A phrase that I'm sure you've heard before! We use this phrase all the time to describe perfection, or at least the image of it, down to the minute detail. This is something that started being used in the early 20th century to describe wedding photographs where every single aspect of the pictures were planned to perfection.
This idealization of the "perfect" bleeds into so many different aspects of our lives, including pregnancy. As a woman in general we are constantly inundated with images of the "ideal" figure. During pregnancy you're surrounded by images and information on what the ideal pregnancy should be, what the "perfect" bump looks like, even down to what we should be feeling. It's incredibly easy to see all of these images and then look at ourselves and just feel...less than. It's so easy to feel that what we are experiencing isn't normal, isn't right, isn't perfect. The problem with that is that NOTHING is perfect! The term "picture perfect" itself was a term that came about in the early 20th century that had been used in reference to old Eduardian wedding photos, and guess what? It wasn't even popular!
So, is there even such a thing as the "perfect" belly bump? The answer, of course, is a RESOUNDING no. However, I don't expect you to take my word for it!
Meet Missie Lafrenz! Missie is a photographer out of Iowa who knows a thing or two about capturing that beautiful belly shot. She's been in the business for 14 years and has a knack for capturing authentic and incredibly beautiful moments. I had the absolute privilege of getting to sit down and chat with her recently about what brought her to love maternity photography, some of her favorite stories in the biz, and what she thinks makes the "perfect" belly shot. She also had a few tips and tricks to getting that perfect glow in your maternity pics. Here are some of my favorite questions and answers from our chat!
Q: What first piqued your interest in Maternity Photography, what led you to the world of Maternity Photography over other forms of Photography?
A: I love capturing the beauty of pregnancy and the joy that a new mother feels. I am a mother of 3 and know how wonderful being pregnant is. I capture all different types of people, but maternity is by far my favorite. I can be more artistic with maternity, and women are more willing to show off and be in the spotlight when they are pregnant, which allows me to show them how beautiful they are!
Q: What is your favorite aspect of Maternity Photography?
A: I love that women are more confident when they are pregnant, which means they are more outgoing and accepting of themselves for pictures! I get to capture them in a way they have never seen themselves before and hopefully they carry that confidence with them past the pregnancy!
Q: Have you ever had any mama's nervous about showing their bump? How do you approach making your mamas comfortable and at ease during a photoshoot?
A: More and more women are wanting to show skin, which is wonderful! Gone are the timid days and bagging dresses...stretch mark and varicose veins are more accepted and that allows women to be more confident! I definitely don't push anyone out of their comfort zone...but pampering yourself before the session will help with the nerves and will make you feel more confident.
Q: What is your favorite tip or trick for mamas who want to capture the perfect belly pic?
A: Pamper yourself before the session, go all out with hair and makeup, nails...all the things. A maternity session is a celebration of you growing a human being, so take advantage and have the best day!
Q: On the day of the shoot the main attraction is, of course, the bump! Are there any steps you take right before the photoshoot to make sure mama’s bump is glowing and camera ready?
A: I recommend moisturizer and bronzer!
Q: Let's talk lighting! Do you have a favorite lighting set-up? Strobe, natural, what's your go to?
A: I am natural lighting all the way. I love to use the sun in artistic ways.
Q: Do you have a favorite pose to do with your mamas, and if so why is that one your favorite?
A: I don't have a go to pose- I just pose my clients in a way that makes them look their best. Every person is different so I adjust my posing around their body and personality...but it's all about making them look like a queen!
Q: This question might seem a little obvious, but I'd love to hear your answer for it! So, what do you think, is there such thing as the "perfect bump"?
A: NO! Any bump is the perfect bump.
Q: And last but certainly not least! This one is purely for the story teller in me. Do you have a favorite moment or anecdote from your career thus far?
A: I had a couple who were unable to conceive on their own, they had been trying for years, did fertility treatments and out of desperation decided to adopt...in lieu of maternity photos we did adoption photos. The photos we took were used for their adoption announcement for their blog to find the perfect pregnancy to connect with. A couple months after we did their "adopt session" the couple found out they were pregnant and I am now taking actual maternity photos for them!!!
While I got to talk with Missie and pick her brain a bit about photography, I was also able to send her some of our favorite goodies to pamper her clients a little! We sent some of our best selling Mega Moisturizing Belly Masks Missie's way and got some great feedback from her clients, as well as some beautiful pictures! Take a look!
The take-away here is pretty simple, and it's something I've been saying since the beginning of this post: THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS PERFECT. All baby bumps, all BODIES, are beautiful and perfect in their own way. And if you're looking to feel a little extra-special for any upcoming photos? Take a page from Missie's book and pamper yourself mama! Take some time for yourself, get your hair done, makeup, nails, and maybe sit back with a belly mask and relax a little! We have a pretty good recommendation for a mask if you're looking!
Most importantly, if you've thought of having pictures taken or have a photoshoot coming up remember that it's all about YOU. It's your moment, so let yourself shine!
All photos by Missie Lafrenz