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Maternity Photoshoot Tips For Beginners

Photography

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By: Brianna Zantman

When I shot my first maternity shoot I was very nervous, I was worried about what poses were going to work best and I didn’t know what to expect. If this is you, fear not, for I have the best tips to make your maternity clients feel comfortable and for you to be happy with the results. 
These tips are also very helpful for anytime you are shooting on location with a client. 

Make Your Client Feel Like the True Queen

If your client feels comfortable, you will feel comfortable. It’s recommended that you should shoot in the seventh or eight month of pregnancy to ensure they can still move freely. Other tips include: 

  • Shooting near a public restroom in case of emergencies
  • Recommend to your client to bring water and snacks to keep their energy up
  • Take breaks between poses or locations to help keep your client feeling fresh
  • Keep in mind how long your client has been on their feet — shooting time should not go too long

Lastly, use positive language to pump your client up. Sometimes mothers can feel very self conscious in their change of body shape — hearing positive affirmations, like “yas Queen”, “oh my gosh you look stunning,” or “you look so beautiful, you’re killin it” will only make them feel better behind the camera.

Prep Your Client for Fabulous Results

Dressing for the camera might not be on the top of their mind, sending your client photo examples can help. Take caution though — you should not tell your clients they are expected to wear a specific color pallet to match your editing style. They should be able to wear whatever they like. Other clothing tips to keep in mind are: 

  • Neon bright colors might clash with your location 
  • Fine patterns can create grain in the photo
  • Solid, neutral colors made from quality fabric are a great way to look very polished
  • Your client and their partner do not have to “match”, but they should “go together” for the most aesthetic results


My recommendation for expecting mothers looking for a feminie vibe is a flowy dress — it’s fun, flirty, beautiful and classic.

Know the Photoshoot Location Like the Back of Your Hand

Knowing the terrain of your location can help you determine how much equipment to bring and what footwear you should wear. 

Though I basically wear flip flops 99% of the time here in San Diego, on a dirt path tennis shoes are my go-to. On the contrary — when shooting on the beach, I always go barefoot and I avoid wearing long pants. This helps me to move as quickly and as easily as possible along the water and through the sand. 

Hands down, my favorite location in Balboa Park is the mini hidden tropical forest that lies beside the Palm Canyon Trail.

Other favorite maternity shoot locations I’ve shot at have been Mission Beach, Mission Bay, Coronado Beach, near the Hotel Del Coronado and alongside the shoreline of the Coronado Ferry Center. 

Easy Maternity Poses Your Client Will Absolutely Love

Having an arsenal of poses on the top of your head can take time and will come with experience. Do research before your shoot so you have some references in mind. You can print out a collage of poses or keep some references on your phone in case you start to blank.

Don’t expect your client to know how to stand, how to place their hands or where to look. Here are other tips to consider when posing your client: 

  • Not every pose works for every body
  • Consider body types and height differences between partners 
  • One pose might look great with one client, while the same pose might give another client back pain
  • Give posing direction slowly and calmly
  • Never rush into a pose, as it might not feel comfortable for them

Here are some examples of easy maternity poses to try out: 

  • Capture some photos of the expecting mother alone holding her belly
  • Ask your client’s partner to kiss their belly
  • Ask your client’s partner to kiss their cheek. PRO TIP: tell your client’s partner to whisper something funny in their ear, right before the kiss, to capture picturesque laughing reactions.
  • Ask your client and their partner to take a slow stroll

Lastly, just have fun! If you’re feeling prepared and comfortable you will be ready at a moment’s notice to catch all the special moments. If your clients are feeling good, they will feel free and relaxed. This will also result in you feeling less tense and more confident. 

Happy Shooting!

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