Nervous anticipation, the excitement of preparations and quiet introspection of how things are going to be － these are some of the emotions a couple that is waiting for the little bundle of joy to arrive into this world, goes through. And as the pregnancy proceeds, the parents-to-be are eager to freeze the magical moments for posterity.
What’s the best way to remember this period, then to photograph the process? Many couples would love to capture the bump in an intimate way but are not sure how they can do it aesthetically. Don’t fret. Here are some useful tips you can keep in mind while taking pictures of the baby bump －
1. Which stage to photograph
The shoot is recommended around the second half of the sixth month of the pregnancy to the end of the seventh month. The last couple of months can be uncomfortable for the mother-to-be. Shooting during the sixth month is a good idea as the bump is usually round and nicely seen, depending on the mother, of course.
2. When to shoot
Sunrise or sunset is the best time for a maternity photo shoot but this should be determined by the health of the mother -- depending on whether she has morning or evening sickness. Outdoors is best. If the expectant mother is not too keen to step out or is not in a health condition to get outdoors, choose a big window or passageway inside the home, where there is some beautiful morning or evening light streaming in.
3. Where to shoot
Close to nature is the key for location scouting in maternity shoots. Beachside, near the hills, backyard garden, a park etc. The mother is going through a process that's so beautiful and natural, keeping the shoot close to natural beauty uplifts the shoot.
4. Whom to take pictures with
Always rope in the partner for a few shots. And if the couple already has a child or a pet, get them for a few shots. It adds a beautiful dimension to the portraits.
5. What to wear
While you would not want the mother to go through the process of several changes of clothes, dressing up in layers will give a variety. I ask clients to carry a jacket or scarf so that there is variety in the shots. For example, if she wore black tights and black Ganji under a dress, she can wear it for different locations. There is no break required. So you shoot in one and quickly switch to the other.
6. What poses to go for
The most common and must do poses are ones where the mother is holding her bump and looking at it. The couple holding the bump together, sitting with legs outstretched, a heart around the belly using fingers look very appealing. Uncommon ones are where you really get the couple to be intimate to capture emotional moments, wide-angle shots from far or the close-up of the bare belly. Some mothers are brave enough to volunteer for underwater mermaid-like photos or lying inside a milk-covered bathtub, showing off the bump.
7. What value addition to make
Props can add a lot of fun and variety to the photos. They can also make the pictures look innovative and out-of-the-box. Tiny shoes, a flower in bloom, a slate with the due date, the ultrasound photo near the belly are some props you can use to do the shoot.
Apart from these tips, there are many other new ways in which maternity photography shoots are planned these days. One of the popular ideas is to do a creative 'Coming Soon' baby announcement by showing props in an innovative way. These are quite popular. Another an innovative capture is by using a temporary marker to write messages like “Loading 70% done” or an inspiring baby quote on the mother’s pregnant belly. Some mothers like to repeat a maternity photo set-up post delivery holding the baby near the bump. Others may also take a picture for almost every month of the pregnancy and record how the bump has grown.
Whatever the idea, it will bring back beautiful memories for the parents every time they look at the everlasting pictures.
Parinita Salian is a Mumbai-based photographer who specialises in niche photography such as wedding, food and maternity shoots. She has earlier worked with Seattle-based Digital Photography magazine and her work can be viewed at www.parinitasalian.com.
All pictures courtesy the author.
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