to expect at your maternity photo session is important.

maternity photo session in Charlotte NC outside in the late sun

Let’s pause for a moment and really marinate on what YOU want for your maternity photo session. A photographer’s images and style along with her work-flow are as unique as he/she is.

Lets take a look at how photographers can vary in their approach to sessions. Think about what you want for your session.

Do you want to meet for a consultation, shoot the session and come back again a few weeks later to pick up and view those printed images?

Some photographers do not include digital files until you purchase a dollar amount of actual prints/products.

Other photographers only give digital files. Are those files high resolution? Do you have to purchase large prints from their studio to get those files?

Some studios provide maternity gowns, others do not. How many gowns are you allowed to borrow per session? (I provide 3 per session, with the option to purchase extra.)

Some photographers do phone consultations and follow up with digital information to help you make decisions.(Me)

I don’t think any of these are wrong or right. I think it has to do with what YOU want from your photographer and photo session.

Does the photographer prefer to communicate via email, phone, zoom or in person? (I prefer phone and text.)

WHAT DO YOU WANT?

Lemme explain my process.

I work best when a client shares things that are important to them. A long list of images to recreate is not helpful. I like to know her most important request…

expecting parents at their maternity photo session in Charlotte NC

Let me back up here for a second….let me say I do like to see visually what my client is thinking. It helps us get on the same page, however when I am confined to the box of creating specific images that clients have listed, my creativity becomes clunky. All of a sudden my round wheel that runs smoothly starts to get corners that begin to make my creative brain feel like my childhood big wheel when it got the flat spot on the front plastic wheel…..thump thump thump.

When I work with a flow and look for the special moments the ideas for images just seem to pour out of my mind. When a client wants me to produce images from another session or different photographer my mind becomes obsessed with nailing those images only and I miss the creative shots I could have gotten specific to this session. Does that make sense?

I work with a mapped out plan in mind and I let inspiration hit me as I am working. I am never married to a specific plan. The weather may change and I may need to get my client inside before her hair is ruined. Maybe the sun is just perfect and I want to move us to a new location outside because I map the sun during the winter and summer months and know where it is falling for the best light at the right time.

If your the mom that can roll with me having a plan but making pitstops along the way because something catches my eye and it may just make the absolute most amazing shot……..then by all means call me!

The Consultation (or the not in person consult).

I get ask occasionally if I MEET with clients for a consult or do they come to the studio to try on dresses prior to the maternity photo session.

I don’t. WHY?

There are so many variables that could change after I meet with a client.

I do a thorough phone consultation with my clients. This is when we chat about thoughts she has about the session, any questions mom may have, we schedule a date and make a list of items she will need for her maternity photo session along with things to do prior to her session. We chat about hair, makeup, nail polish, clothing for any family members. I like to find out what is her personal style, why did she choose to book with me. What about my work does she love most is another question I like to ask. I also send a follow up email with all the things we chatted about so mom can refer back to it if she needs to….pregnancy brain:)

Expecting mothers change clothing three times during our photo session and can choose gowns from our maternity wardrobe or bring their own. Most dresses are made from material to accommodate a wide variety of sizes. If a dress doesn’t fit or maybe mom feels it is to revealing then we look together for another maternity gown while she is here for her maternity pictures. We also have material that we can use to create a gown while mom is here. We do plan family clothing with mom too. I have Pinterest boards to help with the process.

cloth to make a maternity gown
Example of cloth used to make maternity gowns.

The week leading up to your maternity session.

Clients will receive a reminder email from me confirming the date and time as well as the location of their session and the remaining balance of their session is paid online.

If mom is choosing dresses from the studio closet she can send her choices over via text to me so I can be sure to have those clean and ready for her when she arrives. If she prefers to be more casual and look at things together when she arrives we can do that too.

I remind her to do any salon services like waxing or hair color the week before her session. I also remind her of the items we spoke about originally when she booked her maternity session.

The actual session

The good stuff!

Smiling expecting mother at her photo session

I like to greet everyone when they come into the studio…high fives to the kids and get them comfy with the idea that we are going to have fun together. Chatting with parents about how the session will flow is also a good start, I like for parents to know the plan:). I go over a few things that relate to posing that I will say to mom over and over during the session. We get started with what order we will use the gowns and what gowns are going to be used inside the studio and what gowns she will wear outside. We discuss any clothing she has brought along for husband and children and what gowns those items match.

Essentially we get a game plan together for what our time together will look like. I like to discuss the game plan THE DAY OF our session because there are so many variables….like what? ….weather, mom is on bed rest, maybe a child isn’t having the best day ever, dad couldn’t make it, the dress she ordered didn’t arrive etc….

After the maternity session

Yeah we did it and everyone had a great time. I get the absolute most genuine emails from clients the next day thanking me for the experience.

“Love love it! Brandy was so sweet and awesome with our kids and that took off pressure because its not easy trying to kid a toddler to be still. She definitely made it work made it a fun experience for all of us. It really didnt feel like a photo shoot it felt more like us hangout out naturally as a family laughing and her capturing every precious moment.”

Erica Padilla

OK…..so…..three days (working days Monday-Friday) after their session clients choose their images from a soft proof gallery.

I fully edit those choices and will send them back over to her via a downloadable link. Clients do get high resolution files that they may print and use as they like. I would love to see my images plastered on every mothers home and I do, but we want the digital files these days….right?

I also send over a fun phone app that can be shared with friends and family.

Recap of how a photo session works

I do an in-depth phone consultation with all potential clients.

Clients who have scheduled and paid a retainer fee will get a further in-depth phone consultation to discuss what to bring, clothing for family, dress choices, hair, makeup etc..

Clients get reminders along the way about their up coming session. Four days before their session clients will pay the remaining balance for their maternity session.

The day of the session we spend about an hour and half together capturing amazing images.

Three working days after the session client will view an online password protected gallery of their soft proof images and make their selections.

I will fully edit those images and send them back over with a link to download.

I am always available to my clients to answer any questions, help with clothing ideas etc. I also provide several links to helpful information to make the experience amazing!

xo ~Brandy NicCole

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