Should you do a maternity photo shoot?

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I had no interest in organising a maternity photo shoot when someone asked me.

I had an image of the typical photos that you see from a maternity shoot in my head. I never felt comfortable taking photos of my naked body especially since a lot of the maternity photos have naked bellies or just a sheet covering their body. I wouldn’t feel comfortable doing that pre-pregnant and let alone being pregnant.

Don’t get me wrong, I think the pregnant body is gorgeous but I also find it a very personal choice on whether you feel comfortable showing off your naked belly or taking photos of it.

Then I had another mother tell me one thing that I will never forget

“this is an incredible time of your life and you’re only pregnant for the first time once and your body is doing amazing things, a photo shoot would allow you and your partner to capture this amazing moment in your life and you can look back and see the beautiful way that your body has changed to give life”.

I walked away and though about what she said. This is true. This is the first time my body is experiencing such an extraordinary change for my baby and what if down the track I would regret not doing it? I think that was my biggest worry. I couldn’t exactly turn back time if I decided to not go ahead with the shoot so I decided to look into it.

As mentioned before, I didn’t want to have photos done of my naked pregnant body but I did want to capture the changes in my body so I decided to jump on Pinterest and see if I could find any maternity photo shoots that would help inspire my own shoot and Pinterest was fantastic in providing me ideas in style, location and what to wear. Below was some of the photos that inspired my own shoot:

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So I proceeded to keep on looking for images like above to set the tone of the kind of photo shoot that I wanted and put together my own maternity photo shoot:

  1. Location

As per the images above, I really thought having a natural backdrop like in a park or field would be great for my photo shoot and immediately thought of Centennial Park. The Park is so expansive and has so many different back drops such as lakes, big trees, ponds, flowers, statues and space! Perfect. Some of my own maternity photos below:

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I would suggest picking a location that you feel comfortable getting photographed at and that gives the ability to give you different backdrops.

2. Clothing, make up and hair

In regards to clothing, my photographer recommended light coloured clothing and something that accentuated my belly. Again Pinterest is great in helping me get ideas on what kind of clothing I should have for my photo shoot. I firstly looked in my closet but I didn’t have anything white or cream that a) fits me and b) gives me the look I was after.

My photographer said I could have a change of clothes in my photo shoot which was a great idea as I thought of getting a white/cream long dress and then another dress in another colour.

I went straight on to ASOS as I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on a dress that was just going to be used for my maternity photo shoot and below are the two dresses that I used for my photo shoot:

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As for my hair and make up, I wanted a really soft natural look so I curled the ends of my hair and pinned it to one side so it dropped down and my make up was soft using bronzer, brown eye liner and pink eyeshadow with pink lipgloss.

3. Choosing my photographer

Once I had an idea of how I wanted my maternity photo shoot to look, I then began searching maternity photo shoot photographers. I jumped on Gumtree as I didn’t want to pay an arm and a leg for a photographer and I knew many up and coming photographers would charge less and do a great job. So I made my ultimate choice based on the photographers website and the kind of photos they took and which best aligned with the kind of photo shoot I was looking for.

I got in touch with the photographer I wanted to go ahead with and she was nice enough to offer to meet with me over coffee to discuss the kind of photo shoot I wanted to and pass on her advice on the shoots she had done. Michelle Purchase from Faure Photography was fantastic and made my photo shoot so much fun and a great day for me and my partner.

4. Props

Another aspect that I saw at many maternity photo shoots was the use of props and I think its a great idea and gives the photos that cuteness and linkage to baby that is due to arrive. Below are some of the props I used in my photo shoot:

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All in all we had a lot of fun doing our photo shoot and I’m so glad we did it.

They are memories that will be captured forever at such an important moment in our lives.

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Baby shower time!

Babyshower

In my whole entire life I had never been to a baby shower. I know! But as mentioned before, I don’t have any of my close friends who have had children so the opportunity to be invited was never there BUT I did hear about baby showers and the usual baby games that were played and to be honest the whole thing sounded really boring and some of the games that I heard that were played I completely cringed (melting chocolate in diapers and smelling them and trying to guess what chocolate it is and meanwhile mimicking a baby’s dirty diaper! Gross!).

So therefore I didn’t want to do a baby shower after hearing all those stories until my friends urged me to have one and if anything really just an excuse to get all my friends together and so instead of thinking of putting a typical “baby shower” together, I thought of putting together I really nice event at home with all my friends before baby arrives, and so the planning began.

I had a friend of mine offer to put it together but because I didn’t want a typical baby shower, I decided I would organise it myself and then enlist my friends help as I went along.

  1. When should I hold my baby shower?

After much research and asking other mums who have had baby showers, they all suggested I have it 2 months before baby is due. Firstly because I still have enough energy to entertain people and endure a whole day of doing things and secondly, it’s not too early in the pregnancy to hold the baby shower. I decided to do it on a Saturday afternoon kicking off at 2.30pm

        2. What kind of baby shower did I want to have?  

Being that I was organising this event myself, I wanted it to be very low-key and easy to put together. I knew that my energy levels at 8 months pregnant wasn’t going to be as high. I wanted to organise finger food for people to nibble on since I set the time at 2.30pm. I also didn’t want the typical baby shower games so I crossed that off my list. I also wanted to organise lots and lots of drinks for my baby shower since again, most of my other friends don’t have kids and like me before I was pregnant, I enjoyed a nice glass of wine on the weekends.

            3. Invitation

I wanted to send out invites to my friends, and as old-school as that may sound since these days most invitations are electronic, it was just something I really wanted to do for my baby shower and this is when I stumbled across a fantastic website who do personalised invitations

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How cute are these?! They also come along with a magnet on the back of the invite so your invitees can stick it up on their fridge! I loved it. Have a look at their website for some other baby shower invite designs http://www.blessthisday.com.au/

                4. Baby shower memorabilia  

So as mentioned, I didn’t want to host any baby shower games at my event but what I did want to do is have some sort of memorabilia from that day and again Bless This Day had the perfect idea of what I was looking for. The first thing I completely loved was the Wishing Tree for Baby. 

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You get the poster personalised with your baby’s name and the date of your baby shower. Or if like me, you don’t know the sex of your baby, I just called baby by their surname. The tree comes with 20 leaves which already come with a 2 sided sticker to stick back on the tree. Your guests can write on each leaf and make a wish for your baby to be. I completely loved the idea and it went down so well at the baby shower. Everyone wrote down their own wish for baby and stuck it back on the tree. I then also decided to get the poster framed and stuck it up in our baby’s nursery which made the nursery look great and its such a great memorabilia for baby.

Another “game” that I thought was a great idea and a nice memento of the day also came from Bless This Day and it was the Predication Card game.

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Each onesie comes with various questions around the baby so guests can try to guess the weight, height, sex, time of birth and various other questions with guests signing their name at the bottom. It also comes with a clothesline and wooden pegs so you can hang the onesies and clothesline at your baby shower and it becomes another decoration piece. Again it was such a great memento that I have kept for baby to read one day and also doubled as decorations for the day of the baby shower.

                   5. Theme/Decorations

Because we did not know the sex of our baby, I couldn’t really do an all boys or all girls theme so I just kept it simple and made everything baby pink and baby blue. I used paper lanterns in pink and blue to decorate the room and my partner was great in hanging them from the roof of our place. I also purchased the letters BABY from Typo as per my first picture at the top and used baby pink and baby blue ribbon to decorate them (I just purchased the ribbons at the dollar shop). I then made my own banner using scrapbook paper purchased at The Reject Shop and used Word to spell out my name in pink and blue and then just glued them on the scrapbook paper.

                   6. Food 

As mentioned, I wanted to keep it simple and I was 8 months pregnant so I didn’t have the energy to cook big meals so I decided on easy food and enlisted the help of friends and my mum. My mum cooked a hot dish that was easy to serve on the day. Another of my friends offered to make a fruit platter. I had other friends who brought a dessert apart from the cake and then cheese and crackers. Other nibbles like chips and lollies and the hit of the day was the Yum Cha I bought at Costco. I can’t remember how many pieces came in the packet but it was a lot and we steamed them on the day and served them and everyone loved them. I only wished I had bought another packet but we had frozen prawn yum cha from a separate bag we bought which we ended up using on the day. I’m so glad we did that.

At the end I had a couple of friends stay onto the night-time and so at that point I just ordered some pizzas from Domino’s, home delivered which was perfect.

                   7. The Cake 

So when you have a browse online on baby shower cakes you see these amazing beautifully decorated cakes with all different themes and I completely loved the concept of having a themed baby shower cake. Then I started looking into prices on ordering such a cake and the cheapest caked I could find was starting at around $200. I just couldn’t fathom spending that much money on a cake which I knew wasn’t going to be completely consumed and at some point thrown out! I was quite upset because I really thought the themed cake would have been great. So I decided on getting cupcakes instead and lucky for me, around the corner from where I live there is a fantastic cupcake store called The Cupcake Factory. I looked online and decided to order their mini cupcakes as per below in blue and pink

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Then I continued browsing the other items they sell and stumbled across their maxi cupcake baby shower theme and not only did I love the way it looked but loved the price! This gorgeous cake for only $55! What a bargain! I immediately ordered both the cake and mini cupcakes and was so happy with the way it turned out on the day. I had tons of comments on how cute the cake was and not only was it cute but the taste! I don’t know what they put in their icing, but we couldn’t get enough of it.

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                      8. Thank You Gifts

As is customary at baby showers, I knew all my guests would bring along gifts or purchase something off my gift registry, so I wanted to put together a small thank you gift for each of them. I purchased plastic little milk bottles from The Reject Shop and proceeded to fill them up with lollies and chocolates. I then also purchased tea lights in baby pink and baby blue and put them in a lolly bag along with the milk bottles and attached a sweet poem to the tea lights for my guests to light up when baby is born. Everyone appreciated the little gifts and they were quick and easy to put together.

                     9. Gift Registry

So I really struggled with deciding on whether or not I should put a gift registry together and my biggest dilemma was that the sex of our baby was not known and I didn’t want to be given yellow and green clothes for the baby as clothes is what people usually buy babies. I spoke to a couple of my friends about this and they all suggested I put together a gift registry because they would rather buy me things that I would use and need. I went ahead and put one together and thank goodness I did because we ended up getting so many things that we actually needed for the baby as opposed to ending up with so much clothes which babies grow out of very quickly.

After researching the various baby store gift registry set up I came across Baby Village based in Bondi Junction and their gift registry by far was the easiest and most practical for both the guests and the person registering the gifts. First off you can do your baby registry online and continuously add or subtract items as you go along (this is so handy!) all their products from the store are online which means you don’t have to go to the store at all to set it up. Your guests can search your registry by your name. No passwords needed. Next great feature is as people purchase gifts off your registry, you get an email telling you what has been purchased! Again I found this a fantastic tool to know what is getting bought. And lastly, and I think this is the best feature for your guests, is that you have the option of picking up all the gifts saving your guests from going to the store or paying postage to have the gifts sent out. My guests were more than happy to purchase gifts online and not have to be hit with postage fees and me and my partner were more than happy to go to the store and pick up all our gifts.

Baby Village then give you a list of all the items purchased and by whom and guests were able to leave a message as well.

There is also no issues in exchanging or getting a credit on items you have changed your mind about which we did once we received all the gifts. There was a couple of gifts which we thought we really didn’t need and Baby Village was more than happy to give us a credit note to use towards other things which we would need for the baby.

I can’t highly recommend this store more. The staff is so lovely and take the time out to explain products and make suggestions and were thoroughly helpful throughout my whole gift registry.

And there you have it! That was my baby shower and we had such a great time and I am so glad I put it together. It was a great opportunity to spend time with my friends before baby arrived and I have to say, the gifts received was a huge help in getting the things we needed for baby.

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What was your baby shower like? Or what has been your experience in attending other baby showers?