The Essential Guide to Maternity Photography


Maternity photoshoots are amongst the most sought-after photoshoots and record a very special time. The images should aim to capture all the raw emotions associated with pregnancy, and shoots should be specially tailored to every client.

Many clients will come to you with an abundance of ideas, while others will rely on your expertise and experience to deliver a spectacular set of photos. Having everything prepped and ready ahead well ahead of the shoot will greatly alleviate stress for both you and the mother-to-be. As the photographer, it's your responsibility to not only produce images the client loves, but also ensure the experience if the shoot itself is enjoyable.

Maternity Photoshoot Must-Haves

There are plenty of ways to capture beautiful maternity shots inside the home, but you want to ensure you have a few necessities to make the client’s experience fantastic. Bringing a variety of lenses, such as a 50mm, allow for a variety of possibilities.

Remember, your client is carrying a baby in her belly, so traditional poses won't always look flattering, so you’ll need to be creative. Having a range of lenses from wide-angle to telephoto will give you the freedom to experiment and find the perfect angle. For more inspirations about choosing the right lenses for your portrait photography, check out the following link. 

Props should be considered for maternity photography. Ask the mother-to-be if she has anything she would like to bring to the session, or offer up some suggestions if she’s drawing a blank. Some common items include a key item from the nursery's theme, a baby blanket, something with the child's name on it, or an ultrasound photo. Having a few ideas in your back pocket will make you look well prepared and seasoned if the mother isn't sure what would look good in the photos.

Photography backdrops help create specific aesthetics and serve as a barrier when shooting maternity photos inside the home. If your mother-to-be doesn't want a specific piece of furniture in the shot, but the lighting is good in that area then a backdrop can block the unwanted fixture and add detail. If your client isn't one hundred percent committed to a theme, having two or three backdrops on hand that match any discussed aesthetic will make the shoot go more smoothly. By showing what the backdrops look like in situ it can really help with the decision-making process.

Maternity Photoshoot Ideas

There are some mothers-to-be that put their faith completely in the photographer's hands. They may have a suggestion or preference that is easy enough to put into a myriad of different themes. Create a list of ideas that can be easily brought to life and discuss it with them beforehand. Taking photos in the nursery, especially if there is great natural light, is a good way to incorporate the baby while not needing to add a bunch of props. Colour and aesthetic are already set if the nursery is fully finished, and you already know the parents like the way it looks.

Bedroom shots that are done correctly give off a calm and peaceful vibe especially when done in morning or afternoon light. If your mother-to-be prefers the simple aesthetic, taking a few shots of her profile against the bedroom window or sitting on the bed is a great way to encompass their home and her belly. You can incorporate photography backdrops here as well by using them to add colour or a softer look.

Using translucent fabric to wrap around her belly adds a fantasy aspect to it. Have the end flutter in the breeze with a gentle backdrop. Create a small bow on the back that trails down like her wedding gown. You can get creative and add more thematic colouring based on their preferences or the gender of the child.

Christmas maternity photoshoots can be done elegantly without being over the top. For the more traditional client, have her posed by the tree or their favourite ornaments. Adding hints of the baby's gender can be done through the clothing the mother is wearing or subtle hints in decor. Have her add a few colour-specific ornaments to her tree and focus on those and her belly.

Maternity Shoots with Siblings

Include any siblings in a few of the shots with and without the client's partner. You can create beautiful shots with very traditional poses. The other children hugging the belly, a cuddle session on the bed, or siblings holding up letters to spell out the new baby's name. It's important to keep the focus on the unborn baby. This is after all a maternity shoot, not a family shoot. However, family is a prevalent theme in maternity photoshoots. Including them in shots with the belly is a great classic, but don't be afraid to get creative.

Emotional Photography

Pregnancy is all about joy. That mother could have been trying for years to get pregnant. This may be a rainbow baby. This could be the couple's first child, their last, their middle. Capturing the joy these parents feel is one of the most important factors. Ensuring she feels comfortable and likes the way she looks will help her remain calm. Ask her if she'd like to avoid any angles or specific poses. Give them ideas, like holding their baby for the first time, hearing their baby talk, cuddling their newborn, and the like. Having them imagine these scenarios to help capture their emotions without it looking forced. With photos for mothers-to-be, get creative and remember it is all about her and that bump. Make her and her partner feel comfortable. Have some spare ideas in case she's unsure and work with a variety of photography backdrops to get that perfect aesthetic she's been dreaming of.

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