Thanks for bringing to my attention the importance of leaving plenty of time to get ready before a family photo shoot. It’s been many years since our last family picture, so I want to have another one taken soon. I imagine that trying to get ready last minute would only lead to stress and unhappy parents and kids, so I’ll make sure to give us lots of time beforehand.
But once you’re in front of the photographer, what do you do besides smile? We’ve combined a variety of maternity photo ideas for any mood. You’re sure to find plenty of inspiration from humorous to serious, and artsy to classic. In anticipation of your little one, don’t forget to share the great news of their arrival with an equally sweet birth announcement.
With my background being in classic style studio portraiture (aka “boring”), and 25 years experience photographing portraits and weddings, I have a few tips up my sleeve for you. If you’ve never done a family or group portrait before don’t be intimidated. Be honest with the family and tell they you’re just learning, I bet they’ll be willing participants to help you out and they get some nice photos in exchange.
Start the same way you would for the first pose, with a naked baby in a blanket in your arms. Once he’s sleepy, gently lay him down on his back and remove the blanket. Cross his feet and bend his knees like you see in the photo below and just hold them there with your hand for a few minutes. If he relaxes in that position, you’ll be able to slowly remove your hand and his legs will stay crossed.
it’s so important to take a photo of the two of you, with your growing bump. when you look back on the pictures of the two (well, three including your baby) of you, it will be so fun to see what you both looked like during that time. even better, take this photo in your nursery so you can remember what your nursery initially looked like. for us, we didn’t know the gender of our little one so our nursery changed a bit once we found out our baby was a girl when she was born. it’s fun to see what the beginning stages of her nursery looked like, while we were planning for pink or blue.
5. Consider some technical details. There are photos I took 5 years ago that I thought were amazing at the time and now realize they were out of focus, or my editing made the people look purple, or the highlights were blown out. If you (like a normal person) haven’t spent a lot of time poring over tons of professional photos with a discerning eye, you may not really know what to look for. Maybe some of these finer technical points wouldn’t bother you, or maybe the photographer you can afford isn’t quite as technically proficient as the photographer who charges $500 more. That’s okay, these are just a few things to consider. First let’s talk about focus. Often, the best way to tell if a photo is properly focused is to look at the eyes. In the two photos below, you can see a lot more detail in her eyes on the left than on the right. I missed the focus on the second image, so that one was not given to my clients.
When you shoot a mommy-to-be in her own home she’s comfortable to let go in a way that she may not be otherwise. This is a fantastic reason to hold maternity sessions at home. This is not however why I do it. As a photographer I feel like it’s my responsibility to help my subjects feel comfortable and capable of giving me their best, no matter where we’re shooting. I pride myself on my ability to do this. To me, it’s a HUGE part of my success as a photographer (Uh oh. I feel a post in this regard coming on… check back soon). I shoot maternity sessions at home primarily because it’s wonderful for a couple to have a capture that truly shows what their life was like at the time their baby came to be a part of their family. I’m a second generation photographer so I’ve got some really lovely shots of my sweet momma awaiting my arrival. My favorite however is a simple picture of her standing by my bassinet with her hand on her tummy. I CHERISH it.
Thank you for this great blog post. Brilliant hints and tips. I also ask clients to lay their outfits out at home together to check that they all look good together. Also I remind clients to press their clothes (I think sometimes they think that I can ‘photoshop’ creases out!) I love putting together visual ‘what to wear’ guides – here is one I did this week for a mother and daughter photo session http://www.sarahoffley.com/what-to-wear/what-to-wear-mother-and-daughter-photo-shoot/
Dears, I am a long-time passionate about dslr photography and having 2 little kids myself I know how difficult it is to take perfect shots when you need to take care of the baby and at the same time you Re the one behind the camera. I experienced a newborn session in an atelier twice with a photographer lady which I adore and now want to go this way too and give it a try. Was waiting for a girl friend newborn in order to get some training first but after I’ve read this I am going to post a note about searching a newborn model and don’t worey about the whoke thing.
Quality should be the primary driving factor because no matter how great the deal, you barely have time to do it once, let alone time (or money) to do it over. So what do we mean when we say “quality?” While “style” may influence the overall appearance and presentation of the final gallery, a level of technical expertise should be demonstrated by the photographer. Images should be properly exposed. The highlights and shadows of the images should not be void of any color, to bright or too dark, saturation should not be so intense that that colors will be comprised when they are printed. Subjects should be in focus and images should never be be pixelated or posterized when printed. Composition should be intentional and the photographer should be able to capture subjects with flattering light and angles. Images shouldn’t be “saved” by Photoshop actions and should look as good printed at 24×30 as they do online. Typically being able to CONSISTENTLY perform to a level of quality requires significant experience rather than just a hobbyist who can pull out 5-10 great shots out of 100 snapped. One of the best ways a photographer can demonstrate quality and experience is to have a portfolio and a broad representation of full client galleries to show.
There are a few bonuses to using accessories well (as well as layers). One is that changing them up a bit throughout the session can give you multiple looks without having to do many wardrobe changes. They can also be something that the subjects can interact with. A sassy little tip of the hat, holding the ends of a scarf while running and letting it billow behind you, grabbing the lapels of a husbands jacket while pulling him close for a kiss – all these little gestures and ways to interact (and become more comfortable in front of the camera) can be made possible with styling choices. Many of my sessions will feature items used outside their intended use or subject. My girls are often seen in mommy’s hats or scarves (scarves can be used in different ways like wrapped around their shoulders, as a hair piece, etc) and they love to wear my costume jewelry.