Maternity Photography Tips from the Experts

Photography sessions aren’t just for engagements or weddings anymore. A popular trend is for women or couples to take maternity photographs to document their pregnancy. These photos can also be used for baby shower invitations or birth announcements. Some women even DIY their own maternity photos if a professional photographer is not in the budget.

These are some tips to follow if you’re planning on taking maternity photos either professionally or yourself.

1) Find a photographer that takes maternity photos and with whom you’re comfortable. Most large cities have multiple maternity photographers to choose from so do your research and pick someone whose work you like. Choosing a photographer based on recommendations from friends and family is also a good choice.

Ideas for finding a maternity photographer: websites like Shutterfly and Minted are primarily known as sites for printing your own photos or designing photo books, but these sites also offer recommendations for professional photographers.

2) You want to be in a comfortable state in your pregnancy, but have a round and noticeable bump when you take your photos. Some photographers recommend to take your photos around 30 weeks gestation before pregnancy becomes uncomfortable. For moms expecting twins, the recommendation is more like 24 weeks for photos.

3) Decide on maternity outfits for your photoshoot. Avoid distracting patterns, tight fitting clothes, clothes with an elastic waist that leave marks, or too many accessory pieces. It’s always good to go with timeless and flattering pieces that highlight your bump. If you are taking photos with your significant other, try to dress in complimentary colors versus the same color. Some women like to take sexier photos with a men’s dress shirt or just a robe, but it is important to decide what you feel comfortable doing.

Ideas for maternity outfits: maxi dresses on or off the shoulder, wrap dresses or dresses that tie at the waist, jeans and fitted top, cozy knit sweaters, sheer or lace outfits

Ideas for outfit colors: white, cream, beige, or other colors to match the season (ex. pink during spring or summer; light blue during fall or winter)

Ideas for outfit accessories: scarves, sun hat, belt

4) Decide what types of photos you want. Do your research to see what photo styles are popular. You can choose between black and white versus colored photos. Talk to your photographer ahead of time to decide on a theme or concept. Sites like Pinterest can help to provide ideas for cute or popular photos. A lot of maternity photos are taken outdoors, but indoor photos are also an option. You can choose themes for your photoshoot like classic, artsy, and funny. Celebrity maternity photos may also be a source of inspiration for expectant moms who want more dramatic pregnancy photos.

Photo ideas: beach backdrop, heart hands over bump, sibling bonding, newborn clothes or shoes as props, bring in the entire family, countdown to baby banner, mom’s silhouette, baby name, bring in your beloved pets

5) Avoid harsh backdrops and angles. Each photographer will have a unique style and they may have different recommendations than what you find elsewhere. However, some common recommendations include using natural light over artificial light, avoiding messy or distracting backdrops, and avoiding photos of the bump or mom that are straight-on.

6) Consider having your makeup and hair done professionally. Pregnancy can make some women feel less glamorous than usual, so getting a little professional attention can help women feel more comfortable in their own skin during the photoshoot. This can also include a manicure or pedicure for any up close shots of the hands or feet.

7) Avoid a ton of different poses. Try natural shots or shots sitting or standing. Focus on the bump.

Lauren McMahan
Dr. Lauren McMahan has a Doctor of Pharmacy from Lipscomb University College of Pharmacy in Nashville, TN. She currently works for a large national healthcare company, where she provides her research and writing expertise to support evidence-based initiatives to improve patient care. She enjoys exercising, reading, and thrifting in her spare time.

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