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6 awesome maternity photo ideas - The Photography Express

6 awesome maternity photo ideas

maternity photo ideas

Getting started in maternity photography can be challenging! Not only you need to plan extremely well but you also don’t get much opportunity practice taking this kind of photographs. To make things even harder, as the photographer you will be working under time pressure because the mom-to-be is less mobile and she gets tired easily. Therefore, the location of choice and duration of time taking pictures are limited.

In fact, the biggest time pressure is the possibility the upcoming birth of baby. This is probably (and most likely) the once in a lifetime chance for her to take maternity photograph. So make it count! I don’t want to scare you, but my last client gave birth to her child only 2 days after the shoot! If I had not gone to the photoshoot that weekend I’ll regret this forever.

So what are some tips and tricks to get the shot simply and easily? There are many ways but let me show you 6 of my favorite maternity photo ideas to you (#6 is my favorite so hang tight)!

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Window light

This set up basically does not require you any time. All you need to do is place your subject near the window and make sure her face and belly is properly lit (usually around 45 degree to the window). If the window does not have curtain, go to Joanne, dollar tree, Michael, Hobby Lobby etc and just buy piece of thin white cloth that you can hang next to the window.

I’d say having window light is the best and should be your very first set of photographs for your client. You want to make sure you get the normal shots out of the way first before you try anything different. My suggestion is to make your subject look fat (I mean in a good way for maternity photograph). Show as much of her belly as possible and make sure to pose your subject in a comfortable position. That’s it!mas maternity photoshoot 1

Black and white (B&W)

I love black and white photograph. However, being a Chinese sometimes it means bad luck when you use B&W in such a joyful situation. For me, as long as the client is happy I don’t care which happens 99% of the time.

When doing B&W look for high contrast areas such as a spot where bright and dark areas comes together. Usually I can find it right next to the window. Before you begin, switch your camera to B&W because it WILL MAKE A DIFFERENCE.  Trust me, you want to know what the picture looks like in B&W as you shoot.

BONUS TIP: A lot of photographers tend to neglect using window blinds to produce a unique light source for B&W photographs. They always thing soft white curtain window light is the only way to go. So don’t forget the light strip works very nicely to your advantage : )

Maternity photoshoot 6

One light indoor

My favorite lighting set up is using one speedlite to light my subject. It’s simple and elegant. When you are working indoor (no matter inside a home or studio) don’t forget to do this one light setup as your shot!

The picture below was shot in the middle of the day in a bedroom with white walls. Your first question must be “how did you make the background all black”? The answer is, I didn’t do anything to the background I just used a faster enough shutter speed to make the picture all black. Then, I added in a speedlite so my subject is lit on the area where the flash light hit.

The way to position your speedlite is to use a softbox on a monopod and position it about 45 degree above your subject. You may need to adjust to make sure the face and belly of your subject is probably lit.

I’ve more tips of using one light on location below, but for now just remember to use a one light setup indoor as one of your maternity photography photo ideas.

Maternity photoshoot 7

Two lights indoor

This is probably the hardest set up in the whole article you are about to finish reading. But it only takes 5 minutes for your to set up! Here, you will need 2 flashes (or studio strobes) and 2 strip banks softboxes.

Similar to the one light setup above, the only difference is to position each flash 90 degree to the front and back of your subject. Now the flashes should hit your subject’s front and back. With fast enough shutter speed (within the sync speed) you should also be abled to throw the background off to black to produce a photograph similar to the one below.

Maternity photoshoot 4

Spot Light indoor

A cool maternity photo ideas is to use a spot light to light the backdrop, so that your subject is silhouette towards the camera. The result should be similar to the one below. In this shot, I used a white backdrop. Try this out!

Maternity photoshoot 3

On Location 1 flash

This is my favorite setup and perhaps the style I shoot most of the time. Using this setup allows you to shoot almost 90% in all locations anytime of the day.

You need a ND filter (anywhere 3-10 stops, I use a 3 stops ND filter), a softbox on a monopod, and an assistant. When you are at the location, find an open shade so no light is going to fall off onto your subject. Be extremely careful when you place your client under a tree because it could cause unwanted shadows by the leaves.

Then, all you need to do is to control the proper flash power, shutter speed, iso and aperture settings to get the perfect shot. The below picture was shot at ISO200, 1/160 second, f4, at 130mm. I used two speedlites inside the softbox at 1/2 power.

The final product is below!

Maternity photoshoot 5

I hope you enjoyed what you just read. If you have any comment, ideas or just want to share your ideas, feel free to comment below or send me an email to discuss further. Feel free to share this blog post around! Cheers!

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About Gary

A passionate photographer with goals to fulfill your photography passion and motivate you to take pictures even when life is busy!


  1. Wonderful maternity photo ideas!

  2. Great maternity photo tips!

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