Maternity Photography - 7 Tips for Taking Great Shots - Digital Photography School

Maternity Photography – 7 Tips for Taking Great Shots

In this tutorial Natalie Norton shares 7 great tips for great Maternity Photography.

7 Tips for Creative Maternity Photography

When I first began doing maternity work I made a pledge. A commitment I swore I’d stand by through thick and thin. I promised myself I’d never take “the maternity picture.” You know the one. Daddy’s arms around mommy’s belly with hands affectionately forming… gag… excuse me… a heart. There’s NOTHING wrong with this photo. AT ALL. Calm your rage oh you who just did this exact shot this afternoon.

It’s just that I didn’t want to do the typical maternity image that every mother who’s every had her belly photographed has in one of her 9 baby albums (9 for the first child that is… 1 for the second…a few images in an envelope somewhere for the third… and oh, that poor fourth child, he has to borrow pictures from his brother when he’s highlighted on the bulletin board in Kindergarten). I marched right into that first session ready to stand by my commitment to creativity! I’d no sooner pulled out my camera than mom, all giddy with excitement, said “Woo! Can we do that shot with Daddy’s arms around me and our hands forming a heart over my belly button?!?” I stood by that pledge of mine for a full… well, 2.4 seconds. Of course I did the shot. But guess what? I did a lot of other stuff that she’d never have dreamed of. Guess which image DID NOT get purchased. Belly button heart.

7 Maternity Photography Tips

Here’s 7 tips toward creative maternity photography:

1. The Great Outdoors:

So many maternity sessions are done in studio. I understand the reasons behind this. I’ve been pregnant. 3 times over. I’m not the petite and pretty pregnant. I’m the gal you find wedged between the double doors at The Sizzler. Studio shoots are great because there’s privacy. I can’t argue with that. Particularly if you’re going to do anything in less than a fully clothed state (that’s my PC way of saying naked). But there’s something about being outside. Taking that natural beauty of a woman who’s ready to bring new life into the world and placing her in the majesty of the great outdoors is simply breathtaking.

maternity photography-1

Maternity Photography

2. At Home:

When you shoot a mommy-to-be in her own home she’s comfortable to let go in a way that she may not be otherwise. This is a fantastic reason to hold maternity sessions at home. This is not however why I do it. As a photographer I feel like it’s my responsibility to help my subjects feel comfortable and capable of giving me their best, no matter where we’re shooting. I pride myself on my ability to do this. To me, it’s a HUGE part of my success as a photographer (Uh oh. I feel a post in this regard coming on… check back soon). I shoot maternity sessions at home primarily because it’s wonderful for a couple to have a capture that truly shows what their life was like at the time their baby came to be a part of their family. I’m a second generation photographer so I’ve got some really lovely shots of my sweet momma awaiting my arrival. My favorite however is a simple picture of her standing by my bassinet with her hand on her tummy. I CHERISH it.

maternity photography-2

3. Simplify:

No matter where you shoot, studio, home, outside, 7Eleven, you’ve got to simplify your surroundings. The beauty of a mother anticipating the arrival of her child should be captured in a way that allows the miracle to speak for itself. Pregnancy doesn’t require anything “else” to be present in a photograph to help tell it’s story. Everything in the frame that may not belong will simply serve to distract from the story that’s already being told, naturally. Pay attention to background.

maternity photography-3

4. Help Her Feel Beautiful

Women don’t generally feel very sexy when they’re pregnant. Understandably so, and trust me I connect with this feeling as much as the next gal. But just because an expectant mother doesn’t feel sexy, that doesn’t mean she’s not totally knock out. Bring that out in her. Pull that beauty out of her. A good way to do this is by talking as you shoot. It’s perfectly appropriate to say things like: “That’s beautiful!” “Yes, perfect!” “Oh that’s just LOVELY.” “Pregnancy looks good on you girl!” Whatever works! If you’re a male photographer you’ll need to be careful about what you say in this crazy world of sexual harassment, but you’re even more capable of pulling the beauty out of her than a female photographer. It’s one thing when your girlfriend tells you you’re beautiful, but when your girlfriend’s brother tells you that you’re looking good, you actually believe it. Obviously be careful and be genuine. The success of this tip will depend on your personality, but you can help her help herself. If she feels pretty she’ll look a whole heck of a lot better. It’s that simple.

maternity photography-4

5. Highlight Relationship:

Hopefully new babies are coming into a loving home. I always try to include photographs that highlight the tender relationship between mom and dad, because bringing a child into the world with someone is arguably love in it’s purest form.

maternity photography-5

6. Don’t Forget the Siblings… or the dog for that matter:

Remember that often a baby is coming into an established family unit (not to say that Mom and Dad alone aren’t an “established family unit” but for the sake of my point, go with me on this one). If the siblings are available, make sure to include them in at least a few frames. I have to mention the dog, because I’ve got a sister-in-law who’s dog, Wanda (seriously that’s her name) is her pride and joy. When she and her hubby have kids, you can trust that Wanda will be right there in at least a handful of her maternity photos. She’s as much a part of the family as the next guy.

maternity photography-6

7. Give ‘em Something Different:

Don’t just shoot what’s always been shot. This is a good general rule of photography. I really try to be “consistently inconsistent” (I recently heard another photographer, Nate Kaiser of theimageisfound.com, use this term and I had to pirate it). Let me explain, you’ve got to approach each shoot as it’s own. I’m very committed as a photographer to tailoring each shoot for the subject I’m photographing. Like I said before, this is a good general rule that applies particularly to maternity photography. Even though millions and millions of mothers have given birth to millions and millions of babies for millions and millions of years, a momma-to-be needs to feel like her pregnancy is miraculous, special and sacred, that the things she’s experiencing are unique only to her. Because they are.

maternity photography-7

Happy Shooting!!

 

Read more from our Tips & Tutorials category.

Natalie Norton is a writer and a lifestyle wedding and portrait photographer who shoots across the globe. She is based off of the North Shore of Oahu and out of Gilbert, Arizona. Enjoy more of her photography and writing at www.natalienortonblog.com. You can also connect with Natalie via Twitter or on Facebook.

  • http://www,acertainkindatouch.biz Cathy

    Awesome article Natalie!!! Found myself nodding in agreement through alot of it :-) and when I read about the heart and fingers on belly LOL hahaha just saw that 2 day. Just starting out, am beauty therapist, love attention 2 detail, but 110% agree everyone an individual. When my daughter got married early this year, went on the photographers site and she had taken ALL couples 2 the SAME spot doing the SAME thing. Am doing maternity shoot of my daughter tomorrow at sunrise 4 silhouette shots, but felt so very happy after reading your article that I am of all the same beliefs. Thoroughly enjoyable, loved your photos and thanku!

  • connie anderson

    i was so greatful to see that im not the only one who thinks diffrent.. my first maternity photo shoot is in a few weeks,ive been doing research after research, and come across the same shot over and over..ive been doing photos for awhile but this year people (that is outside of famiely) have asked to hire me so i really just want to keep doing what i do an thats just shooting from what i see thru my lens if it looks good i take the chance..thank u or ur post diffrent is ok…:)

  • Brigitte

    I am shooting my first maternity couple tomorrow morning, and have been searching for different ideas. The parents to be and I will start at the park where they had their engagement photo shoot, then move on to their home for some intimate ‘belly ‘ shots. Your photos and tips are awesome. Thanks for your fantastic post!

  • http://www.haykay.co.za/blog Jermaine

    I have been searching the internet for new style for my next shoot and I must say that you come to the party with a different yet original flavour. Loving your maternity shoots, great work!

  • Carrie

    Loved your your article!! I’m am new to pregnancy photography, but will be doing several shoots soon. Your article was very informative!! Thanks so much for sharing!!

  • http://www.callaghansmithportraits.com Stephanie Callaghan Smith

    Some great tips. Really love the outdoor shot ideas.

  • http://www.facebook.com/hobbsphotographymonroeville Amanda Hobbs

    I am just starting out and have so many shoot ideas. I was googling maternity shoots and found this page since I have my first shoot at the beginning of may. Your shots are indeed as you state unique. I am already an outdoor photographer so I love your outdoor shoot idea. Please take a look at my page and give feedback. :)
    http://www.facebook.com/hobbsphotographymonroeville

    Thank you

  • Alice George

    Super information, Natalie! I am an equine photographer, and the young lady who has requested that I shoot this time in her life for is quite a compliment. I did photograph her outdoor wedding several years ago and had some awesome results. She is a horse person as her husband is so I was trying to figure out a maternity shot that would involve horses. You have given several tools to work wtih as well liviing on the N. side of Oahu meant a bunch to me in that I was born and raised in Hawaii on the island of Oahu. If you have any more hints for me, I would super appreciate them. Alice (: I want Nicole to be thrilled with her photos. I have known her since she was 10 years old.

  • Alice George

    Pls reply if you have time

  • Sarah

    Do you have any suggestions in doing adoption and surrogacy photography that includes the pregnant birthmother?

  • Nicole

    This information is great!!! I have been looking for a photography to shoot me and my husband. I am about 27 weeks so I have just a little bit to go before pictures. We found someone that has not taken maternity photos, so I will be her first. I showed her this website, so with our minds combined, I am hoping for some wonderful photos!

    Thanks again for the helpful tip!!

    Nicole

  • http://www.maliawarrenphotography.net Malia

    Alice George-
    Oh gosh in Hawaii you could do so much! Is there a slow flowing small waterfall you could go to? Have her stand behind it with just her belly poking through and play off of that. Or sme idea but at the beach in like 2-3 feet of water as tide pulls up with the water running over her belly… Or an angled shot with her laying in the sand. :) pink hibiscus if its a girl have fun!

  • Leanne

    This is article is amazing and I so wish you could do our shots for us! I am gearing up to do my photos in 2 weeks and was looking for some advice on what to wear and what to do and I feel totally at ease after reading this (although, we are going to do the heart pic.. we have to!). Your work and this article are absolutely beautiful! Best of luck and keep making mommies feel beautiful and wonderful through your photographs!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/awilliamsimaging Andy Williams

    I live life as a fine art and nature photographer. recently I did a photo shoot with my wife and kids at a spot that I usually go to landscapes and flowers and bugs and trees and whatever you know. After my wife put these on facebook, the demand from her friends for a photographer became overwhelming. I’ve always said, I hate shooting people. One of the interested parties is looking for a maternity shoot and well, I think pregnancy is absolutely beautiful so it sort of made me say ok. This article is a huge help for me, and I appreciate it very much! on a side note…do you think it’s wrong for me to accept some portrait work simply because I desire lenses, even if it’s not something I really want to do?

  • http://simplydefinedphoto.weebly.com Anna

    I am doing my first maternity shoot with my brother and sister-in-law in a few weeks and your tips really helped. I’m already a natural light photographer so I know the benefits to shooting outside. My only problem is coming up with locations that haven’t been overdone because I want them something unique and special. Also if u could take a look at my work and give me some feedback I would be honored.

    Facebook: http://m.facebook.com/?_rdr#!/profile.php?id=127816363916522&__user=676181238

  • http://www.KincannonPhotography.com Brittney Kincannon

    Great Article!! Love the tips. :)
    I recently did a maternity session.
    So much fun:
    http://kincannonphotography.com/maternity-photography-at-the-beach/

  • brenda r

    Glad I found this – I am about to do some maternity shots and needs guidance – this was absolutely perfect! Thank you!!!

  • Winston

    Great article! good thing i found your blog got some great ideas for me and my wife :)
    Thanks

  • http://www.greenearthphotography.com Katie Warnke

    hank you Natalie. I’ve just started photographing newborns and was asked to do a maternity shoot. I needed inspiration and ideas. Got ‘em! At what stage of the pregnancy do you photograph? My client is five months pregnant and was thinking now. Do you usually wait until later or what’s your feeling there?

  • http://www.greenearthphotography.com Katie Warnke

    Thank you Natalie. I’ve just started photographing newborns and was asked to do a maternity shoot. I needed inspiration and ideas. Got ‘em! At what stage of the pregnancy do you photograph? My client is five months pregnant and was thinking now. Do you usually wait until later or what’s your feeling there?

  • Dominick

    I love ur article and feel like u are very laid back and funny .I am pregnant with baby three…(.and last I promise )but I never had a professional maternity pic done before.jus the at home snapshots of me usually of me stuck somewhere or stuffin my face but im wantn one done and u have some great insight and tips .thnx and I agree with the hands over the belly thing.my runner up to that is the daddy kissin the belly Picture .

  • Ben

    amazing tips. Thanks for sharing the wonderful shots as well. :)

  • Kevinc

    I still don’t understand the bare belly. A non- pregnant female would more than likely not want to have that part of her body photographed. I am not condoning the act, I just don’t understand why at least nine months out of someone’s life it’s okay to see their belly (and more than likely protruded belly button, stretch marks, etc., a less than desirable situation if one was not pregnant). I just think you can celebrate (as many of these examples do) the joy of pregnancy without seeing the belly. And no, I am not hung up on nudity, the human body, etc. just why it’s okay for a (relatively) short time in one’s life.

  • ArturoMM

    It’s a good thing now that pregnant women can show their belly proudly not just because they are going to have a baby but also because they look beautiful.

  • Ellebi

    Great tips…thanks

  • jumbybird

    Worst trend ever… naked belly pics.

  • Christian

    Love for baby sessions
    See one of our newborn shoots just recently
    http://academy-of-photography.com/newborn-photo-session-example-tips-creative-baby-photography/

  • Luisa

    pleeease correct your it’s->its and who’s->whose… unless your sister-in-law IS a dog?!?

  • Averlie

    Creative poses and well done, bookmarked the article. However, the first photo makes it look like the woman has “man hands”. Some of the man’s body (assuming a man is indeed hugging her belly) is needed for context, I think.

  • Regina

    Those are great tips for maternity photography! Thanks for sharing….. If you are nearby New York City i recommend Nina Drapacz Photography, she is great at what she do ! She made an excellent photo shoot on my second pregnancy!

  • http://www.flickr.com/felipesasso Felipe

    Nice tips.

Some older comments

  • Kevinc

    September 29, 2013 02:44 pm

    I still don't understand the bare belly. A non- pregnant female would more than likely not want to have that part of her body photographed. I am not condoning the act, I just don't understand why at least nine months out of someone's life it's okay to see their belly (and more than likely protruded belly button, stretch marks, etc., a less than desirable situation if one was not pregnant). I just think you can celebrate (as many of these examples do) the joy of pregnancy without seeing the belly. And no, I am not hung up on nudity, the human body, etc. just why it's okay for a (relatively) short time in one's life.

  • Ben

    September 19, 2013 07:25 pm

    amazing tips. Thanks for sharing the wonderful shots as well. :)

  • Dominick

    January 12, 2013 12:40 pm

    I love ur article and feel like u are very laid back and funny .I am pregnant with baby three...(.and last I promise )but I never had a professional maternity pic done before.jus the at home snapshots of me usually of me stuck somewhere or stuffin my face but im wantn one done and u have some great insight and tips .thnx and I agree with the hands over the belly thing.my runner up to that is the daddy kissin the belly Picture .

  • Katie Warnke

    December 31, 2012 09:42 am

    Thank you Natalie. I've just started photographing newborns and was asked to do a maternity shoot. I needed inspiration and ideas. Got 'em! At what stage of the pregnancy do you photograph? My client is five months pregnant and was thinking now. Do you usually wait until later or what's your feeling there?

  • Katie Warnke

    December 30, 2012 03:03 pm

    hank you Natalie. I've just started photographing newborns and was asked to do a maternity shoot. I needed inspiration and ideas. Got 'em! At what stage of the pregnancy do you photograph? My client is five months pregnant and was thinking now. Do you usually wait until later or what's your feeling there?

  • Winston

    December 22, 2012 01:07 am

    Great article! good thing i found your blog got some great ideas for me and my wife :)
    Thanks

  • brenda r

    October 24, 2012 04:55 am

    Glad I found this - I am about to do some maternity shots and needs guidance - this was absolutely perfect! Thank you!!!

  • Brittney Kincannon

    October 11, 2012 05:20 am

    Great Article!! Love the tips. :)
    I recently did a maternity session.
    So much fun:
    http://kincannonphotography.com/maternity-photography-at-the-beach/

  • Anna

    September 28, 2012 11:40 pm

    I am doing my first maternity shoot with my brother and sister-in-law in a few weeks and your tips really helped. I'm already a natural light photographer so I know the benefits to shooting outside. My only problem is coming up with locations that haven't been overdone because I want them something unique and special. Also if u could take a look at my work and give me some feedback I would be honored.

    Facebook: http://m.facebook.com/?_rdr#!/profile.php?id=127816363916522&__user=676181238

  • Andy Williams

    August 3, 2012 02:23 am

    I live life as a fine art and nature photographer. recently I did a photo shoot with my wife and kids at a spot that I usually go to landscapes and flowers and bugs and trees and whatever you know. After my wife put these on facebook, the demand from her friends for a photographer became overwhelming. I've always said, I hate shooting people. One of the interested parties is looking for a maternity shoot and well, I think pregnancy is absolutely beautiful so it sort of made me say ok. This article is a huge help for me, and I appreciate it very much! on a side note...do you think it's wrong for me to accept some portrait work simply because I desire lenses, even if it's not something I really want to do?

  • Leanne

    July 26, 2012 05:51 am

    This is article is amazing and I so wish you could do our shots for us! I am gearing up to do my photos in 2 weeks and was looking for some advice on what to wear and what to do and I feel totally at ease after reading this (although, we are going to do the heart pic.. we have to!). Your work and this article are absolutely beautiful! Best of luck and keep making mommies feel beautiful and wonderful through your photographs!!

  • Malia

    May 27, 2012 12:14 am

    Alice George-
    Oh gosh in Hawaii you could do so much! Is there a slow flowing small waterfall you could go to? Have her stand behind it with just her belly poking through and play off of that. Or sme idea but at the beach in like 2-3 feet of water as tide pulls up with the water running over her belly... Or an angled shot with her laying in the sand. :) pink hibiscus if its a girl have fun!

  • Nicole

    May 12, 2012 06:54 am

    This information is great!!! I have been looking for a photography to shoot me and my husband. I am about 27 weeks so I have just a little bit to go before pictures. We found someone that has not taken maternity photos, so I will be her first. I showed her this website, so with our minds combined, I am hoping for some wonderful photos!

    Thanks again for the helpful tip!!

    Nicole

  • Sarah

    May 2, 2012 04:01 pm

    Do you have any suggestions in doing adoption and surrogacy photography that includes the pregnant birthmother?

  • Alice George

    April 26, 2012 12:11 pm

    Pls reply if you have time

  • Alice George

    April 26, 2012 12:10 pm

    Super information, Natalie! I am an equine photographer, and the young lady who has requested that I shoot this time in her life for is quite a compliment. I did photograph her outdoor wedding several years ago and had some awesome results. She is a horse person as her husband is so I was trying to figure out a maternity shot that would involve horses. You have given several tools to work wtih as well liviing on the N. side of Oahu meant a bunch to me in that I was born and raised in Hawaii on the island of Oahu. If you have any more hints for me, I would super appreciate them. Alice (: I want Nicole to be thrilled with her photos. I have known her since she was 10 years old.

  • Amanda Hobbs

    April 10, 2012 06:42 am

    I am just starting out and have so many shoot ideas. I was googling maternity shoots and found this page since I have my first shoot at the beginning of may. Your shots are indeed as you state unique. I am already an outdoor photographer so I love your outdoor shoot idea. Please take a look at my page and give feedback. :)
    www.facebook.com/hobbsphotographymonroeville

    Thank you

  • Stephanie Callaghan Smith

    March 15, 2012 03:59 am

    Some great tips. Really love the outdoor shot ideas.

  • Carrie

    March 13, 2012 09:36 am

    Loved your your article!! I'm am new to pregnancy photography, but will be doing several shoots soon. Your article was very informative!! Thanks so much for sharing!!

  • Jermaine

    February 23, 2012 03:33 pm

    I have been searching the internet for new style for my next shoot and I must say that you come to the party with a different yet original flavour. Loving your maternity shoots, great work!

  • Brigitte

    December 26, 2011 01:58 pm

    I am shooting my first maternity couple tomorrow morning, and have been searching for different ideas. The parents to be and I will start at the park where they had their engagement photo shoot, then move on to their home for some intimate 'belly ' shots. Your photos and tips are awesome. Thanks for your fantastic post!

  • connie anderson

    November 15, 2011 03:07 pm

    i was so greatful to see that im not the only one who thinks diffrent.. my first maternity photo shoot is in a few weeks,ive been doing research after research, and come across the same shot over and over..ive been doing photos for awhile but this year people (that is outside of famiely) have asked to hire me so i really just want to keep doing what i do an thats just shooting from what i see thru my lens if it looks good i take the chance..thank u or ur post diffrent is ok...:)

  • Cathy

    October 30, 2011 12:05 am

    Awesome article Natalie!!! Found myself nodding in agreement through alot of it :-) and when I read about the heart and fingers on belly LOL hahaha just saw that 2 day. Just starting out, am beauty therapist, love attention 2 detail, but 110% agree everyone an individual. When my daughter got married early this year, went on the photographers site and she had taken ALL couples 2 the SAME spot doing the SAME thing. Am doing maternity shoot of my daughter tomorrow at sunrise 4 silhouette shots, but felt so very happy after reading your article that I am of all the same beliefs. Thoroughly enjoyable, loved your photos and thanku!

  • Dana

    September 27, 2011 12:19 am

    I love this article. I am currently pregnant and everyone is harrassing me about getting maternity photos done. I refuse to for the "Give em something different" advice you have. We have 2 "good" photographers in my area (small town...no "cities" around), and you can look at their work and it almost seems as though they took 2 models and are just copy and pasting each new mommy and daddys head on to those same old boring photos. And UGH the heart over the belly button!!!! They will shoot that 5 different ways! If I had someone who truly understood art and the uniqueness of each preganancy/couple I would jump at getting matrnity photos taken!

  • wendy grant

    June 13, 2011 12:11 am

    Really pleased with my recent OUTDOOR maternity shoot! Check it out at http://www.pregnancyandnewbornphotographer.com/2011/06/bump-photography-northamptonshire-wendy.html

  • Lester

    June 12, 2011 08:33 am

    Some of the posters above praised the article, while expressing the opinion that they would never do a maternity shoot. Well, I never thought about it, either. But I've been taking a lot of pictures of beautiful women recently, and surprisingly enough, one of them got pregnant. So who does she turn to? So now I'm studying up on the subject, to prepare for next weekend.

    My initial response was that I didn't think I wanted to do it. Then it was, ok, as a favor for a friend. Now, with a bit of studying, I'm really looking forward to it. Thank your for the article.

  • Freda

    May 29, 2011 08:55 pm

    Hi Yolandi, I used one softbox on the side only and the room was bright enough to do the rest my settings were:- Aperture f/8 shutterspeed 1/125 and ISO 200 ..... focal length was 15.0mm Max Lens Aperture 3.0 If you send me your personal email I will send you another pose of the same lady absolutely stunning, but I cannot post it here. Thanks for the interest and compliment, but it is easy to photograph something that is beautiful already to start with. Or maybe I will just look at your webpage and get your email from there! You can email me back then.

  • Yolandie ( YJR Photography)

    May 28, 2011 07:54 pm

    HI there , this is such lovely lovely lovely auricle , I am a photographer who loves the outdoors with everything , I go all the way , meters of extension with studio lightning outside , My lighting is usually very bright , but I so love that picture of the lady with the fab skin , how do you get your light so soft??

  • Iris

    May 27, 2011 04:58 am

    My friends are having babies and they are uploading pictures of their bellies. I think -and ive listened other people saying it too- that bellies look really ugly, the belly button, the fat. I think that ppl says it looks nice and even praise the picture just because they know there is a baby inside and I think that only the closed family could get amused with it and maybe women that have been pregnant. I take pictures for fun, but ive never taken a picture to an expectant mother and Im sure it is a great challenge. I love the first picture you put in this article, and somehow I think bare skin in a belly is a no-no.

  • Owen Lambrechs

    April 2, 2011 01:35 pm

    Hi Natalie (if I may)

    I have recentl ystarted with photography and must say I should have done this 30+ years ago. Friends have asked me to photographer the Mrs. Pregnancy, and having read your words above am absolutely glad to see that being different is absolutely ok. Love the beach shot and your explanations.
    Thank You
    Owen

    ps I'm setting up a website and will invite you to be one of the first on these photo's once done.

  • Beth

    March 20, 2011 11:56 pm

    Great article and suggestions. I'm doing a maternity session today for the first time in a long while, so this was very helpful. Thanks!

  • Tori (Victoria)

    March 11, 2011 12:38 pm

    [eimg url='http://victorwolfphotography.weebly.com/uploads/4/3/1/4/4314575/9478446_orig.jpg' title='9478446_orig.jpg']

    I'm an 18 year old photographer that has a "budding" business i guess you could say :)
    I do alot of different shots: from portraits to landscape, and all the way down to cars and i-pods :)
    I would love your professional opinion on my website/Facebook page
    These ideas were very helpful considering that i'm going to be doing my first maternity photo shoot this Sunday.

    my website is:
    http://victorwolfphotography.weebly.com

    my facebook page is:
    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Victor-Wolf-Photography/184240741613467

    thank you for your help! I appreciate it

    From,
    A fellow Photographer

  • waddyjune

    February 17, 2011 03:32 am

    Any suggestions as to lenses? Portable lighting?

  • aling_jeprox

    January 29, 2011 09:34 pm

    Correction: I’ve seen so many “belly button heart” pictures and I thought I was being insensitive for not liking them.. This article made me feel better knowing that I wasn't the only one that thinks it was a bit overrated. Thank you for giving tips on how to capture the “miracle in me" through photography.

  • aling_jeprox

    January 29, 2011 09:32 pm

    I've seen so many "belly button heart" pictures and I though I was being insensitive for not liking them.. This article made me feel better and very thankful for giving Ideas on how to capture the "miracle in me" ;)

  • Gina

    December 10, 2010 11:35 pm

    That would be GREAT!!!!!!- Luciouslilhunni@aol.com!!! Thanks so much- and theyre available for purchase?

  • FREDA

    December 10, 2010 05:39 pm

    Hi Gina, I can send you some examples is you like. let me know your email address if you are interested. FREDA

  • Gina

    December 10, 2010 07:30 am

    I will be doing my first portrait/maternity shoot in a couple of months (i mostly do Macro Flowers and Landscapes)- I do have many ideas and my friend is fully supportive of them all. One shot she really wants is a shot with her wearing the soft tube top and skirt with her belly exposed- and i'm scared to tell her i can't find the outfit anywhere online! would you happen to know where I can find one so I wont have to disappoint her?

    -Gina

    P.S. Your shots are amazing!

  • Kevin Wunder

    November 23, 2010 02:31 am

    I loved the line about being "consistently inconsistent". I just found out that a very good friend of mine is pregnant and am anticipating that I'll be doing her maternity photos. I love the tips and the thoughts shared by the readers as well!

  • mike

    November 8, 2010 02:48 pm

    Is it just me or is the earth tilted in both shots with the ocean in the background? Good information, bad pictures.

  • St Louis Wedding Photographer

    October 29, 2010 03:16 am

    Very nice work. I think location shoots and home shoots are a great alternative to studio shoots for maternity. I think the reason that most maternity shoots are done in the studio is just financial. It takes more time for the photographer to set up and travel for non-studio sessions.

  • Martin Soler HDR Photography

    October 23, 2010 04:15 pm

    Wife is in the fifth month, am soon going to be shooting these. Let's see how to use this.

  • Alf

    October 23, 2010 10:29 am

    Will you remove stretchmarks post-production?

  • Freda

    October 23, 2010 05:24 am

    Matt,
    This lady has perfect skin and NO stretch marks - it was also her first pregnancy I just made the skin darker overall. She does not even have a stretch mark after the baby was born, some people are just lucky to have good skin.[eimg link='http://www.flickr.com/photos/froetjens/4543691263/' title='DSCF7200 (20)_2_2' url='http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4023/4543691263_7a7a405c95_b.jpg'] Here are some more of this lady so you can see.

    But thanks for your comment.

  • Loni

    October 23, 2010 04:25 am

    Great tips!! Thanks Natalie!

  • Jessica

    October 22, 2010 08:17 pm

    Sorry I made a booboo with the earlier attempt at posting an image!

    [eimg link='http://www.flickr.com/photos/jabberwockjess/4519785695/' title='DSC03078' url='http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2695/4519785695_2b7c575ffd_b.jpg']

  • Jessica

    October 22, 2010 08:14 pm

  • Albuquerque Photography Michelle

    October 22, 2010 06:03 am

    great tips!!! made me think about maternity sessions differently.

  • Matt

    October 22, 2010 04:59 am

    @Freda - I took a few photos of my wife during her first pregnancy and her skin looked nothing like that. I tried to remove some of the stretch marks and had real trouble with it. Unless your subject's belly was caked in makeup I think the skin looks pretty unnatural. Otherwise it's a really cool shot!

  • Sus

    October 22, 2010 04:46 am

    Awesome inspiration, and fantastic photos all around. I wish my photographer had read this, before he took my maternity shoots, they were awe-full :o(

    Sus

  • Sus

    October 22, 2010 04:45 am

    Awesome inspiration, and fantastic photos all around. I wish my photographer had read this, before he took my maternity shoots, they were awe-full :o(

    Sus

  • Robin Oberg

    October 22, 2010 04:43 am

    Some of these are as revolting to the eye as lesbians kissing a restaurant just because they're not allowed to, even though noon else there is kissing at all...

  • Robin Oberg

    October 22, 2010 04:38 am

    I know it's not politically correct, but some of these are really unpleasing for the eye. Going around showing your belly is like; a fat male chauvinist pig burping in front of the TV, going straight from the beach to the grocery store sweating allover the fruit section wearing nothing but a thong, wearing jeans that are too small so that your panties and fat belly button is shown to the whole world.

    Taking photos of people showing their belly just because they're pregnant, is like taking photos of lesbians kissing in a restaurant just because they are not allowed to (even though noone else is kissing eachother there).

    In other words: A photo isn't good just because it tries to be provocative in a politically correct manner. You still have to take standard photography principles in mind. You don't photograph people just an inch away from their face, there's a difference between erotica and porn, the message of the photo has to be thought out. Stuff like that

  • Regina Marie

    October 22, 2010 04:20 am

    I really love that first image. I'm getting ready to move to the FL Keys, and love tropical/(tropical inspired) images. I'm going to add that one to my "perfect inspiration" bookmarks!!

  • Claudio

    October 22, 2010 03:46 am

    Love this post. Amazing shots and good tips.

  • wendy grant

    October 22, 2010 03:20 am

    Brilliant post and brilliant photographs! I like to give my clients something different too but it can be a challenge sometimes so thanks for the tips. And, yes I do get asked for the 'heart' photo. There's even one on my website :)

    You've got me thinking now about holding a maternity shoot outdoors!
    [eimg link='http://www.flickr.com/photos/wendygrantphotography/4443558692/' title='maternity photography' url='http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4060/4443558692_bc1db195af.jpg']

  • Salahuddin Ahmad

    October 21, 2010 03:00 pm

    May be this one as well

    Looking forward

    Heavenly lights

    World awaits outside

    Thanks for watching

  • Speedy

    October 21, 2010 09:38 am

    Great article, and superb photo examples to go with the points. Thanks!

    Your sister-in-law's dog Wanda is "as much a part of the family as the next guy"? She may have wanted to you phrase that a little differently. :-) (Made me enjoy an enjoyable article even more though!)

  • Frank T

    October 21, 2010 04:04 am

    I would recommend avoiding the "heart shaped hands" on the baby belly (the bump) - too often, the hands are not shaping a heart, but instead are giving the American Sign Language symbol for "vagina." Relevant, yes, but probably NOT what someone actually means...

    http://commtechlab.msu.edu/sites/aslweb/V/W4338.htm

  • Michelle

    July 28, 2010 05:41 pm

    awesome ideas ! my boyfriend's sister just asked me to do a pregnancy photo session (and i've never done pregnant woman shots in my life).. so im looking for great ideas to start !!

  • Kate

    June 16, 2010 02:21 pm

    Thank you so much for this article! I'm having my first preggo belly shoot this week and was looking for tips to help me through this first time out! Your article was very helpful... thanks so much!

  • Christina

    June 8, 2010 11:04 pm

    Excellent ideas! I loved all the wonderful ideas you suggested. I love the fact that you did not just show a photo of the to-be mother from the front showing her belly. I was very uncomfortable getting my photo taken when I was pregnant because I felt huge. Everyone can tell you when you are pregnant that it is normal, but as a woman, you never feel like it's normal. At least for me it wasn't. I am hoping to take some of your ideas along with some of my ideas and blend them to create some beautiful photos.

    Thank you so much for the great ideas!

  • maternity photography

    May 22, 2010 10:00 pm

    Here i am sharing a perfect maternity picture...
    [eimg url='http://www.photogbiz.com/photography-business/wp-content/uploads/2008/06/maternity1.jpg' title='maternity1.jpg']

    Maternity Photography is becoming quite popular day by day and women from almost every terrain of the globe simply love this idea of unique photo session.It is all about capturing the most memorable moments without giving any trouble to the mother. While shooting, one must keep in mind that a woman can feel really uncomfortable, if she is not cared properly. Therefore taking a proper care of the mother is as important as to capture and aesthetic picture. However, the main requirement for implementing a unique and different idea is to keep the things as natural and simple as you can.

    Maternity Photography is always a good concept to do something different from others.

  • Melanie Thavenius

    May 22, 2010 11:52 am

    My sister is giving birth on Wednesday and we're doing a little shoot tomorrow. Can't wait! Thanks for the tips - hopefully we'll get some pictures that she'll cherish forever. Your ideas definitely freed my mind of from the standard maternity pics I was expecting to take.

  • Freda Roetjens

    April 23, 2010 07:20 am

    I would like to include a photo I took of a pregnant lady.I think its the best time in any woman's life and so precious. I believe the photo must create a memory and be tasteful. Something she can be proud of.
    I would like to hear the viewers comments, views and critique on this photo!

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/froetjens/4543691263/

  • Freda Roetjens

    April 23, 2010 07:07 am

    I love doing pregnant mommies - they absolutely gorgeous, best time of any woman's life and it must be captured to be priceless, with style and respect. Always let it look soft and sensual.

    I am including one of my photo's to hear your comments.
    [eimg link='http://www.flickr.com/photos/froetjens/4543691263/' title='DSCF7200 (20)_2_2' url='http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4023/4543691263_7a7a405c95_b.jpg']

  • robdog

    April 12, 2010 08:29 am

    great pics, now if only my wife could pose i could post my pics

  • Caroline

    March 22, 2010 05:53 am

    My sister has just found out she's expecting her 2nd and has asked me to take some photos throughout her pregnancy. This article has inspired me. Thank you for the tips.

  • vangie

    March 21, 2010 07:33 pm

    I am getting ready to do my first maternity shoot and I am so happy that I found your 7 rules article because it gave me a lot of inconsistent ideas for my photoshoot.....Great job...and 3 boys? no wonder your amazing. I have one and he keeps me tied up all day

  • sharon

    March 11, 2010 06:02 am

    Angie i agree, i too live in missouri,our landscape is a little limited.....lol

  • Mindy A

    March 5, 2010 06:56 am

    Thank you for the great ideas! I am a photography major and my pregnant friend just agreed to by my model. I wanted the pictures to be unique, beautiful, and meaningful. Thanx for the tips!

  • Pakistani Wedding Photographer

    March 1, 2010 06:11 am

    Very interesting ideas...especially "give them something different"

  • shannon s

    February 25, 2010 12:04 pm

    Your tips were GREAT! Thanks for sharing. I have my second maternity shoot coming up this weekend so this is timely and useful.

    Thanks.

  • shannon

    January 24, 2010 01:45 pm

    Loved this! I am shooting my first maternity set tomorrow, so this helped me out a great deal! thanks so much!

  • Tiffany

    October 27, 2009 11:39 pm

    My friend recently took maternity photographs of me and these tips were SO helpful. I'm so glad we got outdoors and did some at home rather than trying to go to a studio or replicate that scene. Thanks SO much for the ideas and tips! Check out the pics here:

    http://thetastefulllife.blogspot.com/2009/10/maternity-photos-do-you-dare.html[img]undefined[/img][img]undefined[/img]

  • Megan Owens

    September 27, 2009 03:12 am

    Great article Natalie. Thanks so much for sharing your perspective and expertise. I'm doing a set this weekend and it gave me some new ideas.
    M

  • Luschka

    August 14, 2009 09:51 pm

    As an expectant mamma, I want to tell you that this article is PERFECT. I'm not a great photographer, but as the one being photographed, this is awsome stuff, because it's all so true. You feel so body conscious, every says you're beautiful but you look in the mirror and just see tired and no matter that the whole world has done this before you, you DO want to feel like YOURS is the most special pregnancy there is! GREAT GREAT GREAT advice here and any photographers that follow it will do themselves proud!

  • Wilson Silverthorne

    August 1, 2009 09:08 am

    Thanks for sharing your experience and tips. I'm doing my first maternity shoot this weekend for a friend. It will be quite a departure from what I normally shoot - but your article was helpful and hopefully we'll make some incredible shots!

    Thanks!

  • Katrina

    July 6, 2009 08:41 pm

    Hi Lizzie, I took some photos of my sister at 5 months and will do more photo sessions each month until she has her bub. (Yes it's her first!) I found great lighting by getting her to stand in the bath tub so the sun light from the full window came through and was diffused by a white curtain. The result being a white background. I mainly took photos from the top of her thigh to under the bust line. She wrapped blue fabric around her legs and for a spot of detail a decorative stone/beaded necklace hung over the fabric like a belt. It was lovely like she was covered in white light. Good luck!
    Katrina

  • Lizzie

    June 17, 2009 02:23 pm

    Hey! I am a young photographer and trying to get ideas for a maternity shoot I'm doing for my cousin and since I had never done one, searched for some tips. I love these they have really helped me and I'm going to her house because I thought it would make her more comfortable and I am relieved to see you have that in your tips.

    I laughed aloud at the "belly heart" part at the top because whenever I mention pregnancy shots to people that I could do they always say that too and inside I am gagging because it is sooooo over done. But I smile and say "yeah those are really sweet".

    Thanks again for your advice! =)
    Lizzie

  • Sonja

    June 11, 2009 05:52 am

    Great article! I'm doing my first maternity shoot tonight outdoos. Well other than mine first one! Great advice though!

  • Cipriana

    May 30, 2009 06:34 am

    Great article! I'm doing my first maternity photos tomorrow for a friend and I found this to be pretty helpful. Thanks!

  • Allan

    March 27, 2009 09:56 am

    Good article and very nice poses. I have a friend who is expecting and I want to take some photo's for her so this was useful.

  • Ryan

    March 13, 2009 01:29 pm

    Nice work. Thank you for sharing.

  • Chrsitine

    October 26, 2008 01:09 am

    Great article. I'm lookin to make some pregnancy photos with my cousin and these tips are very helpful

    Thanks!!

  • Freed

    October 26, 2008 01:09 am

    Thanks for the great information. I still learn to get better picture and creative way.

    Freed
    http://tinyurl.com/5vg2j4

  • Berbel

    October 25, 2008 04:50 pm

    thanks for this post as mom to be (for the second time) and a hobby photographer who has promissed 2 pregnant women from work to give them a shoot as a pregnancy gift. I have been strollig around the internet for inspiration and this gives me plenty!
    Another month before i will do those shoots just in time before my own belly will prevent me from doing so. And to get famliy ready to take my own shots for i would almost forget my own!

  • Rick

    October 25, 2008 02:19 am

    I'm about to become a grandfather for the first time. This is a great article and gives me lots of inspiration for some things we can try quickly before the big day.
    Thanks for a great idea and even better article!

  • Pamela

    October 6, 2008 06:01 pm

    Love that sunset shot, you should post the exif data, was a tripod used? I don't like the heart stuff either, maternity is one of my favs although I have only done 3 maternity shoots so far, looking forward to more!

  • Jeff & Candace Painter

    May 8, 2008 12:06 pm

    Great article, very well written! We have done some prego shoots also and really enjoyed the time with the family. It was cute, the dad was excited about the poses because he actually got to touch her belly. She had a blast and then we went back and did newborn shots. We built an album for her because we were also at the baby shower. The angles are definately important, if its not right she just looks fat, and none of us want that! :)
    I really enjoyed reading this article and the comments posted. It is amazing the value of these types of photos later in life, photography should never be underestimated.

  • Mandy

    April 8, 2008 06:49 pm

    I know this hasn't got much to do with maternity shooting but I have to say I laughed for ages about the baby albums, it's so true!

    My youngest is going to be so peeved with me when she sees her brothers baby photos!!!

  • Diana

    April 8, 2008 01:01 pm

    I personally like the classic heart-shaped hand over tummy portraits. If I wanted something simple and plain, I wouldn't have to search for ideas for maternity pictures. To me, pictures just around the house aren't as unique and "frame-worthy". Anyone can take a picture around the house.

  • Wade Simon

    April 8, 2008 12:00 am

    At the risk of sounding like a pig, I've always thought my wife was sexy when she was pregnant, but I have never been able to do that justice with a photo. Where was this article about 6 or 7 months ago?

  • Gina

    April 7, 2008 02:00 pm

    Thanks for these tips! They've come at the perfect time as I am about to go on my first maternity shoot next week.
    It seems to be all about the angle.... shooting mostly at waist leavel and below facing up. Do you find that's the best way to shoot for impact shots?
    Thanks!! Great article!

  • Andrea Harold Handbags

    April 6, 2008 06:29 am

    I don't think they did work like this when I was pregnant - oh, over 30 years ago. this is really nice - particularly like the tropical trees and sun effect. Nice work.

  • Kristi Steeger

    April 6, 2008 05:47 am

    I really appreciate the thoughts in this article. I absolutely love the outdoor shots here. I had a challenging maternity session recently but found so much joy in making the mother feel good about herself and the way she looked pregnant. I heard a quote once saying "Pregnancy is the only time in a woman's life when she can sit, doing nothing at all, and still be beautifully productive." When I do maternity sessions, this is what I strive to portray!

  • Kasey Langham

    April 5, 2008 10:14 am

    I seen this article a bit too late. I just had my second child November 21 2007, and don't plan to have anymore and I don't have many pic's from either cause most of my photo's were taken on a camera phone and were not printed. I just wanted to comment on how beautiful these picture's are and how great of a job you have being able to take them. I only wish I had thought of something like this to have had for memories.

  • Todd Morris

    April 4, 2008 08:15 pm

    This article is good timing for me as well. My wife is 5 months pregnant, and I've been looking for a good excuse to start getting my camera out again more often. this article has definitely given me some ideas

  • tigerlily

    April 4, 2008 01:44 pm

    Natalie always has very practical advice, and I love looking at her photos. I don't have any plans to do a pregnancy photo shoot, but the tips are helpful for any portrait shoots that you want to have that casual, candid, relaxed feel to them. Thanks!

  • Janna

    April 4, 2008 11:33 am

    These are very powerful shots...........taking pregnancy photos are a favorite of mine......I feel the 8th month is the best time to shoot. What do you think? Thanks for sharing.

  • Crystal

    April 4, 2008 11:03 am

    I love this article and ALL the pictures. I think the last one is my favorite. I havn't had the opportunity to do a maternity shoot yet... but maybe soon and all the info is very helpful! Thanks!

  • HK

    April 4, 2008 06:35 am

    Great article - add one tip learned from experience this week. Don't schedule the shoot too late in the pregnancy. I was planning of taking photos of my prego sis-in-law this past Saturday and we had to cancel because she went into labor the hour before we had made plans to get together...
    TOO late. So now we work on newborn shots... :)

  • Angie

    April 4, 2008 03:05 am

    Natalie,
    I LOVED this article and like many above the opening paragraph regarding "THE" maternity shot was hilarious!! I felt the same way until someone asked me to take shot, too.

    Thank you for the great, great tips and the very well-written, funny and informative article!

    I wonder if I can photography my belly? I'm not pregnant, but it is big! :)

    (P.S. Congrats to Smitty and wife)

  • JP @ vanjesfoto.com

    April 4, 2008 02:23 am

    great article.
    it's always useful. i do maternity portraits and this is def. a plus.

    thanks,

    jp

  • Smitty

    April 4, 2008 01:09 am

    My wife and I had our child on Easter Sunday... just a bit too early for this post!

    So where's the inevitable follow-up article (and the infinitely more useful one for selfish me) on newborns?

  • Art

    April 4, 2008 12:39 am

    Natalie, your writing is awesome, and thanks for the tips!

  • Nishi

    April 4, 2008 12:13 am

    Amazing shot, love how you have captured the lady and of course the background (Love the idea).

  • Katie

    April 3, 2008 11:34 pm

    Great tips, Natalie! I wish I wasn't done with babies, or I would fly to Hawaii to have you shoot me pregnant. (In my dream life, I guess.) =)

  • Valentina Silvia

    April 3, 2008 07:50 pm

    That's really adorable...
    You made some awsome maternity shots which I believe will be love by all woman...
    I love yours pics

  • Shelly

    April 3, 2008 03:55 pm

    Once again, I loved your article, Natalie! Great tips on how to make maternity photography a very fun experience for both the photographer and the client. Thank you!

  • Bilka

    April 3, 2008 02:22 pm

    This is a fantastic article with good information that is well written, well presented and contains images that are beautiful both technically and in subject matter. Shooting "Baby Bumps" is not only a lot of fun but could be an excellent source of income. Done with care and respect it can go a long way to make mommies feel good too by helping them through a sometimes-awkward body image time. I applaud this article and all the mothers presented in the pictures and spoken of in this thread. I also applaud my mother who at 93 still considers me her baby .

    Bilka

  • Rose

    April 3, 2008 10:47 am

    I love the creative angle of all the pictures...how clever.

  • Howard Search

    April 3, 2008 10:04 am

    I recently had the priveledge of photographing my step-daughter's pregnancy and delivery. What a beautiful thing to capture with images. I am particularly proud of the pregnancy photos we produced. I plan to develop this into part of my professional plan.

  • Michael

    April 3, 2008 09:58 am

    My wife is 4 months pregnant and I've been wondering how to start taking the 'belly shots' .... thanks!

  • Jen Weaver

    April 3, 2008 09:52 am

    well written natalie!
    i always enjoy your articles

  • John

    April 3, 2008 09:29 am

    I love the opening to this article - that's the exact thought I've been having these past few days!

  • Richard

    April 3, 2008 07:59 am

    These tips are timeless and apply to all types of shoots. Way to teach how to be creative with those pregnant bellies. I'm loving this post...THOSE SHOTS ARE AMAZING! I love the sunset maternity shot. WOW!

  • Angie

    April 3, 2008 05:29 am

    Getting ready to do a pregnancy shoot very soon. Great info. If only I too lived in HI - the "ocean" here in Missouri isn't quite as beautiful! I'll certainly be using the "in home" advice.

  • Michelle Potter

    April 3, 2008 04:09 am

    Great tips! Now if I can just get my husband to read this. I'm the photographer in our family, but I'm also the one who's pregnant -- and for the last time!!

  • Taryn

    April 3, 2008 03:03 am

    Excellent article! I'm getting ready to take maternity photos of a friend very soon. Perfect timing!

  • Jeremy Hall

    April 3, 2008 02:45 am

    I'm with the comment above - I will less likely to be taking many pregnancy shots - but the tips were excellent. Many of these are well thought out ideas that apply to portraits in general.

  • Michael Scott

    April 3, 2008 01:51 am

    Excellent article. I don't think I'll be photographing pregnancy at all, but it these were very amusing and informative tips - a good read! :-)

  • Mike

    April 3, 2008 01:39 am

    Great article, I've shot pregnant mummies before and there's always something natural and beautiful about a relaxed mum.

    My wife is pregnant at the moment so it's doubly useful!

    Thanks!

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