Tips For Maternity Photography


Maternity photography: it’s not just about taking pictures with a camera. It’s about creating meaningful visuals that capture a significant phase of a woman’s life; embodying her strength, expectations, and the profound love blossoming for her yet-to-be-born child.

This enchanting field of photography offers a rewarding experience for both the photographer and the subject. It gives the photographer a chance to embrace the powerful narrative of pregnancy, while giving the soon-to-be-mother a collection of enduring images that reflect her courage and grace.

This guide aims to provide you with practical skills to produce captivating maternity photographs that not only depict a woman’s journey towards motherhood but also the powerful narrative associated with it. We will delve into aspects such as the importance of understanding your subject, choosing appropriate lighting, selecting fitting poses and props, deciding on the ideal location, making wardrobe recommendations, and incorporating family members to make the moment more memorable.

This guide will also emphasize the value of candid moments over posed ones to capture those authentic, almost magical, moments. Together, we will explore how these factors contribute to the art of capturing the essence of an expectant mother’s journey, one snapshot at a time. Let’s dive in to refine your skills and deepen your understanding of this intimate field of photography.

Understand Your Subject

At the heart of maternity photography lies the glowing and expectant mother. It’s about capturing her emotions, her comfort, and, of course, the splendid baby bump. Understanding your subject is therefore a crucial underpinning to delivering a heartfelt and memorable photo shoot. After all, every woman’s journey into motherhood is unique. Hence, taking the time to get to know the woman you’re photographing plays a significant role in setting the stage for a successful shoot.

Begin by acknowledging her journey into an exciting new phase of her life. Show genuine interest in her tastes, preferences, and the ideas she might have envisioned for this special photoshoot. From favorite colors that might bring out her eyes to a cherished trinket that holds sentimental value, every nugget of knowledge can help breathe creativity into your frame.

Talking to the expectant mum about her radiating beauty and strength can also subtly boost her confidence, which can significantly influence how comfortable and natural she feels in front of the camera – a fact that will undoubtedly reflect in your shots.

Remember, this process of building rapport isn’t about prying into personal details or orchestrating a rigid template of questions. It’s about fostering an environment of trust and comfort, and demonstrating the mutual excitement about the magic you’re about to create. It’s a delicate balance worth mastering, as it enhances not only the comfort level of the subject and the resulting quality of the images but also your growth as a skilled maternity photographer.

Practicing empathy and patience, along with your photographic skills, will help reveal a dimension of the soon-to-be-mother that can be beautifully immortalized. So, seize the opportunity to portray not just the physical, but also the emotional transformation that pregnancy ushers in. After all, these precious moments, when encapsulated correctly, will warm the heart of the families for generations to come.

Choose Proper Lighting

Choosing the correct lighting for your maternity photoshoot can make a substantial difference in the overall look and feel of your images. Light, after all, can be used to tell a story as well as embellish your subject’s unique features.

One of the key things to remember is that maternity photoshoots are about celebrating an incredible phase of life, so you want to keep the lighting soft and flattering to your subject. Abrupt, harsh light can create stark contrasts that detract from the gentle, welcoming atmosphere usually associated with maternity photography.

There are two main types of lighting you can utilize: natural and artificial.

Natural Light

Natural light offers an undeniable charm. Stretching your photoshoot into the golden hour or sticking to overcast days can yield dreamy, soft photos with a gentler contrast and highly flattering skin tones.

Usually, an outdoor setting is ideal for this, though if you’re inside, make good use of windows. It’s all about harnessing those soft beams coming from the setting sun or gleaming through cloud diffused skies—the hallmark of an elegant maternity shoot.

Artificial Light

When natural light isn’t an option, artificial light comes to the rescue. Indoor shoots can still be beautiful and result in captivating expressions. The key is to mimic the soft diffused light we often find outdoors.

Avoid direct, harsh ceiling lights. Instead, consider using a diffuser or reflector with your continuous or flash lights to soften the brightness. Softbox lights can provide a diffused and even lighting that is perfect for a tender, heartwarming shoot.

Illuminate the Bump

Lighting in maternity photography primarily serves the purpose of highlighting the baby bump, the pinnacle emblem of this beautiful phase. When positioning your subject, ensure the light source is angled in a way that emphasizes the shape of the expectant belly. Achieving this will add depth to the photo, and more importantly, put the spotlight on the story being told.

In summary, remember to focus on soft, diffused light that flatters your subject and highlights the baby bump. Whether you’re using natural or artificial lighting, the key is to create a serene and gentle atmosphere that complements the essence of maternity. Your capability to manipulate light will not only enhance the aesthetic appeal of your photographs but also deliver an emotional depth, capturing this tender period with grace and finesse.

Poses and Props

When embarking on a maternity photography shoot, the selection of poses and props become critical tools in your arsenal to portray the magnificence of impending motherhood. This section is targeted to provide a treasure trove of ideas, which, when implemented thoughtfully, can serve to elevate your final photo results from simply heartwarming to outright captivating.

Let’s start with poses. Prioritizing the expecting mother’s comfort is crucial, and every pose should emphasize her radiant majesty as a bearer of life while keeping her ease and safety in mind.

Remember that the baby bump is the star of the show. A classic pose can be something as simple as the mother lovingly cradling her belly. Another popular idea is to have the mother gaze downwards towards her stomach, capturing the intimate connection between mother and child. Profiles are incredible at showcasing the belly — by turning slightly to the side, your subject can emphasize her beautiful silhouette while also demonstrating her strength.

Props, much like the cherry on top of sundae, add a delightful touch of personal connection. This can include items that are significant to the mother or the upcoming baby. An ultrasound image serves to echo the joyous anticipation, while baby shoes can illustrate the tiny footsteps soon to come. If the baby’s gender or name has been revealed, customized props that reflect this adds a personal touch to the photos.

Keep in mind, however, that overusing props can steal focus from the main subject of your photograph. They should amplify the beauty of the moment, not overshadow it.

Moreover, photographing the expectant mother in her baby’s nursery, surrounded by accessorized cribs and stuffed animals, also serves as a gentle introduction of the soon-to-arrive tiny tot to the audience. Despite being props, these elements tell compelling tales in themselves about the lovingly nurtured abode awaiting the new guest.

From the pose inspiring awe towards a mother’s strength to the prop evoking sentiments, each element contributes to encapsulating this tender phase. With attentive and artful navigation through poses and props, you can truly mirror the magic of maternity.

Select Suitable Location

When contemplating maternity photography, location selection is not merely about aesthetics; it’s about letting the environment accentuate the emotions and story of the mom-to-be. A properly chosen location adds depth and personality to the photographs, enhancing the narrative while maintaining focus on the expecting mother.

The comfort of home is a highly popular location for maternity sessions. It provides a more intimate and personal ambiance, reflecting the private aspect of the journey. The baby’s future room, a cozy living room, or simply a beloved corner can become settings with deep emotional connections. Always remember to maintain a clean and uncluttered backdrop for an elegant result.

Outdoor locations offer immensely diverse scenarios to amplify the magic of expectation. Parks, seashores, or more scenic and unconventional locations like a graffiti wall or botanical garden could provide a surprising yet enchanting contrast. Natural sunlight grants a soft and warm effect, adding a layer of natural sophistication. However, it’s crucial to consider the weather and the comfort of the expecting mother, especially when considering more outdoorsy or adventurous options.

Professional studios are another excellent option. With complete control over lights and backdrops, a studio allows you to regulate every detail. But remember, the goal is to keep things warm and personal. Avoid clinical and sterile setups. Leverage warm colors, homely props, and diffuse lighting to keep things natural and pleasant.

One location is not inherently better than another. Each brings a different mood, tone, and intimacy to the images. Offer existent location options to your subject and ensure that she is comfortable with the chosen setting, as her comfort will reflect in the photographs. The location after all, should be an accessory to the main event – that radiant maternal glow.

Wardrobe Recommendations

It’s often said that clothes make the man, or in our current context, significantly enhance the visual story of a maternity photo. The right wardrobe choice can add depth and meaning to your images, subtly communicating the mother-to-be’s personality, style, and the poignant narrative of impending motherhood.

Below, we will explore a few popular clothing options and key pointers to keep in mind, all aimed at helping you or your subject look the absolute best:

  1. Comfort above all: Regardless of any fashion trend on the horizon, prioritizing comfort should be a golden rule. A non-restrictive, comfortable outfit helps the mom-to-be feel at ease, adding authenticity to the photographs.
  2. Show the Belly: Maternity photography focuses on the beauty of the baby bump. Thus, snug tops, form-hugging dresses, or even bare belly shots can add emphasis to the mother’s growing silhouette.
  3. Flaunt the Flow: Flowy dresses lend an aesthetic, ethereal quality, enhancing the femininity and beauty of the shot. They are a popular choice, making a win-win combination of beauty and comfort.
  4. Embrace the Lace: Lace gowns, with their romantic and delicate connotations, can add a vintage touch to your photos. Many mothers-to-be find lace gowns captivating, presenting an elegant and timeless portrayal of their pregnancy.
  5. Splash of Color or Tonal Palette: Pay attention to color choice. Some mothers prefer a splash of vibrant color, which can make pictures pop with life and joy. Alternatively, others might lean towards a tonal or monochromatic color scheme to keep the focus more on the emotions and not the attire.
  6. Layers and Accessories: Cute, thoughtful accessories or layers like scarves, hats, or a sentimental piece of jewelry can add a personal touch, subtly hinting at the personality of the mother-to-be.

Remember, the best wardrobe choice will work in harmony with the chosen location, lighting, and posing. It’s a balancing act between artistic aesthetics and the comfort of the mother, ultimately encapsulating the essence of this beautiful, transformative period in a woman’s life.

Get Family Involved

In the quest to capture the unparalleled splendor of maternity, don’t forget the supporting cast – the family. They’re also embarked on the exciting path of welcoming a new member and their presence can enrich the narrative of your photoshoot. Including them in this significant moment can yield memorable photos that echo love, anticipation, and close family bonding.

With the expectant mother as the main focus, think about how you could creatively weave in the spouse. For instance, a touch on the belly, or a shared gaze between the soon-to-be parents can exhibit palpable excitement and profound love. For a high-impact picture, try capturing these moments when they’re not aware, adding authenticity and warmth to the photograph.

Children, with their innocence and vibrancy, are a wonderful addition to maternity photoshoots. They can either be looking lovingly at the baby bump, playing or reading to the expected sibling, or holding a sign announcing their future title. One minor hurdle might be their unpredictable behavior. To overcome this, keep them involved with little tasks throughout the session, or bring along their favorite toy as an engagement tool.

Photographing with pets brings an extra level of charm to the setting, blending this life-changing experience with the comforting consistency of pet companionship. You could include snaps of them sitting protectively near the belly or interacting playfully with the expectant mother. While pets can elevate the adorable factor, they, like children, might not always cooperate. To circumvent this, incorporate them in relaxed settings where they are less likely to be restless, and always keep their favorite treats handy for persuasion.

In each of these cases, remember that comfort is pivotal. Make sure every family member involved feels at ease during the photoshoot. Guide them gently when posing, but also be ready to capture those spontaneous moments of natural interaction that often make the best pictures. The final result should be a treasury of warm, touching memories vividly depicting the anticipation towards an upcoming joyful event – a new addition to the family.

Go Candid

As you hone in your maternity photography skills, an essential tip to keep in mind is to focus on capturing candid moments over staged poses. Authentic moments have the power to tell rich, emotional stories and resonate with people on an emotional level. But how do you go from rigid poses to more natural and flowing candid shots?

Firstly, let’s tackle the stress factor. The idea of a photo shoot can be daunting for many soon-to-be mothers. To eliminate this stress, try to make the photoshoot feel less like a formal event and more like a relaxed get-together. You can do this by playing some soft background music depending on the subject’s preferences, or by engaging in light-hearted conversation that makes the person before your lens feel at ease and natural.

Encourage the expectant mother to behave as she would on a regular day – she doesn’t always need to be looking into the camera or wearing a constant smile. Rather, activities like reading a book, sipping a cup of tea, or simply soaking up some sun can provide beautiful, authentic shots that carry more meaning than any posed photo could. This approach not only captures warmth and authenticity but also beautifully showcases the everyday grace of impending motherhood.

Seizing unexpected moments is another crucial aspect of candid maternity photography. Stay alert to moments of laughter, contemplation, or pure joy that naturally occur during your session. These raw and unfiltered moments can produce some of the most powerful and memorable pictures, embodying a warm realness that no posed photo could replicate.

Also, consider utilizing the golden rule of anticipation. If you see the expecting mother looking lovingly at her belly, be ready for that inevitable touch or caress that follows. In other words, learn to anticipate moments that can spontaneously transform into heartwarming candid shots.

Ultimately, the strength of candid maternity photography lies in its ability to capture and convey a range of emotions, from expectancy and excitement to joy and love, in a seamlessly natural, unforced manner. Remember, your aim is to capture these fleeting moments that genuinely encapsulate the magic and beauty of pregnancy. So let go of rigidity, tune into the natural rhythm of the moment, and let your creativity shine!


We’ve led an engaging and informative discussion, covering different facets of maternity photography. Let’s now wrap up with a succinct recap.

Maternity photography is about capturing the ethereal beauty, strength, and profound joy of an expectant mother. Foster a genuine connection with your subject to know her better, ensuring her comfort as your primary focus. Mastering the art of lighting—be it gentle, diffused natural light, indoor settings, or a blend of both—can significantly enhance the mood and quality of your photos.

Identify singular poses that emphasize the beauty of the baby bump and embrace the mother’s powerful radiance, while enriching your shots with thoughtful props. The location is another fundamental factor; a homely intimacy, a serene outdoor setting, or a professional studio each contribute to frame the narrative uniquely. Wardrobe discussions should underscore comfort and personal style, and by extension, the mother’s inherent grace and confidence.

Get the whole family on board! Including a spouse, other children, and even furry family members, can add warmth and tell a much more rounded, engaging story of joyful anticipation. And remember, while posed shots can be elegant, nothing beats the natural emotions that candid moments capture.

To everyone stepping into this captivating field of maternity photography, remember—it’s more than just taking a picture. It’s about honouring, preserving, and celebrating a remarkable phase in a woman’s life. So, embrace this opportunity, bring your artistic vision to life, and create memories that will be cherished for a lifetime. Let every snapshot you take resonate with the joy, strength, and beauty of maternity.

Your venture into maternity photography promises a rich blend of artistic expression and profound human connections. Can there be a more gratifying experience than capturing moments of anticipation, strength, and inexpressible joy that accompany the miracle of life? Here’s wishing you success and gratification as you unfold the magnificent narratives of motherhood one picture at a time.

The Creativv
American digital marketer and founder of with over a decade of experience in event, travel, portrait, product, and cityscape photography.