Maternity and Pregnancy Photography – How to Have a Successful Shoot

A photography niche that is growing in popularity at a brilliant rate is maternity photography. Also sometimes known as pregnancy photography.

Many folks shave aced with great surprise upon hearing that I am on my way to do a maternity shoot, and seem to genuinely believe that I am about to be present at the birth of somebody’s baby! While this might conjure up glamorous images of McDreamy and McSteamy from the TV Show ‘Greys Anatomy’, the actual baby, still happily housed inside the mommy’s tum is the preferred state required for a successful maternity shoot.

The whole idea behind the shoot is to capture a radiant glowing, mother to be, with a perfect fig shaped tummy.

Know when to Arrange Your Shoot:  How Pregnant is the mom to be? Some mums remain resplendent and cool as a cucumber throughout pregnancy, and others pass this unforeseen point of no return and swelling (I speak from personal, intimate experience!) and are better photographed somewhere between 6 and 8 months.
Photograph the Mum-To-Be in Comfortable Surroundings:  This can be at her own home, her parents home, a local park or anywhere that she feels comfortable.  Make sure you discuss one or two optional locations in case you chose the park, and the weather is inclement.
Discuss Beforehand, the Number of People Involved:  Make sure that you discuss beforehand, the number of people that the Mum-To-Be would like to have included in the shoot. Sometimes Mums-To-Be like to be photographed alone, or with their partners and or other children. Some will want an all-out extended family shindig, and invite the whole family and more.  However, having more than 4 (depending on the number of existing children of course) people involved in the shoot, turns it into a basic family shoot, in which one person is simply puffy and pregnant, so these situations are best avoided if you want a client who loves their radiant pregnancy photos; because by limiting the numbers, you will be able to focus far better on making the Mum-To-Be look great. Wasn’t that the whole point of the shoot anyway?
Use Adobe PhotoShop Liberally:Yes, now is the time to bring out those celebrity retouching skills with wild abandon!  I have yet to meet a pregnant woman who actually likes the look of herself with puffy eyes, and double chins *in every shot*. So this is your opportunity to de-pimple, de-wrinkle and brighten better than any face cream ever could! In 10 or 20 years time, your client will look back on the photographs fondly, and only remember the good things about her pregnancies, and your job will have been well done!
Use Natural Light Where Possible:  natural light is far kinder than harsh lighting or flash bulb popping, which will show up every vein, stretch mark, and wrinkle. If the natural light is too bright or too blue, or whatever, then try to edit your photographs using something like Adobe Bridge’s Raw Editor, and then go to point number 4 and go wild.

The best of luck to you with your Maternity and Pregnancy Photography endeavours.

Vanessa MacLeod is an accomplished photographer, based in Cape Town, South Africa, but with a global audience. She specializes in Wedding, Portrait and Equestrian Sports Photography. She also a professional graphic designer, and SEO consultant for numerous websites, and enjoys the challenges and excitement of new technological developments.