Getting Photos Done Professionally Part I: Maternity
Need some guidance in getting your pregnancy photos done professionally? Check out GeoBaby's tips on how to book, plan, and see through a photoshoot!
Congratulations, you’re pregnant! As a mum-to-be, it’s natural that you’d want to document this special time for yourself, your family, and for your future little one. All it takes is a good photographer and a few helpful tips from GeoBaby to get the camera clicking.
We got the scoop from professional photographers Maria Sze and Hazel Chiu on how to get the most out of your maternity shoot. With more than a decade of experience between them, they’ve got all the insider info you need to help you get your own set of stunning, timeless photos.
Hire a photographer you trust
They say photos are only as good as the photographer, so hire someone who knows what they’re doing. Go through our checklist to help you find someone you can enter a creative partnership with.
- Research: Browse our resource directory for baby photographers, ask your friends for referrals, or just Google it. This should be done during the first trimester.
- Examine: Go through each photographer’s online portfolio to make sure they’re a match for you stylistically. Look at their photos first, not their prices!
- Discuss: Once you narrow down your list, meet up with your photographer to go through ideas, including where to shoot and who else will be part of it.
- Find a package that works for you: Photographers offer a wide range of services including retouching and a Before/After package (a maternity and a newborn shoot). Also, don’t be afraid to negotiate for a better deal.
Finally, once the photographer takes her place behind the camera and you’re in front of it, let her work her magic.
Book early and on time
Photographers are incredibly busy throughout the year, as there isn’t a peak season. “People have babies all year round!” says Chiu.
Maternity photos are usually taken around 30 - 35 weeks, when you’re still relatively mobile and not yet suffering from swollen feet and hands. Once you know your due date, book a shoot at least 2 – 3 months in advance of that date. Photoshoots take around an hour or so, plus prep time, so remember to clear your schedule so you’re not rushed.
Traditional or modern? Studio, home, or the outdoors?
You’ll need to figure out the style and types of shots you want to capture. Traditional shoots are usually done either at home (to make it easier for Mum) or in a studio in order to use studio lamps to create special mood lighting. Traditional shots can sometimes look cheesy; to avoid that, choose simple, understated props and poses.
A traditional shoot usually incorporates the following poses:
- The husband or older sibling touching, listening, or kissing the belly
- The husband hugging the wife from behind and looking down at the belly
- Using hands to create heart shapes on top of the belly
- Placing baby shoes or toys on top of the belly
- Using lots of props, like message boards
- Going au-naturel like Demi Moore
Modern shoots lean towards a more casual, relaxed, lifestyle photos that you’ll often find in glossy magazines. These photoshoots are usually done either at home or outdoors with minimal artificial lighting.
If shooting outdoors, choose a place you’re comfortable with
Keep in mind that once you’re 30 weeks in, trekking up the Peak or sailing to a remote island for a shoot will be a pain and totally impractical! If you’re thinking of taking outdoor photos, Sze recommends doing it somewhere near your home to avoid wearing yourself out before the first shot is even taken.
“Pregnant women don’t want to go too far,” she notes. “It’s too tiring.”
Also, choose a location that you’re familiar with and have good memories of, as it will help you relax faster and give you good vibes. The location will also be captured on film for a lifetime so you’ll want to choose a place that’s meaningful to you.
Aim for the Magic Hour
If you’re shooting at home or outdoors, try and schedule it for around 4 – 5pm or just before the sun sets. Photographers call this the “magic hour” or “golden hour” as the sunlight is at its softest, and lends a charming, dreamlike glow to the subjects being photographed.
“It’s my favourite time,” reveals Chiu. “There’s something magical about natural light that wraps around the subject and creates that warm and cosy feeling that I love.”
Get ready for the shoot
If there’s one thing you can do to prepare for the shoot, it’s to spend a day at a spa beforehand to feel great, ooze confidence and radiate a healthy glow. “Get pampered, get the skin ready and just relax,” advises Chiu.
And when deciding on what to wear, both Sze and Chiu suggest wearing something comfortable, whether it’s a dress, T-shirt and jeans, or even just a scarf (for an intimate boudoir-style shoot)!
“Wear something you love that can show off the belly,” advises Sze, adding, “some clothes are too large or too loose and can’t really show the beautiful S-shape.”
To avoid taking cringe-worthy photos, remember to just relax during the shoot. To help lighten the mood, both Chiu and Sze suggest having hubby there to shower you with compliments and boost your confidence. “It’s very important to make the mum feel beautiful,” says Chiu.
Get the whole family involved
Whether it’s your older children or your pets, get the whole gang together in front of the camera. “I love incorporating siblings, it’s a special moment for them as well” says Chiu. “And pets are part of the family too! Having them there adds more meaning to the photoshoot.”
But that’s easier said than done, especially if the older sibling is pre-schooler. As young children don’t really understand what exactly is going on, it’s important to curate the shoot for them. Sze suggests doing activities the sibling enjoys to hoist their enthusiasm and create an energetic ambiance.
“We’d suggest going to the beach and having fun,” says Sze. "We don’t ask them to kiss their brother inside Mummy’s tummy.” But if the older sibling is old enough to understand, then more direction can be given.
When posing with your pets, feel free to cuddle with them on the sofa or bed. But if Fido is not allowed on the furniture, there are other things you can do to set the scene.
“I’ll have my clients [standing and] talking to the dog,” says Sze, adding, “so when the dog is listening, it looks as if the dog is looking at the bump. It’s telling a picture, a story.”
It's all about the angles
When posing in front of the camera, you should always remember the golden trifecta: angles, angles, angles!
“Put the arms in an angle with the hands on the tummy and slightly put the bum out,” says Chiu. If you’re not confident about your bum, “tilt the hip slightly away from the camera, so the booty won’t stick out. Also, have one foot on tip-toe.”
“To highlight the curves, always show your profile,” advises Chiu.
Lastly, just remember to have fun and be yourself. Before you know it, the session will be over in a “flash”!