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Maternity Session Tips & Tricks

Maternity Session at the Virginia Tech Duck Pond in Blacksburg, VA

Thank you for considering me for this special time and truly unforgettable experience. I am a single mom with two children and very passionate about all maternity sessions. When you are going through the whole process of pregnancy it may seem like it’s dragging on because you are excited to meet your newborn, but it really passes by in the blink of an eye. That is why it is so important to capture as much of these special moments as possible. From the first flutters of a kick in the belly till the moment baby comes out and looks into your eyes. Dreaming about the sweet baby inside of you and then getting to hold your child in your arms for the very first time. Wondering what your baby will be like, look like, act like and then not knowing how you ever lived without them.

I would gladly spend the rest of my days photographing glowing mothers to be. It is so important to capture these fleeting moments before the mad chaos sits in with either your first or an added child. In the spirit of you having one less thing to worry about I would love to give you a few tips on what to expect and how to prepare for a maternity session.

Maternity Session at Hahn Horticulture Garden, Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, VA

First off when picking a location keep the season in mind. You don’t want to be submerged in water in the middle of January so a waterfall session is probably out. However keep in mind although it might be cold, a bright colored gown is breathtaking against a snowy backdrop. I love super dramatic backgrounds but let’s face it sometimes they aren’t feasible because it is hard enough for you to walk as it is and some of these locations are harder to get to. I feel with maternity sessions the proof is in the pudding meaning, you can do them anywhere because the momma is so beautiful she will steal the show, not the location. You will want to pick a location that has some meaning for you, because this time is so precious. If you are feeling stuck coming up with ideas I have a ton and love to help with that.

Now let’s talk about timing. It’s pretty important to hit that sweet spot where you look super pregnant but aren’t so uncomfortable that it shows. I generally recommend 30-34 weeks but no more than that. Anything after 35 weeks and you are generally pretty uncomfortable plus we run the risk of you going into labor. Typically a maternity session lasts around 1 1/2 hours, including changing outfits and walking around to different spots at the location. For the time of day we schedule you have a couple of choices. For outdoor sessions either the hour following sunrise or an hour before sunset works great. This will depend a lot on your personal schedule and whether or not you get morning sickness. For any indoor sessions the timing is a little more flexible because we can control the light with windows and blinds.

Now on to the most important part… Your’e outfit! I want to make sure you look fabulous and showcase that beautiful belly of yours. One thing I want to mention is your choice of shoes. If you want to wear heels or platforms for your actual pictures that is fine but maybe consider bringing some flats to wear in between shots and during walking around.

I love doing an outfit change for these sessions so they feel more rounded and you have some variety. For the first outfit I just love a beautiful long, flowy dress. Anything that has an empire waist is just amazing at showcasing your baby bump. Empire waist dresses, elastic waist skirts, maternity dresses, and shirts that are cropped or form fitting are all flattering. You do not have to wear lace or see through if you do not want to. That is all up to your personal preference. If you need help with what to wear I am always here to help.

I completely understand your hesitation to buy one for just this occasion to wear only once. May I recommend trying the thrift store or Platos Closet first. You can find some pretty fabulous dresses there at super affordable prices. These pictures are a once in a lifetime opportunity. They are definitely worth the dress.

For the second outfit, I like it to be sort of casual. This is where all the cute, fun photos come from.You could wear a shorter dress or even maternity jeans with a cute top that shows off your belly. This is also where I like to add props and have some real fun. We do some of you sitting down so keep that in mind when choosing this outfit.

Maternity Session at Mountain Lake Lodge in Pembroke, VA

Now let’s talk props! I am usually against a lot of props just because I feel it takes away from the power and emotion of a session. However, when it comes to maternity sessions I say the more the better. Anything that will help personalize the session and help you remember the moment years down the road. As a mom of teenagers I can tell you it gets harder and harder to remember all those details the farther you get from them. Here are a few suggestions of things you can bring with you; the ultrasound pictures, baby blanket, shoes, stuffed animal, baby books to read, and maybe a banner with their name from the baby shower that will get hung in their room.

Breastfedding Session at Carvins Cove in Roanoke, VA

When bringing a sibling to the session make sure they have had a nap and have eaten already. This always makes things run smoother. Talk to them before hand about what will be expected of them. We will get most of the shots with them out of the way first before they get unfocused and then they will be rewarded with some play time. That is when we will get some candid shots as well. I like to bribe my children with a promise of ice cream after or something they really like. Having stuff to look forward to helps with littles cooperation.

I hope all these tips help you and I am always here to answer any questions you may have. The most important thing is not to stress yourself out about any of it. We will find beauty in the middle of the messy, so let’s have some fun. Now let’s move on to the other types of sessions surrounding maternity.

Maternity Session at Virginia Tech Duck Pond in Blacksburg, VA

Fresh 48

For those of you who don’t know what a Fresh 48 session is, these occur within the first 48 hours of when your baby is born. Usually at the hospital in a simple hospital issued onesie. Mostly about capturing the first experiences with your baby. Usually only the baby, parents and siblings are allowed in the room seeing how it can get quite crowded quickly. These sessions usually last about an hour and occur in the middle of the day if possible. That way we can use as much natural daylight as possible. Just let the nurses know what time I will there so I don’t interrupting any of their schedule.

Maternity Session at Hahn Horticulture Garden, Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, VA

Newborn Lifestyle Sessions

The lifestyle sessions will take place in the home. We will center these around your everyday living with your special newborn child. I will be taking photos in your family room, baby’s nursery (if you have one) and your master bedroom. During in home sessions please try to remove as much clutter as possible from any areas we will be shooting in. It helps with distractions and eases the moms mind while I’m running around shooting different angles of the house. Keep in mind you do not need to clean your whole house before I come only the rooms I will be shooting in. I generally like to shoot around windows and places that have a good source of natural light, so focus on those rooms. is a great job for Dad or Grandma if she is in town!

Bonus Info

Make sure baby is fed and changed right before I arrive. This will help to keep baby happy and asleep for the duration of the session. Make sure to have diapers, change of clothes, blankets, pacifier or anything else the baby has grown fond of. Do not stress if the baby becomes fussy! I am very patient and understanding! I have two children of my own and many nieces and nephews. I understand sometimes babies just do not want to cooperate. The last thing I want is for momma to get stressed out! If we need to take a break for a while to feed or change baby again, I get it! I will work with you and want momma to be happy and comfortable above all.

Baby Milestones

"A new baby is like the beginning of all things... hope, a dream of possibilities." Eda LeShan

Here are the milestones of your precious new baby. Moments you will want to capture and remember forever. There is no perfect time because every baby develops differently but here is a pretty sturdy guideline. Things to keep in mind when scheduling these appointments are how quickly they can tire. You will want to schedule after their nap time so they are fully rested.

3 months - Baby can hold their head up without strain. They are now giving responsive smiles and can grab at their own feet.

"An infants smile was the greatest promise that the world would go on, no matter how much the grown-ups mucked around with it" Janice Maynard

6 months (Sitter) - Baby should now be able to sit up unassisted but not yet crawling. You can now gently toss them in the air, and play peek-a-boo. Since you do not have to chase the baby it is really easy to focus on their clothes, smiles and props.

"Babies should be classified as an antidepressant. It's pretty hard to be in a bad mood around a 6 month old baby" Jim Gaffigan

9 months - At this stage your baby should be starting to crawl, pulling up on chairs, belly laughing and just all around independent. Safety comes first in these sessions where we will always keep a parent near by to spot the child and make sure they don't fall or hurt themselves.

"Its an overwhelming moment where your entire life changes forever... but also so simple. Kiss. Hold. Warmth. Marvel." Amy Corbett Storch

1 year old - Your child should not be able to sit, stand, maybe even walk a little. They should have new teeth. Just becoming a toddler this is the last of their babyhood. These sessions are mainly about the child just having fun and maybe some playing with the parents. A birthday celebration is a great time for a cake smash.

"...part of me wants to just stop everything right where it is. She's perfect now. I don't want to ruin it by her growing up" Allison Hart

Babies memories before 4 years old are supported/ reinforced by photographs.


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