Sunday, August 14, 2011

Maternity Portraits

So, as you may or may not know, I am an expectant Grandmother! My daughter is due in about 8 weeks and so I've been a bit preoccupied with maternity portraits as of late. I have looked at a whole bunch of other photographer's work (some which is so incredible---some which I'm kind of like "really?!"), and I feel like I've been inspired and motivated to not only capture some wonderful images of my own daughter, but for any other expectant mother that may give me the privilege to record this most wonderful time in her life. I've decided to share some of what I've learned both through reading and through photographing. Since I haven't obtained model releases from others, I will showcase here some recent shots of my daughter. We will be doing another session in a couple of weeks.

*Please note that this list is certainly not an all inclusive list! It's just a few thoughts that I've had as I've been studying and practicing maternity photography.


I think one of the most important things the photographer can do for the pregnant client is to put them at ease and help them to feel as beautiful as they are. It's been said (a lot) that pregnant women have a special glow. Showcase that glow, highlight the natural beauty that comes through at this time in her life. Having been pregnant a few times, I know that I often did not feel like I was looking my best with my tummy in the lead everywhere I went! But being able to draw out and capture the inner, natural beauty is truly a skill that I consider a must have for anyone photographing a maternity session. Talk to her. Tell her how beautiful she is. Let her know as you take the pictures that they are looking great. Of course, if you're a male photographer you will want to be careful so as to not offend or say anything that might get you in trouble! And as you pose, watch where your light is coming from. Highlight the roundness of her bump. Be sure not to accentuate any other roundness that she might not be so anxious to show off!


Although I often take maternity portraits in a studio environment, my favorite images are always those that are done outside or in the client's home. There's something about taking portraits at this time in a woman's life and mixing it with nature that just seems to make it all come together really nicely. Get out into nature. Up to mountains, down to the beach . . . somewhere that let's her feel free--not cooped up! Match the backgrounds with the colors in her clothes. White clothing on the beach with the water just looks good! Darker colors surrounded by the greens and browns of the trees and shrubbery. Beauty surrounded by beauty! Take the natural beauty that emanates from this woman who is preparing a tiny little body to come into this world and surround her with Mother Nature. It just seems to be right.



Keep it simple. Watch your background. Keep any distractions under control. The whole experience of bringing a baby into this world is a miracle. It should be allowed to speak for itself and in doing so, allow the viewer to feel the reverence of the miracle. No matter where you're shooting, pay attention to what else you are allowing to tell this story. Keep it simple!


Don't forget to include other people. Not only the Daddy-to-be, but others in the family. The photo that follows show two of the Aunts-to-be. Show the emotions. The excitement. The happy-ness! At the time of this session, the husband was not available. I will be doing another session soon that will include him. Of especial importance to capture the love that is shared between the mother and the others in her life that will be a part of the baby's nurturing. Also, don't forget to include the baby's siblings. If this is the first baby, consider including the couple's pets! After all, they're part of the family too!


Be original. Although there are definitely poses that every mom may want, don't be shy about creating something that is unique and original. No two mothers are the same! Don't make any two sessions the same. Allow yourself to get to know the mother's personality and tailor your session to her. The portraits should speak more to who she is rather than who you are!  I try to create something new and different for every session that I photograph. While there are great poses that are tried and true and work great every time, it is important to help each mom feel special and unique. While babies are born every day and have been being born for many, many, many years. . .this experience is special and unique for the mom that is standing in front of your lens. She deserves to be treated in a special and unique way!

I hope something here helps as you in your next maternity session! Please feel free to leave comments/suggestions of your own. Thanks for reading.

1 comment:

  1. patti these are wonderful wonderful pictures!!!
    I love them