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Pregnancy Photography

written by: Shane Burley•edited by: Amy Carson•updated: 2/28/2011

Here are tips and trips to perform pregnancy photography effectively.

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    Pregnancy photography is primarily about taking a look at a special moment in a women's life, the body change that occurs, and the future of children and motherhood that it indicates. This is actually more difficult than it sounds in that it requires drawing out the beautiful elements of the pregnant subject as well as ignoring the less photogenic aspects of pregnancy. Here are a few key tips for pregnancy photography that can help you when trying to capture these brief and wonderful moments in someone's life.

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    Don't Hide It

    The primary thing to remember about pregnancy photography is to really highlight the area of the stomach that illustrates the pregnancy in detail. Often times, photographers like to just photograph the women and avoid highlighting the fact that they are pregnant. If you really want to master pregnancy photography you want to really dial into the body differences of the pregnant subject, especially focusing in on their enlarged stomach area. This may even mean positioning the camera in a way so that the stomach is one of the primary aspects of the photo, but not in a way that seems unnatural or overpowering against the primary areas of the women like her face. Remember, great pregnancy photography shows that the pregnant period is a natural and attractive stage in a woman's life.

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    Soft Lighting

    Soft lighting is the standard way of approaching pregnancy photography since it is the most flattering way of showing the skin. Pregnancy can cause issues with the skin of the mother, both in terms of blemishes and growth areas with things like stretch marks. These do not always show up as well on camera, so it may be best to use a soft lighting over the entire subject instead of a high contrast one. Try using light diffusion, even something like a soft bank so that there will be a certain amount of even bounce here. You can use an extra key and fill on the face if needed, but the stomach area should remain a source of soft lighting. If you really want to highlight how large the stomach is, and if you are using black and white, it is acceptable to use a higher contrast pattern. You will also want to add a little bit of glow if you are doing photo editing in a program like Adobe Photoshop.

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    Pregnancy Portraits

    Photo by George Stepanek (Public Domain) Pregnancy portraits are often the best option for pregnancy photography because movement based photography may highlight the difficulties in mobility that often accompanies pregnancy. What you get with pregnancy portraits it the ability to spend time lighting and framing the image according to the specifics of this woman's body and pregnancy, which is different from person to person. Here you will be able to highlight them as a person rather than trying to capture them in a specific action. It will also give you the time to highlight the pregnancy in an attractive way instead of just capturing it in the moment. You will also have the ability to alter the shutter speed and ISO to get very high quality images with even moderate amounts of light.

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    Source: Author's own experience.

    Image: Wikimedia Commons, GeorgeStepanek