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+ Soul

How I planned and prepared for three maternity shoots

Three maternity shoots, and maybe one more to go (if my baby girl allows for it)!  I am now 38 weeks-so just 2 little weeks away from giving birth to Sophia.  I don’t know if I’ve done so many shoots because I know this is my last pregnancy or because I just can’t get enough of this season of being pregnant, but I don’t regret any of them one bit!  I also have meaningful and wonderful shoots planned when she arrives!  I can’t wait.

I’m going to walk through the preparation process for each shoot just to give insight on what took place in order to create and prepare for these sessions.

1st Maternity Session: The “Official” Session- with epic video

  1. I contacted a good friend/almost like a sister Carol Martinez with Carols Visuals.  I knew that if there was anyone that could capture this season in motion and in photography for us, it would be Carol.  She has a way of telling stories and understand what needs to be said even without being told the specifics.
  2. Next I thought about a desired location….and honestly, it wasn’t this one.  We couldn’t make it out to the actual desired location (Imperial Sand Dunes), so I “settled” for another great location (El Matador State Beach), but it was perfect in the end!
  3. One of the most important factors in preparation for a shoot for me is …. what to wear!  I spent the most time imagining what I wanted to be wearing out there.  I searched and searched and at the beginning I felt like I wanted something pink and flowy…but it just seemed normal or what anyone would wear.  So I started to think outside the box.  My next thought process for what to wear was a crop top style shirt with a flowy skirt…still in the pink skirt mind frame.  After looking for crop tops EVERYWHERE, I finally spent one night until like 3am on Amazon just flipping through images of crop tops until I ran into THE ONE!  It had almost like a goddess feel to it and I was super sold!  It was mine, in fact, I bought it in white and black (black I ended up wearing to my babyshower) <Crop Top/Amazon $16.99!>.  The search continued trying to find the right skirt until I found this earthy green toned flowy skirt that fit so well at Forever 21 and that’s when the picture became a little more clear on what I would wear.  I added a few more goddessy style jewelry and the look just came together so perfectly.  I was extremely happy and confident as a pregnant woman and I was ready.  What my guys would wear came easily after I knew what I was wearing.  It is always important to shop for women first because men/kids tend to be a little easier to shop for once you know the style direction of the woman.
  4. Next thought process to make these photos what I’d hoped for was contacting a makeup artist! (Maria Aguilar) made me feel glamorous yet fierce all in one and that is exactly what this look called for.  So it was perfect and makeup is always a good idea to enhance features during a photo session.
  5. And that was it!  We got ready, drove out to El Matador (Malibu, CA), enjoyed our session, got super wet and called it a wrap!  Carol was amazing and captured us just being us.  It was nice and the outcome was to die for!  Especially the video….it still melts me.  Side note: my oldest son cried 15 seconds into the video!  It was special and meaningful to us all and I’m glad it was something we added to this shoot.


2nd Maternity Session:  A time to GROW

  1. This next shoot was originally inspired by the location itself.  My babyshower was themed around having tons and tons of succulents.  So I visited a local nursery (Bolles Nursery in Bakersfield CA) and fell in love with their green house.  I was instantly inspired and thought….I need to do a shoot here ASAP (which is definitely still pending on my inspiration list)-but then I thought…how perfect would it be to do a shoot here for myself.
  2. I set up a session with a good photographer friend of mine Gwen Corona!  I absolutely knew that she could capture this visual for me so beautifully.  In this particular session, I wanted to feel feminine, but strong.  I wanted it to represent the growth of a new chapter and life itself.
  3. The exciting thing about this session was that I had my hair appointment scheduled on the day we planned the session-so it was perfect.  I knew I was going to have fabulous hair after Adriana Rangel at Salon Salon put her hands on it and it would just make me feel wonderful going into the shoot!
  4. I’m not going to lie…this shoot was the shortest shoot and it came together the fastest.  Again, you can turn a shoot into magic by what you choose to wear (at least that’s what I believe).  Literally the morning of the shoot I went shopping because I hadn’t had any time.  I visited about 4 stores until I ended up at NY&C where I found a beautiful coral pink color maxi dress from the Eva Mendez line.  It was perfect.  It made me feel soft and feminine and Gwen agreed that with the nursery greens it would just pop and be perfect!  So I was sold!
  5. Finally I kept makeup simple on this one and just assured that I had my lashes on, because eyes speak in photos and I can’t go without my lashes!  My sister helped me out with a little touch up of makeup and I was good to go.
  6. We shot in the green house and it was super hot and muggy.  We arrived 30 minutes before they closed, shot in that one space and it was perfect!  Absolutely perfect.

3rd Maternity Session: Outdoor Milk Bath

  1. I always said if I ever had a girl, I would do a maternity milk bath session.  Something about it is so beautiful and celebrates a woman’s body through maternity in a soft and artistic way. So this was already on my list of must do’s.
  2. My beautiful friend Theresa Wooner and I discussed a few possibilities to create this session, but in the end I kept imagining a milk bath outdoors.  I had seen plenty of milk baths done inside and they were beautiful and soft, but I wanted a little bit of a bolder perspective.
  3. From that thought process came the search for someone who owned a claw foot tub…and just randomly had it lying around detached!  Funny right….but I was on the hunt.  After having no luck, I searched on LetGo to see if someone had one they were selling.  Sure enough, there was this old beaten down, no legs, no hardware one that they were selling for $50.  And if you didn’t already guess it….I begged my husband to get it for me and eventually…he did!
  4. Next up was…..what to wear!  I couldn’t imagine myself in the white or cream colored lace gowns that most women wear in a milk bath session and I just kept thinking of bolder colors and tones.  So that’s the direction I took and on Amazon, I found a beautiful wine colored lace gown that was perfect <Dress on Amazon $18.99>.
  5. The day before the shoot my husband and I worked on setting up the tub in our backyard.  I wish I would’ve had time to finish the tub the way I wanted to, but I’ll work on it for a future project! (It will be a rustic copper finish in the end).  For now we left it as it was and cleaned it up and added the necessary hardware.
  6. I purchased a beautiful bouquet of flowers that had the color scheme I loved from Costco the day of the session.
  7. I got dressed and ready, did my own hair and makeup and Theresa arrived!  Together we organized all the details around the tub and it just felt right.  It was bold and earthly and I loved it all.  The outcome was beyond my expectations and I’m so thrilled I did this session. The exciting part is this…after I have my baby, I will be getting back into this dress and into this milk bath with my baby on my chest.

You guys have no idea how happy I am that I did each one of these shoots.  They all own a piece of my heart and I’m begging my mind to give me peace from all the moments I plan to capture once she’s here!  Thank you to all my friends who helped me create these beautiful memories of life!