How to Take Your Own Maternity Photos

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Updated July 5, 2017
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Hi Bumpies! Today we’re talking maternity photo shoots. These days many pregnant women choose to get professional maternity pictures taken before their little one arrives. These photo shoots are a great way to remember that special time in your life… you know, the time before you had kids and actually had the time to do your hair and makeup!

When I was pregnant with my son I desperately wanted to get maternity pictures taken. However, money was tight and according to my husband, we just couldn’t swing the cost of a session. Shhhh… part of me thinks he just didn’t want to partake in the cliché poses I wanted to do.

When I was 34 weeks along I finally took matters in to my own hands. I grabbed my husband, tripod, camera and a few props and we headed to a local forest preserve. It was right about this time last year, so the foliage looked beautiful and the weather was perfect.

Considering we haven’t had any formal training or professional photography equipment, I think our photos turned out great! If you’re thinking of doing some maternity photos, whether taken by yourself or a professional, I highly recommend them. The photo shoot we did is one of my favorite memories from my pregnancy and I’m so thankful to have the pictures to cherish.

If you’re a DIYer like me, here are a few tips to help get the most out of your maternity pictures (or any other type of photo shoot you do).

  • Try to take your photos between 30 and 36 weeks. You want to show off that bump! But if you wait too long, you risk going in to labor early or being too uncomfortable to enjoy the experience.
  • Take your pictures outside! Places like forest preserves, parks and gardens make beautiful backgrounds. Autumn is probably the most beautiful time of year to take photos outside, so if you’re due in the next few months, you’ve hit the maternity photo shoot jackpot! If a nature-themed shoot isn’t your style, places like libraries, historic buildings and museums also make beautiful backdrops.
  • If you do shoot outside, plan to take your photos during the “golden hour,” which is the couple hours before sunset. Shooting on an overcast day is ideal, but not always an option. If you end up shooting on a sunny day, position the sun behind you or to your side. Try using your camera’s flash to help even out the light.
  • Don’t forget the props. Props can add a lot of visual interest to your photos and will help tell a more complete story. Some prop ideas include: baby shoes, a Baby on Board sign, books, ribbons, balloons, ultrasounds and wooden letters.
  • You don’t need a fancy camera to get great results. I didn’t have a professional-grade camera when we took our photos. We used my Canon PowerShot G10 and tried shooting in a bunch of different scene modes to capture the best photo (I honestly don’t remember which setting we used to shoot the photo above with — sorry!). If you’re doing the photos alone or want to include your partner in a few, learn how to use the self-timer on your camera before you start shooting; it will save you time and frustration. I definitely recommend a tripod for those kind of shots, it’ll help you get the crispest image you can. You can also prop the camera on the hood of your car or a desk to get the perfect shot. But don’t be afraid to get creative with different camera positions and angles, too.
  • Edit your photos after the shoot. Most professional photos are edited to give them a more polished look. I used actions in PhotoShop Elements to give my photos a vintage feel. If you don’t have a similar program on your computer, check out PicMonkey, Pixlr and Picasa, which are free online editing tools.

So what are you waiting for? Grab your camera and get clicking!

Would you ever do a DIY maternity photo shoot, or would you leave it to a professional photographer?

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