Photo by Beka Price Photography
Ask any photographer, and I'm betting that the majority of them will tell you that outdoor shoots are more fun.
It makes sense - you get to be out in the sunshine and in the fresh air, hopefully at a location that provides a gorgeous backdrop for your portraits.
It's a recipe for great photos and for having fun, which also helps in creating a beautiful portrait.
But if you ask me, I think too many maternity photographers keep things indoors.
Now, don't get me wrong - indoor shots can be wonderful.
But I wonder why there aren't more outdoor maternity photo shoots.
Maybe it's because photographers think a pregnant mom doesn't want to drive all over the place from one shoot location to the next...
Whatever the reason, there's a case to be made for making more outdoor maternity portraits.
Here are a few creative ideas for getting better results when you take your client outside for her portrait shoot.
Simplicity is Key
Photo by Iga Logan Photography
Remember, the point of the photos you create is to show off mom, her baby bump, and her partner or other children.
When you head outdoors, that can be a little hard to pull off, simply because there's so many colors, textures, shapes, and good light (hopefully!) to tantalize your eye.
But the more details you stuff into the shot, the less prominent your client will be - and that's definitely not what you want.
When shooting outdoors, strive to maintain an air of simplicity in the shot. That doesn't mean you should put the mom-to-be in front of a boring background, either.
All it means is that you need to get creative with how you frame the shot to ensure all eyes are on mom.
For example, if there's a little too much background interest happening, shoot with a wider aperture to ensure the background is nicely blurred.
If you feel that mom is getting lost in the space of the shot, simply move forward a few steps to make her appear larger in the frame.
Photo by Lauren Mccormick Photography
You might even convert your images to black and white to give the shots you take a simple, yet classic look.
In the image above, you can see how the black and white conversion helps simplify the scene.
In the absence of color, the bright white of the subjects' dresses draws the attention of the eye.
This is facilitated by the fact that the background is nicely blurred, which helps set off the subjects even more.
Don't Stop Shooting
Photo by Ashly Collins
You can spend all the time in the world prepping your clients, giving them direction, and posing them just right, but in the end, at least in my experience, the best outdoor maternity photos are often the ones that happen off the cuff.
Those moments that occur in between the "formal" takes where you're directing your clients are rife with possibilities for beautiful, genuine images like the one above.
As a result, it's imperative that you keep shooting. In fact, I'd say set your camera to continuous shooting mode and fire away!
By continuing to shoot after you tell your client she can relax, you set her up for a more relaxed and natural portrait.
In that moment, you will often find a smile, a kiss shared with her partner, or a sweet interaction with a child that sets the image apart from the rest of the bunch.
These types of candid shots can't be faked, either. You can tell within an instant that the photo above was captured as a result of continuing to shoot.
You'll likely even find that these natural moments are the ones to which your clients are most strongly drawn.
Shoot Through Something
Photo by Pure Bloom Photography
A nice trick to employ when taking a maternity portrait (or any portrait for that matter) is to shoot through something.
Adding something to the foreground of the shot, like the plants in the image above, gives the photo immediate depth. Rather than feeling like a flat, two-dimensional image, the photo becomes a more three-dimensional space, with a better indication of the subject's relationship to her surroundings.
Additionally, by shooting through something, you can help frame the subject, drawing attention to her, her belly, or both.
In the image above, the stems of the plants provide a masking effect to the subject's body, helping push the eye toward her face. But notice how this effect is very subtle - you can still see mom's belly bump and her gorgeous gown as well.
Perhaps most importantly, shooting through something makes for a much more unique and interesting portrait.
A lot of maternity photos simply look the same - the same pose, the same backgrounds, the same positioning of the hands, and shot from the same point of view.
By changing things up and putting something between your lens and the model, you give the viewer something that's more compelling and has more impact right off the bat.
Bring Attention to Mom With Her Wardrobe
Photo by Ute-Christin Photography
The beauty of portraiture is that there are all sorts of tricks to bring more attention to the subject. Wardrobe selection is one such factor.
When thinking about the wardrobe for your outdoor maternity shoots, there are a few things to keep in mind.
First, try to select items that contrast well with the colors of the scene, as is seen in the image above. The abundance of earth tones in the shot means that the white dress was a perfect choice.
Second, it's also a good idea to select wardrobe pieces that contrast with the feel or the mood of the scene. For example, in the image above, the mom's gown is very delicate, flowing, and quite elegant. But that works gorgeously with an outdoor scene that is full of harsh, stiff elements like the tree trunks.
Photo by Vic & Marie Photography
A third wardrobe consideration to make is obviously how things fit.
On the one hand, you want mom to be comfortable, but on the other hand, you want the wardrobe choices to accentuate her belly.
In the image above, the gown the model is wearing serves both of these tasks well. Mom looks fantastic in a dress that fits like a glove and shows off her baby bump.
What's more, the gown helps highlight some of mom's curves, giving the portrait additional visual interest. Note how even though she's wearing a gown, you can still see that her left leg is bent, creating an interesting curve that makes her pose seem a little less formal.
But none of that comes at the cost of comfort.
No mom is going to want to slip into an ill-fitting, uncomfortable maternity gown no matter how badly she wants her pregnancy photos.
That's where Sew Trendy Accessories comes in.
Photo by Bailey Smith Photography
If you want your clients to look their best and feel their best at the same time, consider pointing them in the direction of Sew Trendy.
As you can see in the images throughout this article, Sew Trendy's maternity gowns aren't just stunningly beautiful, but they are also finely constructed and built with mom in mind.
With a variety of materials from knits to lace to tulle, your clients can pick what makes them most comfortable. And when she tries on her gown, she'll love the fact that it's been made just for her, of materials that are soft, stretchy, and make her look even more beautiful than she already is!
Don't let your maternity photos continue to be just so-so. Use the tips outlined here to ramp up the visual interest of your shots. Just one look at the photos above, and you can see what a world of difference these maternity photography tips can make!
About Sew Trendy
This is a company that photographers absolutely need to be in touch with. Their gowns, crowns, and other high-quality accessories are just what you need for maternity photos, photos of newborns, and mommy and me sessions. These accessories not only make your clients look and feel great, but they also add a depth of detail and interest to your photos that elevate the images to an entirely other level. What started out with just a few people manufacturing these eye-catching items is a growing business that provides accessories to photographers worldwide. Help your clients look and feel their best by partnering with Sew Trendy Accessories.