Maternity Photos!

One of the best parts of being a photographer is getting to know other photographers…talking shop, swapping ideas, sharing information and, when you need it – finding the perfect person to capture your own family’s memories!  I met Alicia Gould briefly in the winter of 2011 when we were both at Imaging USA in San Antonio.  But I’ve “known” who she is for a long time before that because she is a Pro member at which is the first photography forum I became active in.

In fact, I’ll never forget her kindness offering to mail me a swaddling fabric for one of my very first newborn shoots when I was desperate because nothing else would arrive in time!

Well, fast forward a few years and we are both Pro members of Clickinmoms (my new forum “home!”) and have gotten to know each other better online – well enough for Alicia to threaten to come over and beat me on the head for dragging my feet about doing maternity pictures because of how fat I feel!

It’s true though – no matter how many people tell me that I’m “all belly” I can’t help but feel zaftig – particularly in the face – and it’s just not always something you feel like having immortalized for eternity. HOWEVER, I do remember glancing down at my empty and rubbery post partum belly after Jasper was born thinking how I looked pretty damn good when pregnant compared to THAT new reality!  And also, I want the girls to be able to look back at themselves “in mommy’s belly” someday and see how excited their big brother Jasper was for them to come into the world.

But by the time Alicia and I were finally able to synch our schedules to make this happen it was a super last minute deal – no time to get my hair cut and colored, a mad dash to gather some nice looking maternity clothes – and the most challenging part of all- a 9am start to the shoot (I’m usually not able to get me and Jasper anywhere before 10am, and that’s WITHOUT needing to look good!)

But somehow, it all came together perfectly. Alicia made the vision I had of these images come to life and more – and I’ll be forever grateful!

I don’t have all the stills to post yet, but Alicia put together some great video/slideshows where you can see more.


Here is a link to the amazing animoto slideshow (set to music) that Alicia put together of all the photos, and a more traditional slideshow (slower transitions, bigger images) where you can see each still a bit better separately.  There are SO many to choose from, I have no idea how I’ll decide what to print for our newly painted/decorated bedroom!

For more of Alicia’s amazing work, or if you are in the Colonia NJ area and need a photographer, check out her website at

Just in case you are pregnant and considering hiring a professional to do your maternity pictures, here are a few tips I put together to help you prepare:

1) Bring a variety of outfits – and take into consideration what type of shoot you will be doing… is it an outdoor shoot? If so, you obviously won’t be baring as much as a studio shoot, so choose snug fitting clothing that accentuates your belly. I’ve also noticed that dresses/shirts that sort of hug under your breasts AND belly are more flattering. If the dress is too flowy you end up having to pinch it in under your belly in every shot. For studio shoots, you can get more creative about what you want to wear or NOT wear! I bought and brought (though we didn’t use!) A nice matching bra/underwear set just in CASE we did anything more bare.. these are great for under say your husband’s button up shirt, or a silhouette, or mostly nude shots.

2) Color coordinate (not match!) with anyone else appearing in the shoot.  I brought a bunch of outfits we didn’t end up using, but for Jasper I had a striped tank that had aquas, blues and greys for if he was in the shots with me in the turquoise tank.   For the faux “bed” shots, I knew I wanted us in light colors in clothes that could give the impression that they were actually pajamas. So for me I had swim suit cover up white pants I got in Miami beach when pregnant with Jasper (not maternity pants actually!) and a white tank from Motherhood Maternity.  For Jasper, a basic white tank and linen pants from H&M kids gave the perfect casual vibe I was looking for.

3) Accessorize! I think the little flower hair clips I found at Target and H&M added a little special something – and the mustard yellow necklace really added a nice almost tropical pop to the turquoise tank.   A few bucks can go a long way when it comes to accessories!

4) Ask for your photographer’s advice on wardrobe.  I always offer to my clients that I am completely available to assist with wardrobe selection as much or as little as they would like. This includes texting me photos from while out shopping at the store! The bottom line is your photographer has a lot of experience in this area, so take advantage of it!  Even if you don’t have a wardrobe pre-consultation, when in doubt bring MORE rather than less and get their opinion at the shoot.  If there are two dresses you can’t decide between, bring both and let your photographer help you choose and then return one if you won’t have use for it later.

5) If you are good at hair and makeup, you can do your own but do a trial run first.   If this is a weak area for you – definitely ask your photographer if there is a makeup artist that they recommend.  There’s nothing worse than everything else going perfectly in a shoot but you end up hating the way your hair looks – nothing you can do about that later!  On a related note, I HIGHLY recommend wearing false eyelashes. Nothing extreme – I wore the Sonia Kashuk ones from target and they are very subtle (no one even knew I was wearing them!) but they definitely add a little something. It’s SO easy to apply them, buy an extra pair and practice if you are a false eyelash virgin and they intimidate you!

6) Maternity Spanx. If you are wearing any sort of tight fitting clothing and have developed any extra um “lumpiness” as a result of pregnancy (and if you haven’t, well, damn you! ) they are a must for keeping things nice and smooth from all angles.


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Alicia Gould says:

Ariana has beautiful skin already, she didn’t need much in post processing! I’m so honored to have captured you and I cannot wait for the girls to get here! I read your recent post and I captured twins last year that were 4lb and 9 lbs each.
@Steph – I just blogged them myself, maybe you can pin those and copy her tips into the notes section? Not sure, I’m a pinterest slacker :)

Joanna says:

Wow amazing amazing shots. Go you mama! Especially love the shots in the red dress. Too many good ones to comment on!

Sherean says:

You look ah-may-zing. Jasper looks happy and adorable. Question for you: can you show me how you do your curly up-do? I’m forever throwing mine in an unattractive pony tail. Are you using bobby pins? Any tips would be greatly appreciated!

Steph Connor says:

And I somehow forgot to mention that you are absolutely STUNNING!!!! I don’t know how you will ever choose your favorites because every photo is beautiful, especially the ones with your adorable son!

Steph Connor says:

Hi Ariana,

I’d love to pin your tips for maternity sessions on my what to wear pinterest board. However, because the images are all Alicia’s photos, it will not allow me to pin anything! IS there any way that I can pin your tips? Thanks!

Rose says:

Omg! They are gorgeous! How do you get such glowing, creamy skin? Photoshop?

You and Jasper look so happy together :0)

Samm says:

OMG! So exciting! I can’t believe you are about to have to tiny girlies!

Farah says:

You look gorgeous and Jasper is adorable as always!

Shayna says:

So excited to see it!

Stephanie says:

You are ROCKING that red dress – GORGEOUS!!!

ariana says:

Thank you guys!

@Michele, I should add a tip about timing – for twins you are right it’s better to do earlier to be safe! For single pregnancies we I recommend around week 30-32 or so.

@Shayna – it will be up for sale in my shop soon!! I’ll post here when it’s ready/done :)

Shayna says:

The pictures are so so so beautiful!!! Cherish them! I was wondering where you got the template for the chevron and burlap accordion mini that was posted in your flicker images?

Lilly says:

Gorgeous, I especially love the one’s all in white. You look wonderful and not at all fat- just belly :)

Nanette says:

OMG I looooove these photos, and I looooove your tips!

We didn’t do any maternity photos with my last pregnancy, but we’re definitely doing it with this one — and they’ll be family shoots with my little gal included, like Jasper was.

Congrats again, mama!

Michele says:

Love these! You look beautiful. One of my big regrets of my twin pregnancy was not having maternity photos. I didn’t know I was having twins until 20w, and by 24 weeks I was on strict bedrest, so it was out of the question.

Good luck!

Nina says:

You both know how much I adore these and the video. You’ll have to do a post on the wall design you do for them. Definitely have to put one in the girls room too. Beautiful Ariana and beautiful work Alicia! :)