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How to Get Cool, Not Cheesy, Baby Bump Pics

So, you've decided to go ahead with a maternity photo session.

Here are 10 things you need to do so that you'll wind up with baby bump pics you'll love forever.

1. Research

There are so many styles when it comes to maternity photography. You want to find a photographer who is a good fit for you. It's not unheard of for your maternity photographer to become your newborn photographer and eventually your family's favorite picture-taker for years to come.

Ask friends for referrals. Be sure to review the portfolio of any photographer you are considering.

RELATED: When Motherhood and Creative Ambition Collide

2. Talk about expectations

Be clear about what you want and find out how your chosen photographer will achieve it. In order to have a successful session, you both need to understand the expectations. Don't be afraid to ask questions and share opinions. If there are specific images that photographer has taken, refer to them. Or share other examples you have found and find out if those fit with her style.

3. Trust

Once you have chosen a photographer, rely on her expertise. Listen to and follow her advice. If your session is outdoors, she'll be keeping the weather, time of day and elements in mind. The chance of a beach session being windy, for example? 100 percent. She knows how best to deal with that, so let her worry about those details. She's done this before, and her job is to make sure you are satisfied with the results.

4. Timing

Schedule the session for some time between 28-34 weeks. You want to have a beautiful belly to photograph but not be in danger of going in to labor. You also don't want to be at the point of your pregnancy where the wheels are starting to come off and you are uncomfortable all the time. If you would like to talk to your doctor or midwife about the timing of the session, do so. In general, most photographers recommend month 7 or 8. If there are any special circumstances, those should be considered and can be worked around.

5. Location

Pick a place you love and that will contribute to the overall look you want for your images. Also, make sure to choose a location that will have clean restrooms nearby. This will be important for your basic needs and comfort, but especially if you plan to change outfits. There can be some incredibly beautiful spots that are also remote.

6. Think logistics

Maternity sessions can last one to two hours. How much walking will be required at the session location? Will there be places where you can sit down if you need to? If it is hot, is there anyplace inside to go and cool off? Will there at least be shade? How far of a drive from your home? What is parking like? These are all aspects of the session location that should be considered.

7. Prep

Make time to get your hair, make up and nails done. It doesn't have to be by a professional if that's not in the budget. Call in a friend for some assistance. Also, be sure to pack a hair brush, hair spray and make up for retouching if needed during your session.

8. Outfit

There is no right or wrong when it comes to wardrobe. You want to be comfortable and feel beautiful. What that looks like is going to be different for every woman. Some photographers have special material they use to wrap the subject's body. Others take photos of mamas in the nude. Knowing what you want and conducting your research should help you with this aspect of the shoot.

9. Supplies

Plan to take water and snacks for your session. These can be good for you and any children you may have with you. If you do have young kids participating in the session, make sure there is an extra adult on hand who can watch/wrangle them when they are not in the frame. And have something for them to do.

10. Print your images

The package you purchase could include prints, or your photographer may provide digital files with a print release. Either way, make sure you don't let those memories merely sit on your computer's hard drive. Print them out and put the memories in frames on a surface of your home or on the wall. Make an album. Really, there's no point in having a maternity session if you don't DO something with the photographs.

RELATED: 4 Easy Ways to Get Great Back-to-School Photos

Above all, have fun. Enjoy your session and cherish the memories you create. Pregnancy is a beautiful thing. Let a professional photography capture yours.

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