One thing we don’t have a lot of with a third baby on the way is disposable income. So when I see that a maternity photo shoot can run into the several hundreds of dollars and only includes photo rights if you’re willing to pay (a lot) extra, I knew that if I wanted to capture any photos of this glorious time of my life, I’d have to do it myself.
Neither my hubby nor I are professional photographers, nor do we have really amazing photo editing skills. But I don’t want overly photoshopped photos anyway. I want us – looking like us – captured on film. I also wanted a way to commemorate how it was with just the four of us before our final baby came along.
So when we discovered we live only two blocks from one of the most beautiful photo spots in Salt Lake City, we knew it was a great sign. Garden Park Ward is a meeting house and garden which is owned and operated by the LDS Church. As such, there are a ton of rules if you want to take photos there, including certain days of the week where it is prohibited. Respectful of this, and because weekdays are hard, we decided to get the kids dressed nicely and head on over on a Saturday late afternoon to try and catch some nice light.
We were not disappointed. Not only did we get some GREAT shots of the kids, but Mark even stepped up as photographer to ensure that there were plenty of me and my ginormous bump!
I edited my favorites in PicMonkey (which is an awesome online photo editor that you should totally check out if you want an easy but fun way to edit your photos), and I am super happy with how they turned out. Sure some of them have some creative effects but they ALL look like ME. And my kids. And my family. And that is exactly what I wanted.
I gave Mark creative freedom here, and even though I felt very awkward in front of the camera a lot of the time, I am really glad I gave him the permission to be different. He wasn’t afraid to get strange angles or jump across water to try and get unique shots. And since he knows and loves me, he was kind to me, ensuring he didn’t capture anything I would not want to see – like my belly accidentally hanging out of my very non-maternity shirt!
I do love candid photos, though. The kind when you’re not really posing, but just taking it all in, and you get caught off guard just being a mom. It’s my favorite kind of photo, but sadly it doesn’t happen much, as I’m the one usually with the camera!
It’s also fun to try to incorporate more traditional poses into your shoot. It may feel silly at the time, but it’s a classic for a reason. The ubiquitous heart on the belly is probably old hat and passe, but in ten or fifteen years, I will be happy that I did it.
I love all the photos that incorporate the kids into them. I wish I could have gotten more with Mark, but trusting the three year old only goes so far. Especially around rocks and water. But since this was a celebration of me being a mom, it made sense that there were lots of photos featuring the ones I already have as we all wait for their little brother to be born.
At the end of the day, though, I wanted a couple of photos of just me. I wanted this baby to feel special – to know how loved he was before he was even born. I wanted him to see that even though I went through hell for him, I did it happily, as I have for all my kids. I wanted to show him how beautiful I felt as an expectant mama. I wanted him to know that my love for him is absolute.
So there you have it. A whole DIY Maternity Photo Shoot for no cost, using our own camera, our own clothes, and a pretty little park just two blocks away. Give it a go yourself! Grab a friend or loved one to act as photographer and just see what happens.