Body changes, mood swings, weird cravings, little kicks from the little bundle of joy in your womb—pregnancy is undoubtedly a major chapter in a woman's story that’s full of surprises and challenges. That’s why mothers-to-be around the world see to it that they document this important part of their life.
Whether you're looking to display a striking maternity photo in your living room, or you want to create a photo book full of your pregnancy mementos, here are nine essential tips for capturing the best maternity portraits!
TIP 1: Plan your photo shoot ahead.
To achieve the most stunning maternity photos, start off with how you want the photos to turn out. Are you aiming for a casual, grand, or creative look? Doing this helps you determine your:
- Wardrobe for the shoot - What items of clothing will help you pull off the look you want to achieve?
- Location - Do you need an outdoor or indoor location? How's the weather in your chosen outdoor site during the day of your shoot? How would you arrange your room/studio for your indoor photo session?
- The poses - Which angle would help you highlight your precious baby bump? Which poses would fit the theme of your photos?
- Your photo session schedule - Which time of the day would be ideal for catching natural lighting? When is everyone and/or the photographer available?
TIP 2: Pa y attention to your lighting.
The lighting setup during your photo shoot can greatly affect the tone and mood of your photo, so you have to lay your lighting sources carefully.
If you're aiming for a cheery, golden-hued vibe for your photos, do your outdoor photo shoot during the golden hours - early morning or one or two hours after the sunset.
For indoor photo shoots, playing around with the flash, ISO, shutter speed, and aperture settings will create an imitation of the golden hour.
But aside from the tone and vibes, lighting is also crucial to highlight the details of your photos. For instance, the position of the sun can gravely affect the contrast and exposure of your photos.
Taking pictures when the sun's high up in the sky can overpower your composition and can produce washed-out photos. This challenge is also the reason why most photographers recommend shooting during the golden hour.
If the brightest time of day can't be avoided, you can position yourself with the sun in the background or on your side. This way, you can somehow block the strong light from the sun and bring your contrast to balance.
Related reading: "How to Use Golden Hour Photography."
TIP 3: Play around with your poses.
Posing is the fun part of doing maternity photo sessions. You can show your creativity, highlight your bump in different angles, and get playful with your partner and/or the whole family.
In talks of poses that highlight your bump, a 45-degree angle works well. This perspective is considered a versatile one in photography because it shows the front and side views of the subject in just a single shot.
Placing your hands around your belly is also a well-loved pose for maternity photos, as it gives off a vibe of being protective and caring for your little one in your womb.
TIP 4: Be creative with your wardrobe.
This photo shoot is one of your best moments to show your natural beauty and glow of being an excited mom-to-be. So bring out your fashionista side and choose any outfits you feel would bring out your beauty and the theme of the shoot.
If you still don't have any idea for your outfit, form-fitting dresses or tops are good options. They cling to your body and highlight your baby bump, which is the whole point of maternity photos.
High heels aren't recommended since if your feet swell, it may cause discomfort during the session. But, if you really want to push the heels for additional height, wear them only during the photo shoot.
Got plenty of clothing options, but can’t decide which to wear? Ask your husband or any close friends for options. You can also ask your photographer if you've hired one.
TIP 5: The best time to do a maternity shoot.
Most photographers recommend doing the photo shoot during the first week of your last trimester (seventh or eighth month of your pregnancy). Your bump is already a nice round shape that makes highlighting your belly effortless. You’re still up-and-ready to move around and the size of your belly will be ideal.
You must also consider if you're experiencing complications. For instance, bed rest being required or early delivery. If you anticipate challenges, you might need to do the shoot earlier, ideally during the second trimester.
TIP 6: Bring the whole family in!
Maternity photos could also serve as family photos, so bring the whole family in the shot! It's also a great way to show everyone's excitement for the upcoming addition to the family, and serve as a timeline of how your family grows in number and love.
TIP 7: Use accessories from the nursery as props.
Since you're doing this photo session nearing your due date, chances are that you've already shopped for some baby stuff for the nursery. You can use them as great props for your photographs.
These props add more child-like vibes, bringing in the presence of your unborn little one. You can also play around with them and show off your or your husband's playful personas.
TIP 8: Take it easy with the makeup.
Maternity photography is all about showing the au naturel beauty of motherhood. Nothing is wrong with wearing makeup if it makes you feel beautiful inside and out, but this time, slow down on the additional beauty perks.
Heavy makeup can make your skin look darker in pictures. Light application of makeup can still make a difference!
TIP 9: Show off your natural smile and just have fun!
Lastly, but definitely not the least, chill and enjoy your time in front of the camera. Pregnancy is a chapter full of joyful anticipation, so take this opportunity to experience the fun and exciting part of being a mom-to-be. Smile and embrace the growing life in your womb!
It doesn't matter if your maternity photos are grand or simple. At the end of the day, what matters is that you document the meaningful experience and exciting nine-month journey of carrying your little bundle of joy in your womb. The struggles and ecstatic moments: these are what makes a worthy souvenir of your pregnancy!
For support in your new journey as a parent, check out our Heartmanity resources.