Here are a few maternity portraits I shot this weekend.
I really enjoy photographing pregnant women, it's such a wonderful, happy time in their life and I get to sit in on it.
Just a simple thing like asking them to put their hands on their belly will bring a smile to their face and they truly glow.
Just a few things I like to do for maternity portraits:
Surely mom has been online looking at maternity portraits for months, so the first thing you need to do is ask "what have you seen that you like" and "what would you like to do". Have her email you the links of her favorite shots, not that you will necessarily try to recreate them exactly, but so you have an idea of her likes and help you in planning the direction of the posing.
This is all about mom and trust me, she has a vision set in her mind and it's our job to tune into it.
Whenever possible I try to shoot at the woman's home, you'll be in her environment, she'll be more at ease, more relaxed, and anything she may need is right there.
Another reason to shoot in her home is that because you shoot these portraits so late in the pregnancy the babies room is fully furnished and decorated, so lots of good props and shooting opportunities are available there.
I try to shoot maternity portraits with available/natural light and a good source are those big 'ol sliding glass doors, so be sure to bring a sheer backdrop to throw over them (the image above with her "pointing" her toe was shot just this way).
Be sure to bring a medium sized reflector/diffuser as well, this will help push light into your subject from a near by window, or soften the light if she is sitting right next to it.
Black & White. I think maternity portraits are more elegant, more timeless, and simply becomes a better image as a black & white.
Lastly, I am often asked "I've never shot maternity portraits, how do I get my first job?".
Easy, give it away.
Find a family member, a friend (or a friend of a friend of a friend) and offer to do a session for free. You get the experience, youll have a start to your maternity portfolio, and they will be thrilled to have the images. And even if it goes really well the first time, you may want to give away at least two sessions (and maybe three) because everything that you'll need to know/experience will not come from just one session.
It's important to be up front and honest (it protects you and controls their expectations), explain to them you have never shot maternity portraits before, that you're trying to get the experience, and DON'T make any promises. This way if things don't turn out so well they will not be surprised or (as) disappointed, but if you do get some good images not only will they be happy, they will be showing (and emailing) your images to everyone they know while singing your praises.
The best advertising (and most referrals) come from happy customers.
If you are interested in shooting maternity portraits the Digital Photography School has three articles that will give you some really good information and ideas:
5 Keys to Taking Beautiful Maternity Portraits
Tummy Time - 7 Tips for Taking Great Maternity Shots
How to Shoot an Indoor Maternity Session
(click on any of the images to view larger & in a new window)