Digital photography of the pregnant mother is just part of the early parenting experience that many couples want to capture in pictures. A great number of parents photograph and video the actual birth; and those same cameras are in almost continuous operation to record the first days, weeks and months of the newborn.
Shooting maternity photos of a wife or family member is an excellent opportunity to improve your portrait and lighting skills. It could also be one of the first professional jobs for an aspiring amateur; one that pays and helps you create a portfolio to obtain future assignments. You’ll have better results from that first job as well as those in the future when you try these 6 maternity photography tips.
Take It Outdoors
It seems that many digital photo sessions of a pregnant mother (with husband, other children and/or pets) occur in a studio. Everyone dresses in white and is positioned against a white background and the studio is flooded with light. The results are beautiful; and, of course, the privacy of a studio shoot is mandatory if the couple wants naked or almost-naked pictures of the mother.
Placing the mother within the natural environment is another option that shouldn’t be overlooked. There are many “Earth Mother” images that can be created in the woods, in a field of flowers or beside a serene pond or stream. Plus, if the location is very isolated, then those artistic nude photos or even more meaningful in the outdoors.
The Comfort of Home
Photographing the expectant mother in the home where she will bring her baby is another excellent environment. The obvious reason is that the mother should be most comfortable and natural in her own home, which will make her more open to trying various poses and reveal more of her emotions about becoming a parent. Maybe, a better reason to shoot digital photos of a pregnant woman at home is that you can also show the couple and/or family’s life at this special moment. A picture of a mother and also with the father in the baby’s room before he or she arrives will be memorable addition to the entire session.
Simple Is Best
Keep the surroundings of the maternity photography session simple wherever you choose to shoot it. If you’re outdoors, then consider pictures from above with the mother on a blanket and just a small bit of the ground exposed. Stand relatively close to your subject, so she is not lost against a background of scenery that attracts the viewer’s eye from the story you’re trying to tell. The same strategy applies to digital photos of the mother in her home. Frame her to expose just enough of the surroundings, so they can be identified, but don’t become distractions. Eliminate or use very few secondary objects. A picture of the pregnant mother with the teddy bear or doll she plans to give her baby can be cute.
Reveal Her Beauty
Women may appreciate the “all-pregnant-women-are-beautiful” comment, but they seldom feel that way. The maternity photo session is virtually identical to any portrait shoot or working with a model. You must talk to your subject and motivate her to give you the looks you want for your digital photos. “Hold that pose; it’s great!” “You’re looking beautiful today.” Just as in the trendy world of fashion photography, such motivating statements from a male photographer seem to connect better with a female subject than if a female photographer were saying them. Your personality will determine how well this technique works, especially if you’re a bit of a “charmer.” The more genuine you sound, however, the more she will relax and let her beauty shine, so you can capture some truly great images.
Include More Than Mom
As mentioned above, it’s not uncommon to take digital photos of the father and pregnant mother in a number of poses. Some families like to include other children, especially if they are young, and even pets. Think of how wonderful an image you could take of a two-year old with his ear pressed to his mother’s stomach listening to the heartbeat of his new brother or sister.
Look for the Unique
So many pictures have been taken of so many mothers-to-be that you might think that all those photographers have already shot every possible image or pose. That is a challenge, but one you should relish if you want to become a better photographer and give the parents something more than they expected. The best way to face that challenge is to remember that every photo assignment, shoot or opportunity is different, unique. You must find what makes this pregnancy special for this couple, and then record it for all posterity.