In the time of “safer at home” a lot of the “normal” parts of this pregnancy have been made impossible. We cancelled our Baby Shower, had to change our birth plan, and also had to cancel our maternity picture session. However, I knew I wanted to make sure I captured this moment because Phoenix is most likely our last baby. After finding this beautiful location for one of my clients, I decided that we would take our own maternity pictures. Though things are reopening, photography is still one of those grey areas because it’s not just you and your family. Also, with job uncertainties, their might not be money in the budget for hiring a professional photographer. Whatever your reason, here are some tips to help you DIY your own maternity pictures.
1. Understand your lighting
Lighting is the number one thing that can make or break a photography session. If you decide to do your pictures indoors, observe your home for a few days and make a note of which rooms are the lightest and brightest. Make sure you make note of the time that you are looking at the rooms.
Outside is a different ball game. Most photographers schedule very early in the morning sessions, or just before sunset sessions when the light is diffused and not directly overhead. I prefer just before sunset light or “Golden Hour” light, which is typically the hour before sunset. This prevents you from squinting into the camera, or if you are under trees like we were, prevents the light from being too dappled or casting too many shadows.
For both locations you want to make sure that you are standing in front of your light. Backlit pictures are beautiful, but can sometimes cast harsh shadows on your face.
Here’s a website to help you predict when you can find Golden Hour at your specific location.
2. Timing is everything
Try and take your photos between 30 and 36 weeks. Your bump will be visible and hopefully you won’t be too uncomfortable! If you wait too much longer after 36 weeks, you might run the risk of taking newborn photos instead!
3. Plan some poses before you shoot
Because someone won’t be following you around with their camera catching all of those in between moments, try to have some poses planned out before you start shooting. It helped Chris and Griffin get into the “mood” if you will because I showed them some pictures from Pinterest beforehand. Griffin was in a much better mood for picture taking than usual and I think it’s because he knew what to expect.
Make sure you get some shots of:
- You by yourself! (So important!)
- You and your partner.
- Your partner and your other child/children
- You and your older child/children
- Your family all together
- Some of your child/children by themselves
4. Bring some equipment
We used a camera for ours but with today’s phone cameras, you can 100% take beautiful pictures on your phone. Most iPhones have a self-timer option too, so you can set it and run into the photo (well, your partner can, you might not be able to do much running). I also suggest snagging a basic tripod that holds phones. The best thing about these tripods is that they are typically small and flexible which makes them easier to position than traditional camera tripods.
If you are using a camera, I also suggest you snag a good remote. Even though Canon (my preferred camera choice) comes with an app that has a remote shutter, it’s hard to use and keep concealed at the same time. I snagged one that works for Canon, but if you are a Nikon or a Sony user, Amazon has some great remote shutters.
Here’s a list of my photography faves on my Amazon Storefront.
5. HAVE FUN!
The thing you have to remember in these unprecedented times is the new life you are getting ready to welcome has NO IDEA what is waiting for them on the outside. Make sure that this memory that you are capturing for them ultimately shows a bit of happiness in the midst of all this craziness. We took our pictures by a creek and I originally did not want to get into the water. However, when my husband said, “When are you going to get this chance again?” I listened and jumped in. And honestly, I was glad I did.