Happy International Women's Day! Each year people around the globe acknowledge March 8th as a celebration of women's achievements and the progress made on issues that affect us. It's a time to honor the women in our lives who have impacted us, made a difference, and paved the way for us to stand where we are today.
Though it may have gotten its origins from politics, this day is so much more than that. I celebrate this day for those women who have made big discoveries and important advances in science and technology. For those who've set the bar high in sports, for those who've revolutionized fashion, for those who've created art, poetry, literature, and music that speaks to our soul. For those who have changed the political climate in pursuit of equality. For those who have altered the course of history in ways both big and small. For those career women leaving their mark in our economy and the corporate world. I celebrate for me, and for all the mothers who continue to devote their lives to raising families whether with a partner or on their own.
As a girl mom, I celebrate for my daughter and the females of the future. That she may always see her full potential. That she is never defined by what the world tells her women should be. That she always empowers and supports other women. That she will know that being a woman means both poise and strength, kindness and toughness, grace and brave; but never weak, never silent, never powerless. That she always wears her crown high knowing she is pure magic!
As a mom to three boys, I celebrate to shape a healthier generation of men. That they may know a woman's beauty goes beyond her looks. That they may recognize a woman's strength as an attribute and not as something to be afraid of or intimidated by. That they will never underestimate the power of a woman. That they will always see their sister as equal and never forget that it was a woman who birthed them and brought them up.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so I will leave you with these images from a recent Motherhood Session that speak for themselves. This is for every woman and every girl.
Maternity sessions are some of my favorite to photograph. Pregnancy is a time filled with growth, joy, and a transformation that goes beyond the physical aspect. It's the time when a woman begins to understand her role as mother, caregiver, and protector. She radiates pure love! That something about her that we tenderly call maternity glow, shines from within her and reflects in her eyes and her smile. It's a momentous phase in a woman's life - before her whole world changes forever - that deserves to be forever captured in photographs. Below are my best tips for an amazing maternity session.
DO YOUR RESEARCH: All photographers are not alike. From dark & moody to light & airy, each one has their unique shooting and editing style. Some shoot very posed in-studio images, others shoot documentary style with zero posing involved, and then there's those like me who shoot lifestyle (somewhere in between) Each one will result in very different images. Take your time to look for the right photographer for you. When searching. really pay attention to their portfolio, not just pricing. Don't hire a lifestyle photographer if you want stylized portraits on a backdrop. Beside asking for recommendations, google is a great tool for finding the best photographer for you. Type YOUR CITY, TYPE OF PHOTOGRAPHY, and the word PHOTOGRAPHER. If I were on the hunt for a photographer, my search would look like this: "Houston maternity photographer" Instagram's hashtags and location tags can be used the same way too.
TREAT YO SELF: Indulge in some self care prior to your photo shoot. Get pampered with a blowout or hire a hair & makeup artist to get you camera ready. You may not be the makeup wearing type on the day to day, but remember that your maternity session is a special occasion. You don't need full coverage or to feel caked on. Foundation, blush, lashes or mascara, and lip gloss are enough to complete your look and feel your best.
DRESS THE PART: Professional portraits are quite an investment. Don't spend hundreds of dollars on your session to then show up in jeans and a wordy t-shirt. While those tops with the cute sayings are great for everyday wear, they aren't ideal for photos that will hang on your wall. Displaying your photographs is the whole point of having them taken, but you want images that are tasteful and timeless. Shirts with logos, characters, or wordart are a no-go. Avoid uniform outfits (things like white t-shirt and jeans or khakis for everyone) Instead, choose 3 coordinating colors and sprinkle them throughout everyone's outfits.
CLEAR YOUR SCHEDULE: There is nothing worse than a stressed client on session day. Believe it or not, bad moods will show up in photos. If possible, don't make other plans the same day. You don't want to be rushed and frazzled heading to your shoot, or even worse, be late. Map out your route ahead of time and add extra time for traffic, closures, or other delays. Prepare ahead of time so you aren't left feeling like a professional photoshoot is just too much work.
LEAVE PROPS AT HOME: A maternity session is all about capturing your love for the baby in your womb and the excitement you feel waiting to meet him or her. Other than an ultrasound scan, I recommend no other props to be used, as they distract and take focus away from you. Remember that this is a time to celebrate your journey of motherhood and the miracle of life.
TRUST THE ARTIST: Go into your shoot with little to no expectations, after all, that is why you hired a professional! Remember that your photographer is an artist with vision, who has (hopefully) had years of training and experience. Forget recreating all the ideas you saw on Pinterest and trust their vision.
ENJOY THE EXPERIENCE & HAVE FUN: Being in front of a big ol' camera is intimidating for most of us (yes, even for us togs) but it can also be an enjoyable experience. Don't think about how awkward you feel or attemp to pose yourself. Just be yourself and let your photographer guide you. Let loose, have fun, and know that by following these tips, your photos will turn out fantastic!
Tender Nest Portraits is a fully inclusive photographer specializing in motherhood, newborn, baby, and family photography in the Northwest side of Houston, Texas and also serves the surrounding area including Tomball, Fairbanks, Cypress, Katy, Memorial, Galleria, Upper Kirby, and The Heights.
Reach out today to learn more about TNP's portrait experience and begin planning your portrait session. Consultations are held over the phone or via video call.
Last weekend our family attended a funeral service where we said our final goodbyes to my husband's grandmother and laid her to rest. As we entered the small chapel inside the funeral home, I spotted several picture frames filled with photos that depicted her life - from toddlerhood until age 85. Though there was a slideshow of images playing too, we were all gathered around these printed photographs, some as old as 1935. Some of the pictures, specially those from her childhood, had never been seen by the grandkids before. Everyone tried to identify the people in them and told the anecdotes behind each photograph. Granny's (as my children called her) vast collection of family photos told so many stories. Not just her own, but four generation's worth! As my children stood there pointing at the photos of themselves with their great-grandmother, I gained an even deeper appreciation for printed photos.
In the digital era we live in, it's now easier than ever to capture special moments. The camera rolls on our phones are filled with snapshots of our everyday life, but how often do we print them? While digital photos are convenient, they aren't forever. The average life expectancy of a digital file is only 10 years. Hard drives crash and servers fail, but printed photos can last over 100 years when cared for and stored properly. Above all that, printed photographs give us a physically tangible capture of our memories.
Remember the days when you and your parents would flip through family albums and they would tell you all about each photo. Or you'd sift through a box full of old pictures with handwritten inscriptions on the back. You'd hear stories of your childhood, how your parents met, or even learn about ancestors you never got to meet. I don't know about you, but I don't often go back to look at digital photos with my family the way we do albums or prints. When you can touch them in your hands, you are instantly transported to the time when those photos where taken. That is exactly why I encourage every client to print or better yet, to order a custom designed album from me, so they can revisit those memories over and over again and eventually pass them down to their kids.
My takeaway from all this is: Have your photos taken with your spouse, with your children, your parents, and all those you hold dear, to print and display. In the end, when we are gone, these reminders of us is what our loved ones are left with. Photographs are a recollection of our existence here on earth. They are a legacy to those we leave behind when we part. They tell our story and keep our memory alive. They become treasured heirlooms to those who loved us most.
Hey there! I'm Anel. Houston photographer, wife to my high school sweetheart, and mama to four wild kids who I homeschool. I love nature, capturing motherhood, and living a slow simple life. I also blog over at Tender Nest Blog