I want to help you have the best maternity photoshoot possible. I loved being pregnant more than anything, so I couldn't wait to capture my bump on camera in one of our favorite spots in Malibu.
It was such a fun afternoon; I wish we could do it again. Below is everything I learned from doing this kind of shoot!
ALL ABOUT TIPS FOR THE BEST MATERNITY PHOTOSHOOT
ALL PHOTOS BY LAUREN TURNER PHOTOGRAPHY
WEAR SOMETHING YOU FEEL COMFORTABLE IN
You will only feel and look your best if you are comfortable. So make sure you choose clothing, undergarments, jewelry, and shoes that you feel comfortable and confident wearing.
Consider bringing backup items like:
- safety pins
- an alternate-style bra
- backup underwear or shape-wear
- backup comfortable shoes to change in and out of if you have to walk any distances
- Band-Aids (for blisters)
I opted for a long Norma Kamali dress. I love this brand. It's not a maternity clothing brand, but all their items are a thick, quality stretch knit that will likely fit your bump.
I purchased my dress two sizes up, which fit great and was so comfortable to wear and navigate the short hike up to the top of Point Dume.
The dress was a little more bare up top and in the back than I was used to revealing during pregnancy, but my flower shawl (more on that below) helped make me feel more comfortable and gave me a little more coverage.
I opted for these over-the-knee boots because I wasn't sure how chilly it would be at the end of October by the ocean.
(Sidenote: these boots are one of the best purchases I've ever made. You can dress them up or down, and the flat sole makes them super for walking and keeping comfortable while still looking stylish and elongating your legs!)
I recommend trying on your entire maternity shoot outfit before your photoshoot. Then move around your home while wearing it for 15-20 minutes, and make sure your undergarments lay flat and don't pinch or ride up.
Nothing takes the fun out of a photoshoot like a constant wedgie or hot fiery blister.
WHAT I WORE TO MY MATERNITY PHOTOSHOOT
plan (at least) two looks for both you and your significant other
Give yourself a few outfit options, even if it's a small change.
My two looks were:
- the black dress and flower shawl
- just the plain black dress without the flower shawl
My husband's two looks were:
- with grey sports jacket
- without grey sports jacket
Planning more than one look ensures that your shoot will be a success. The entire shoot won't be wasted if you dislike how one look appears on camera.
Also, each outfit change can make it look like an entirely different shoot, so you'll be able to use the photos in more ways.
And finally, if you have a wardrobe malfunction (a stain or tear), your second option will undoubtedly save the day.
ADD FLOWERS TO YOUR PHOTOSHOOT
I loved using flowers in our maternity shoot. Flowers add visual interest, color, dimension, and texture, not to mention they are so versatile in how you can incorporate them.
Some floral ideas for your best maternity shoot:
- flower crown
- hat with flowers tucked into the brim
- flower behind your ear or scattered in a braid or throughout your hair
- flower petals
- a single long-stem flower
I DIY'd the flower shawl you see in my maternity photos. I used this shawl, cut it to a smaller size, and then used my hot glue gun to fasten an assortment of flowers. (Be sure to get a bulk pack of hot glue sticks, I went through a giant package!)
DIY FLOWER SHAWL SUPPLIES
wear a solid color, no patterns or prints
Patterns and prints will distract from the main feature (you and your bump) and might also distort your shape in photos.
I recommend wearing a solid color that complements your skin tone and creates some contrast for the photo. For example, if you are fair, try wearing a richer gem tone instead of a white or soft pastel color.
Consider wearing a solid color but in a fabric with an interesting texture, like lace, velvet, or shiny silk. These fabrics look beautiful in photos but are less distracting than prints and patterns.
MATERNITY DRESS IDEAS
Don't pose or look STRAIGHT at the camera
The best photos are the ones that look like the subjects don't realize their picture is being taken.
Look for a photographer who has a less posed style and more of a natural, candid style. The photos can look unnatural and forced if you're standing still and smiling directly into the camera.
Plus, you'll miss capturing the authentic emotions you're both feeling!
So be sure to interact with your significant other, move, be playful, hug, kiss, dance, and talk about things that make you both happy.
This tip will yield photos that tell a more compelling story than those from the "1-2-3 cheese" creative direction.
CHOOSE A LOCATION WITH MULTIPLE BACKGROUNDS
When choosing a location for your shoot, look for a spot with several different backgrounds.
Like the outfit options mentioned above, multiple backgrounds can make it feel like you did various shoots!
You may also be surprised which background looks best in your photos.
Our location, Point Dume, has so many nooks and crannies for us to shoot, all within a short walking distance:
- the ocean overlook
- the top of the bluff
- the side of the bluff
- the beach
You don’t want to waste any good beginning or end of daylight driving to an entirely different location. So choose a place that offers more than one backdrop.
BE DIRECT WITH YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER ABOUT WHAT YOU WANT
Assemble a mood board on Pinterest to show your photographer the vibe you like. Pin 20-30 images that reflect the framing, style, energy, and color you want your shoot to reflect.
If you choose not to give your photographer some creative direction, you can’t be mad at her if you don’t like how your photos turn out.
Don't hesitate to tell them precisely what you'd like to try during the shoot and what shots are off-limits.
WEAR MORE MAKEUP THAN USUAL
Go a little heavier than your usual daily makeup for a professional shoot. Your everyday look may not provide enough oomph for your shoot. It might feel like you're wearing too much makeup but trust me; it won’t look that way in photos.
Consider splurging and getting your makeup professionally done before your shoot
If you do your makeup:
- Add some natural-looking fake eyelashes for extra eye oomph. (I’m wearing these falsies.)
- Use long-lasting lipstick so your lip color lasts the entire shoot. (This lipstick is my favorite, it lasts all day!)
- Bring powder, concealer, lipstick, eyelash glue, a hand-held mirror, travel hairspray, bobby pins, etc., and other items for touch-ups throughout the shoot.
MATERNITY SHOOT MAKEUP MUST-HAVES
take photos aT the beginning or end of daylight
You don't want to do a photoshoot at the height of the day when the sunlight is direct; it will cast harsh shadows on your face.
On the other hand, an overcast day makes for the perfect lighting for an outdoor shoot.
Any decent photographer will offer this tip to you: book your shoot just after the sun rises or before the sun sets. Try either of those times to get the softest, best light of the day.
On the day of our shoot, the sun went down at 6pm. We met our photographer at 4:30pm. The sun was low in the sky, we avoided harsh shadows on our faces, and the pictures had a warm, golden, and natural glow.
ReLAX AND ENJOY YOURSELF
Being in front of the camera when you aren't used to it can feel awkward or intimidating.
You might feel self-conscious about other people watching or how your bump looks in your dress, or you might feel uncomfortable because you are very pregnant!
Relax and enjoy being the star. Pretty soon, the baby will arrive and get all the attention. So for these few hours of your photoshoot, make it all about you, your beautiful bump, and the love you share with your significant other. Enjoy the spotlight and soak it in.
Here are some ideas of how to relax if you feel uncomfortable in front of the camera:
- Start the shoot knowing there will be a bit of a "warm-up" period. Like a sport, it takes a little moving around to feel like you're in the swing.
- Ask your photographer to play your favorite style of music from her cell phone. (We had Chris Stapleton playing!)
- Focus on each other, talk to each other the whole time, make eye contact, and enjoy the beauty of the location.
- Pretend the photographer isn't there if you have to.
Follow these suggestions, and I'm sure you'll be so relaxed and warmed up by the end of the shoot that you won't want it to end.
Go out to dinner after your shoot
We did a 4:30pm shoot, so the timing worked to go to a nice dinner on the beach afterward. We wrapped up around 6pm as the sun set into the Pacific and the magical golden hour faded.
You and your significant other will probably feel extra spiffy after getting dressed up and having your photos taken. Your hair and makeup look spectacular, and you're already dressed to impress!
So why not extend the photo buzz into a nice dinner out?
It will feel like such an extra special evening, not just because you're all dressed up but because you're excited to see the results of your shoot, and meet your baby in a matter of weeks!
You are so beautiful mama-to-be, and I'm glad you've found this post because you want to capture the magical transformation of your body. I hope these tips inspire the best maternity photoshoot possible. Enjoy every second of your pregnancy; it goes so fast!
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