How to create stunning maternity photography

Capture the magic of this beautiful time in your life

Pregnancy is often a time that is wished away; nine months spent counting down until the moment you have your beautiful infant in your arms. But you won’t be pregnant forever and believe us when we say you will never regret having maternity photos and memories to look back on.

With a little research and some self-assessment, you can easily create your own stunning maternity photography. The key is knowing the different photo styles and how to apply them best to create spectacular imagery. So, whether you’re thriving in pregnancy or contending with relentless discomfort, consider celebrating the bump with a photo shoot.

In this article, we'll outline six foolproof steps to capturing the magic of this extraordinary time in your life and creating incredible maternity photography.

Couple walking hand in hand down street

What is maternity photography?

Maternity photos are a unique type of photography that captures the intimate connection between a mother and her baby-to-be. During this special time in a woman's life, she is experiencing the miracle of pregnancy and preparing to meet her child. These photos should reflect the emotion of this new, uncertain and exciting stage.

1. Research the market to find your style

As with most things, getting started is the hardest part. Spark inspiration by exploring maternity photos from professional collections. A quick Google or Pinterest search of 'maternity photos' will yield countless images from which you can choose a particular approach. When browsing examples, it is imperative to consider both your personal comfort level and the feasibility of producing similar results based on location, wardrobe and technique. Browse the MILK Gallery for inspiration from our community of new parents.

Couple and young child photoshoot

2. Create a mood board

While researching the market for stunning maternity photography, make a mood board to help you visualize the final product. A mood board is essentially a collection of images that reflect the color palette, poses, and lighting setup you would like to use in your own maternity photo shoot. The end result should assist you and your photographer in selecting and preparing the elements to support your vision. A few classic themes are:

• Whimsical and romantic

• Pensive and dramatic

• Lighthearted and playful

Maternity photo shoot of woman in snow

3. Choose the right photographer

Now that you know what type of photos you are trying to achieve, it's important to choose a professional, friend or other loved one who 'gets you' and can deliver the results you're after.

• Have them take a few casual photos of you.

• Ensure you feel comfortable asking for what you want.

• Ask about availability and flexibility from the outset.

If you plan to take the photos yourself, ensure you organize the appropriate equipment, including a tripod and any lighting apparatus you may need. 

4. Plan the time of day and location for your maternity shoot

Your mood board should lead seamlessly to choosing the setting for your maternity photo shoot. Whilst you can't plan the weather, you can do your best to set the stage for appropriate lighting and decor. 

• Choose an outdoor session if you want your photos to reflect the season of your pregnancy.

• Sunrise and sunset offer the most beautiful natural lighting for outdoor maternity photography.

• Indoor photography requires appropriate lighting, but don't worry - you no longer require an elaborate studio setup to achieve this. Simple attachments and standalone lights are available and affordable.

• If you are aiming for a cloudy or sunny backdrop, ensure your photographer has the flexibility to allow for this.

Couple cradling baby bump in maternity photo shoot

5. Plan your poses and props

By choosing a few poses and settings, you can ensure that your photos look far more professional than if you try to wing them on the day. Try on your chosen outfit(s), and simulate the poses in the mirror. If you plan to use props, make sure they suit the color scheme and vibe of the mood you aim to achieve. A few classic poses include:

• Profile photos of mom holding her bump

• Bare tummy photos

• Pictures with your other children cuddling the bump

• Couple shots

• Include your much-loved family pet

6. Get in the moment and find your groove

Your maternity photos will look much more polished with some planning and practising beforehand. When the day of your maternity photoshoot comes, you should ideally be well-rested and ready to enjoy the process. At this point, all of the preparation and planning is done and it's time to enjoy celebrating your pregnancy in front of the camera.​​

• Embrace the emotions that come up

• Execute the practised poses first and then experiment

• Be flexible and take what comes. Trust the process!

Preparing for a baby's arrival is one of life's most heightened emotional experiences. Capturing that magic on camera is so valuable and memorable. Use our tips to ensure stunning maternity photos you can display, share and enjoy well into the child's future!

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