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Maternity pictures capture that time between conception and birth when the child is growing inside their mother’s belly. People want to capture this moment for posterity, especially if it’s their first child. As a professional photographer, you may get asked to take these pictures for clients. But, if you’ve never taken these pictures, then you need to learn how to take maternity photography.
Maternity photography is all about technique, more so than equipment. You probably have all the necessary equipment if you’ve been working as a professional photographer for a while. For studio shots, you want a clean, bright background. Light blues or greens work well for this type of photography. You’ll also need some studio lighting, reflectors and probably a few fill flashes.
Other than that, you’re just going to need your camera, tripod and external shutter release. You’ll also need these last three items for outdoor photography, along with the fill flash and filters.
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The key to maternity photography is the shots themselves. We’ve all seen the generic maternity shots with the man holding the women’s belly or similar shots. If that’s what your client wants, then give it to them. But, oftentimes, clients are looking for something different and interesting.
Consider taking photographs in people’s home. They are comfortable there, and more likely to give you those candid shots that tell more than the standard glazed over smile. Have her sit in her favorite chair with the belly exposed, maybe with her legs crossed. Show off her playing with her other kids or simply laughing.
The one major thing to consider with home shots, and really any other type of maternity shots, is the background. Remove any clutter from the shot. The focus of the shot is the mother and her belly. Anything else is distracting and unnecessary.
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Filling The Shot With the Mother
The mother or just her belly should be the focal point of the shot. Make sure that she fills the whole frame unless you want to create a few relationship shots. Take a few shots when you include the dad-to-be, kissing the mother or her belly. Or, simply have them gaze lovingly at each other. It displays the relationship between the two parents.
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While studio shots are great, you may want to branch outdoors. Silhouette shots of the mother in side profile are very effective. Or, take her next to a mountain, meadow or body of water. Position the mother to where she’s to the side of the background with her belly filling in the foreground. For these shots, you may have to grab some filters and fill flash, especially if it’s in the middle of the day.
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In the Studio
For studio shots, consider different angles. Shoot the woman from above. For example, have her sit in a chair, and capture the belly to the feet. Take a few standard shots, but then let you imagination go wild.
Always encourage the woman and be sensitive of her situation. Women do not often feel attractive when pregnant. Getting her to feel pretty will improve your shots and make the woman more comfortable showing off her belly.