What do Gwen Stefani, Rachel Zoe, Halle Berry, Tina Fey and Selma Hayek have in common?
They all birthed babies in their early 40s.
Shocked? You shouldn’t be. The number of women giving birth after 40 years old has nearly quadrupled in the past 30 years according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
As a photographer in San Francisco, I noticed this same trend emerge in the Bay Area market. Simply put, much of my pregnant mother clientele was skewing older for both first and second pregnancies.
Sure, it’s a small number: The birth rate is just 10.6 per 1000 women between the ages of 40 and 44 according to the 2016 National Vital Statistics Report. But the increasing birth rate in this age group trend that’s been emerging for decades.
I embraced these mamas and became so inspired by them that I started a Pregnancy After 40 Project. It’s a photography project dedicated to empowering and inspiring women through photographs and storytelling. While my project only highlights a handful of mamas pregnant in their 40s, I have photographed countless other expecting moms who are having babies later in life, too.
Here are a few tips for photographing expecting moms in their late 30s and beyond.
1. Age goes up, body goes down
We all know it happens. For those of us who aren’t spry 20-year-olds, we’ve experienced it firsthand. Arms soften and chins relax. These are areas to pay extra attention to during photo shoots, especially with older expecting mamas. Here are a few of my favorite tricks for posing.
Have the mom point her elbow slightly out as though she was putting her hand on her hip. This will move her bicep away from her side, slimming the arm.
Have mom stick her chin forward like a turtle or a bird, you choose your favorite animal. This will give the neck and chin an instant lift. It’s important she doesn’t put her chin up towards the sky because otherwise you’ll be photographing up her nose. The movement happens at the neck pushing the chin forward, not the head. Practice on yourself in a mirror at home so you can demonstrate.