When Stephanie and I talked about maternity photos, she was very clear that she wanted photos that felt authentic to her family. For her, that meant avoiding dramatic, posed photos in locations that didn’t mean anything to them. An at-home session made perfect sense for them. I mix digital and film photography in all of my sessions, but I was so excited that Stephanie and Andrew were up for me focusing primarily on film with these maternity photos.
Stephanie is one of my best friends. We both served as co-maids of honor in each others’ weddings, and we’ve been friends for almost eight years. Needless to say, when Stephanie and Andrew told me that they’re going to have a baby, my heart was so full for them. They’re two of my favorite people. To know that they’ve created a human together feels so special.
Despite how natural they look in these images, Stephanie and Andrew were hesitant to do maternity photos at first. Stephanie explained that she didn’t want to take trendy photos wearing a fancy, open-front dress in a field. That style of photo just isn’t true to her. It didn’t make sense to do that for her maternity photos, which document such a vulnerable, intimate time.
With these photos, we aimed to create as organic a feeling as possible by doing the session in Stephanie and Andrew’s neighborhood. The images are very natural because Stephanie and Andrew were so comfortable. Film was the perfect way to document this session. It feels earthy and tangible.
Photos are everywhere in our lives now, especially with social media, but people so rarely print photos. They feel fleeting. I believe photos are meant to be held in our hands. Instant film cameras (in this case, a Polaroid) are the best way to make that happen. You immediately get the moment preserved to be passed between loved ones.
Polaroids also are so intimate because they’re one-of-a-kind. Yes, you can scan them if you have the equipment, but they feel more personal. They’re less about the image you’re sharing with the world and more about sharing the emotion of that moment with the people around you.
Since film photography does a good job of capturing the emotion of a moment, it feels especially poignant with maternity photos. Something about the process of growing a human feels extra emotional on film. It feels real, like stepping into a deeply private moment. These soft images with their warm colors feel different from the very posed and heavily edited photos that Stephanie wanted to avoid.
One reason Stephanie and Andrew’s maternity photos feel so organic is because they live in a quiet nature-filled neighborhood. Walking around the world felt so quiet. The focus really could stay on their connection with each other and their little one. Stephanie’s blue floral dress and sandals fit into the scenery very naturally too. Even with these dressier outfits, Stephanie and Andrew’s clothes weren’t overly formal. They still look like themselves.
After Stephanie and Andrew did an outfit change, we got some photos in the golden light of sunset. The light looks especially rich in the Polaroid photos of Andrew placing his hands on Stephanie’s bump. It portrays the warmth of this time in their lives and the tenderness of their relationship.
Doing Stephanie and Andrew’s maternity photos at home meant we could include their dog too! Their sweet golden retriever joined us on our walk and on the porch back at the house. Having pets around for photos like this can be a nice way to commemorate their role in a growing family. It’s easy to picture this pup walking alongside a stroller or napping beside the crib.
When we moved to the screened in porch, Andrew and Stephanie settled in on the couch. They were so relaxed and present with each other. I love the image of them taken from the doorway. They’re framed in a way that draws attention to a tender and beautifully ordinary moment for their family.
Taking Andrew and Stephanie’s maternity photos was such an honor. I especially loved documenting this special time on film. Do you want to see more intimate couples photos on film? Check out this New Orleans engagement session and this wedding at the Drifter Hotel!