happy pregnant woman in outdoor studio at Lifeworks photography, Northcote in Autumn
Pregnancy

How to Take Great Maternity Photos Yourself

Pregnancy is one of the most exciting experiences of any woman’s life. Your body is changing in new and miraculous ways whilst you await the greatest gift you’ll possibly ever receive. You may also be highly disappointed at this particular time that you have had to cancel your plans with a professional photographer for a maternity shoot due to the current social distancing and isolating measures. Don’t let that stop you from capturing this special time, why not make the most of it by capturing some gorgeous DIY photographs to remember this period forever? To help you do that, we’ve created this list with some great ideas to help you to create your own great maternity photos yourself. 

Timing is key to taking great Maternity photos yourself

Maternity photographers tend to recommend taking maternity photos when you’re between 32 and 37 weeks. Keep in mind that you shouldn’t put off your makeshift photoshoot too long, in case you happen to go into labour early! It’s also important not to leave it to the last-minute simply because it may be too uncomfortable for you in the last few weeks.  

Seek inspiration of great Maternity photos

Before you get started, you might like to think about the type of maternity photographs you’d like to take. I’d recommend you seek inspiration from Pinterest or take a look at Julie’s Pregnancy and Newborn Portfolio.

Get yourself glammed up to take great photos 

Although it might seem unnecessary if you’re taking your maternity photos yourself, you should get glammed up and treat the shoot as if it were professional. So, take out the hair curler and that eyeshadow you save for special occasions, and get cracking!

Late afternoon, sunset lighting of a pregnant woman in the outdoor studio at Lifeworks Photography, Northcote MelbourneAfternoon light in the outdoor studio at Lifeworks Photography Melbourne of pregnant woman in a maternity session

Plan your outfit

Once you’ve got an idea about the style of photography you’re going for, you can start to think of what you’re going to wear. When taking maternity photos, you want to really focus on accentuating the belly. So, perhaps you’d like to wear a loose-fitting dress and cup your hands around your stomach to emphasise its shape? Or perhaps you’d prefer a thin, fitted material to show off your curves? Feminine fabrics such as white lace or flowery designs are particularly gorgeous for maternity shoots. Otherwise, you can toss out the idea of a dress altogether and opt for a nude photoshoot, if you’re comfortable! 

Plan your setting for great photos

Taking your DIY photoshoot in the comfort of your own home might be the cosiest of options, but if you’re feeling adventurous you could also plan your photoshoot outdoors! Nature parks, forests, or even the beach can provide beautiful options as backdrops. Better yet, why not take advantage of the seasons? Autumn leaves, for example, can make for beautiful backdrops. In spring, you could utilise the abundance of flowers in your photoshoot. If you do decide to have your photoshoot outside, you should aim for the “golden hour” (about two hours before sunset). 

pregnant woman surrounded by autumn leaves in outdoor studio in Lifeworks photography, Melbourne

Prepare your equipment 

Before you begin your photoshoot, make sure you know how to use your equipment! This will save you from the headache of trying to figure it out in the moment. For example, if you’re taking the photos yourself (or you’d like your partner in some of the shots), it’ll pay to learn how to use your camera’s self-timer beforehand. It could also be a great idea to get a tripod for your DIY photoshoot, especially if you’re taking photographs outdoors. A desk or chair could do perfectly at home, but outdoors it might be a bit more difficult to create a makeshift tripod! 

It’s all in the posture

How you stand can make a big difference in the overall result of your photoshoot. For example, if you’re aiming for a full-body photograph, it is best not to stand with your feet flat on the ground. Instead, place one foot in front of the other and point your toes towards the camera. You can also try placing your foot closest to the camera on its tip toe and lifting your leg to accentuate your natural curves. During pregnancy, we tend to gain some extra weight (which is fabulous because the baby needs the nutrients, but less fabulous for our photoshoot!). So, you can try lifting your head and straightening your shoulders to ensure you’re not slouching. Another great tip is to hold your arms at a slight distance from the body (this will ensure they aren’t pressed up against your body and looking larger than they truly are). 

Experiment with props

There are truly an infinite number of props that you can have fun experimenting with in your DIY photoshoot. For example, holding a fresh bunch of flowers and looking out a window can make for a beautiful photograph. Another idea is to take a milk bath and use flower petals and candles for decoration. You can make a milk bath simply by adding milk or oats to the water, otherwise you can also purchase a bath soak for the shoot. The milk will ensure that the water is not transparent, so you can cover parts of yourself whilst revealing your belly. 

Optimise your lighting for taking amazing phtos yourself

How you utilise light during your photoshoot can make a big difference to the end result. If you’re aiming for a moody shoot, try limiting the amount of light in the room by simply closing the curtains. If you want to highlight your belly, you can try standing by the window with the curtains closed and manipulating the sliver of natural lighting to highlight the roundness of your belly. 

black and white of the beautiful shape of a pregnant woman taken in low lighting at Lifeworks photography, Melbourne

Get the family involved

If you already have children, this is the perfect opportunity to get them involved! Capturing these precious moments with your kids will eternalise the excitement of the moment so you can look back on these feelings for years to come. If you have a partner, get them involved as well! A shot of them kissing your belly can make for a great photograph. 

little girls hugging her mums pregnant tummy with a happy smile at Lifeworks Photography

Edit your photographs afterward 

Almost all photographers will use editing software to create an exceptionally polished feel. You can try editing your photos yourself using programs such as Light Room or try free tools such as PicMonkey, Pixlr and Picasa. 

Hire a professional

The last tip is to simply throw the towel in and hire a professional once this is all over if the timing is right! Hiring a professional will ensure you end up with beautiful maternity photos that you can treasure for a lifetime to come. To find out more, you can contact Julie at Lifeworks Photography here

This article is written in collaboration with Babysits – the babysitting community of Australia. If you’re looking for babysitters in Melbourne, be sure to check us out! For more parenting tips, you can also check out our helpful community resources.