Pregnancy is such a unique and special time, and week by week, for forty odd weeks, your body changes dramatically. It's no wonder that so many women choose to commemorate this time with a series of week by week pregnancy milestone photos. Whether you're planning on sharing these with the world, or keeping them privately for yourself, it is truly amazing to look back on the transformation your body went through. It really is an awe inspiring thing.
Before you jump in and start snapping away your milestone photos, there's a few important things to consider. I learnt a lot of these the hard way, so let me share my tips on how to nail your week by week pregnancy photoshoot.
Choose your spot
If you're wanting consistency with your pregnancy milestone photos, before you even begin there's a few things you need to plan. A good place to start is choosing where you're going to have your week by week pregnancy photos taken. A plain background with natural filtered light is always going to work best. I ignored this advice and chose a spot outside in front of some fruit trees. This was fine in summer when I was newly pregnant - the weather was warm, the trees were full of leaves and everything looked great. Then the colder weather came, and things were suddenly not so great. I froze, the trees looked bare and awful, the light was terrible and my outfit blended into the shadows. It's fair to say that the photos towards the end of my pregnancy weren't the best! My advice is to play it safe and find a nice neutral wall (inside) with nothing on it to use as your background. If you don't have a bare wall, you can always rig up a plain coloured sheet for a DIY backdrop.
Choose your outfit
Again for consistency it's a nice idea to have an outfit you can wear throughout your weekly pregnancy milestone photos. The advantage of this is that you never have to worry about what to wear, and it shows more accurately the transformation of your body. Just remember that your body is going to change a lot, so pick something that's either super stretchy, or something that you know you can easily purchase in a bigger size if you outgrow it. I would recommend a light colour over a dark colour - I wore a black singlet with a black skirt and it didn't show off my bump as much as I expected it to. It also blended into the shadows of the trees in winter - see tip number one!
Pick your photographer
You're going to be taking a pregnancy milestone photo every week for 30 or more weeks, so make sure you pick a photographer who is up to the task. Can you rely on your partner to take the photos? Is there friend you will be able to see regularly? Or another family member? If not, a tripod and a timer is going to become your new best friend. The advantage of using a tripod is that you can take as many photos as you want without annoying someone else, and once you've worked out how to do it the first time, it's really easy to replicate in the future. Just make sure you keep a note of the tripod settings, and where you set it up in relation to your backdrop for your future milestone photo shoots.
Strike a pose
From the beginning you need to decide whether you want to be in the same pose and position for all of your pregnancy milestone photos, or whether you want to mix things up. Do you want to look at the camera, or off to the side? Do you want your hand on your belly? Do you want to use pregnancy milestone cards in every shot? There's a few things to consider here, and it can be hard to decide at the start of your pregnancy when your belly isn't going to be that big. A pregnant belly is always going to be more obvious from the side, but standing front on with one leg slightly forward can also be a good pose to accentuate your baby bump. If you're not sure, but want the photos to be consistent, take a few shots in different poses each week until you've decided. Once you've decided on your pose, and before you take your first shot, have a look around you. Make sure there's nothing on the wall or on the floor, and check you're standing far enough away from the wall so there's no harsh shadows.
Use your pregnancy milestone cards
If only so you can remember which week is which when you're looking back on your photos! Again, I'm talking from experience. I didn't design my pregnancy milestone cards until after my baby was born, and I spent far more time than needed checking the dates on my phone to work out how many weeks along I was in each shot. Pregnancy milestone cards are a fantastic prop - they give you something to hold (it's often hard to know how and where to place your hands when getting photographed, and they can end up looking awkward and unnatural - having something to hold is always helpful), and you can look back at a glance to see which week is which.
Consistency is key
If you know you want to commit to a weekly pregnancy milestone photo shoot, get your phone out now and schedule it in with an alarm. Trust me, you will forget otherwise. Even though at the time it can feel like a right pain, it is worth it. Looking back, I'm amazed at how much my belly could change in a week. You don't notice it day by day, but when you look at the photos side by side, it's pretty incredible.
Don't forget the last shot
By this I mean don't forget to do one last milestone photo in the same outfit, in the same pose, in the same place, but this time with your brand new baby. I didn't do this, and I do regret it. The first days of being at home with a newborn are utterly chaotic I know, but set aside a small amount of time and get this shot. It's the finisher and what all those weeks of photos have led up to. Do it!
Not sure what to do with your week by week pregnancy milestone photos? Print them out and stick them in a pregnancy journal. That way they're all in one place, and you can jot down your thoughts of how you're feeling, what you're doing, and where you're at each week along the way. Then you have a beautiful pregnancy keepsake that you can always look back upon.