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There's a lot to consider when planning your maternity photo session - location, time of day, and wardrobe, to name a few. And while I'm here to help you through every step of the planning phase (and beyond), I thought I'd share a few tips ahead of time so you know what to expect.

First and foremost - when are you due?

Timing is everything, and we want to make sure to schedule your session late enough so your belly is very noticeable, but not so late that you're uncomfortable and have trouble getting around. This usually ends up being around the middle of your last trimester, so get your session on the books as soon as possible to ensure that date is secured.

Second - Location

Where do you want the session to take place? I offer both indoor and outdoor sessions, and there are things to consider for each.

If we're doing outdoor photos, we will have to work around the weather. We all know the weather is crazy here in Florida and there is a chance we might have to reschedule. In order to be sure your photos don't get delayed, be sure to book a backup date in case your first one gets rained out.

If we're taking your maternity photos indoors (usually in your home), the biggest thing to keep in mind is lighting. Do you have areas in your home with lots of natural light? The next biggest thing is the space itself. Baby's room? Living room? Kitchen? Make sure these rooms have lots of light and are free of clutter on the day of your session. While the focus will of course be on you (and your partner, if they want to be included), we want to make sure you're not competing with the space.

Third - What to wear.

This one is just as important as location, and often go hand in hand. Location determines theme, which determines wardrobe. If your maternity session is outdoors, you have a lot of options for clothing. Many women take this opportunity to glam up a little, and will buy or rent a beautiful dress that showcases their belly and their glorious beauty as a mom-to-be. Others prefer to stick with their natural style, and some land somewhere in between. The idea is to do what feels right for you. (Check out this gorgeous dress! https://

For in-home maternity sessions, outfit choices vary from very casual (jeans & a t-shirt or bra) to a somewhat dressy (a soft, flowy dress). The choice is yours - the idea is for you to be comfortable.

If you're stuck on what to wear, don't fret! I have a full style guide for maternity photo sessions, and am happy to discuss all of your ideas and guide you to what you're most happy with. And don't forget that I have dresses available in my client closet!

Fourth - Props!

What can I say - I love them! There are so many creative things you can do with them, and they can add fun & creativity to your photos.

What props should you bring? That's entirely up to you. You can bring a pair of baby's shoes, a blanket or stuffed animal you've bought, a cute onesie, or maybe a sign announcing your due date (and baby's name, if you choose).

You can also add some accessories to your outfit, such as a flower crown (like this one:

Ultimately, we want to make this session as unique as you are, so if in doubt, just bring all the things and we'll incorporate as much of it as we can.

Fifth - What to bring.

Aside from props, I recommend bringing things like snacks, water, and maybe a foldable/portable chair to your maternity session. Hunger can creep up fast, and we don't want anyone getting woozy or dehydrated - especially if we're outside on a summer day. It's happened to me, and when you don't have food or water close by, things can get kind of scary. So pack a small cooler with water, Gatorade, a sandwich or protein bar (or fruit, or...well, you get the idea). And I always have my wagon with me, so don't worry about lugging your cooler around.

Sixth - Get in the right headspace

It's intimidating to be in front of a camera and feeling like all eyes are on you - photographers know this better than most people - but the good news is there are things you can do in advance of our session to help you feel more at ease. Check out the list below for some great "chill" tips.

First, give yourself enough time to get ready and get to your session location (or, if your session is at home, to get the place photo-ready). Rushing is stressful, and stress shows in your pictures, which we definitely don't want!

Second, listen to your favorite music on your way to the session. Create your own karaoke experience and belt out the tunes that make you feel good. (Also, don't be afraid to ask if you'd like us to play some music while we take your pictures - it's amazing how much more relaxed everyone is when there's great music playing).

Last, but certainly not least...breathe. This day is about having fun and celebrating the next chapter of your journey. If you start to get anxious or tense, just take a few deep breaths and count to five. And, most importantly, if at any point you feel truly uncomfortable, let me know. We'll stop, regroup, and wait until you're ready.

This is an exciting time for you, and on the day of your maternity session, I want you to have fun. The tips above will help - and if you have any questions, I'm here to help!

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A back yard transformation and a slightly non-traditional celebration

I love backyard weddings. They're intimate, low key, and often quite creative. You'd have to be, honestly, when working with a small space. But of all the backyard weddings I've done, Erin & Paul's was the most memorable.

Welcome to Wonderland

I don't have any photos of how this yard looked before (Oh, how I wish I did!) but when I say it was transformed, I mean it! I honestly didn't recognize it when I walked in. The fairy lights, the textiles, the plants - it was all so dreamy! And it could not have been more perfect.

Up For Anything

When I introduced myself to the bride and groom, they shook my hand and said, "You're the photographer, we trust you - just tell us what you want us to do." (Words every photographer loves to hear!) I honestly didn't know what I wanted to do, either, especially given the small space, but once we got started the magic just flowed.

I mean...look at these two!!! PERFECTION!

The posing was so accidentally editorial I was squealing inside, and the late afternoon light that came peeking through the trees could not have been more perfect.

Everything I asked, they happily did. Every time I made stupid noises or embarrassed myself, they laughed along and went with the flow. It was fun.

Something Different

Erin & Paul had already gotten legally married, so they chose to do something different with their family & friends present. As they stood together under the pergola, family members got up and shared letters, poems, or words of encouragement for the couple, who then exchanged some very touching vows. It was truly an intimate and sweet affair, and I feel so fortunate to have witnessed and captured it for them.

Every wedding is different, and every one is special in its own right. What I love about the small ones is the closeness, that sense of inclusion - like I'm being let in on a really special secret. And I get to take that energy, that softness, and infuse it into the pictures I take, so they never lose that feeling, no matter how many years have gone by.

Check out the full gallery for the rest of their story: and leave a comment below with your favorite image!

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  • Writer's pictureNancy Dinsmore

Updated: Apr 10, 2023

What's the best spot for our photo session?

I'm so glad you asked! There are a lot of things to consider when choosing a location for your session, whether it's for engagement or maternity. You want to make sure it's accessible, first and foremost - is there parking? Is there a long walk to the site? Is it crowded?

Second, you want to consider what vibe you're going for. Rustic? Organic? Urban? Glamorous? If you've got a style in mind, I've got a location for you. Check out some of my favorite spots in the Gainesville area:

Dudley Farm Historic State Park - Newberry, FL

Dudley Farm is a hidden gem here in North Central Florida. Full of history, raw texture, and real Florida nature, it's a perfect and versatile location for almost any kind of session. I especially like to bring couples here, though, because there's so much room for interaction - between the couple as well as between them and the environment.

Downtown Gainesville, Florida

What's not to love about Downtown Gainesville? The options for backgrounds are almost limitless! From the regal architecture of the Hippodrome Theater, to the eclectic Sun City Center, to the historic Firestone Building a few blocks away, there is something interesting everywhere you look!

Micanopy Historic District

Micanopy (mik-an-o-pee) is kind of like the town that time forgot - in the best possible way. Everything looks like it came straight out of history book - aged brick walls, rustic buildings, quiet streets, and some of the biggest Live Oak trees in Florida. It's perfect for a vintage-style session or, if you're really adventurous, a modern vibe against a historic backdrop!

Florida Beaches

I admit, I'm a sucker for a beach session. No, I don't love trekking across the sand with all of my equipment, but I DO love what the beaches have to offer in terms of visual interest. My favorites? Marineland Beach and its coquina rocks, offering a unique texture to every scene. And Boneyard Beach at Big Talbot Island, with its driftwood and scraggly old trees. It's a total mood. (More about Boneyard Beach here: )

Historic Thomas Center, Duckpond Area, Gainesville

The Thomas Center is a popular place for a reason - between the beautifully appointed gardens and the gorgeous Mediterranean-revival architecture, it's got everything you need for a photo session. I wish I could name a favorite spot on the grounds, but I can't. Everything about it is a photographer's dream.

(Visit for more information)

San Felasco Hammock State Park

I just recently discovered this spot and I was in love the second I pulled into the parking lot. It was a dreary day - cold, damp, and drizzly - but it didn't matter. Even the muted winter colors seemed to just pop out, and the textures...gasp! There's a uniquely organic feel here - more than in any other natural setting I've used - and I'm itching to get back there and create!

Kanapaha Botanical Gardens

Last, but certainly not least, is my first love. Kanapaha Gardens is a visual wonderland. Winding garden paths, vine-covered pergolas, a bamboo forest, succulent gardens, an entire Camelia forest...the list goes on. If you're looking for a natural setting with lots of versatility, this is the place to go.

(more information here: )

Northern Florida is rich with both history and some of the most lush and varied nature I've ever seen, and I know there is even more to explore - here, and beyond. Maybe in a year I'll have a new list that's twice as long!

Thanks for hanging,

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