Maternity photography is the perfect opportunity to capture that pregnancy glow. Typically scheduled 1-2 weeks before the baby is expected to arrive, it gives mothers-to-be the chance to proudly show their baby bumps and welcome the life growing inside it.

That said, conducting a maternity shoot is vastly different than your typical photography projects. You want to ensure that the mom-to-be is comfortable at all times and doesn’t have to bear with certain environmental conditions that would’ve worked for other photoshoots. You also don’t want to compromise on the quality of your photographs by arranging a maternity shoot under unfavourable conditions.

So, how can you ensure that your clients are happy and have fun during their maternity shoots? Here are a few tips for you to follow.

Use the Best Lighting Equipment

Let’s get one thing straight: irrespective of where you’re having your photoshoot, you’re going to need the best lighting equipment to achieve the desired results. This means investing in the right lights and modifiers for the photo session.

The PiXAPRO Ezylite Twin Kit lighting unit is a great choice for continuous lighting and can be used to click perfect portraits. RGB lighting products such as the PIXAPRO RGB ring light may also be used for maternity shoots which can be used alongside natural light. Alternatively, if you’d rather use flash strobes, then you’ll find some great light head options such as STORM II 400, LUMI II 200, and KINO 600 + at our store. Portable battery flash like CITI300PRO are often picked if you are shooting in client’s house or on location.

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For speedlite modifiers, we recommend PiXAPRO and MagMod models. The PIXAPRO 17x15cm Rectangular Speedlite softbox is a budget-friendly option for photographers that also helps reduce the harshness. The MagMod 2 Basic Kit is another great option that allows photographers to take creative shots.      

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For strobe modifiers, we recommend 105cm rice bowl 2-in-1 softbox and beauty dish, which  produces soft, yet focused lighting as well as creates a soft unique wrap-around light with doughnut-shaped catch lights.  The parabolic design makes it efficient at creating a much higher quality of light than a traditional  softbox. It also creates an almost circular specular catch light but helps provide the quality of light expected from beauty dishes, with the simplicity and portability of a folding softbox. They are suitable for any head shot, half body or full body photo shoot.  

Printed backgrounds are often used pregnancy and maternity shoot if location shoot is not possible. Printed background gives an extra touch of style to your photo shots and add a dynamic feel, and this is very popular in maternity photoshoot industry. Handpainted backdrops have a charm to them that is unique and every piece is different, and your clients will always be happy with the result.

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Plan the Maternity Poses You Want to Recreate

To make your maternity shoots unique for each client, be prepared. Research the different types of maternity poses and add your suggestions and ideas to have a list of poses ready to try out. There are a dozen different ways a mom-to-be can show off her belly and cradle it. Having a professional photographer give insightful tips for maternity poses and hand positions will help her feel more confident and rock the baby belly in style.

In addition to hand positions and poses, also decide on what kinds of shots you want to take during the shoot. For instance, profile shots and straight-on shots are common in maternity shoots as they highlight the belly perfectly. In addition to this, you should also include close-ups of the belly—it’s the centre of the photo shoot, after all. The shots you take should flatter the mom-to-be’s figure and enable her to show her belly prominently.

Evoke Emotions among All Participants

Pregnancy is such an emotional journey for parents. Moms-to-be go through a rollercoaster of emotions when they’re expecting a child which is typically shared by their partners or loved ones.

Evoke these emotions during your maternity shoots. Before you start with a project, sit down with the expecting mother (and other participants) to discuss the pregnancy. Make your clients feel comfortable and listen to their experiences so far. Then use these experiences and details to help them relax and feel comfortable showing emotions when you’re shooting them.

One way to do this is by asking them to talk about their pregnancies during the shoot. This will allow them to show real emotions and give you the chance to capture those raw moments beautifully. Make sure you ask them about any topics or poses that they want to avoid so that you don’t overwhelm them during this little exercise.

Include the Siblings

While both parents are typically part of a maternity shoot, siblings are often left out. Our suggestion? Include them in the photos too so that the entire family gets a chance to experience the moment together.

Portraits of children kissing their mom’s pregnant belly are adorable. If the mom-to-be has a toddler or a young child, it’s best to keep them happily occupied during the remainder of the shoot with a fun activity. For older siblings, you can incorporate interesting poses and cosy shots to capture the moment with everyone in the frame.

Additionally, you can also ask your clients if they’d like to include the grandparents, aunts & uncles, or even pets in the photo shoots.

Honour Your Client’s Vision

It’s extremely likely that your clients already have a vision for their maternity shoot before they come to you. They may have already decided on the theme, location, or poses. It’s imperative that you honour your clients’ wishes, even if you feel that there are better ways to go about the process.

This isn’t to say that you can’t or shouldn’t make suggestions. By all means, offer your input and advice, but don’t impose it. Maybe you have a better location in mind than what the client has decided upon, but hey, it’s their call. Your job is to help bring their vision to life and ensure that they’re not uncomfortable doing something that they didn’t want to do in the first place.

This is also where your listening skills come into play. Pay attention to the little details that your client includes when describing their vision. This will help you create the perfect shots when the big day arrives.

Tell a Story

Who says photography can’t be used to tell a story? Storytelling happens to be an integral part of photoshoots and you don’t want to miss out on this during a maternity photo session.

Instead of clicking pictures one after the other, approach the project from a storytelling perspective. Think of the specific aspects you want to highlight during the shoot and plan your photos around that. This way, your client will have a bunch of portraits that are interconnected and tell a story, making for the perfect photo album.

To effectively use storytelling as a photography approach, shoot with an assortment of medium, wide, and close-up angles. These will help you establish the location and build your way toward the subject. Another thing to keep in mind is lighting and editing consistency. You don’t want half of your images to be taken in bright lighting and the other half to have dramatic effects. Stick to the storytelling theme and be consistent with your lighting and editing.  

Buy the Best Photography Equipment for Your Projects

Got a bunch of maternity shoots lined up? Make sure you’ve stocked up on the essential photography equipment required for clicking professional photos.

At EssentialPhoto, we offer a range of photography products and accessories including flash lighting and continuous lighting products, tailored lighting kits specifically designed for maternity shoots, studio fixtures, tables and tents, videography accessories, and other similar items.

Get in touch with us today at info@essentialphoto.co.uk for more details!