Photo by Kathleen Mortland Photography
When it comes to maternity photography, there are certain things you can do to make your images turn out better.
There's also plenty you can do that makes the images fall flat.
You obviously want to be in the former situation rather than the latter...
So that means learning a few do's and don'ts when it comes to maternity photography.
Let's have a look at a few things to do and not to do so the maternity photos you create make your clients go "WOW!"
DO: Keep Shooting
Photo by JW Photography
This is a tried-and-true portrait photography tip that works with everyone from kids to grandparents, families to pregnant moms.
By continuing to fire the shutter even after you've said "Ok I got it!" will immediately signal mom to relax. In that moment, you can often get the best shots of the bunch.
This is especially true if you're taking a portrait of mom with her partner as seen above, or when mom is with one of her kids.
It's these candid, relaxed, and unguarded moments that mom will cherish the most. Help give her those moments by putting your camera in burst mode and firing off a few shots in between takes.
DON'T: Make Mom Wear Something Uncomfortable
This can go a couple of ways.
First, you want mom to wear something that's stretchy and will conform to her body as she moves from one pose to another without pinching or bunching.
Second, you don't want to put mom in an outfit that makes her uncomfortable, like a revealing maternity gown when she prefers to be covered up.
In either case, having a quick discussion about what mom wants to wear will help eliminate both situations.
Though you should certainly recommend wardrobe choices that are comfortable and beautiful, ultimately what mom wants to wear is what she should wear. Her comfort will help her relax in front of the camera and will give you the ability to take a much more natural and pleasing-looking portrait.
DO: Keep It Lighthearted
Photo by Happy Bird Photography
Pregnancy is serious business, and mom might not have a lot of gas in the tank to do a ton of posing and smiling.
But if you keep it lighthearted, you'll be able to get mom relaxed in front of the camera, which, as I noted above, will get you better pictures.
So, crack a few jokes. Tell her how good she looks. Be silly with her, her partner, and her kids.
The more effort you put into creating a positive, fun vibe during the photo shoot, the more likely mom is to exude positivity and fun - even if she hasn't slept for days!
The results, as seen above, can be genuine and heartwarming, and those are great qualities to have in a maternity photo!
DON'T: Get Crazy With Posing
Fads come and go. It's just how it is with everything from clothes to cars to poses for portraits.
What you don't want to do is fall victim to a fad and have mom horrified by her maternity photos five or ten years down the road.
Instead, sticking to something classic will help you create a photo that has lasting beauty and meaning for years to come.
That means that if mom really loves to ski that you might need to suggest that it's not the best look for her maternity photos...
DO: Keep It Simple
Photo by Beka Price Photography
From the pose (see the previous tip) to the background to the colors and the wardrobe, there's something to be said for keeping your maternity photography on the simple side.
There's beauty in simplicity, and when you're talking about something as beautiful and important as pregnancy, keeping everything simple allows you to put that pregnancy on the highest possible pedestal.
The last thing you want to do is distract the viewer's eye from mom and her baby belly with crazy patterns, odd framing choices, or over-editing (more on that next...).
Instead, try to simplify the scene. Take mom outside for a nice, serene outdoor shoot, as seen above. Ensure the background isn't too flashy, so it doesn't take away from mom. Recommend a simple, yet elegant maternity gown that's eye-catching but not overdone too.
The point is that mom should be the star of the photo, and there's not many ways to make that happen better than to keep the photo simple in the first place.
DON'T: Over Edit
Just like there's something to be said for keeping the posing and composition of the shot simple, so too is there something to be said for taking it easy on the editing.
This might just be my personal editing bias, but I prefer something simple and natural over something that's very clearly been Photoshopped to increase the drama.
Whether it's adding sun flare (like above) or removing so many of mom's skin imperfections that she looks like a china doll, there's just something off-putting about a portrait that has been through the editing wringer.
Instead, work on your image in Camera RAW to correct things like lens distortion, white balance, and color. Then in Photoshop work on things like curves, levels, and saturation.
Mom is already beautiful, and if you do what you need to do in the field, there won't be too much that needs attention in post-processing.
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