Hints and Tips for Maternity shoots

There is something to be said about the endless possibilities of maternity photos. They allow your 9 months of miracle-baking to last a lifetime and will help you to remember the true, raw and natural beauty of your body for ever. Our bodies will never stop changing throughout our lives, but the idea of capturing such a powerful period of time is truly something else.

I self-run my own maternity photoshoots as I would find it difficult to be as comfortable with a photographer as I do myself. This is such a personal time, and I like to imagine it as an activity that me and squish are able to do together since we are both working the camera.

Trust me when I say that taking maternity photos is a fun experience, but also trust me when I say that if you are doing it yourself, you will have a giggle a few times at the awkward poses you make trying to make the bump look more flattering. I noticed this at my earliest “shoots” where I was not used to the bump in any way whatsoever and it was very evident in the pictures I took… just look….

20 weeks

I mean, hello… dear caught in headlights much?

So what are some tips on posture and body positioning for a maternity self-run photoshoot?

The “Thigh Swivel”

I find that sometimes when taking a picture of myself front facing can lead to a slightly chubby fa├žade. I obviously do not like this, but one thing I found that combats this for me, is the “Thigh Swivel”, which is basically what you do to make yourself appear slightly slimmer but doesn’t denounce your gorgeous bump- it actually shows it off more, which is what we really want in our maternity photos.

Notice how in these pictures that one side of the thigh is being shown more than the other? It oddly draws your bottom half in which can give the illusion of a slightly larger bump but a leaner stance. Also, excuse the camel toe in the middle picture, I am aware of this but I love the way my body looks so not caring over here!

“The Bump Cradler”

We have seen (and drooled over) Khloe Kardashian’s gorgeous maternity bumps where she cradles her delightful baby girl (and oddly enough, she felt she had to defend her poses and explain why she felt the need to cradle the baby… I mean really? Can’t we just let a mama-to-be decide her own photograph poses please?), and there have been countless other gorgeous maternity photos where the mama-to-be holds onto her stomach which can project her Mother Bear instincts in protection, her love for her soon-to-be child, and the excitement of the fact that she just can’t wait to hold her baby in her arms for the first time. 

I know that I cradle my bump in practically all of the pictures I take of myself. I find it to be comforting and a lovely touch, as well as the fact that it can highlight the true size of my bump. 

maternity photos

I just love to feel that she is within and its such a special moment. You can cradle your bump in whatever way you wish, but I would always suggest having a hand touching the diagonal side of your bump to give it dimension and the other hand over the top of your bump and across your diaphragm. I think this allows anyone to see the true size of your belly and you are also showing your nurturing angle. 

“Tilt-a-head”

You will notice in the pictures on my Maternity Shoot Inpo page that my head is always tilted one way or another. I find that keeping your head dead straight is never an option if you want a flattering picture. The main reason I do this in any pictures, let alone Maternity pictures is because I am extremely lucky in that whenever I gain any type of weight, it goes straight to under my jaw. Yupp, I’m talking 5 chin Emma over here. 

Its not an option for me to keep my head in a naturally straight position for photos, unless I want to show off my extra chins. 

So what I do is observe in the mirror before taking any pictures, which angle works best for me to show a more profound jawline- and its always by tilting. It will feel natural when taking the pictures! But the reason I suggested this is because, I know that many mamas-to-be are suffering from increased water retention and it can make our faces appear slightly more puffy. And while its not a problem to capture the rawness of pregnancy in our maternity photos, it might not be one of those side affects that we want to capture for a lifetime. 

You should try to tilt your head in different angles during your self-run maternity photoshoot. You are bound to find an angle that works for you!

Looking down can symbolise your protective gaze of your baby-to-be, looking up might show a more “holy-esque” angle. 

Dressing for the occasion

I know that there are thousands and millions of mamas who have taken the most stunning maternity photos, drenched in silks, laces and gorgeous floor length gowns, but there are also mamas like me who likes to keep things simple. Don’t get me wrong, I will be taking these stunning pictures too in mountainous areas but only when I am a bit further along and the bump is more pronounced. In the meantime, I am using the smaller bump as a means to prepare and get ready for the bigger and more production-y photoshoots to come when I am 30+ weeks pregnant. 

For the period of about 15 weeks to now (24 weeks), I have been keeping it simple and fresh by wearing very little but trying to maintain a classic vibe. For the shoot that I did at 20 weeks, I used some coral coloured crepe fabric and fashioned a bandeau (which I tied into my bra) and skirt (which was tucked into my undies) and exposed my belly. The colour complimented my skin tone and with the warm overlay I edited the pictures with, It really made the colours pop in my opinion. 

In my most recent shoot, I decided to keep it simple again with a black crop top and undies, but added a little pattern by tying a gorgeous head scarf around my noggin. It added the extra something that this photo otherwise lacked against the dark background.

Is that all?

Well I would say that this post will be updated as I continue throughout my pregnancy as there will be many more shoots to come and that I would love to share with you. Hoping to ensure the grandeur improves as well as my camera skills- lord knows I am no photographer. But for now, these are the main tips I would suggest for your maternity photos and I hope you enjoy them!

Good luck, and be sure to share the results with me!

 

What is the First Trimester really like in pregnancy?

You’re pregnant! Its amazing, you are so uncontrollably happy and excited about what is to come! That was the case for me, or at least I thought it would have been when I would eventually see that positive sign on the pregnancy test. What came after the test was somewhat different from what I would have expected- and it got me to thinking… what is the first Trimester really like in pregnancy?

Before even Knowing for sure that I was pregnant

The realistic side of first trimester in pregnancy

I have to say that before I even found out I was pregnant, and before it was even an inkling of possibility in my head, I was going through a bit of a different and strange mental state. My emotions were quite literally flailing all over the place as if independent from my body. It was a bit of a worrying time filled with anxiety and dread when it came to my job and other personal problems. It baffles me now that the possibility of being pregnant never really popped into my head at that point, especially when I had a rather embarrassing breakdown in front of my boss about stress. 

Looking back now, it could have been SO obvious that I was pregnant just by looking at my behaviours and attitudes- it was so unlike me to be acting like this. It even got to the point where I was becoming so worried about my mental health that I booked a doctor’s appointment to talk over my anxiety and stress. The first trimester is all about the hormonal moodswings and emotions!

The initial shock of finding out

I always used  to imagine my immediate reaction to be super excited or super distraught… but what I didn’t expect was  the full on theme park of rollercoaster emotions that went on. You can read about how it all went by reading my Pregnancy Discovery post.

What was your reaction to finding the positive sign on the pregnancy test?

Baby bumps in the first trimester

what is the first trimester really like in pregnancy?
                     8 weeks                          16 weeks

It Might have been a bit pre-emptive when the day after finding out I was pregnant (1st December 2017) I was checking for a bump. Wishful thinking! I have always been obsessed with baby bumps and wished that when I was lucky enough to become pregnant I would have a cute little bump that I could balance a cup of tea upon (ah lets see if this happens) while munching on Jammy Dodgers and Rich Tea Biscuits, so when I found out I was pregnant I was already imagining a baby bump forming. It got even more ridiculous when I forced my sister to take a photo of me and my bump literally the day after finding out about being pregnant (this makes me cringe now, lol).

I knew that bumps were not an immediate thing to show, but being pregnant, I was just so excited to start seeing a change, afterall, how could I be feeling so significantly different within myself and not  show any change whatsoever on the outside? It was just bizarre to me!

My bump didn’t start showing til the usual 16 week mark, but even then I expected  it to be larger than it was!

Morning Sickness in the first trimester

As a bit of a pessimist, I expected my morning sickness to be one of hellish nature having heard all of the horror stories. I used to have a bit of a phobia of being sick and the thought of putting my body through something that would promote being sick on most days made me hate the idea of pregnant. 

My surprise reaction to finding out I was pregnant was partly due to the fact that I never once had a day of being sick or feeling sick- just mood swings and a lack of period. I always heard that being sick was one of the first symptoms of being pregnant and because of the lack of morning sickness for me, pregnancy never floated across my mind as a possibility.

Funnily enough though, I had my fair share of sickness the very next day after finding out I was pregnant and a few days after that it happened again. I wasn’t sure if my mind had just convinced itself to throw up, knowing I was pregnant and knowing that it was a side effect of pregnancy, or if it was actually a bout of morning sickness.

So I got away very lucky for morning sickness, but when it hit… oh boy it hit. I would walk around the city centre to work, covering my nose and mouth with a scarf, focusing so much on not throwing up, when all I wanted to do was barf up my guts. I have never exercised bodily control in such a successful way- and don’t even get me started on trying to control it when I was on one of the Glasgow First Buses to the city centre.

The good news was that the suggested methods to avoid or prevent morning sickness worked for me- ginger nuts before getting up and a cup of tea with some sugar, sparkling water, ready salted crisps and just remaining full at all times helped. 

Cravings

What is the first trimester really like in pregnancy?

I have heard of some of the wildest cravings EVER for women who have been pregnant. From a woman who craved lumps of coal, to a woman who woke up at 3am with the oddest craving of cheerios and milk, not in a normal china bowl, but in a carved out watermelon bowl… I was expecting to eat some of the weirdest stuff. My biggest fear being that I would start craving my most hated food ever… (and don’t judge me for this) cheese (seriously, this hatred of mine has ended friendships before because some people just can’t handle another me hating on their beloved cheese). Thankfully the only craving I have had including cheese, was pizza and oddly enough I love pizza so it wasn’t a problem.

I had cravings for Flaming Hot Monster Munch (I CANNOT GET ENOUGH OF THESE BAD BOYS), mangos, pineapples, vinegar, sparkling water (I used to hate sparkling water because it just tasted like spicy water without a flavour). Thankfully I haven’t desired a lump of coal or a watermelon bowl of cheerios and milk, so its reasonably easy to feed these cravings.

Aches and Pains

Sciatica, leg cramps, sore nips… these were just a handful of the aches and pains I have experienced during my first trimester and unfortunately these have all carried over to my second trimester so I am praying that they go away eventually!

One of the worst was when I had a solid 4 weeks of killer headaches that were so bad I couldn’t even sleep. The leg cramp I experienced a week ago was up there with one of the worst cramps I have ever experienced in my entire life.

Exhaustion

Ugh, this one was a killer during my first trimester, and it is extremely common. Its important to try and keep your iron levels up because feeling tired can be a common sign of being anaemic and being anaemic during pregnancy is a big thing to avoid if possible! Thankfully it has eased up a bit in the second trimester but for the first trimester, I was just a walking bag of snoozeville. The trouble was that I was on holiday for Christmas for 2 whole weeks which meant that I got into the habit of taking a mid-afternoon nap every day. Returning back to work in January felt a bit like a cruel joke. It was the most difficult thing ever to go through a solid 8 hours without being able to retreat to my bed half way through. Coming home from work,  I would be a crabbit mess and demand my bed before dinner but it wasn’t always like this thankfully. 

so… What is the realistic side of the first Trimester in pregnancy? Well…

The realistic side of pregnancy

What I have learned through my first trimester of pregnancy is that no two pregnancies are ever the same! Take it from the Mums who post on forum boards, blogs and even your midwife. Something that I experience could be entirely different from what you experience. Its quite to cool to think a pregnancy is such a unique experience.

There is no general side to pregnancy, so what might be realistic for me might be the dream of yours and vice versa!

It will all be worth the exhaustion in the end (plus a couple of months lol) and I cannot wait to meet my little bumble bump!