3 Hidden Benefits of Mastering Maternity Photography with Casey Dittmer
Many photographers seem to think that maternity work is too niche, too cliché, too Pinteresty. Why would you want to add it to your portrait business? Sure, the maternity portrait industry is pretty much one note—same poses, same outfits, same editing style—but your images don’t have to be. Creating a signature style, an outstanding client experience and showstopping imagery can produce higher sales and also bring you three hidden benefits.
You will create an unmatched client bond while helping your client feel empowered and beautiful.
Pregnancy can be tough on women emotionally and mentally. Yes, some get that “I love everything about being pregnant” glow, but not everyone. Most women are insecure about their body. Each day they see a different stranger in the mirror. It took me five months to not be surprised when I woke up and caught a side glance at myself in the bathroom mirror.
Trusting someone to take your picture is a big deal any day of the week, but when you are unsure about your body size and shape, it’s even scarier. Your job is to create amazing images but also to make her feel amazing about herself.
Meet beforehand to address clothing choices. Bad clothing is the worst for a maternity session. Choose flattering colors, listen to her hesitations, help her feel at ease. During the session, be bossy. Tell her how to pose, how to stand, how to breathe, whatever it takes to make her look her very best. She came to you for a reason. Mommas appreciate honesty—“Let’s lift that chin a bit.” They know you have their best interests at heart. Encourage her. Tell her she is doing great.
Make sure she takes breaks between poses. Most clients won’t tell you they are getting sore or tired. Just assume that they are, and be considerate of the strain that her body is already under. Shoot the shit out of that bump. Make images that are creative and timeless, but also true works of art. Show her how the amazing shape she currently rocks is the perfect match for your artistic vision. Use traditional understated poses and a mix of dynamic supermodel poses. Use that gorgeous shape to your advantage.
Maternity portraits are a gateway to lifelong client relationships.
Building her self-esteem and confidence while you make her look amazing will create a strong client bond. She will want you for all her future portrait needs—you just made her love her maternity session, where she is 20 pounds heavier, more than any other session she’s had.
Many people feel that maternity is not a good fit for their business model or that it’s too specific to make a difference in their business. Consider this: I had a prospective client come to us for maternity portraits. She’d had a less than great experience with her wedding photographer, and was drawn to our dynamic style and loved the experience we provided during the planning consultation. We created a fun session that built a bond with her and her husband. Even though it was more traditional in style, we created some great art pieces and unique images.
The newborn session soon followed, and we provided a detailed and thorough service. The clients loved their images and were eager to return for our Limited Edition Santa Event that same year. A few months later, it was time for baby’s one-year session.
Time flew by, and we saw the client four times in a 14-month span, including for a boudoir session for the husband’s birthday. She knew she could trust us with such a vulnerable and personal session because we had worked so closely with her and her family over the past year and a half. In her mind, there was no question of going to anyone else. We were her go-to, and we would make her look fantastic. They were floored over how sexy and classy the images turned out.
Next thing we knew, we were honored to get the call that baby number two was cooking and this time she wanted the full Goddess Experience. We went to work designing a stylized session that fit her personality and also made her step outside her comfort zone. I knew I could push her through posing and styling, since we had worked together so many times, and the trust was there. She let us choose the gown, the location and everything else. She knew I would make it perfect just for her. We are excited to meet baby number two and continue this lifelong partnership in capturing memories.
A client’s loyalty grows stronger each time they use your services. With each visit, images are shared, people are referred and their impact on your business grows. Don’t forget to consider the financial impact of this repeat customer. She is already qualified. She already knows your process, products and prices. Solidifying her experience and trust with us during the maternity session has now grown her initial investment into a $10,000-plus client, and we’re not done yet. That’s much better than trying to capture new leads. Make the most of the ones you already have.
High-impact maternity portraits stop the scroll and bring in clients of all genres.
We are constantly being bombarded with images and they all start looking alike. But these images make people stop, stare and click. The key is beautiful locations stylized meticulously and purposefully and edited in a timeless yet eye-catching way. These images stand out in a sea of pictures, making people take notice and remember you when it comes time for portraits.
Callers tell us all the time that they were drawn to us by a maternity image they saw. They are calling for family portrait info, but those maternity images were just amazing. Just today, a client told us during a wedding consultation, “I am obsessed with your maternity images. I told myself, heck, if they can make a pregnant woman look like that, just think what I will look like in my wedding images. I told my fiancé we had to have you.” Still thinking maternity is not for your business?
Find something that inspires you and create a session around that. It could be a movie, a fabric, a location—whatever it is, push yourself to create at least one conversation image, an image that will make people take notice and talk. When you start hearing, “I’m done having babies, but I would have another just to have one of these sessions,” you are on the right track.
These benefits are just a few reasons to stop making excuses and embrace the bump, but you can’t do the same old thing as everyone else. With the same dresses and tacky, cliché Pinterest poses, expect tacky results.
Clients can get those anywhere. It won’t make them value you as a unique asset or a hot commodity. They will keep scrolling because they saw images just like yours five times already that day. Dare to be different. Swim upstream. Make a statement. Kick some ass.