While pregnancy lasts less than a year, memories of that precious time can live on for a lifetime. Today, many couples are choosing to commemorate the excitement of a pending birth with maternity pictures.

5 Tips to Capture Beautiful Maternity Pictures

  1. Schedule Maternity Photo Shoots in Late Pregnancy
  2. Consider Including Family Members
  3. Use Flattering Poses
  4. Aim to Capture Emotions
  5. Get Creative

Taking maternity pictures can be a huge business opportunity for professional photographers. Some families like to document the pregnancy journey with a photo series. Others want gender reveal picture ideas to help them share their good news with family and friends. Whatever your subjects prefer, you can be prepared with maternity photo ideas that make their dreams come true. And if families are happy with your pregnancy pictures they may turn to you for newborn photos too!

As with any type of photography, preparation is key to success. Always consult with families before you set up a photo session for maternity pictures. Get a clear vision of what they want to achieve and ask about their preferred style. Do they prefer classy maternity pictures, or are they looking for funny pictures instead? Do they want portraits of mom and dad, or are they seeking maternity belly pictures? Would they like their maternity pictures to be full of vivid colors or are they fond of moody black and white images? These types of questions will help you prepare for a successful photo session.

There are countless options for professional maternity pictures. Spending time with the parents can yield important insights and possibly a new idea that you may not have considered. And it helps you bring out the best in every photo. 

1. Schedule Maternity Photo Shoots in Late Pregnancy

A lot of new parents wonder when to take maternity pictures. One of the typical goals of a maternity photo session is showing off mom’s baby bump. Although every pregnancy is different, you can usually get good results if you schedule the photo shoot for the last trimester of pregnancy. Many photographers believe that 30 to 35 weeks is the best time to take maternity pictures for most women.

Some factors may influence the timing of a maternity photo shoot. If this is not the mother’s first pregnancy, she may have a lovely baby bump earlier in her pregnancy. And moms who are pregnant with multiples will definitely have a bigger bump earlier on. You can schedule a shoot a bit earlier in these scenarios. 

Always communicate with families when selecting the timing for maternity photos. A session that happens too early may not produce the desired results. But you also need to consider any factors such as physical limitations or bed rest restrictions, along with any risks of preterm labor. You don’t want to wait too late and have the baby arrive before the pregnancy photo shoot!

2. Consider Including Family Members

Today, many people are opting for family maternity pictures. A pregnant woman often wants to include her husband, but she may want maternity pictures with siblings of the new baby. Sister maternity pictures can also be very meaningful—especially if two sisters are expecting at the same time.

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If your client wants to include more family members, you need to be prepared. Adding another person can change the feel of your shoot—and children bring in a completely different dynamic. If Mom wants maternity pictures with toddler children, you should try to get them excited about being a big brother or sister. Also, try to let the mother relax and feel comfortable—and engage dad to help watch and encourage older siblings. 

For these sessions, you’ll likely want to focus on poses that encourage the kids to engage with their mom—but always try to keep her bump in view. Suggest that the kids hug Mom’s belly and tell their littlest sibling about all the fun they’ll have together. Working with kids can have its challenges, but it can also produce some remarkably cute maternity pictures.

3. Use Flattering Poses

Many people remark on the beautiful glow that is characteristic of so many pregnant women. During a maternity session, your most important job is making the mom-to-be feel comfortable and capturing her beauty in her pregnancy photos. Knowing an array of flattering maternity poses can help achieve this goal.

Keep in mind that every mom is unique. What works for one mom may not work for another. You need to select poses based on her body type and how she is carrying the baby. You can use easy photoshoot ideas that professional maternity photographers rely on to get great results.

Shoot at Angles or Straight On

You’ll see many moms angled to the side in many maternity photos. There’s a good reason for this approach. It clearly shows that Mom is pregnant and accentuates her belly. However, not all moms need to turn fully sideways to show off their bumps. Many women will look great at a 45-degree angle. 

If it’s clear that Mom is pregnant when you look at her straight on, be sure to get at least one photo with her facing directly towards the camera. It can create a very dramatic maternity photo that she is likely to enjoy.

Keep in mind that Mom’s wardrobe also plays a role in what posing work best. You may need to angle her to the side if they chose flowy maternity dresses for pictures—or else you could lose sight of their bumps. A more fitted maternity dress for pictures makes a mom’s belly apparent and can be a good choice for straight-on shots. 

Encourage Mom to Stand 

In general, standing is the most flattering position for pregnant women. Sitting can work when other people are involved in the photo shoot. Keep that in mind for family maternity pictures or photos of a couple.

Ask Mom to stand for the photo session, but only if she is comfortable. If standing is fatiguing, let her know she can take a break. You can try out some seated poses or have her lie down.

Shoot from Above

Shooting maternity pictures from above is another good idea. It’s a great way to flatter mom’s bigger belly, without calling attention to any areas that may make her feel body-conscious. Whether you’re shooting in your photo studio or at a different location, make sure you have a stool so that you can position yourself above mom

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Also, if mom has any mobility or health concerns, shooting from above can let her lie down comfortably. Position her on a cozy quilt or blanket so that she can relax and feel comfortable during her maternity photography session.

Coach Mom on Hand Placement and Natural Expressions

Most people aren’t experienced models, so they feel awkward during a photo session. Let the mom know this is perfectly normal and give her ideas and direction to help her relax. 

For example, you can suggest she place her hands on her belly—which is a classic pose in pregnancy photography. You should mix it up though by guiding Mom to put her hands on her hips or run them through her hair.

If you ask Mom to gaze down towards her belly, make sure the look is natural and not forced. Coach her to look slightly ahead of her bump. For other poses, encourage her to look towards the camera. Have Dad stand behind you so that she can make eye contact with him for a natural-looking expression.

Encourage Couples to Get Close Together

When shooting photos of couples, tell them to get close. You can capture lovely images of Dad behind Mom, hugging both her and her belly. Or you can pose them in a traditional embrace that shows their love. In some poses, you may lose sight of mom’s belly but that can work well if the emotion between them is sincere. Other times, mom’s belly may get in their way. Those fun moments can spark laughter that helps convey the joy and excitement of pregnancy.

4. Aim to Capture Emotions

Pregnancy is naturally an emotional time—and great pregnancy photography captures these intense feelings. When you meet with families to plan the session, talk to them about how they feel about their new loved ones. You’re sure to hear about a full range of emotions—from anticipation to curiosity to profound joy.

Always aim to motivate subjects to bring out those emotions during a maternity photo shoot. Remind them to pause and reflect on how they feel. Encourage couples and families to talk to each other—and to you. When your subjects access their feelings, those emotions will start to shine through in their maternity photos. They’ll express their feelings through body language and through the looks on their faces. These are the types of magic moments you want to capture with every pregnancy portrait session. 

5. Get Creative

One of the wonderful things about taking maternity pictures is that you have the opportunity to be creative. While classic studio maternity pictures will always be popular, there are so many directions to explore. You can offer your clients so many maternity shoot ideas such as:

  • Beach pictures for a summer baby
  • Military pictures for service members and their families
  • Baseball pictures for sports enthusiasts
  • Nature pictures for lovers of the great outdoors
  • Christmas pictures for seasonal cards
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The options for unique maternity photos are truly endless. Talk through ideas with the couple in advance and decide on a direction from there. You can shoot anywhere, from a local park to a crowded urban center. If you’re planning to shoot outdoors, you can take advantage of gorgeous natural light to show off mom’s glow. Maybe the couple wants to honor a location that is special to them, such as the place the first met or their house of worship. Take every idea they offer and brainstorm ways to make it happen.

Another way to bring a unique flair to maternity pictures is through clothing. Many moms opt for dresses for maternity pictures—but she doesn’t have to go that direction if it’s not her style. Some moms opt for everyday wear, going-out attire, and others want nude maternity pictures. Maternity photography doesn’t have to play by any rules, so Mom’s preference should be the guide.

A Maternity Photoshoot is a Special Family Milestone

A maternity shoot can be a very moving experience for any mom-to-be. During the photo shoot, they can reflect on their journey towards parenthood and think about how different life will be where their new little one arrives. The photos you capture during this very special photography session will become important family mementos in the months and years ahead.

Ideas for maternity pictures are as varied as the families who seek them. Country maternity pictures may be the right choice for a family in a rural area, while silly maternity pictures can reflect a family’s fun-loving side. Spending time with families helps you understand their needs so you can make the maternity shoot a success.

If families ask when to take maternity photos, you can recommend late pregnancy unless special circumstances dictate otherwise. Be prepared to honor a woman’s request for maternity pictures with the father by her side. Others will ask you for family maternity picture ideas. 

Remember that during every session, your subjects will be looking to you for guidance on photography poses. Since pregnancy photography is all about making Mom look beautiful and showing off her growing belly, keep those goals in mind when recommending poses.

If you truly want to take standout maternity pictures, help families tap into the deep feeling they have about their impending arrival. You don’t have to stay in the studio to take great maternity photos. Some of the most creative maternity pictures are in interesting locations, which can be anywhere from the couple’s home to their favorite hangout.

When it comes to pregnancy photo ideas, open your mind and explore the possibilities. You can look through sample maternity pictures online to get ideas—but don’t be limited by what you see. Be creative. Remember you can rely on Lightroom presets to enhance every maternity photo

Maternity photographers are in a unique position to capture images of a milestone in a family’s history. Make this experience a truly special moment that they will always cherish.

Published by Oli Dale

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