Summer Maternity Photo Session in Historic Downtown Charleston

Pregnant woman holds her husband's hand in front of a gate in Charleston

One of the best parts of my job as a photographer is seeing my clients walk through different, exciting phases of their lives. I recently had the pleasure of photographing a sweet summery maternity session in Historic Downtown Charleston while the couple was in town for a friend’s wedding. The best part – I photographed their elopement back in 2020! Our session was in June, and I am thrilled to share the highlights and the sweet moments from this beautiful session.

Why We Chose Historic Downtown Charleston

One of the first steps in my session planning process is choosing the perfect location. M & B’s elopement was on the beach, so we knew we wanted something a little different for their maternity backdrop. Historic Downtown Charleston has an undeniable allure with its cobblestone streets, captivating architecture, and rich history. I always love photographing downtown with all the vibrant colors, charming alleys, and beautiful flowers. Another plus to downtown: June in Charleston is jasmine season!

Couple steps into cobblestone street in Charleston during their maternity session
couple smile at each other while woman has a hand on her pregnant belly
close up of a man and woman standing close together smiling while she has her hand on her pregnant belly

Planning for Lighting in June

The sun sets late in June, so we scheduled our session later in the evening to take advantage of the late-day glow. Portrait sessions of any type have more scheduling flexibility than a wedding day so I always try and schedule them for the most ideal light. My opinion is that the light is best AT sunrise, and two hours prior to sunset. I personally don’t love shooting right at sunset (it’s a little too orange for me, and gets dark when you’re downtown), so if we’re scheduling an evening session it’ll likely be right around that 2-hours prior to sunset time.

Exploring Charleston’s Iconic Locations

The hardest thing to do in Charleston is to choose just a few spots to photograph. There are SO many beautiful streets and buildings that you could truly shoot for hours and never run out of perfect backdrops. For M & B we decided we wanted cobblestone and some of the historic district’s prettiest neutral backdrops. We also made sure to wrap in a few hints of blue, a nod to their baby boy.

man wraps his arms around his wife and she leans back into him with their hands on her pregnant stomach
pregnant couple hold hands and cross the street smiling at the camera
black and white close up of a couple holding hands and crossing the street
Pregnant woman leans into her husband as they smile towards her belly in a Charleston street

Styling and Wardrobe Tips for a Summery Vibe

M chose her dress and B’s outfit perfectly for the summery vibe of their session. Light and flowy dresses in pastel and neutral tones complement the summer Charleston backdrop and perfectly harmonize with the scenic surroundings. Delicate floral patterns and lace details added a touch of femininity and elegance, creating a cohesive and summery vibe for the photographs. Button-down shirts are always a great choice for guys, and I suggest staying away from any patterns smaller than a dime (it photographs funny and can cause weird lines in images).

Man and woman smile at each other in front of historic Charleston home
Husband and wife smiling at the camera in front of a historic Charleston house
close up of a pregnant mother's belly captured in black and white

Incorporating Nature and Architecture

One of the unique aspects of downtown Charleston is the harmonious blend of nature and architecture. (These two things are honestly what won us over when we were deciding where to move years ago)

We took full advantage of this blend during M + B’s maternity session, incorporating the greenery and blooming flowers, and historic buildings as stunning backdrops. The resulting images perfectly captured the essence of downtown Charleston and the expectant mother’s connection with her surroundings.

white house with blue shutters with a pregnant couple smiling in front of it
man and woman holding hands in front of a white gate covered in jasmine and pink flowers
Maternity photo of a woman in front of a white charleston gate with jasmine and pink flowers
pregnant mother smiling at her belly in front of a white gate in Charleston at sunset

Capturing Genuine Moments

This may come as a surprise to some of you (kidding), but not many people feel confident in front of a camera. Photography is my profession and I still feel awkward as soon as I step in front of the camera, so in my photo sessions, we really focus most on capturing the genuine connections and emotions shared between the expectant mother and her partner. From tender gestures to joyful laughter, these natural interactions created heartfelt and captivating images that truly reflected the love and anticipation of this special time.

Like I tell every one of my clients, if you feel uncomfortable in front of the camera I get it, and don’t worry! It’s my job to make sure you are comfortable and look fantastic, all you need to do is show up and have fun together.

husband kisses his pregnant wife on the cheek and she laughs
husband and wife laughing together while he kisses her cheek in front of a floral gate in Charleston

Tips for a Fab Session

Here are a couple of tips to ensure a successful and enjoyable maternity photo session in downtown Charleston:

  • Plan ahead and communicate with your photographer to discuss your vision and expectations.
  • Choose outfits that make you feel comfortable, confident, and align with the summery aesthetic. My best advice is to wear something you feel amazing in. If you feel uncomfortable, you’ll look uncomfortable.
  • Embrace the natural beauty of downtown Charleston and allow yourself to be present in the moment.
  • Trust your photographer’s guidance and expertise, as they will capture your unique relationship and personality.
  • Relax, have fun, and let your emotions shine through, creating authentic and meaningful photographs.
man and woman walk across a street during their maternity photo session in front of a blue door in Charleston
portrait of a pregnant woman with her husband under jasmine vines
black and white image of a couple crossing the street
pregnant woman and her husband nose to nose smiling in Charleston

Why Have a Maternity Photo Session?

Maternity photography holds immense significance for expectant parents. It is a way to celebrate and honor the transformative journey of pregnancy, capturing the love, joy, and anticipation shared between parents and their unborn child. These photographs serve as powerful reminders of this extraordinary time, fostering a deep connection to the emotions and memories associated with this chapter in their lives.

My favorite thing about maternity sessions is the quiet romance. It’s a celebration of your last time together as a family of only two (savor these quiet moments!), but I’ll be photographing at a nice slow pace to let you two really enjoy the moments together.

man and woman share a quiet moment together in front of a white wall
maternity portrait of a woman in a blue dress with ruffled neckline
husband and wife hold hands and smile at each other in front of a white wall

As a photographer, I am privileged to witness and document the beautiful and transformative journey of pregnancy. Charleston served as the perfect backdrop for M + B’s summery maternity photo session, from the soft, golden light to the historic architecture and greenery, every element came together to create a gorgeous story.

open air cafe in downtown charleston
husband dances with is pregnant wife at a sidewalk cafe in Charleston