Full disclosure upfront: I have been and will only be pregnant once, I did not do maternity photos, and I truly regret it. So here’s a post encouraging you to learn from my mistake and take maternity photos.
Reasons You Might Be Talking Yourself Out of Maternity Photos (and why they’re lame reasons)
“I don’t feel like I look my best. Why memorialize that in photos?” First of all, you look amazing. Growing a human is amazing and difficult and beautiful and taxing, but you’re doing it and you’re glowing, even if you don’t see it. Second of all, after you have your baby, you will look back on that baby bump with much kinder eyes, believe me. Thirdly, you’ll look back on that beautiful bump and remember the ups and downs of pregnancy, the joy of finding out you were expecting, and also the realization that (as a female relative told me when I was pregnant) you will never have an easier time carrying your baby than when they are in your belly.
“Why take photos before my baby is actually here?” While I wholeheartedly advocate for taking newborn photos and milestone photos once your baby is here, there is absolutely value in taking maternity photos as well. Pregnancy is a valuable part of your baby’s life and deserves to be celebrated. Your baby deserves to see you joyfully awaiting their arrival. And if you have a partner or other children, what a perfect opportunity to include them in these photos so you can show your baby how loved they were before they were even born.
“I don’t have money for maternity photos AND newborn photos.” That’s fair. You don’t have to pay for professional photos for both maternity and newborn if it’s not in the budget. But I still think you should have nice photos of yourself while pregnant, so here are some tips. Just give someone you trust your cell phone. (Bonus points if you have them take my Upgrade Your Phone Photography course) Then follow these tips:
- Find a location that fits your style and reflects the beauty of pregnancy
- Wear an outfit that shows your belly off and makes you feel stunning
- Keep the sun at your back (finding a bit of shade is even better)
- Maternity photos are all about connection to your belly, so every photo should show that connection – eyes looking at your belly (or in the downward direction); hands on belly, both on bottom, one on top one on bottom, etc.; one hand on belly, one on lower back
- Have your person take photos at different angles and perspectives and distances: full body shots, belly-up photos, close-ups of the belly. Look downward; look over your shoulder while holding your belly; photos from the front; photos from the side; photos from above.
- Do a slight edit of photos: decrease highlights, adjust temperature and/or tint, increase or decrease contrast to your liking, etc. Play around with the photo until it looks how you want it to look! There’s no right or wrong in editing.
Moral of the story: whether it’s a friend with a cell phone or a professional photographer, having nice photos of you pregnant will absolutely be something you treasure and are happy to have.