How to Prepare For Your Portrait Session

January 1, 2020

maternity portraitsMaternity

Sessions are best when scheduled sometime between weeks 29 and 36! This is when your belly will be nice and round and hopefully before you start to feel uncomfortable.

What to wear: I recommend a long maxi dress! Material with texture like lace or some ruffles. I highly recommend finding something that has 3/4 length or long sleeves because it doesn’t matter if you’re in the best shape of your life or carrying a little extra, sometimes arms can look a lot bigger than they actually are. Covering them up helps solve this problem!  Avoid maternity clothes that are big and baggy, they will make you look wide in a photo, and nobody wants to look wide.

If you plan on showing skin like your belly, make sure that you are not wearing anything that will leave a mark on your skin.  The biggest offenders are elastic waistbands, socks, and elastic hair bands worn on your wrist. Try wearing a light-fitting dress and sandals to your shoot, and if you can get away with it, no panties or bra. We want your skin to be as smooth and pretty as it can be! Some of my clients have even worn a bodysuit to smooth everything out. Below is a great example of a maternity dress, light blue lace with sleeves. I’m pretty sure she ordered this on amazon!

Maternity photoshoot

Consider the location, be sure to think about where we are shooting and the weather. If the weather allows for it, I’ll always opt to shoot in the evening to catch the best golden hour light, or first thing in the morning as the sun is rising. If we happen to have an overcast day, we’ll meet up earlier afternoon because the clouds basically act as a soft box to the sun, creating soft diffused light. I love higher grass or fluffy weeds so you really just need to wear something comfortable on your feet unless we know for sure they’ll be visible. Flat sandals are always a win. If we’re up on the cliffs somewhere, you might want to bring a jacket or a blanket to stay warm. High elevation and less trees = colder temps and stronger winds.

Check out these Pinterest boards for outfit inspiration: Studio & On-location

What you’ll want to pack in your bag, especially for on-location:

– hair brush
– hair spray
– makeup for touchups
– a sweater, blanket or coat if it’s cold out (even if you don’t plan on wearing it in the photos)
– water & a snack

Newborn Photoshoot

Newborns are best when photographed between birth and fourteen days.

There’s always one thing I want every mama to know. I understand what you’re going through and how you may be feeling. I want you to try to relax. I want you to enjoy these moments. I also want you to know it’s okay to feel whatever you need to feel. And if there is anything I can do to help you, please let me know!

Newborn sessions usually take about two hours. There isn’t a time limit, so please don’t feel rushed. There is lots of time to feed and snuggle your baby. I encourage mamas to give the baby a good long feeding just before leaving home or upon arrival.  That will get them good and sleepy! I like to photograph newborns in a neutral colored outfit like a fitted white onesie, or I have a bunch of swaddles you can choose from to match what you’re wearing.  If you have sentimental outfits, blankets or objects however, please bring them! We want to make these photos as special as we can! Please limit to two outfits. Example: onesie & leggings + swaddle.

Parents and siblings should expect to be in some of the photos. I will photograph your baby in your arms, hands, and on your shoulder. I will also do solo shots and involve your other kiddos if they’re willing.

Newborn Photoshoot
What to wear: Firstly, stay away from logos or patterns when choosing your outfit.  Even if it’s a small nike swoosh, I do not want it to interfere with the composition on the photos and I’m not thrilled about the idea of editing it out of every photo. I find that plain, light, neutral colored clothing works the best.  Our goal should be to keep the focus on you & your baby so less distracting clothing is best. I also recommend that you bring a t-shirt or something to change into just in case your baby pees on you during the session.  It happens.  And please know that if your baby pees or poops on me or anything in my studio, it is no big deal!!  I’ve been peed on many times, and everything in the studio (including myself) is washable!

We want to avoid everyone wearing white t-shirts and matching blue jeans. If this happens to be the look you love, sure go for it! But I love a nice flow of similar colors throughout tops and bottoms because it allows for different compositions, especially for close ups. I would also limit to two outfits

Check out this Pinterest board for baby outfit inspiration: Baby

What to bring or have ready: If you’re traveling far, you can dress them in the studio when you get here. Or you can have them dressed upon my arrival to your home. I recommend feeding them in their outfit so they are content and ready to go. Less changing the better. For other small children, follow the same protocol to avoid messes before photos. You’ll want to have headbands, blankets and anything else you’re considering incorporating into the photos laid out and ready too. If you’re coming to me, you might want to bring a snack for the whole family. I have water bottles and goldfish in the studio too.

Family Portraits

A few more things: Well fed & rested babies and children will respond best! Light or neutral colors, avoid logos or distracting patterns, textured materials photograph best! And most importantly, I want you to enjoy this. The best portraits are the in-between moments when you’re present and loving your children. My goal is to capture the connection, the love you share together to create timeless memories that you can cherish forever.

If you have any other questions regarding how best to prepare for your session, please do not hesitate to reach out!

I can be reached at or send me a DM on Instagram @sweetmelissaphoto

Looking forward to seeing you soon!

Melissa xo

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