Maternity photography – your complete guide

Maternity photography is growing in popularity, as commemorating the impending arrival (or arrival) of brand-new life is a fantastic photographic opportunity. Nigel Atherton asked among the UK’s leading specialists, Kristina Mack, to share her tips, tricks, and experiences in maternity photography
Backlit pose at maternity shoot
Whether you have an interest in exploring maternity photography with members or your pals or household, or possibly exploring it as a brand-new service opportunity, it’s an excellent ability to acquire. A great deal of the abilities cross over with boudoir photography, along with portraiture, so have a look at our guide to picture photography.

Starting in maternity photography.

One morning in 2017, Essex-based child photographer Kristina Mack awakened to discover about a dozen emails from pregnant females enquiring about maternity shoots with their bumps. Which was odd since she had not had any inquiries at all during the previous couple of months. The reason, she soon discovered, is that the previous day one of the world’s most famous pop queens, Beyonce, had published a photo of her own pregnancy bump on Instagram– an image that went on to end up being the platform’s most ‘liked’ picture of the year (11.2 million, so far).

This basic portrait was lit entirely by window light

Maternity portrait window light
‘ Instagram has actually been really prominent in the rise in appeal of maternity photography,’ states Kristina. ‘Whenever another pregnant celebrity posts some, you always get a spike in enquiries’.

For social professional photographers looking for brand-new markets this is a great chance, particularly for the quickly growing variety of females who are now making a living behind the camera. The genre has its own guidelines and strategies that vary from regular portraiture, so we asked Kristina to show us how it’s done and went behind the scenes on one of her shoots.
Backlit pose at maternity shoot

The billowing fabric in this backlit posture was attained utilizing a mix of powerful fans and an assistant tossing the fabric into the air


How do you prepare for a maternity photography shoot?

Long prior to the day of the shoot Kristina talks to the customer to get to understand their tastes and expectations. ‘Really light silk-like fabrics that I can throw, elastic ones that I can wrap around and produce a dress. We will go through whatever they have brought and pick which ones to utilize.’

Great hair and make-up are necessary. ‘I discover that it empowers the females and provides a confidence increase,’ she continues. ‘I have a hair and make-up artist who comes in prior to the shoot. Some clients have their own favored stylists and will come to me already prepared. I inform my customers that unless they’re excellent at it always get it done expertly because it does make a big difference. My own cosmetics artist understands to make it a little more vibrant for the camera since in the pictures it will then look just right.’
b&w maternity photo

Clients are shown a mix of colour and b & w versions of the pictures that Kristina likes finest from the shoot


Taking advantage of a maternity photography day

Kristina always starts each shoot with a few basic images versus a white wall– standing, leaning, and sitting– utilizing simply natural light, and with more clothing.

‘ We begin near the window,’ she discusses. ‘I lean on the wall and demonstrate the position I want. I always ask my customers if it is alright for me to touch them to change their postures. Ninety-nine per cent of the time they are a bit shy and uncertain when they show up, so I use that time to get to know them and to assist them to start feeling more relaxed.’

Kristina’s window is south-west dealing with so she tries to do the majority of her shoots in the morning before the sun comes around. ‘If I’m shooting in the afternoon I just diffuse the window more. I may utilize large foam-board ‘flats’ as flags to block out a few of the window and produce narrow strips of light.’
Couples photo at maternity shoot
Kristina takes some couples shots if the partner exists. The stretch material appears like a dress here

Kristina utilizes a lot of fans on her shoots for blowing the hair and fabrics. ‘These are big fans that I purchased from Screwfix,’ she says. With the billowy materials that frequently appear in her images, even the fan isn’t enough to create that impact– Kristina has an assistant to throw the trailing fabric into the air at the best minute.

She then presents her Bowens studio flash, fitted with an Octobox– a huge 1.5 m diameter softbox that produces wonderfully soft light. This is placed high above the design to develop fashion-type images.

I do a mix of shots looking into the camera and down at the belly. I actually have them look at the flooring just beyond the breast nearest the camera, as this gives a better angle– you see more of the face and avoid the double chin.’
Sitting maternity pose

This is one of Kristina’s go-to poses: resting on the floor by the window, which produces a charming high-key image

As soon as she is finished with the white background Kristina moves on to the grey one. Some girls bring their partner or an older kid to the shoot with them and in these circumstances, Kristina includes some with them too.

For the final part of the session Kristina changes to the black background and at this moment may do some nude shots. Among her preferred pictures to shoot is the black & white rim-lit nude torso, versus the black background. ‘I utilize 2 lights simply behind the design and at the same level– one left wing, and one on the right– each fitted with a long, narrow softbox.’ The rim lighting accentuates the curves of the topic, and of course the shapes of the bump, to fantastic result.

This bump profile was rim-lit by 2 long softboxes put behind the topic on either side

Softboxes during maternity shoot

That special touch

Kristina shoots on a 24-70mm lens fitted to her Canon EOS 5D Mark IV and tries to shoot whatever at 50mm or longer unless she has to go broader for space factors. She operates in manual exposure mode with an aperture typically around f/4 to f/5.6, and tries to keep the session to around 90 minutes. ‘Most customers start to lose their energy and interest after an hour and a half,’ she observes.

After the shoot, Kristina does the modifying and post-production work herself. ‘I tend to have a vision of how I desire them to look when I’m taking them, so I edit them myself so that they are perfect. Some of the pictures exist in black & white if I think they look better.’

As one of the UK’s leading newborn and child photographers, a maternity shoot is ideally just the start of an ongoing relationship with a new family.


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