Beautiful Momma - Feeling Your Best at Your Maternity Shoot

First, I’d like to start with a fact or fiction… ready?

Fact or Fiction: All mothers-to-be feel beautiful during their maternity photo session.

FICTION

If you are planning your maternity session and feeling a bit anxious, you are not alone. Your body is changing, your emotions may feel unfamiliar, and maybe you’re second guessing if you really want photos done at all.

Fact or Fiction: In the future, you will be glad you decided to have maternity photos done.

You guessed it, FACT!

You might even be looking at other’s maternity photos and thinking how beautiful they are and then questioning whether yours will be too. And that is so normal.

So here’s the good news! What you see on Instagram or Facebook, is the final product — the finished image. What you don’t see, is the behind the scenes!

So I’d like to walk through a bit of the behind the scenes to put your mind at ease.

1.It’s all about scheduling

First, as I mentioned, most of my Mommas-To-Be feel a bit uncomfortable at their session. Typically, you’re about 5-10 weeks out from your due date and you may be feeling like all belly. The good news is, this is all up to you! There is no rule about when to schedule your maternity session. We want you to be comfortable and to feel good about your changing body!

For some mommas, the earlier the better. You may only have a little bump but your energy is high, you’ve got the perfect outfit in mind, and you’d rather schedule your session 10-12 weeks before you’re due.

On the other hand, maybe you’re like a little more belly in your picture and you’re comfortable waiting a bit longer. I never recommend we get closer than 5 weeks out from your due date, just in case your little one decides to come early!

So scheduling is up to you. I think that 6-9 week range is a great place to start, but these are your photos and it’s all about you!

2. What not to wear

There’s really no what “not” to wear here, but definitely some suggestions on what’s going to help you feel your best. For these shots, we do want to highlight your belly, so although you may not think something more form fitting would be flattering, a lot of times it is the way to go! Some of my favorite shots have been the form-fitted maxi dresses. I will recommend that you look for a dress with a three-quarter or full length sleeve. You’ll feel more comfortable and the dress looks classy.

Shoes are a question I get a lot - I’ve seen everything from slip-on sandals (that we keep out of the photo) to high wedges. That is totally up to you! Keep in mind the location we’ve chosen and what shoe may be best suited for that terrain. If barefoot is more your style, I’m all for it.

Patterns — this goes for any session, not just maternity. Patterns are great, when they’re on one partner or the other. In other words, don’t pick a floral dress for yourself and a flannel for your hubby (sounds like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised!) In fact, I like to keep the print for the lady. Maybe a floral dress, or something with a stripe (maybe), and keep your hubs in a plain button up. We all love the flannels and plaids, but they don’t always photograph well.

3. Be Comfortable

If you read our tips for your newborn session, than this is old news to you. One thing that is easy to spot on someone’s face, is whether they’re feeling comfortable or completely out of place. Find an outfit that you can move in, stand up, sit down, maybe even spin around. Again, this goes for any session, but especially your maternity. This is another reason dresses are a great option. (Bonus tip: Most of my moms will wear spanks or a maternity pant or short underneath their dress to smooth any unwanted curves. If you’re worried about any lines showing through a dress, they can almost always be taken care of in post-editing!)

4.What to bring

Maternity sessions are really the only session where I would recommend bringing a couple of things to add to the photos. We don’t want to go crazy, but we like to highlight the excitement of waiting for your little one.

If you’d like, bring the following to your session and we’ll be sure to add it to a couple photos!

  • Sonograms

  • Baby shoes/onsies/outfits

  • Your wedding rings

  • Something pink or blue, if you’d like

Maternity photos are a great way to capture the last few months as a family of two before your little one arrives. I know, you may not feel your best, or maybe the changes in your body have you questioning your photos, and that is normal.

We will work together to pose the two of you in the most flattering ways and be sure we’re only capturing what you’re comfortable with.

As a last note, I’ve had several mommas ask if I can wait to post their images to social media until after they’ve had a chance to see them first. Yes, without a doubt, if this makes you more comfortable, let’s do it. These photos are for YOU, not for anyone else.

I cannot wait to work with you, and keep on being beautiful, Momma!

Hello World! - 5 Tips for your Newborn Session

Congratulations! Your little one is here! Or maybe they’re almost here… But it won’t be long!

For new parents, a newborn session can be intimidating. Especially for my mommas, you’re just worried about getting this baby here safely and smoothly. Chances are you’re not ready to think about preparing for photos right after giving birth.

And that’s okay!

I realize that newborn sessions can be intimidating and you’re probably wondering what to expect. So here are 5 things to keep in mind when it comes to your session. Newborn shoots are my absolutely favorite, and I think it will be yours as well.

1.How long will the session be?

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I get this question a lot. Again, you’ve just brought a baby into this world. One, you and your partner… and the baby are tired. I get it. Two, you’re probably still getting used to this whole “we’re parents now” thing, so the idea of an all day photo session just isn’t too appealing.

Well here’s the good news. My newborn sessions are typically about 2 hours. And let me tell you, it flies by. These sessions are usually a bit longer than a traditional lifestyle session because we’re on baby time now! Meaning we’re going to take breaks for you to feed your little one, for diaper changes, and sometimes he or she is just a bit fussy and we just need some time.

On the flip side, sometimes our session can take up to 3-4 hours. Hopefully, if you continue reading, tips 2-5 will help avoid this and we’ll be done shooting in no time!

2.Lifestyle vs. Portrait

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If you’re reading this, chances are you’ve checked out my portfolio. I am a natural light, story-telling photographer. My expertise is capturing you and your family in the most real setting, which means I want YOU in the picture! Yes, you.

Most of my new parents want a combination of photos in which they are in the shot, and some of just the baby. I absolutely love shooting in your home and capturing you all right where you’re most comfortable.

Typically, shots of just baby will be done either in their crib, on your bed (I know it’s hard - but try to have your bed made with a nice and light comforter! i.e. white, gray, tan, etc.). We will set up a bit on the floor as well.

For the shots with the whole family, we will use your nursery, your bedroom, and dependent on lighting, your living space. I am absolutely open to using other parts of your home like your kitchen or common spaces! As I said, I want to tell YOUR story.

If you’re looking for portrait style photography — meaning dressing up your little one in multiple outfits (i.e. bunny rabbits, farmers, elephants, etc.) we will have a small bit of time for this, but this will not be the focus of our shoot.

3.It’s Gettin’ Hot in Here

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Yes. You read that right. We want to keep the little babe nice and warm. Warning - us adults will probably be sweating. For the best shots and cozy little baby faces, we want your house to be nice and toasting. Just bump up the heat or notch down the AC a bit and your little one will appreciate it.

If you have a space heater, that is an option too. That is a nice way to warm the room we’re using, but be able to step out to a cooler room if you’re a bit too warm.

4. Hungry… Hungry…Hippos

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Sometimes it may seem like your little one eats as much as a hippo. They are trying so hard to keep their little bodies growing! So remember when I mentioned that a session could last up to 3-4 hours? This is usually why…for two reasons.

One — typically, a newborn is eating every 2-3 hours. And that’s on a normal day. While we’re shooting, we’re going to be moving your babe around, changing multiple outfits, probably arranging them in different poses, and that’s a lot of work for a brand new baby! So that 2-3 hours, is more like every hour. Feed time is different for everyone.

(P.S. If you’re bottle feeding, usually this doesn’t take too long, and baby will have a nice full belly in no time. If you’re breast feeding - first, take a deep breath. For my new mommas, I know this can be a challenge. It’s a new experience for you and your baby. So please, Take. Your. Time. The last thing I want is meal time to be rushed because you feel like you’re taking my time. We want that belly full!)

And two — go ahead and feed your little one about 30 minutes before I arrive. This will help fill their tummy and give them a few minutes to fall right to sleep. A sleepy baby is a happy baby! And much easier to photograph.

5. Be Cozy

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Okay mommas, this is for you. (Maybe some of my dads too). I know you just brought a child into this world and that is an absolutely magical thing. I’m so proud of you! We schedule newborn sessions within the first 7-10 days of your babies arrival. You’re probably feeling totally in love, but maybe not super photogenic. And that’s okay. I get it!

First - be comfortable. It’s a newborn session, we know you just had a baby! Bring on the stretchy pants and comfy top. I don’t care if you’re in your slippers (your feet probably won’t be in the picture). The best pictures are when you are comfortable. Now - on the flip side, if it makes you more comfortable to get dressed up? Do it. These photos are for YOU. I can tell if putting on jeans is just making you miserable, be cozy.

Second - I ask you to get in a few pictures, and almost all my moms say to me, “Just get my top half” or “not my belly, please” or some might say “I don’t want to be in any pictures.” I hear you. You don’t feel like yourself and your body is healing. You’re probably pretty sore and trying to figure out this whole mom thing. Well here’s the good news. I know.

All photos are meant to flatter you. To capture your smile, and the sweet kiss on your babies head. To see you look at your new baby or my favorite, look at your partner as they hold the new baby in their arms. These are moments you will cherish forever and how wonderful is it that you’re going to have photos to remember it.

I ask you to trust me. You may think you don’t want to be in the picture, and maybe right now you don’t, but a few years from now, or maybe even a few months, you’ll be so glad you did.

//

I am so thankful to be a part of this incredible moment in your lives. Share with my your concerns, share with me your wants and wishes. I can’t wait.

Love // Carly

A Dog's Purpose.... at your photo session!

If you’re like me, your fur friends are your babies. My husband and I don’t have children yet, so our dog is well… spoiled to say the least. Which means when we do family photos, Chandler is front and center!

I get the question all the time - is it okay if we bring our dog? YES! I love working with you and your pets. BUT, there are some things to know ahead of time as to what to expect when shooting and how to be best prepared!

So here we go. Here are 4 tips to be prepared and ready for your session with your fur babies.

1.Know Your Pet

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Whether he’s high energy, anxious, stubborn, too friendly, old or young!… dogs (and other pets) have personalities and characteristics of their own! It’s important to keep these things in mind when it comes to your photo session because the location or the environment may not be a good fit. For example, my dog Chandler, is very friendly…very friendly. If he sees a squirrel run by, he wants to be friends. So taking Chandler to a crowded park or a city street would be far too distracting and not good for pictures. Maybe our backyard would make more sense!

Or maybe your pup has some age on her and the stress of travel is too much? An in-home session may be a better bet. Know your pet and think about whether the environment or session location makes sense for all parties involved.

2.Bring Some Extra Hands

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This is a little behind the scenes trick. When we book a session, we may think we want our pets in EVERY shot. I’m going to tell you, this is probably not the case. Chances are you may want a few shots of just the two of you! Or just the family. Or maybe Fido is getting a bit anxious and needs a break. This is a great opportunity to bring along a friend or someone who will not be in the photos, to stand to the side and hold the dog when he’s not in the shot.

This also takes SO much stress off your shoulders knowing someone is there when needed to help. I highly recommend this when bringing more than one pet.

3.Did Someone Say Treat?

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Yes. Yes I did. You probably already know this, but dogs will do wonders for a good snack. Remember to bring a bag of yummies along with you to reward your pup for the awesome job they’re doing! This goes for in-home sessions too — have those treats at the ready.

If treats aren’t part of your behavior training, bring a favorite toy! This is your opportunity to make me look ridiculous as I hold the toy by the camera and try to get your pup to look my way (squeakers are a plus).

(P.S. It’s not the fun stuff — but don’t forget the potty bags and a water bowl too!)

4.Relax

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I know…this sounds impossible. But really, be sure to enjoy your session! I have worked with many families with many dogs and every single one has been a success! When we work with your pets, our focus is going to be on THEIR needs. I keep in mind that trying to get a dog to sit still and look at a camera while we say “smile” just isn’t going to happen!

Remember - these are lifestyle sessions, which means I want to capture the life of you and your pup. We’re going to do some walking, maybe some running, you’ll snuggle with your pup, and maybe play some games. Trust me, we’ll keep them entertained and I’m pretty sure you’ll have fun too.