Leah O'Connell

client tips, maternity, newborns

When should your book maternity photos?

I'm Leah!

I’m obsessed with stories of family, creativity, and simple joys.  A nostalgia nerd, educator, wife, and mom of 3, I believe life’s most fun when you’re dreaming big and having kitchen dance parties. 

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When you finally get the news that you’re pregnant, whether it happened fast or it’s been a long, difficult journey to welcome this little gift, suddenly the to-do items seem to flash before you. Between registering for a pail to hold poop and throwing up saltines, it’s not always glamorous. But booking maternity photos should be one of the exciting parts. That leaves the question… when should you book maternity photos?

winter maternity session with couple in charlottesville virginia

When is the best time to book maternity photos?

The best time to book your maternity photos is for the 7-8 month mark in your pregnancy. This means you’ll want to start connecting with photographers to secure a date right around the start of your second trimester.

You’ll likely be showing a pretty decent-sized bump between 28-36 weeks, especially if this isn’t your first baby. But depending on your photographer’s availability, the longer you wait to schedule your maternity photos, the more likely you’ll be pushing the end of that prime 7-8 month window. The later your session date is into your pregnancy, the more uncomfortable you’re likely to feel. If you’re able to plan ahead and get a date for your maternity photos early in your third trimester, you’ll thank yourself later!

I like to schedule maternity sessions about 1 month out from the shoot date so there’s plenty of time to plan logistics, help with wardrobe choices, etc.

pregnant mom with husband in field with two older boys by charlottesville maternity photographer

What if I’m likely to deliver early?

This is another great reason to book maternity photos in the late second to early third trimester! My son was born at 36 weeks and it took us completely by shock. When you can get your session on the calendar for that ideal 7-8 month window, you allow yourself room to relax and prepare for baby without worring as much about missing the opportunity for those special pregnancy photos.

Of course, babies always have their own way of doing things and each pregnancy is different. Chat with your photographer about contingency plans if you happen to require unpredictable intervention like bedrest or deliver prematurely. I always assure my clients that I totally understand the nature of this season with both its tenderness and importance of care, so flexibility is a priority.

maternity session pose with couple outdoors by charlottesville maternity photographer

What’s next?

How to book maternity photos

Decide what style of maternity photography you’re interested in and what styles you like best! Do you want something glamorous (flowy gown, hair and make-up, etc) or more of a casual approach with something at home or a favorite meaningful location? Different maternity photographers have widely different approaches to this (hint: I lean toward the second!), so make sure to think through what would resonate most with you and your partner!

(View my portfolio here)

Next, reach out!

Connect with your favorite photographer via the contact form on her/his website to get started! And the best news is, you don’t have to figure out any of the other details on your own – yay!

A professional maternity photographer will walk you through exactly what’s needed and all the logistics. Often, he or she can help with decisions on what to wear, a location that fits your personal style, and tips to boost your confidence! In my workflow, this is the best part! Sometimes this is done just through email or a quick phone call, but I also provide resources for what to wear, location suggestions, and more.

Remember, even if you’re new to this, your photographer has done it many times before and can help with all the details and questions you may have.

winter maternity photos with couple outdoors in charlottesville, va

Are maternity photos “worth it?”

Getting maternity photos at 7-8 months pregnant may not seem super appealing, but ask anyone who’s done it and they’re likely to tell you how much they value having beautiful images of that season. At the end of the day, maternity photos aren’t about your bump or the perfect dress that makes a statement.

They are about celebrating life, growth, and the joy of experiencing it all together.

pregnant mom hugging husband - at home maternity photos in charlottesville va

Think we’re a great fit for your maternity photos?

I literally couldn’t be more excited. Reach out here to get started and book your session for heartwarming maternity photos that you’ll cherish forever.

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Hi, I'm Leah.
Family photographer, writer, educator.

I’m  one of the first to meet your newborn baby, the one who won't judge your clothes baskets and unmade beds, and the one who can capture the way your husband looks at you with a twinkle in his eye after 12 years of marriage. I believe in honoring people and telling stories.

I believe art has the power to light up the world in dark places, starting at home.