How to Do a Maternity Photoshoot – Plan, Choose the Right Poses, and Get the Whole Family Involved 

How to Do a Maternity Photoshoot - Plan, Choose the Right Poses, and Get the Whole Family Involved

A maternity photoshoot is a beautiful way to capture some of the final moments before parents welcome their child into the world. Are you looking for ways to document these precious moments? Take a look at a few tips that are sure to get you going in the right direction.

Maternity photos are often taken in combination with portrait, couples, and even family photography. These photoshoots often include the partner or older children. A maternity photoshoot doesn’t have to only be about the mom-to-be and her baby bump, even though it’s obviously the main theme of the photoshoot.

Your job is to help your subject feel beautiful and comfortable in front of the camera. Creating a pleasant environment is critical in any type of portrait photography.  You want your model leaving the photoshoot feeling good about herself and having had a good experience. This, in turn, will ensure she looks her best in the photos.

The right timing

The best time for a maternity photoshoot is roughly after the 30th week of pregnancy when the baby bump is beautifully large and round. This is just a rule of thumb. You can also have the photoshoot earlier, or even closer to the due date, if the mom-to-be feels up to it. The due date is always a rough estimate and no one can ever predict when the exact birth will be.

In my opinion, don’t underestimate the importance of planning and try to have the photoshoot sometime between the 30th and 35th week of pregnancy, or earlier if the baby bump is round enough. Some photographers like to document the stages of pregnancy month by month culminating in the final photo of the baby in the mother’s arms.

How to Do a Maternity Photoshoot - Plan, Choose the Right Poses, and Get the Whole Family Involved
Maternity photography can be taken earlier in pregnancy with a smaller baby bump.
Nikon D750, Sigma Art 85/1.4, 1/400s, f/1.4, ISO 100.

The studio or outside?

I personally prefer photographing outside, but many other photographers or parents-to-be have different ideas. The advantage of shooting in the studio is that you aren’t dependent on weather conditions and light, which is ideal for moms-to-be who would like to be photographed wearing less clothing in the colder months. Keep in mind, however, that you will be a bit limited when it comes to crafting the shot.  

How to Do a Maternity Photoshoot - Plan, Choose the Right Poses, and Get the Whole Family Involved
In the studio, you can experiment with light and draw focus to the details of the baby bump.
Nikon D750, Nikon 24-70/2.8. 1/125 s, f/8 ISO 100, focal length 70mm.

Props

Some people prefer to use various types of props during the photoshoot such as ultrasound printouts, baby booties, baby outfits, toys, and so on. It will always depend on each photographer’s style and what the subject prefers. 

Others consider these props cheesy and tend to prefer simple, clean shots without disruptive elements that take attention away from the subject. When shooting outside, I definitely recommend working without props and focusing more on the light, location, and emotions. Instead of props, you can add other members of the family to the shot.

How to Do a Maternity Photoshoot - Plan, Choose the Right Poses, and Get the Whole Family Involved
Nikon Z6, NIKKOR Z 50mm f/1.8 S, 1/500s, f3.5, ISO 100.

Siblings and pets

As I already mentioned, partners or older siblings are usually a part of the photoshoot. If the siblings are there, don’t forget to include them in some of the pictures. Including a pet is also a good idea, because pets are also important members of the family. 

How to Do a Maternity Photoshoot - Plan, Choose the Right Poses, and Get the Whole Family Involved
A close up of the belly can include not only the dad-to-be or siblings, but pets as well.
Nikon Z6, Sigma Art 85/1.4, 1/125s, f/4, ISO 500.

Wardrobe

Choose the right clothing. Some women like to be photographed more covered up, while others prefer less clothing. If the mom-to-be would like to be photographed wearing underwear, it’s important to take care that everything matches so that the bra matches the pattern or color of the panties. The clothing should be simple. You can also choose from a wide variety of maternity dresses. Don’t forget to have your subject coordinate her wardrobe with other members of the family so that the colors and styles go together. 

How to Do a Maternity Photoshoot - Plan, Choose the Right Poses, and Get the Whole Family Involved
Nikon D750, Sigma Art 35/1.4, 1/800s, f/2.5, ISO 100.

A few ideas for poses 

  • Keep the partner close in the photoshoot in order to convey love, the relationship between the couple, and their shared excitement. 
  • Don’t forget about solo shots of the mom-to-be .
  • Get a close up of the baby bump on its own, as well as with the dad-to-be or older siblings. Make them feel like they’re an important part of the maternity photoshoot.
  • Hands placed on the belly generally exude the maternal feelings that belong with this type of photoshoot. This pose is very natural as long as the hands are relaxed. Have your client place both hands below the belly, or one hand above and one hand below. 
  • The baby bump is often not very visible when photographed straight on, so help yourself by shooting from the side or at a 45-degree angle. Also, have her bend the leg closest to you to help draw attention to the belly. 
  • Most importantly, don’t forget to make the mom-to-be feel comfortable, natural, and free during the photoshoot. 

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