maternity pictures

I had planned to have my January mantel ready to share with you today... but as I was taking pictures I just decided I was really not pleased with it. Blah. Pregnancy brain makes me very undecided and wishy-washy. So, as I continue to tweak it and hopefully get a result that I'm pleased with before the month is over, I thought I'd share something baby-related with you. :) This post originally appeared on May 2, 2012 and was my most viewed post of 2012!

I have never had a "professional" maternity photo shoot, I just figure I'd rather spend the money on baby pictures rather than a bunch of pictures of my own pregnant belly. However, I do think it's fun to see how much and how quickly your belly grows during pregnancy. So what I have done for both of my pregnancies is taken a picture every 4 weeks, starting when I'm 20 weeks along. I have found that by 20 weeks I have enough of a bump for a belly picture, and I like spacing them out 4 weeks apart because there's noticeable growth, and I don't feel the need for a picture taken every week. And although the pictures that people take in the same outfit, in front of the same background every week is the best indicator of how much your belly really does grow, I just think they're kind of boring and I don't need 100 pictures that all look the same in the scrapbook. So I try to come up with different poses as often as possible and I thought that I would share a few of my favorites this week, since I just completed my 36 week pictures and doubt I'll make it to 40 (I didn't with my son).

1. Pregnant with my son, 32 weeks, taken by my mom: I really love to try different locations in the pictures. It's fun to look back and think about why we picked the spot we did. This is a beach a grew up about 4 miles from, so it means a lot to me. Also, this is one of the few sitting maternity pictures of me that I like, usually my baby bump gets lost and I just look like a giant whale sitting on the ground. For that reason, I typically stand in my pictures.

2. Pregnant with my daughter, 24 weeks, taken by my mother-in-law: This was taken in an empty field by our apartment, so once again the location has some meaning to us. I know that the frame is not a revolutionary idea when it comes to photo props, but sometimes it is really nice to have a prop in photos and we got a bunch of great shots this day. I also have been toying with the idea of having my daughter's monthly photos taken with the same frame (I took pictures of my son with a small chalkboard every month up until a year, then at 18 months, and I'll do it at 2 years too). I'll have to get back to you on that once I think about it more.

3. Pregnant with my daughter, 28 weeks, taken by my husband: The Internet is a useful tool when trying to think of ideas for poses. I had seen several pictures similar to this and thought it was such a cute idea. Don't you just love Photoshop? I love black and white photos with a pop of color.

4. Pregnant with my daughter, 32 weeks, taken with a self-timer: Self-timers on cameras are a great invention, because when your spouse is out of town the weekend you're supposed to take your 32 week belly shot, you don't have to go over to your neighbors and ask for help (although my downstairs neighbors are awesome and would have been more than happy to do it). I knew I really wanted a maternity picture with my little dove, but as any mother with toddlers know, it's often hard to get them to cooperate for a picture. So another invention I'm thankful for is digital cameras, because I probably took about 40 pictures this day and got about 3 good ones. I loved this one, but it was slightly out of focus and the lighting wasn't very good, so I upped the contrast and changed it to black and white (and did some other stuff too but I honestly can't remember anymore) and I love the silhouette look.

5. Pregnant with my daughter, 36 weeks, taken by my husband: Of course, sometimes the classic "hands and eyes on the belly" pictures turn out the best. :)