Pregnancy is a very special moment in life, and every parent loves to have pregnancy photos to look back on. Whether you’ve been tasked with doing a maternity photoshoot for your partner, or it’s a paid job for a stranger, it comes with a huge responsibility!
From making sure that everyone is happy and comfortable during the photoshoot to capturing high-quality photos, there are many considerations when aiming to capture unique maternity photos. Here are 5 tips that you can use for a successful maternity photoshoot, brought to you by the expert photographers at Ted’s Cameras.
The mother’s safety and comfort level comes first
Pregnancy is an exciting time for every mother, but it is also a time where care and attention must be paid to the safety of the mother and baby. Keeping the health and safety of everyone in mind, please don’t suggest that they strike any dramatic and uncomfortable poses. Maternity poses can be simple and modest - it is the photographer’s job to direct and work the angles to create something more striking.
Pregnancy can also be a time when a mother is feeling particularly sensitive and uncomfortable, particularly for first-time mothers. As should be the case with any portrait shoot, you should carefully consider your model’s comfort before making suggestions. To prepare for a maternity photoshoot, be sure to discuss the direction of the shoot before it begins to assure everything goes smoothly.
Make the baby bump the focal point
Most of us can’t help but smile when we see a baby bump emerging on our friends and family. To help you replicate this feeling in your photographs, consider scheduling your shoot when this baby bump is obvious, which usually starts occurring between 32 to 36 weeks - any later than this can also be too uncomfortable for the mother to consider taking part.
Through composition and framing, you can make sure that the belly is made certain as the focal point of your image. The usual composition tips that we always suggest implementing are still relevant here, including the rule of thirds, and using leading lines and negative space for effect. But this time, rather than focusing on your model’s face, place their belly in these key areas. For creative maternity photos, many people use the model’s hips and angle their camera specifically to highlight the curves of the mother’s body.
Work with lighting
Lighting is one of the key factors that all photographers must master to create better photographs, time and time again - and maternity photographers are not an exception to this rule. In most cases, you want a soft and flattering quality of light, which if you are relying on natural lighting, occurs during golden hour, the period directly after sunrise and before sunset.
Most pregnancy photographers will use artificial lighting to some degree, whether it is powerful, full-featured flash gear in a studio setting, or fill lighting on location. Having flash guns and lights in your kit and having a complete understanding of their functionality is your best bet for consistently great results. Remember to be creative with your lighting, using flash accessories and techniques such as bounce flash which provide a more natural quality of light, and even consider using silhouettes and shadowing to your advantage - this will make your maternity photos stand out from the crowd.
Use portrait-friendly camera gear
As always, using new camera gear that has been specially selected for this purpose does not guarantee that you will achieve the results that you are striving for, but it certainly does help. DSLR cameras and Mirrorless cameras are best for all professional and portrait photography purposes, as they can capture a wider dynamic range and produce images with greater detail and clarity; they are also compatible with a wider range of accessories and lenses.
When putting together your go-to maternity photography kit, consider the following:
Lens choice - This is a personal choice, but many people use prime lenses for their portraits, as they make up for their lack of zoom by offering increased sharpness and shallow depths of field, which can produce more dramatic looking shots. In terms of focal length, 50mm is the most versatile option, while longer focal lengths, such as 85mm will produce greater background blur.
Tripod - Tripods are great for limiting blur in your images, but we also love their ability to help us produce more considered compositions.
Remote control - If you are the star of your own maternity photos, remote controls are essential for capturing yourself in the best poses comfortably. They are also handy for portrait photographers as they allow you to fire the shutter when not looking through the viewfinder, which helps a model feel more at ease.
Get the whole family involved
While mothers are no doubt the stars of the pregnancy show, many of them want their partner or family to be in their maternity photographs. If when communicating with the mother, you notice a partner or other children in their lives, suggest that they get involved in at least some of the shots. This is a great opportunity to capture creative couple maternity photos and illustrate the adulation that other family members have for expecting mothers.
If you are getting smaller children involved, remember that it can be tricky to photograph children as they have short attention spans. Bring along colouring sheets or have other toys around to keep them busy during downtime, and remember to stay patient. Shooting group shots will also require you to rejig your gear slightly and possibly include a wider angle lens for these shots.