People (AKA the internet) have A LOT of opinions on the best time to photograph your pregnancy. Having scoured the debates, as well as having some really valuable conversations with maternity photography clients of mine, I’ve decided to offer my two cents on the ideal time to photograph your pregnancy journey. My perspective may be a little controversial, but the best time to photograph your pregnancy is…
ANY TIME… and ALL THE TIME.
You may not even be sure if you want to photograph your pregnancy at all, and I’ve written before about why photographing your pregnancy can be really valuable if you do have some hesitations.
But above all, and something I really try and communicate to my pregnancy photography clients, is that not only are we all unique, but everybody’s pregnancy experience is different. In order to get the photos you cherish most (and to have the most positive experience possible if you decide to get professional photos taken), it’s all about making sure the time is right for you.
Figuring Out the Best Time for You
So when exactly is the best time for you? Ah, I wish I could help you plan for that but the reality is it’s completely variable!
My general advice is don’t think twice about taking those pregnancy mirror selfies. Train your partner, family or friend how to capture you in a picture — I have some advice for photographing your birth, but a lot of the same principles apply for other times in your pregnancy. Or even explore taking your own pictures (again, just adapt these tips for pregnancy), you don’t need fancy equipment as smartphone cameras are so good, and a cheap simple tripod will do the trick.
You often won’t know when the best time to take pregnancy pictures is until you have some hindsight and can look back on them. Bump sizes, shapes, and positions vary dramatically between people but also across your pregnancy. Some people end up preferring photos with a more subtle bump, and others love embracing their bump at its biggest. And some people love seeing how their body changes over time.
So by photographing your pregnancy frequently, you have a wide selection of pictures to look back on once some time has passed.
What if the time is never right?
It’s not uncommon to not want to take pictures of your pregnancy at all or to struggle in finding the right moments. You may not like having your photo taken in general, or perhaps you find pregnancy uncomfortable and challenging. Learning to love yourself in your pregnancy pictures is a matter that is close to my heart, and it’s got nothing to do with vanity but everything to do with your mental health.
Camera shyness is a real psychological phenomenon, and it often stems from anxiety around appearance. Back in 2013 Dove researched camera shyness and body image, and found that 77% of women experience camera shyness, and 63% of women have destroyed photos of themselves. Since then, social media has BOOMED, as have the taking and sharing of pregnancy pictures — which is a double-edged sword. It can be inspiring to see other people’s pregnancy journeys, but it can also lead to comparison or unrealistic expectations.
But your pregnancy pictures aren’t about anyone else; they are about celebrating your body and this extraordinary time — the highs and the lows. I really believe that taking pregnancy pictures and learning how to think about ourselves kindly and with compassion can transform our mental health. If you need a helping hand here, Dr Kristin Neff is a psychologist and researcher who specialises in self-compassion and has a lot of amazing resources on her website.
The Best Time to Hire a Maternity Photographer
Alongside the pictures you and your loved ones are taking, you might be considering hiring a pregnancy photographer. A professional photographer is not only a financial investment but an investment of time. I always want to make sure my clients get the most out of their photoshoot, and for this reason, I recommend organising their shoot for some time during the mid-second to mid-third trimester. Why?
- Your baby bump will be visible during this time.
- It is after the potential initial sick phase.
- Later in your pregnancy, it is common to experience exhaustion, so I recommend avoiding scheduling too far into the third trimester when you want to be resting up!
My Number One Tip… Don’t Wait Until it’s Too Late!
Whether you are hiring a professional photographer or going down the DIY route, please, please don’t leave it too late to take your pictures!
Unlike other times when tomorrow is usually an option, this isn’t true with pregnancy photos! Yes, one day (perhaps earlier than expected) you will give birth, but also the huge changes you undergo happen so quickly! Trust me, I know that those nine months can feel endless, but the reality is that week on week, there are so many shifts in not just how you look, but how you feel at each stage of your pregnancy. Photos document an entire moment, capturing a feeling and a time.
Pregnancy is such a journey — a unique, extraordinary, often challenging one — and having photos of that time for your own sake, your children’s sake (because they will be curious about this time too!), and to share with distant family or friends, becomes more valuable as time passes.
If you are looking for a family, pregnancy, or birth photographer in Sheffield or South Yorkshire, I would love to hear from you! Get in touch to have a no obligations chat about your photoshoot wishes and dreams, and let’s take it from there!