With both of my pregnancies, I remember being so excited to get maternity photographs done. When I had my first child Asher, I was a first-time mother and it was so exciting. For me, it was about capturing every moment of the joy that comes with your first pregnancy. With my second child Arlo, it became more of a goal to document his life as best as I could through photography. His beautiful and sad story I will save for another blog post. What I learned with both pregnancies is that having photographs is momentous and should not be missed. I want to share some tips and tricks with you that can help with your maternity photos in a season when no photographer can.
Tip 1: Use the equipment you have
You can use a cell phone, a point-and-shoot camera, or a DSLR camera. The best piece of equipment you can have is a tripod or a timer for the camera. If you do not have a tripod you can always make one using boxes, ladders, or anything that is slightly above your eye level. Try to angle the camera down slightly so it is more flattering for you. If you are using a cell phone, you can buy a stand inexpensively on amazon to hold your cell phone up as an option.
Tip 2: Wear Clothing You Feel Beautiful in
This is a great tip for any photoshoot. If you feel uncomfortable, no matter how beautiful the dress or outfit is, then it will show. I love dresses for pregnant bellies and am very partial to that. It can be long and flowy, short, or tight accentuating the baby bump. It can be patterns or no patterns, it depends on what you like and your personality. Here are some of the dresses I recommend and love. I recommend no fluorescent colors or matching colors completely with another person. You want your focus to be on you as the mama and that beautiful preggo belly! If you do not wear dresses normally, don't start now. If jeans are your style, wear them! Find a shirt that is form-fitting that you love and put on a pair of jeans. It can be tricky in coordinating with another person. I recommend using 3 colors with a neutral. You can look at my Pinterest clothing board by clicking HERE. Also, click here and it is a link to a reasonable website that has beautiful dresses you can order. I am no way affiliated with them but have found beautiful dresses on this site.
Tip 3: Posing & What Works Best
Posing is where it gets a little trickier. Think about the letter S. You can create triangles with your body by bending an elbow and one of your knees. It will create and showcase your belly and your form instead of focusing on other areas that tend to get bigger when you are pregnant, like legs and hips. Make sure you aren't slouching over. We all tend to do that but especially when your body equilibrium is so off with that weight of the little one in you. When you straighten your back it does two things. It accentuates your belly and then it also creates a beautiful and elongated profile.
Put all of your weight on your back leg by bending it slightly, and turn slightly to the side of the camera. Then take your front leg and point your toes while bending your knees like the photo below. This creates a slimming effect for your legs that doesn't make your hips look wide. You can also achieve this with a profile while facing the camera. This can be achieved facing directly at the camera and can be modified slightly. Directly face the camera, take one leg and point your knee slightly to the side and point your toes down again. Another pose can be done by just sitting down, facing directly at the camera, and crossing your legs criss-cross apple sauce. If that is not comfortable lean to the side and prop yourself on one arm and put your leg to the side and back as seen below when I was pregnant with Asher.
You want your hands around that little one! Cradling your belly shows your connection to the little one and flatters your belly shape. You can cup your belly by putting a hand on the bottom and the top. Another pose would be both hands cupping the bottom of your belly. Next, try holding both sides of your belly. Finally, put your hand closest to the camera on the small of your back while the other hand cradles the bottom of your belly. You can try several variations of cupping your belly and see what you like best. It is fun to experiment with different hand placements and you might find something interesting.
Where to Look
You can start by looking down at your baby. This will feel a little unnatural but lift your chin up and then tilt it slightly down, almost like you are doing the chicken dance.
Next, try looking away or off into the distance. Finally, look directly at the camera. You can both smile and not smile or be contemplative. To get authentic expressions on your face try to think about your coming baby. Think about holding your child for the first time. The sound of your baby's first cry or look at the father of your baby and smile. Think about holding your baby close to your nose for the first time and breathing their scent in. Laughter is a powerful expression. To get you to laugh, have the father of your child to do a funky dance off-camera, or make a joke to get you to laugh.
Tip 4: Get Creative
My favorite maternity pose is the silhouette. The reason I love it so much is because a pregnant form is beautiful! This type of photograph shows that form off fantastically. Get in front of a window with white curtains or just in front of a large window if possible. Then, turn profile to the camera. Try any variation of the poses mentioned above. I will turn these to black and white because it focuses more on the light and your form. This might be a little more tricky than the others to get the lighting right. Anywhere near a window and beautiful streaming light will be amazing. Just try to experiment a little.
Tip 5: As a couple
Now that you have some maternity shots of yourself, its time to add daddy. We can still do the same positions as I talked about before. We just have to position the guy behind, to the side, or facing you. He will need to be engaged with you and the baby. Have him cradle the baby, kiss you and the baby, or just hold you and your tummy. Perhaps try having him face you and kissing your forehead while touching your tummy. There are so many cute moments you can capture.
To get that real smile, try whispering something in his ear to make him laugh or smile. Say something like, "You will be the best daddy" or maybe even whisper something sensual in his ear and take the picture. It is all about the connection between all of you. The best photos are the ones where you are looking at each other instead of the camera! By looking at each other, your smiles are more authentic and the touch is more meaningful. Those are the photographs that will mean the most to you time and time again.
Tip 6: The Siblings
The best sibling photographs happen when it is fun and playful. Dad can put the kid on his shoulders or just hold a kid in their arms. If they are not cooperating it is ok to just take a break or make it a game! They can touch your baby bump or even just put a hand on it. Try readibg or having the child read to the baby on your lap. If all else fails, tickling your kid almost always works and makes for great laughter in your photographs. Don't forget to get close-ups, little details and creative touches.
I hope these tips and tricks are helpful to you. Click here for a video posing inspiration. I would post one of my own if I had a pregnant woman that I could use as a model right now. Until then, this should help you with simple posing. I would love to see all you preggo mamas take these photos and post them. If you do, please tag me in them @shanontessierphotography on Instagram or Facebook. These times that we are in is challenging for us all and my heart goes out to those who can't have a photographer because of the social distancing. I am praying that it will be over soon and I can take in-home newborn sessions of you and your little one. If you are interested in finding more about the in-home newborn sessions read about it HERE.
Thank you for reading,