Monday, May 27, 2013

DIY Maternity Pictures

A couple months before Logan was born, I bought a new camera. I've always loved taking pictures and I decided I should have a good camera to take pictures of the new baby. I wanted to test it out first and I thought it would be fun to do a maternity shoot with Amanda. She couldn't afford to have professional pictures done, so I figured it would serve us both - I could play with my new camera, build a portfolio of sorts, and she'd get pictures out of it.

The pictures turned out really well (even though I ended up hating that camera), and we had a lot of fun. The only thing that sucked was that it was January and we had to do pictures inside. We got my brother to move a bunch of furniture and we used a plain wall as a backdrop. I got Amanda to pose in different ways and we used props like flowers, baby shoes, and stuffed animals. Here are a few examples from that shoot:


You can see all the photos from this particular shoot in this album

I've learned a lot in the last 3+ years about lighting, angles, framing, etc. I've also got a much better camera (a Canon PowerShot A810 for anyone interested - nowhere near the professional type of camera I'd love to have someday, but for a point and shoot, plus a price you can't beat, I'm very pleased with it).

If you can't afford professional photography but want maternity pictures, it is possible. If you know someone who can work a camera and who's willing to take pictures of you, there are all kinds of ways you can do DIY maternity photos. Pinterest is a goldmine for ideas on poses and props. You can do themes, wear costumes,use props, or do things very simple and clean depending on your style and what's available to you.

My tips for DIY maternity photography:
  • Aim for natural lighting. If it's possible to do it outside, that would be your best bet unless you have professional equipment. If you have to do it inside, try to work near a source of natural light so you don't have to use your flash.  If you do have to use a flash, be aware of shadows and other lighting elements. 

  • Tell the mommy-to-be to relax and be as natural as possible. The focus should be on her natural beauty and the glow she's rocking from carrying a tiny person inside her! Work with that - she doesn't always have to be looking at the camera. Some of my favourite shots are when the mommy is looking at her belly or even looking away from the camera in contemplation. Give her some prompts to get a small, natural smile out of her - tell her to picture seeing her baby for the first time, holding it for the first time, seeing those tiny little fingers and toes. Or tell her to think of the immense power she has - she's created life, and that's an incredible thing. 

  • Outside shoots are not only fun, they're beautiful. Find an area that doesn't have a ton of people around, whether it's a forest, a field, an orchard, a beach, whatever (just make sure it's not private property!). 

  • Poses: there are endless possibilities here. You can have Mommy sitting, standing, lying down - just make sure she's comfortable, and make sure the belly is visible. You can do head-to-toe shots, shots from the waist up, or just focus on the belly. If you're somewhere scenic, try doing a few shots from far away so you get some of the scenery in the background. You can also have Mommy stay in one spot and have whoever's taking the pictures move around - squat, lie down, stand above her. Play with angles and light.

  • When working with kids...good luck! Seriously. But really, unless you have kids who will actually sit and pose, candid shots are likely your best bet. Get them talking and playing and then just snap away. You might get one good shot for every five, but hopefully there will be a few gems in there. When you're working with kids, I say don't be above bribery - promise them something in exchange for posing for a few minutes. Unless they enjoy posing and are working with you, keep their shots to a minimum or they'll get restless.  

  • As for editing, I recommend keeping it to a minimum - again, you want to let Mommy's inner beauty shine through and not get lost in the effects, filters, etc. I discovered this editing trick a few months ago and since then I've been using it on most of my photos. It's simple, it's clean, and it basically just makes the colours pop without being too much. Black and white or sepia are often nice for maternity shots too. Obviously it's your preference and what you think looks best, but these days I tend to like simple editing, or even no editing at all. Don't have editing software? Don't worry! There's absolutely nothing wrong with natural shots.


I wanted to do several other shots with Amanda this time around but it just didn't work out that way. These were impromptu - we were on family outings and decided we liked the scenery so we just went with it. These were taken two different days in two separate areas. Both shoots were done in the evening with softer light, and we ended up heading into sunset both times, which was really pretty. The silhouetted shots were just pure luck and ended up being among my favourites. 

Let me reiterate: I am not a professional photographer. I have a simple, inexpensive point and shoot camera. You do not have to be a professional, spend a fortune, or have a studio to get really lovely maternity shots.  




To see all the pictures from these two shoots, you can view the album here

Have you ever had a professional photo shoot done? If you have kids, did you have maternity pics done? Have you ever done a DIY photo shoot? Have any questions for me?


Jessica L. Tate said...

You did a great job with these photos! Amanda's lucky to have you as a photographer to capture these moments. :)

Unknown said...

Oh wow, Marie! The last one is GORGEOUS. I can tell you really took the time and care to get some awesome pics. Amanda is super lucky to get to have you, like Jess said. <3