Tyrese Gibson and his wife, Samantha Lee Gibson, had been talking about a possible maternity photo shoot to celebrate their first child together, but Samantha woke up on July 1 with no idea that her husband had actually put one together — a surprise she discovered when a photo crew showed up that day for the shoot.
While she admits that she was “incredibly nervous” at first to be 30 weeks pregnant and stepping in front of a camera, Samantha soon overcame her shock and “stepped into her power,” according to Tyrese.
The resulting maternity photos by Derek Blanks, taken at the Gibsons’ Georgia estate and shared exclusively with PEOPLE, capture the domestic side of Samantha and Tyrese’s life together with his 11-year-old daughter Shayla.
The shoot also put Samantha’s baby bump front and center — including in several shots where she stripped down to almost nothing. At one point in the shoot she posed in a bathtub, which was inspired by a similar photo she and Tyrese had seen elsewhere.
You asked me….. Why are you making me go to bed early…. 9am knock knock the whole crew showed up….. And magic happened!! @MrDBlanks you are all passion and genius!!! 2 month countdown for Soraya Gibson!! @People we love you! You’ve taken this journey with us through it all… ( link with all 9 pics in my IG bio ).. ( can’t put up any of the beautiful pics of my daughter Court Order )…. Styled by Fiskani you’re a BEAST!!!! We love you so much!
“To go almost completely bare in a lot of photos was an extremely, extremely challenging experience,” Samantha, a social worker, tells PEOPLE.
“But on the bright side,” she adds, “I was really happy because pregnancy is a process. Your body is changing, and to be able to accept that change publicly and really just put it out there like that confidently — I tried to trick myself into thinking I was doing something for women all over the world.”
Story by ADAM CARLSON