Remember how I did the Awkward Pregnancy Photos post as a little cautionary tale of what can go nuts with photography? In many of those photos I could totally see what those people were going for, yet some of them went off the rails
Well, I wanted to do a post on some of the key elements in a good pregnancy photo. Not all of them may be your cup of tea but it gives you an idea of some of the options out there.
Here’s what I found:
1. When in doubt, go outside.
Some of the most beautiful shots I found were taken outside. If it’s well lit you can get away with a lot more than if you’re inside especially if you’re not springing for a professional photographer. I took my pregnancy shot on my couch with my camera timer and that’s about how good it looks. Blech.
2. Getting naked is good.
I’ve never been a huge fan of naked anything in photography but the more I looked around at pregnancy photos, the more I realized a couple of things. Pregnancy is one of the few times when your body is doing something really amazing and you may be more willing to celebrate it rather than worry about your cellulite (as we all should, pregnant or not). Secondly, naked is timeless. If you had your maternity shot taken in 1988 you can just imagine what kind of overall/shoulder pad crazy-ass outfit you would have been wearing but if you’d been naked, it would feel less dated now.
3. If you’re going to go fun, go all out.
Some of the best shots I found were total boudoir shots and the genre suits pregnancy really well because you’re all curvy and down with your bad self. I found the shots where people had added a little kitsch here and there didn’t work as well because you weren’t sure if they were serious or not. I love these shots because they document an important time in your life but allow you to portray a fun side especially if you’re not into gerbera daisies or hands in the shape of a heart over your tummy.
4. If you go with a professional, be sure you like their work.
I’ve been in the advertising biz a long time and I’ve learned that if you are looking for a certain look, it’s better to go with a person that does that look instead of someone that ‘says’ they can do that look. If you think the kitschy, retro thing is what you want to do, don’t ask a natural outdoor photographer if they can do it. Some will say “no” and some may need rent money and say “yes” and may or may not do a crappy job. If you’re going to go to the trouble of paying someone, get someone good. If you can’t afford it, do it yourself.
5. Go nuts.
Go in close, go for a different angle and take a billion shots. Straight on shots are often hard because they can look a little flat and they aren’t always flattering so try getting in really close for a few shots, a few from a worm’s eye view and couple from a bird’s eye view and any other way you can think of. You may be surprise at the neat shot you might get.
Also, wanna know what’s popular?
Here’s what seems to be the trend right now. Guys or kids kissing mum’s belly. Tight shot of mom holding flower at her tummy. Hands made into the shape of a heart over your bump. Spelling out “baby”, “boy” or “girl” with blocks over or under your tummy. Wrapping dad’s arm around your tummy (this one seems to be reserved for dads with nice pipes). And wrapping your arms above and below your belly with you looking down.
I’ve seen all of these done really well and really poorly so don’t let anyone tell you it’s a fool proof shot but don’t be scared off by the popularity either.
Oh, and finally, a word of warning. Photographers love to put music on their sites because it adds a nice effect when showcasing their work. So if you’re supposed to be doing something other than surfing for photographers to do your maternity shots (like working yourself), turn your volume off.
Happy shootin’, Folks!
Related: Top 50 Maternity Photoshoot Ideas