DIY maternity photoshoot during pandemic
Sadly many parents to be were forced to go without the experience of having pregnancy portraits taken by professional photographer - one of the many sacrifices these strong brave parents to be sadly had to make due to the current situation. Sadly professional photographers and studios cannot operate at the moment, but just because we're in lockdown doesn't mean you shouldn't have this exciting and life changing moment of your life captured in photographs. I have put together a guide to help you DIY your own maternity photographs so you can have a tangible memory of your pregnancy.
You don't need a fancy camera to achieve lovely pregnancy portraits. If you do own a DSLR or a mirrorless camera - absolutely brilliant! If not, even your smartphone will do to capture those precious pregnancy memories.
Prep for your DIY session - here are a few tips and things to consider:
Prepare your props and outfits - using baby scans, baby shoes, maybe a sentimental heirloom item will make your pregnancy portraits more personal. Also having 4-5 outfits ready is always a good idea - trust me, it will save you plenty of time between outfit changes and it will save you damaging through your closet when you're in your model mindset. Some mums to be like to be photographed in underwear with silk robe over their shoulders, some like to be in formal gowns, and some just like to be in a comfortable oversized shirt or jumper - wearing what makes you comfortable and confident is strongly recommended as it will help you feel relaxed and at ease in front of the camera.
Using a tripod is a good idea. It will minimise camera shake and it's extra handy if you'd like your partner to part take in the session. For this you'll also need to play with your camera or phone to set a self-timer. This can be easily done in the settings. If you don't have a tripod, using a chair or table to prop up your camera is also handy.
You may wish to take your photographs outside, in which case photographing during golden hour is strongly recommended. Golden hour is approx 1.5hrs before the sunset and it provides gorgeous warm sunlight that will make your pregnancy photos simply stunning. Finding a nice quiet location away from people to stay safe, or a lovely place in your garden with some pretty greenery, flowers or shrubs.
If you choose to photograph outside, ensure the sun is either behind you or coming from a side of you. If it is a particularly sunny day and you cannot photograph during golden hour, find some shaded area as harsh sunlight doesn't photograph well.
If you choose to photograph indoors, there are many options how you can utilise everyday furniture. To get as much variety as possible, get some photographs in the living room, bedroom and the baby's nursery. Always photograph in rooms that are bright with decent amount of natural light from the window.
Include younger siblings - if you're not a fist time parents, including siblings in pregnancy portraits is strongly recommended and trust me, these will be the most precious photographs you will treasure. If you are planning on including siblings and a partner, try to colour and style coordinate your outfits - not necessarily match, but creating nice colour harmony will help to make your portraits look timeless and beautiful.
If you'd like your photographs to be even more special, you may want to opt for a milk bath maternity session! Tips for milk bath session are below.
Do's and Don'ts:
Don't photograph from low angle - always position the camera at eye level or slightly above. This will help with capturing mum's beautiful figure without making her appear larger or distorted in unwanted places.
Do remember to always bend your front knee while posing.
Be mindful of the angle the light is hitting mum's face to avoid unflattering shadows.
Experiment with expressions and slight modifications to poses - take enough photographs, some smiling, some more serious, some with eyes looking down at your belly - to allow you to have variety to choose your favourites from.
Don't stand completely sideways or straight on to the camera - always position yourself at slight angle to show off your glorious bump.
Hold and interact with your bump.
Focus on small details - hold your baby scan to your tummy, take a close up of baby shoes balancing on your bump.
If you have a plain wall without any shelves or pictures near the window - use it. It will create a nice neutral backdrop for your portraits.
Utilise the window
Your window provides fantastic opportunities to take some relaxed maternity portraits using beautiful soft natural light.
Focus on the bump
Take some detail shots of your belly to remember how absolutely amazing your body is, growing a tiny human.
Use your props
Experiment with fabrics, poses & expressions:
Don't be scared to experiment and have some fun. Beautiful soft fabrics such as tulle or organza make fabulous elegant props. You can wrap them around your shoulders like below, or if you have some other fabrics such as silk, why not wrap it just under your belly to create a beautiful elegant skirt? If you are feeling confident, brave and want to really have your bump portraits to stand out, use the fabric skirt technique and hide your chest with your palms, crossing your arms on your chest. Don't forget to bend that front knee, stand up tall and gently smile and you will have a beautiful unique pregnancy portrait.
Also experiment with poses and expressions - you don't always have to look directly at the camera. Sometimes looking out or down to your belly makes the portrait even more special. Try things and have fun with it.
Capture small details
Milk Bath Pregnancy Portrait Tips:
Milk bath pregnancy portraits have become extremely popular especially in the few recent years. They are beautiful and whimsical, and very easy to DIY. All you need is a bath tub, some white lingerie or a gown, fresh flowers and either whole milk or powdered creamer. Ensure you mix enough milk or creamer with your warm water to create the milky effect. Add flowers of your choice and get in the bath tub. You may want to add a complimenting flower crown and if you already have a child, why not invite them to part take? Remember to always have one knee bent and you may wish to gently hold your belly. Get your partner to photograph you - the best results will be if he/she photographs you from above and just above the eyeline, looking down at your bump and body, using a step ladder.
For inspiration checkout this Pinterest board I've put together for you.
From the side
On the bed
Looking for more posing inspiration? See more on the Pinterest board I have put together.
I hope that you will find this helpful and you if you require any further support or guidance, feel free to join my support group for pregnant and new parents during lockdown called Lockdown Babies Oxfordshire.