Tips For Shooting Your Own (FREE) Maternity Photos

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Pregnancy is such a beautiful, hard, and empowering experience. Maternity photos are a great way to capture all of its joys and preserve that special time. Hiring a professional photographer will always be a great choice — but for those who can’t afford it, taking your own maternity photos is easier than you think it is.

shoot your own maternity photos

Here are some tips for doing your own maternity session.

Enlist Someone’s Help

You can, of course, use a tripod and remote/self timer to take your maternity photos completely by yourself, but that can be stressful. Chances are you have SOMEONE who is willing to help. They don’t even need to know how to shoot photography professionally, as long as you know how to give them a little direction and can set up the settings for them before shooting.

I usually make my husband pose for a quick few photos while I adjust the settings (good thing he doesn’t mind 😉 ). You might have to do this a couple of times, based on if the light changes or you shoot in more than one location. He then takes the pictures for me. When we took my maternity photos, he took the photos that were just of me, and then my 15 year old brother took the ones when we posed together.

maternity photo session free

maternity photo session

Look at Poses Online

It’s important to look up ways to pose yourself, especially if you aren’t going to have a professional telling you exactly how to pose for maternity photos. Pinterest is your best friend for this, mama! Just search for “maternity photography poses.” There’s so many great ideas! This way you will know exactly how to stand, hold your belly, pose with your partner (if you choose to shoot with them), direct your photographer, etc.

I even had my phone out when we were taking my maternity photos, and would bring up pins I had saved to show my husband and brother (who were again, taking the photos) exactly how I wanted the photo taken.

maternity photo session free

What You’ll Need to Take Your Own Maternity Photos

Camera

I totally recommend investing in a DSLR camera. I have a Canon Rebel XS with a couple of different lenses that I use for my blog photos, photography sessions, and fun pictures of my family. However, if you don’t have one or can’t afford one, smart phones these days take AMAZING photos. I’ve used my iPhone 8 Plus plenty of times to take photos for my blog and sometimes even prefer it over my camera. The portrait mode feature is my favorite!

Editing Software

You will also need some sort of editing software so you can edit your maternity photos. I use Adobe Lightroom CC (it’s $9.99 a month and I LOVE it because it has a desktop, web and app version. Once I upload any photos of any one of those devices, it’s available on the others, too). The good thing, though, about the iPhone/Android app is that it’s free — you don’t need the subscription to use it. You can also try free online photo editing software like Fotor or Canva.

Photographer

Like I mentioned above, you’ll need a photographer, of course. If you don’t want to enlist family members’ help, you could always ask any aspiring photographer friends if they’re wanting to build their portfolio in maternity photography and often they’ll be willing to shoot for you for free, or a small price.

An Outfit You Feel Beautiful In

Make sure you’re dressed in something comfortable (because lets be real, pregnancy is NOT very comfortable, especially if you’re in your 3rd trimester, which is when you’ll most likely be taking these photos). But also make sure you feel beautiful in it. I had many moments of my pregnancy that made me feel far from beautiful, and having comfortable yet cute clothes made all of the difference and totally upped my confidence. You want to feel confident for maternity photos — because it will definitely show and give you that “pregnancy glow” everyone always talks about.

maternity photo session free

Remember the key to finding the perfect maternity outfit is that it’s cute and comfortable! Dresses are great for this. I got mine from Brimm Boutique. 

The Best Locations to Take Maternity Photos

Finding a location to take your maternity photos at should have a few key factors:

  1. Good light: Whether this is outside somewhere in nature or a city scape, make sure there’s good light. You can make sure of this by shooting during “golden hour,” which is the period of time either right before the sun rises or right after it sets.
  2. Not a ton of people around: You will be able to relax and be more confident if there aren’t a lot of people around to stress you out (if you’re anything like me). You will also be more free to try different poses against specific backdrops without having to wait for someone to get out of the way.
  3. Not too distracting: This is important not only for YOU while you’re taking the maternity photos, but also for how the final images will turn out. You don’t want to choose a location that has super busy backgrounds — you want the focus to be on you!

Relax

Taking photos of your big pregnant tummy might not be the most relaxing thing ever, especially if you’re worried about how you look. You look beautiful! Pregnancy is hard, but beautiful. Breathe, relax, and enjoy preserving this time of your life.

Like I said, my pregnancy was not easy. It was my first, and everything was so new and at times, confusing. What the heck was my body doing? And then, I would feel her little kicks and was reminded of the amazing gift I was given — the gift of carrying her and being her life source. I’m so glad I took maternity photos even though I wasn’t able to afford a professional photographer. Now I look back on these photos and smile, realizing that it wasn’t THAT hard. And it’s so crazy to think that my sweet little girl (who seems so BIG now at 3 months) was actually in that belly! It’s so mind blowing and empowering to think about.