Saturday, June 23, 2012

Maternity Portraits by James Harvey Photography

The magic of photographs is that they capture the fleeting and make it immortal. Life is so precious and goes by so fast. To be able to freeze a moment in time and preserve it is truly magical.

An avid photographer myself, I take thousands of snapshots, obsessively trying to capture and record the story of my life in images. It's really special once in a while though to have someone who really knows what he's doing take your portrait...

A talented photographer friend of mine, James Harvey, (check out his website at: offered to take some maternity portraits of me. Seeing as this is likely the only time I'll ever be pregnant (this baby was an unexpected miracle as it is!) it only makes sense to commemorate it with images. I think this shot in the doorway is my favourite. With the light behind me it's like a gateway to the unknown. Light, symbolizing hope. A bright future, full of promise. I like the expression he captured here. I look a little nervous but expectant, happy and hopeful which basically sums up my feelings as I approach my due date.

I also like this profile one, looking at my belly. Some days I really don't feel great but these photos remind me that being pregnant is a beautiful thing. And I know that one day I'll be very grateful to have them and be able to look back on this time and see my metamorphosis into a Mom.

When my sister was pregnant with her first child, my Mom snapped a photo of her on the stairs just as she was on the way to the hospital. I was so glad that we got that photo! I didn't remember her being that big! She was such a tiny thing before she got pregnant. At the time she had gained the weight gradually but looking back at that picture, you just see the end and it's a bit of a shock.

I know that one day I'll look back at these pictures and think "Wow! Was my belly really that big?!"

We even got some close-up shots of the belly. James had mentioned doing maternity photos a while ago but I wanted to wait until I was at my biggest, when my belly button popped out. I think I'm there! I can't imagine getting any bigger than this or I may explode! My skin is already stretched to the limit. I never thought I'd let someone take shots focusing on my bare belly (especially when I'm carrying an extra 45 lbs!) but I wanted souvenirs of this stage in my life. Voluptuous. Full of life.  

Given that I'm a huge fan of Scrabble (and M, my baby's father and I, used to play often) James and I thought it would be fun to do a couple of shots using Scrabble letters... 

"Coming Soon!" It's hard to believe that in a month or so my baby Michelle will be making her debut! Time is going by so quickly. The past 8 months really have flown by. It's still so surreal to me that in a month I'll be holding her in my arms. I can show her these pictures one day "Here you are in Mommy's tummy!" Hopefully she won't be mortified by them when she gets older. (But kids are always embarassed by their parents, aren't they? Or maybe I'll be a "cool Mom." Sure. Could happen!)

"Do you know what you're having?" curious stangers ask me and I very enthusiastically answer "A girl!" I was so excited when I finally got the news (at a 32 week ultrasound) that it was a girl. My doctor was still cautious about the results. When I visited her afterward she cautioned "Well, you can never be 100% certain. It's 99.9% a girl." "That's good enough for me!" I told her. At the 19 week ultrasound they could only tell me there was a 60-70% chance it was a girl because baby wasn't cooperating. Not knowing was killing me. I already had her name picked out from the beginning because I'd felt in my heart that it was a girl all along. We'd done the ring test and it always circled. Everyone had given me baby girl clothes. If it had been a boy, he would have been nameless and stuck with hundreds of pink sleepers. He also would've been stuck with a girlie girl Mom who's not into sports and has no idea how to be a Dad. (Being a Mom will be challenging enough!)

I usually don't like myself in pictures and it's hard to get one of me smiling a natural smile. James captured a couple. I am happy and excited about my baby and wanted that to reflect in the photos. It's been quite a journey so far but I really feel that it was meant to be. When I go through difficult days, I just have to remember that the end reward, holding my baby, is more than worth it. I want James to get some photos of my baby girl and I after she's born. We can juxtapose photos of me holding the belly and then holding the baby.

James wanted to get a couple of shots of me with my artwork. The nursery, as I've mentioned before, has an ocean theme and I painted a series of canvases featuring mermaids and babies. Once I put the artwork up it really started to feel like the nursery. Of course I'm still waiting on the furniture (My sister has graciously offered me her furniture now that my little nephew is getting bigger. I will have to twist my brother in law's arm to bring it here in his truck soon because I can't wait to see the room finished!)

We were heading down the stairs to go outside when James asked me to turn around for a moment as I stood on the landing. I love this shot. I have kind of a sweet impish grin and this angle, from above, really shows off my belly. It looks like I'm cradling a beach ball! After that we took some shots in my backyard, in natural light. He captured a very sweet expression there too. I was surprised at how much I liked myself in the photos because usually I look for my faults. James did a great job of making me feel like a proud, beautiful Mom. That's the gift of a good photographer.

James got a little artsy on me with these cool black and white photos with a shot of colour. To me it's very symbolic -- I'm blossoming, as a Mom. My baby will be my most beautiful flower and will bloom very soon!

James had also brought some blocks to spell out Michelle, my baby's name, and balanced it on my tummy. I really like the photo though I have to admit it's a challenge getting up off the floor these days!

I'm so grateful to James for doing these portraits for me. Though I've gotten several snapshots throughout my pregnancy (from family members or even just snapped myself) they don't compare with these pictures. These are very special to me.

James has done some amazing photos for me in the past when I was playing music. He snapped these at my CD release party for my album Magnetic in October of 2008. It was a magical night and I am so happy to have these shots to remember it by. James, you rock!!!


When I came back from Nashville and was writing country songs, James did this country girl shoot with me outside a barn...It was fun working with James and he always has a knack for making me comfortable and for capturing my personality in his images.

Looking back at these it seems like a lifetime ago. I couldn't possibly have imagined at the time that one day James would be taking maternity shots of me! My life and my dreams have changed rather drastically. Writing will always be a part of my life. And I will still be singing, but now I'll be singing lullabies to my baby.

This is why photographs are so important. They allow you to look back and cherish each step of your changing life journey. Life is short. Photos are forever! Seeing these pictures transports me back to those moments. I felt like a rockstar! And a country girl...

Preserve the moments that are special to you. If you're looking for a great photographer in the Guelph/tri-city area, give James a call. He specializes in portraits, baby and maternity photos and even does weddings. Here's a link to his website: 

Thanks again James!


  1. Thank you! I was pleased with them. James did a great job!

  2. I think I like the one of you laying down with her name on your belly! Very cute!!!

    1. Thanks I like that one too. That was James' idea. Very neat! I thought I'd never get off the floor again though! LOL Gravity is not my friend these days with my belly!

  3. Ann Marie, these are amazing!! My favorites are the one one the stairs (impish looking as you say) and the black and whites with colour. Please tell him what an amazing job he did. You'll have to have him do some creative shots with the I never saw those country girl photos before. I love them. Especially the black and white with the hat. Fantastic. Love, May xo

    1. Thank you! Yes I love what he did. Yes I will have him take some photos with the baby too! You never saw the country photos? Seems like a lifetime ago now...

      See you soon.
      Ann Marie