Bethanie and her wonderful little family travelled over 2 hours (each way!) to come to visit me for her Maternity and Family Photography session. As a very good friend of mine, I was still overwhelmed and grateful that she travelled with her family to see me in Smethwick near Birmingham to allow me to capture her beautiful family and growing bump!
Beth was 33 weeks at the beginning of June when she arrived and what a lovely bump she has! The gender of her baby is unknown and so they had decided ‘…to hold off on choosing a name until we see their face!’ I love surprises! She came with Lake, a strong-willed and adventurous 2 year old who she has spent teaching Spanish as well as English – he is an exceptional little one. Of course, hubby came too, James who managed to fit in some amazing family time around his new work commitments and so again, I knew how much this time together meant for them.
As with every session, we talk about clothing, colours, themes, styles, thoughts and feelings so we all feel much more relaxed and have an idea of what to expect. Bethanie describes her feelings here –
‘I felt very comfortable at all times. Initially I was nervous but that quickly evaporated and became confidence through Tiannas direction and guidance. I felt safe and calm, even when Lake was upset and struggling with being in front of the camera, I didn’t feel rushed to get him to “behave”. I felt understood and respected at all times.’
Comfort is a huge priority, to get the very best out of clients for their portrait session. I know myself how hard and sometimes scary it can be to pose in front of a camera and I endeavour to ensure that clients feel safe, respected and comfortable. Being pregnant comes with so many changes, especially feelings around body image and a maternity session often involves seeing you when you may feel less comfortable. But, the liberating thing is that this is a celebration of what your amazing body is achieving each and every single day and how truly amazing you look doing it!
It can be worrying with smaller children, getting them to take part in portrait sessions, they often want to have fun and play rather than take direction from a stranger. I am so laid back and relaxed, I follow their lead and as a mother, aim to encourage them through engaging their interest with what is going on, making Lake feel involved and have fun! He most certainly enjoyed my daughter’s books and toys that I regularly forget to pack away before a session!
I love this image because it shows how relaxed and comfortable Bethanie is, imagining her unborn baby, taking it all in what is beautiful about the connection she has with her baby but also admiring her own image and beauty.
‘I’d recently had my hair cut from about waist length and wasn’t sure how to wear it. The fan soon sorted that out for me! Also, I had been very thin before this pregnancy and have managed to put some weight back on since falling pregnant so I was anxious to see how different I looked in that sense.’
Having an understanding beforehand about things that make my clients feel anxious is absolutely fundamental to tailoring their session to meet and exceed expectations.
Here he is! He looks like he is having so much fun! This takes time, to get them to TRUST you and connect with you as well as feel comfortable. Emotions can be so big for children so little, recognising that and learning to work with them is a fundamental part of being able to get images like this and the one below.
Just look at his eyes, they’re beautiful!
One piece of advice Bethanie wanted to share with other parents planning maternity and family photography –
‘Come with snacks and water and a well rested child. But also, I felt that because Tianna knows what it’s like to have a child with a mind of their own, I didn’t feel awkward or embarrassed when our toddler had other ideas! Tianna soon got him smiling and trusting her almost easily!’
I really enjoy meeting children, so full of character, life and energy that I wish I had most days. Their personalities and little ways are what make them such great little people to photograph.
One of my most adored favourites from their maternity and family photography session. Capturing their moments, the love could be felt within the room and I always feel so overwhelmed with joy being a part of this time.
Here is another, a similar set up with a change of outfits but the colours remained similar to what they had wanted.
When talking about outfits, clothing and colours, Beth said –
‘I brought some similar colour outfits for us all to wear (browns and greens) so that we looked the same kind of theme together. I also had son material from my wedding dress which I wanted to include. For the bump shots I mainly wanted raw photos so nudity and materials worked best. It was really reassuring knowing tianna had some dresses, materials and flowers to work with since it took the pressure off me a bit and I could also trust her judgement of material and colours.’
Bethanie described earlier how she had wanted mainly ‘raw’ photos and I always offer exploring art nude in maternity photography. These sessions are of course, a celebration and acceptance of your true beauty and what is more raw and beautiful that your own skin? Bethanie said that in her photos she was going for ‘something pure and real’ and I think we achieved it together.
Bethanie describes her experiences and time during her pregnancy and how James has supported her and their favourite things to do throughout.
‘He spends a lot of time massaging me through the aches and pains and lately has taken to teaching our son how to help out!’
This is a great way to involve both your partner and any other children together at such a special time of change and growth! I love this!
‘We enjoy lots of walking together which keeps us all active but honestly, taking a bath and having half an hour to myself has been my favourite thing. I’ve craved ice cream and Mexican food pretty much non stop!’
Also staying active helps to encourage normality in your pregnancy, keep you all fit and getting out and about to spend time together is great for bonding and general family wellbeing. Self care is important too, taking time out to reflect on you and moments alone in the bath or to read can really do wonders for you! Now, I think we can all agree, ice-cream and Mexican food are GREAT cravings to have, YUM!
Bethanie’s pregnancy has been as good as it can be –
‘It has been pretty textbook luckily. But we’ve had a rollercoaster of a few months. We moved house, my husband has been settling into his new job, we’ve been getting used to the area and setting down foundations.’
Bethanie and her family expect their new arrival around the 26th July! So only a few weeks to go, lets congratulate them and wish them the best for a wonderful and smooth birth and second time around transition into parenthood!
Best wishes to you all, I can’t wait to hear of the birth and breastfeeding journey – I hope you manage time to come back for newborn photography!