Feb 19, 2013

7 STEP DIY MATERNITY PHOTO TIMELINE

How To Maternity Photo Timeline

Throughout my pregnancy, I was open to the idea of doing a maternity photo shoot, but I wasn't set on the idea that we had to do one. Brian, on the other hand, was pretty strongly against it. I don't regret that we didn't do it, but I am thankful for the maternity photo timeline that we DIYed throughout my pregnancy.

Looking back now, it is pretty amazing to see the progression of my growing belly, particularly during the last few weeks.  I know that these photos will always be precious to me, as they represent our first few months of "getting to know" our Samuel and also the last few months of our married-without-kids phase of life.

I encourage all mama's-to-be to undertake a similar project.  It isn't hard and I promise you that you will thank yourself for taking the time to do this.  

DIY Maternity Photo Timeline

Let’s delve in a little deeper, shall we?

1. Choose your clothing.  Choose something stretchy that will give as your belly grows.  I wore a dress that was not a maternity dress, but was very stretchy.  It worked well for my photo timeline, but by the end it was so short that it would not have been appropriate to wear in public.

2. Choose your location.  Unless you live in a very temperate climate, I would recommend an indoor location.  Most anywhere that gets a bit of sunlight should work.  I prefer a clean background, so we used an empty wall in our living room that is directly across from a large window.

3. Take your first profile photo and take notes.  Take a few mental notes or go ahead and write them down.  If you want your photos to remain consistent, it is important to be fairly systematic in recreating your set up with each photo shoot.  A few things to pay particular attention to: the lighting, the distance between yourself and the camera, the orientation in which the photo is taken (horizontal or vertical), and the direction you are facing.    

4. Make sure you are happy with this first photo.  If not, try different clothing, a different location, facing the other direction and/or changing any other variables that are in your control.  This step is important, because if you don't like your first photo, you won't have a lot of motivation to keep taking new ones every few weeks and you probably won't be happy with your final timeline.

5. Keep track of which photos were taken when.  With so many photos that are so similar (and sometimes not a marked increase in tummy growth from week to week), the photo order can get a bit confusing.  Make sure to mark your files with the date taken and/or how far you are into your pregnancy.  You could rename the photo files according to date, make a folder for each separate photo shoot or use a photo editor to record this information directly onto the images.

6. Take photos every few weeks.  Or take them once a month or, really, however often you would like.

7. Merge your photos into a timeline collage.  Use the collage function of a photo editor to make a photo timeline.  Or do it old school and print individual photos to display together.

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Extra bonus step number one:  Take one last photo in your outfit/location with baby in your arms.  I failed on this one.  Oops.  

Extra bonus step number two:  Don’t let perfection be the enemy of your good intentions.  It is easy to get nit-picky and want everything to be perfect, but impossible to make it so.  As I worked on putting my photos together, I was quite frustrated by the variations in lighting and cropping from photo to photo.  I decided to "let it go" and just enjoy the finished product, flaws and all.  

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