Photo by Lin & Jirsa
When you think about truly life-changing events, there are but a few in life.
Getting married comes to mind.
Becoming a parent is at the top of the list too.
So, when a pregnant client comes to you for maternity photos, you’ve got an important job on your hands.
You’ll be responsible for documenting one of the most important events in your client’s life.
No pressure, right?!
And though many of the same compositional tools you’d use for a traditional portrait still apply, there are some special tricks you can use that will make your pregnant client look her best.
Let’s review a few of these simple tricks.
Work the Angles
Photo by Megan White
There are a couple of ways you can work the angle to get a more flattering portrait of your mom-to-be.
First, try shooting from a high perspective. By having mom sit or lay down, you can create a photo in which you’re looking down at her. When she looks up at the camera, that high angle will be flattering to her face, which will look slimmer.
Second, for more flattering full body photos, have mom turn 45 degrees to one side or the other. This improves the view of her growing belly, but can also have the effect of slimming down other parts of the body that she might not want to show off as much.
In the image above, note how the model is turned to the side so we have a nice view of the baby bump. However, also note that this positioning has a slimming effect on her lower half - her legs look sleek and slender, which is helped by the form-fitting gown.
Don’t Forget the Arms
Photo by Iga Logan
Clients seldom know what to do with their arms, and unless you provide her with some guidance, she very well could have an awkward vibe about her because of the positioning of her arms or hands.
A popular maternity pose is to have mom rest one hand on top of her belly and the other on the bottom of her belly, as seen in the photo above. Not only does this emphasize her baby-to-be, but it helps create a sweet, loving look that connects mom and baby.
This is a natural placement for mom’s hands as well. Looking at the image above, you can see that mom looks comfortable and relaxed - there’s nothing awkward about her hands or arms.
Photo by Kissed By Light Photo Studio
Another option is to situate mom’s arms such that it helps accentuate the curves of her body. Note in the image above how the hand and arm placement has a more glamorous, even sexy appearance.
And even though the model is clearly pregnant, the way in which her arms are positioned helps elongate her body, which, in turn, helps minimize the appearance of being bulky. That means you can accomplish two very different things at the same time: show off the baby bump while also making the rest of mom’s body look slimmer. What pregnant client wouldn’t want that?!
Don’t Be Afraid to Crop
Photo by Julie Lynn
The vast majority of maternity photos - or any kind of portrait for that matter - will incorporate most, if not all of the subject’s body. This is certainly a worthwhile approach, and most of the images in the portfolio you present to your client will likely be of this variety.
However, variety is important when photographing expecting mothers because you want them to have a wide array of photos that document the pregnancy.
To add a little something different to the collection, try tightly framed shots like the one shown above. Even without mom and dad’s face in the shot, we can see the love they have for one another and for their coming baby by the positioning of their hands on mom’s belly.
Photo by SnapLife Photography
When creating tightly framed shots like these, beware that when you crop, you need to crop intentionally.
That is, don’t let there be any question about whether or not the shot was framed that way on purpose or if it was a mistake. By being severe with the crop, you communicate to the viewer that you meant to compose the shot in that manner.
What’s more, tightly framed shots have even more impact when mom’s wardrobe is well-constructed and highly detailed. In the image above, the form-fitting maternity gown adds texture to the shot, which makes it a more interesting photo to view. The lace element is also a great way to add a little sexiness to the shot as well.
Photo by Michelle C. Smith
This might seem like a no-brainer tip, but it’s worth mentioning nonetheless.
Some aspects of being pregnant are fun - the excitement of having a baby, for example.
Other aspects, like gaining weight, having trouble sleeping, and being uncomfortable most of the time, are definitely not fun.
With that in mind, make your maternity sessions something that helps mom have fun and feel good about herself.
You can do this in a variety of ways.
You can create a photo shoot that’s fun and whimsical, like the one shown above. Using completely unexpected props like an airplane gives the shot tons of personality! Pairing an unusual prop with gorgeous outdoor lighting like you find at sunset is a recipe for success.
Photo by Amber Fite
You can also use beautiful maternity gowns that accentuate mom’s belly, but make her look gorgeous and glamorous at the same time. Gowns like the one shown above, which allow a view of the baby bump, give us a full view of the beauty of pregnancy.
But, note how the gown accentuates the rest of the model’s body. It’s a detail-rich dress that obviously makes her feel confident and gorgeous.
And that’s a crucial component of maternity photography - your job isn’t just to show off the coming baby, but it’s also to make mom feel like the gorgeous woman that she is.
Photo by Riportella Photography
Even if you frame up a portrait in which mom’s belly isn’t showing, the wardrobe she’s wearing can still add a touch of elegance and class to the shot.
In the image above, the sleek black dress shows the curvature of her body, while the long train is reminiscent of something she’d wear to a black tie affair.
In that regard, props and wardrobe selections are one of the most important tools you can use to make your maternity client look her best. Just one look at the sample photos in this article shows just how impactful an eye-catching dress or gown or well-placed props can elevate an image.
Pregnancy is a beautiful process, to be sure. But moms-to-be don’t always feel beautiful over the course of the pregnancy. By following these simple tips, you can help your client look her best and feel her best, and that will result in a photo of which you can both be proud.
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.