Maternity Photography – 7 Tips for Taking Great Shots

1. The Great Outdoors
So many maternity sessions are done in studio. Studio shoots are great because there’s privacy. Particularly if you’re going to do anything in less than a fully clothed state but there’s something about being outside. Taking that natural beauty of a woman who’s ready to bring new life into the world and placing her in the majesty of the great outdoors is simply breathtaking.

2. At Home
When you shoot a mommy-to-be in her own home, she’s comfortable to let go in a way that she may not be otherwise. This is a fantastic reason to hold maternity sessions at home. As a photographer it's your responsibility to help your subjects feel comfortable and capable of giving you their best, no matter where you’re shooting. It’s a HUGE part of your success as a photographer. Shooting maternity sessions at home is wonderful for a couple to have a capture that truly shows what their life was like at the time their baby came to be a part of their family. 

3. Simplify
No matter where you shoot, studio, home, outside, 7Eleven, you’ve got to simplify your surroundings. The beauty of a mother anticipating the arrival of her child should be captured in a way that allows the miracle to speak for itself. Pregnancy doesn’t require anything “else” to be present in a photograph to help tell it’s story. Everything in the frame that may not belong will simply serve to distract from the story that’s already being told, naturally. Pay attention to background.

4. Help Her Feel Beautiful
Women don’t generally feel very sexy when they’re pregnant. But just because an expectant mother doesn’t feel sexy, that doesn’t mean she’s not totally knock out. Bring that out in her. Pull that beauty out of her. A good way to do this is by talking as you shoot. It’s perfectly appropriate to say things like: “That’s beautiful!” “Yes, perfect!” “Oh that’s just LOVELY.” “Pregnancy looks good on you girl!” Whatever works! If you’re a male photographer you’ll need to be careful about what you say in this crazy world of sexual harassment, but you’re even more capable of pulling the beauty out of her than a female photographer. It’s one thing when your girlfriend tells you you’re beautiful, but when your girlfriend’s brother tells you that you’re looking good, you actually believe it. Obviously be careful and be genuine. The success of this tip will depend on your personality, but you can help her help herself. If she feels pretty she’ll look a whole heck of a lot better. It’s that simple.

5. Highlight Relationship
Hopefully new babies are coming into a loving home. Try to include photographs that highlight the tender relationship between mom and dad, because bringing a child into the world with someone is arguably love in it’s purest form.

6. Don’t Forget the Siblings
Remember that often a baby is coming into an established family unit (not to say that Mom and Dad alone aren’t an “established family unit”. If the siblings are available, make sure to include them in at least a few frames. 

7. Give ‘em Something Different
Don’t just shoot what’s always been shot. This is a good general rule of photography. You've got to approach each shoot as it’s own. This is a good general rule that applies particularly to maternity photography. Even though millions and millions of mothers have given birth to millions and millions of babies for millions and millions of years, a momma-to-be needs to feel like her pregnancy is miraculous, special and sacred, that the things she’s experiencing are unique only to her. Because they are.

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