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Tips on How to Take the Best Maternity Photos

written by: Mayflor Markusic•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 12/1/2010

Gone are the days when pregnancy was viewed as the worst time to take a picture of a woman. Today, pregnancy is considered a miracle of life that should be captured with a camera. What if you are asked to take these pictures? Here are some tips that will help you take beautiful maternity photos.

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    Tips on Who & What to Include in Maternity Photos

    It is not a good idea to take pictures of any pregnant woman at anytime of the day. Taking the best maternity photos involves good timing. It is also important for photographers to carefully choose who and what to shoot. Here are specific tips:

    • Take pictures of a woman during her sixth month of her pregnancy and onwards. A picture of a woman during her first trimester will not be as evocative as that of a woman during her third trimester.

    • Take pictures of the pregnant woman together with her partner and her family. The maternity photo will tell its own story when there are other people with her. If it is impossible to include other people, include an item that is important to the pregnant woman, such as her teddy bear or the food that she craves for. The important thing is to have maternity photos that tell a story.

    (Click on any image to enlarge)

    Maternity Photography 

    • Take your time when taking maternity photos. Remind your very pregnant model that she should not have any pressing appointments after your photo session. Rushing will reduce the chances of getting high quality maternity photos.

    Maternity Photos 

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    Preparation is Key for Great Maternity Photos

    The best maternity photos come from good preparation. The importance of preparation cannot be overemphasized. But what kinds of preparations are needed? Here are a few photography tips:

    • Prepare the model - Like most photography models, the pregnant woman should have good skin. She must not look stressed out, so suggest she has a light snack before beginning the photo session. Her skin, especially around the belly, should be very smooth so she should not be wearing any tight elastic pants or other similar clothing that would leave marks on her skin. Of course, she should have form-fitting tops to show-off the beautiful outline of her breasts. And finally, she should have manicured nails. Her hands will most likely be showing in the photos. It also won't hurt for the pregnant woman to wear light face powder.
    • Prepare the setting - The studio is the preferred setting of maternity photography. There are many advantages to it, such as controlled temperatures and easy access to food. Of course, it is also possible to shoot maternity photos with nature as the background. The important thing to remember is to prevent the background from taking the focus away from the pregnant belly. In a studio, the background color should be as similar as possible to the color of the pregnant woman's clothes. When her clothes blend in with the background, the skin tones of the bared pregnant belly will stand out.
    • Prepare the poses - A series of poses should already be prepared in the photographer's mind. This would take away a great amount of stress from the mother-to-be and from the unborn child. The photographer should also discuss these poses with the pregnant model to make sure that she would be comfortable with the poses. For example, the pregnant woman should not be taken by surprise when you request that she takes off her clothes.

    Pregnant Woman 

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    The Photo Session

    Taking maternity photos is similar to portrait photography when it comes to the type of camera and lenses. But the similarity ends there. To take the best maternity photos, the photographer should have a different perspective on these two things:

    • The model - Unlike many models, the pregnant woman will have insecurities about her body. The trick to bring out her beauty is to keep the photo session fun. Saying praises such as "you're gorgeous like that!" will go a long way.

    • The colors - The pregnant woman is vibrant with life. However, based on the experiences of many professional photographers, the best maternity photos are in sepia, black and white, and near monochromatic colors. Subdued colors add drama to the pregnancy.

    Taking Maternity Photos 

    Most important of all, the photographer should not forget the basics of taking good pictures. The tips and tricks here should not interfere with the photographer's own sense of creativity.