Congratulations! You've made it to the home stretch.
By week 30 of your pregnancy, you're starting to feel like a pro at this whole parent thing. You've bought the gear, installed the car seat and packed the hospital bag.
In other words, you're ready to meet your new sidekick, but you still have a few weeks to go.
That makes this the ideal time to hire a maternity photographer! Even on days when you're feeling your most unglamorous, the reality is that this is one of the most beautiful and memorable seasons of your life.
The right photographer can help you memorialize these moments. Soon, it will be impossible to remember life before your baby came along, which will make these images even more priceless.
Today, we're sharing a guide to help you navigate the process of finding, hiring and working with the right photographer for you.
Ready to learn more? Let's get started!
Step 1: Time Your Search Right
Before we dive into how to handle the actual hiring process, let's review the right time to begin your quest for the best maternity photographer in your area.
You don't want to wait until a few weeks before your due date to start your search. By then, there are plenty of other critical items to mark off your to-do list before your baby arrives.
It can be a challenge to vet potential photographers and schedule the logistics of a shoot when you're attending weekly appointments, wrapping up last-minute work assignments and putting the final touches on the nursery.
Plus, if you're only a month or so away from delivering, the physical requirements of a photoshoot might be too demanding. That's why it's smart to add this to your nesting checklist as soon as possible.
If possible, try to start researching prospects by the end of your first trimester. This way, you can take your time, ask plenty of questions and find a photographer who fulfills your vision.
Most maternity portraits are taken at between 28 and 32 weeks. Waiting much longer could mean hiring a newborn photographer, instead!
Step 2: Refine Your Vision
You don't need to have every detail nailed down, but having a general idea of how you want your maternity photoshoot to look is a helpful way to simplify your search.
For instance, if you know you want traditional portraits, a high-fashion or avant-garde photographer might be too eclectic for your taste. The same goes if you know you want a photojournalistic style or one that also brings in elements of landscape photography.
Looking for inspiration? Browsing idea boards like Pinterest is a great way to see what other new moms have done. Make a list of the elements you like and those you don't.
Step 3: Research Your Options
Once it's time to start the research process, there are a few ways to narrow down the wide range of prospects into a shorter list of potential hirees. Of course, if this isn't your first pregnancy, you may already have a go-to maternity photographer who always photographs your brood.
However, if you're new to this stage or are ready to find someone new, you can do so in a few ways. Let's take a quick look at each.
It's likely that you're considering maternity photography because someone you know shared an album of her own photoshoot that inspired you.
If this is the case, ask for a referral! Any time you see images you adore, especially on social media, ask for the name of the person behind the lens.
Another way to leverage the power of the internet to find what you need? Use the Facebook Recommendations tool to ask your online followers if they have any references you can contact. As this resource is location-based, you can laser-focus your search to a small radius, such as your hometown.
The replies you receive can help direct you toward someone who's familiar with your area and knows all of the best spots to snap!
Conduct an Online Search
While social media is a great way to hear firsthand recommendations, it's also helpful to expand your search a little. This is where the power of Google can help.
Conduct a quick online query by typing, "Maternity photographer near me" into the search bar. This triggers another location-specific search, leading you to the websites and online business profiles of local professionals.
Google My Business (GMB) is the most prominent and user-friendly business profile platform. You should see a list of GMB profiles at the top of your search results.
Click on the ones that pique your interest and explore more about each prospect. An online business profile alone can reveal the following data on each photographer:
- Contact information
- Website link
- Working hours
- Business address with map
- Customer feedback and reviews
- Questions and answers
This is a great way to move your search from hundreds of potential maternity photographers to a handful that you can continue to learn more about.
Step 4: Browse Galleries
Once you've completed your online searches, you should have a list of three to five maternity photographers you want to explore. One of the best ways to preview how your shoot will look? Browse examples of their past work!
Today, almost all photographers have an online portfolio or photo gallery, regardless of their specific industry niche. Visit the websites of each prospect and navigate to this section.
This will help you visualize and understand the photographic style of each professional. You can also use online galleries to investigate the level of quality each photographer delivers. Anyone can have a sleek website and an active social media profile, but if their actual images are grainy and out-of-focus, keep searching.
Step 5: Conduct Interviews
Your digital sleuthing behind you, it's time to actually speak to the maternity photographers you're still considering. This is a great time to ask detailed questions and learn more about each expert.
Call each photographer on the phone, schedule a Skype meeting, or arrange an in-person consultation at a nearby locale, such as a coffee shop.
Before you ask a single question, take note of how you feel upon the initial contact. At the end of the day, you want to partner with someone who makes you feel relaxed and respected. After all, you want to remember and cherish these important moments forever, and if you're not at ease, it will show.
Then, it's time to get answers.
Some of the most important questions to ask your potential maternity photographer include:
- How long have you been in the photography industry?
- Have you always specialized in maternity photoshoots?
- What do your photography packages include?
- What is your editing process like?
- Do you use film or digital?
Why are these questions so important? Let's take a look.
Time in Industry
Sure, a recent graduate with zero experience might be able to take great photos. Yet, so can your aunt with her new smartphone.
It isn't always about having the best tools or even having an "eye." You want someone who has worked in photography in the past and knows their way around a professional photoshoot.
This expert will be able to position you correctly, snap efficiently, and get you back home as soon as possible.
Prioritize photographers who have worked in the maternity niche in the past. They will be more familiar with what lighting, props, positions, and locations best showcase the pregnant female form.
For instance, there are specific ways to position your shoulders and belly to make your silhouette as flattering as possible, taking the focus and attention away on any angles you don't want to emphasize.
They'll also be able to help you move into poses that take the weight off your pressure points, so you aren't feeling tense and ready to go within five minutes of arrival.
If a photographer has experience photographing children, that's also a plus. This means they're used to working with families and most likely have a friendly and personable approach to the process.
Photography Package Details
Before you sign on the dotted line with a maternity photographer, you should know the full extent of what your final package will include.
Will you receive actual physical prints or will they all be digital? What about photography products, such as a framed print or a coffee table book of the best shots? Will you have access to an online web gallery?
In addition, what does each package cost and when can you expect to receive it?
You should also know how long you can expect to be at the photoshoot. Most photographers will offer shorter, less expensive mini-sessions as well as full-length sessions. Ask about your options and request to see examples, if possible.
Your photographer should be able to answer all of these questions in a concise and straightforward manner. Take any vagueness or hesitation as a red flag.
Next, ask about each photographer's approach to editing. Will he or she be involved in this process, narrowing down the images to only the best ones? Or, will that step be up to you?
As much as you might want to be hands-on in this regard, sorting through hundreds of pictures of yourself can be exhausting. It helps to team with someone who can guide you toward the best and most unique photos while also explaining the different types of finishes and cropping techniques.
Also, inquire on the specific editing techniques used. If you're going for a more natural look, you might not prefer a photographer who leans heavily on filters and Photoshop to contrive the "perfect" shot.
Film vs. Digital
Finally, ask all photographers if they use film-based photography, digital photography, or a combination of both during their photoshoots.
This is also a great time to ask about the kind of prints they provide. If you're only looking for an online album or a collection of .jpeg files, digital photography might be all you require. On the other hand, if you anticipate turning the images into an album, it's smart to invest in print photography.
Make sure you understand the differences in pricing for each option. In addition, ask about what the photographers will do with your images after you place your order. Many will archive their negatives and digital files in case you want to request certain images years down the road.
Step 6: Prepare For Your Photoshoot
Once you've held your interviews and found the perfect photographer, ask about your next steps.
In most cases, your photographer will ask you to select a few of your favorite maternity outfits so you can look and feel your best during the session. This is also the time when you'll nail down your exact meeting time and location so you can both start making plans.
Once you've reached this juncture, take a deep breath! The hard work is behind you and it's time to start looking forward to the big day.
The Best Maternity Photographer Helps You Shine
As overwhelming and nerve-wracking as the last few months of pregnancy can be, these are days you'll want to remember forever, and a maternity photographer is worth the investment. You'll especially appreciate the shots of peace and quiet in a few weeks when your life becomes a little more chaotic!
Are you in the North Georgia region? If you're ready to create a collection of legacy photos that your great-grandchildren can swoon over one day, I'd love to help.
Contact me today to learn more about my background, as well as the experience and expertise I bring to every shoot. This is one of the most meaningful journeys of your life, so let's capture it together.