Maternity portraits have become a rather popular subgenre of portraiture nowadays. Just like wedding photography, maternity sessions matter a lot because they depict pregnancy – an amazing time in life's journey – in a beautiful and memorable way.
The following are 5 strategies to ensure you capture beautiful and creative maternity portraits.
1. Choose The Right Location
The choice of location for maternity portraits should depend primarily on the mother-to-be. Some women prefer the privacy of their own home, while others opt for a studio, which is a more formal setting with controlled light.
Those who are more adventurous are open to doing the photo shoot somewhere outdoors. Natural light might be the best option, so shooting outdoors is always a good idea.
Maternity portraits that were shot in gardens or parks are very beautiful and symbolic because the abundant nature can reinforce with the concept of fertility.
2. Be Mindful Of Body Language
Pregnancy surely redefines how a woman perceives her body and this is something that every maternity photographer should carefully consider. For example, a photographer should be able to read facial expressions and body language of a mother-to-be in order to understand how she feels about exposing certain body parts.
Not every pregnant woman wants to have those bare belly shots. On the other hand, there are some women who want more revealing shots in a more private setting. Rather than following your own instincts, you should always make sure that you understand what the person you are photographing wants.
3.Capture The Soon-To-Be Family's Best Features
In a way, maternity portraits are just like any other form of portraiture – as a photographer, you need to learn what are your model’s best features and how to highlight them. Of course, in the case of maternity portraits, you always need to make sure that the belly looks its best.
You should photograph a mother-to-be from many different angles in order to get various perspectives of the belly. A top-down view can highlight the roundness of the belly, while a bottom-up view shows how large the belly is.
Some women prefer to be photographed from the side – this perspective usually looks elegant and it suits almost any woman. You can be more creative as well and shoot maternity sessions with backlighting to show just the silhouette of a mother-to-be. The same goes for asking the entire family to join the maternity sessions – the story of the family is reinforced if you surround the mother by her partner and children.
4. Prepare A List Of Posing Ideas
It’s good to prepare a list of posing ideas when shooting maternity portraits since it’s easier that way for both photographer and model. Unlike regular models, pregnant women are somewhat limited when it comes to posing and typical posing rules might not always apply to them.
Some of the poses you should definitely include are: lying on back, one hand above the belly, one hand below the belly, the mother looking at the belly, father kissing the belly and so on.
You can always ask those involved for more ideas!
5. Choose The Proper Timing For Your Maternity Portraits
Choosing the proper timing is tremendously important for every maternity session! The best time to schedule a maternity photo shoot is when the belly is large, but at the same time not in the last month of pregnancy. This means that Months 6, 7 and 8 are usually the best time for photo shoots.
It’s also important to mention that in that last month of pregnancy, the baby will get heavy, the mother may experience water retention or, in general, she will be more uncomfortable, so it’s good to avoid photoshoots at that time.
Even though maternity portraits can be more complex for both model and photographer, they can also be a source of immense joy and fun. This is an amazing time for the mother and family, so enjoy the opportunity to capture them before their new arrival.
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