Bay Area Maternity Photography: Outdoor vs. Studio
Pregnancy is one of the most beautiful and meaningful times in a woman’s life. Many women want to capture and commemorate this time with a maternity session. After making the decision to book a maternity session, selecting the location is the next step. There are distinct advantages to both outdoor and studio maternity sessions. There is no right or wrong choice. It’s all based on intention and preferences for your photos.
If you live in the Bay Area, you’re well aware of the beautiful and geographically diverse surrounding landscape. From the Diablo Valley Mountains in Walnut Creek to the San Francisco Bay, there are so many spots that are perfect for an outdoor maternity session.
If you wish to capture this time out in nature and decide that an outdoor session is the right setting for you, the next step will be determining your outdoor location. Before you choose an outdoor location in the Bay Area for your maternity photos, it’s important to establish your goals and vision for what you’re looking for in your session. For example, some women are looking for a bright-colored aesthetic in a field or park, while other women prefer darker, more dramatic shots along the beach. Preferences are extremely important, and it’s even more important that you express your vision to your photographer.
Outdoor family sessions often mark particular seasons and capturing special occasions throughout the year. However, when planning a maternity session, you don’t have that same option in waiting for your favorite time of year for your images. Fortunately, the Bay Area does not bolster the most vivid changing of the seasons, however, it’s still important to keep in mind what time of year it will be when your maternity session is scheduled (recommended 30-34 weeks).
Regarding the time of day, we always recommend golden hour as the ideal time for a maternity session. Golden hour is the hour before the sun starts to set and it provides the perfect amount of lighting to capture you at your most beautiful self! If incorporating nature is key to how you see your inner and outer beauty, then an outdoor maternity session is for you! When nature is your backdrop, you will always create beautiful images.
While an outdoor session can create beautiful moments in nature, there are some advantages to booking a studio maternity session as well. An outdoor Bay Area atmosphere is great, but sometimes it doesn’t allow you to control very much about your session in terms of lighting, positioning, etc. With maternity shoots, there are so many different poses that can only be done in studio. At our Walnut Creek studio, there are several creative, beautiful poses that we can only execute in our studio. For example, poses that involve you laying on your back to expose your belly are difficult to pull off in an outdoor session (especially if you don’t want your dress to get dirty). When you have a very intentional vision in mind for how you want your session to look and what poses appeal to you, a studio session may be the better choice.
Studio sessions also make it easier to incorporate props. It can be much more difficult to set up props for an outdoor session, with uneven surfaces and potential intrusion from the wind. In a studio session, the photographer and their team can ensure that the props for your session will be handled and set up exactly how you had in mind.
If you have multiple outfits prepared and want to have different color backgrounds with each outfit, then a studio session is definitely the better choice for you. Most studios, such as Milk + Lily Portrait Co., offer an unlimited number of outfit changes during the session. Just pulling off one outfit change during an outdoor session can be difficult, especially when there are no bathrooms or areas to change. Studios also will offer a variety of different color backdrops (black, white, silver, etc.), which allows you to have full control over how you want your images to look. When you’re out in nature, the backdrop obviously isn’t adjustable.
Studio sessions are often easier if you want to involve other people as well. If you have other young children who you want to include in the pictures with their soon-to-be brother or sister, outdoor sessions can be overwhelming. Studio sessions give you a chance to create beautiful, memorable photos without having to spend excessive time making sure everyone is in the right place and free from distraction.
There are several advantages to both an outdoor and studio maternity session. Whichever option you choose, you’ll get beautiful photos, especially if you work with an experienced maternity studio, like Milk + Lily Portrait Co. We hope this article was helpful in providing some guidance on what type of maternity session would work best for you!