A maternity photo shoot can be a great way to document one of the most momentous occasions in a new mother's life, welcome a new family member and share the exciting news with friends and family.
In order to get the best results and take photos that will flatter, however, there are a few things you should take into consideration.
1. Timing is everything
The timing of maternity photo shoots matter, because you want the belly to be clearly visible on the photos, but not so big that mum and baby are beginning to feel uncomfortable or will be overly tired out by a long photo shoot.
Every woman I have photographed has had a slightly different timeline, but as a rule of thumb, I'd say between 7-8 months is the best time to schedule a maternity session.
Of course, each woman's body is different, so once you see the baby bump popping out, that's when you'll want to schedule in a session.
2. Make sure your subject is comfortable
Maternity photography is all about serenity, so it's important that everyone involved in the photo shoot is feeling calm and relaxed.
Mums and dads should feel comfortable during their session. I usually try to shoot photographs with a mixture of the home, the baby's room, and possibly a couple of outside shots as well. This allows you to see where everyone feels most comfortable and natural.
Also, avoid asking mums to wear things that they wouldn't normally wear, as you can always tell when a mum is feeling uncomfortable because of the clothes that she's wearing during her session.
3. Choose the right setting
I love shooting maternity photographs in a variety of settings. This way you can get some cute and snuggled up looks on the sofa or create some fond memories in the new baby's room.
However, that the number one thing photographers should do is choose a setting or backdrop that is true to the client as a person. If someone loves the outdoors, you could do some shots outside, or if they'd prefer to take photos only in and around their home that is fine too.
Personally, I love to photograph new mums in their homes, as I feel like this helps them relax and feel comfy. I also have a lifestyle approach to my sessions, so even though I do a couple of poses with clients, most of it will just be them interacting with their baby and/or spouse.
4. The details matter
When advising mums on what to wear for maternity photo shoots, I suggest putting comfort first. If someone loves wearing long dresses, get that maxi dress out, but if they're more of a jeans and shirt gal, that's fine too. I do suggest having two looks on hand; one that's slightly more casual and one that is a bit dressed up.
One more thing to keep in mind is the father's attire, because while the mum might be the main focus of the photo shoot, it's nice to have some couple photos as well.
I feel like we tend to focus so much on mum that we forget that dad needs some grooming too. In particular, make sure hands are always well washed with soap, as close up shots of the dad's hands on the belly are nicest when there's nothing stuck under the fingernails.