I'm Emily, the mom and artist behind this beautiful Maternity Photography! Scroll on to read my tips for how to include your kids in your maternity photography experience and check out some of my favorite, family centered maternity photos.
Including Kids in your Maternity Pictures
You’re probably reading this because you are pregnant, and you want to commemorate this time in your life with your family. Maybe you're concerned about how to make this go smoothly, maybe this is your first portrait experience, and maybe you're worried about your kids or partner being grouchy and difficult to work with (I know I'm always worried about my curmudgeon partner!). First things first, congratulations! This is such an exciting time in your life, and I want to make this go as smoothly as possible with no stress for anyone. I have lots of experience working with kids of all ages (I even have my own) so I have the patience and the communication skills to help make this a wonderful experience, even if there is a meltdown. Follow these simple steps to help make your Maternity Photography Experience easy and collaborative, and you'll have portraits to share with them for all time.
1) Get the Kids Involved
You can help prepare your children by browsing other family/maternity portraits and have them point out which ones they like, and telling them about the art they are going to create with you. Show them all different kinds of pictures, and by telling them they can make something similar, but special to your family, it gets them very excited to be involved. It also gives them an expectation of what the final product is and why then need to interact/stand still/hug mommy's belly over and over again. Nobody likes to be taken by surprise or be unsure as to what they are doing, including kids, so if they are privy to the end goal and they see how happy it will make you, it makes it so much easier to follow directions and be patient the day of the session.
This works well for your partner too! I know that sometimes it can be hard discussing with a partner or getting them excited, but try to convey how important this is for you. Showing them images where the whole family is involved (including parent and newborn images) may be just what they need to inspire them to be involved and enthused. Remember, kids aren't going to look back and think their parent was "lame" for being involved and excited about family portraits, they'll look back and be forever grateful to have them.
2) Make sure they are comfortable in their clothing!
Just like adults, children need to be comfortable and happy in what they are wearing. If anyone is uncomfortable, those vibes come through on camera. At Elusive Photography, I have a kids' wardrobe available for clients, so bring your children to the consultation and let them “shop” the closet and get excited about it! Prior to your session, you can keep reminding them about the gorgeous outfit they picked, and they will be more and more excited to smile big for the camera. We all feel that extra bit of confidence when we feel stunning in our outfit selection, even children. If your child has sensory issues and prefers certain types of clothing, let's talk about it and figure out a way to keep them comfortable while also staying in a nice color palette.
I also have a full wardrobe for you including maternity gowns and regular wrap gowns for family sessions. If there are men in the family, I'll consult about what they can wear to coordinate with the rest of you. That can mean looking through his closet, sending some ideas for new tops to buy, or choosing options that you bring along to the session. Generally, men always look great in simple sweaters or henley shirts. They're timeless and perfectly cozy.
For morning sessions, make sure they go to bed early the night before, and eat a BIG breakfast the day of.
If your portrait session is in the morning, make sure your kids go to bed early (as best as you can, Mama) and are fully rested the night before. Try to have them eat a big filling breakfast, and remind them that the big, exciting portrait experience is after breakfast to keep that anticipation going! They can maintain that excitement better and not get tired or cranky if they have a full belly. Sometimes, it's also fun to make that day's breakfast special. Maybe visit a new breakfast place and let them get a fun waffle, or go to their all-time favorite place as a special family outing before the portraits. Make sure you talk about their sleep schedule with me at booking, if you'd kid usually naps at 9:00, we need to make sure to avoid that time. Well rested and well-fed kids are happy kids!
Bring snacks you know they love
When you are preparing your bag for your portraits, make sure you fill it with secret snacks for your children. Gummies are always a hit, as well as little cookies, and even juice boxes. At the studio we provide cold, filtered water and organic juice, but if your kids are still drinking milk or prefer anything else, you will need to bring that. You know what your kids like, and if it takes bacon to get those smiles, then bacon it is! Bring little snacks for yourself too – you want to feel your best as well!
Okay Mama, it’s time. You’re at the studio, and you’re a bundle of nerves, stressing, hoping everything turns out like you want it to. You have this vision in your head. Here is your last step. Ready? It’s a simple one:
THE MOST IMPORTANT STEP – HAVE FUN!
Relax, take a deep breath, and enjoy this moment in your family's story. Accept your kids however they naturally smile, and don’t stress about requiring them to be “perfect." Try to resist telling your kids, “No, don’t smile like that!” or “Here, smile like this!” The best portraits of our kids are when their personalities and quirks are showing, and I have the skills and patience to work with your kids to bring out their best for the portraits. If I need a little extra help guiding your children, I will always ask you because mama knows best! If you follow this prep guide and model positive feelings by sharing your excitement with your kids, all will go smoothly, and you will have gorgeous portraits just like these.
If you're inspired to book aa portrait experience with me, check out my Maternity Portrait portfolio, and get in touch via the contact form at the bottom of the page. I can't wait to meet you and your family!