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In addition to buying diapers and writing a birth plan, taking pregnancy photos is a common addition to many “getting ready for baby” checklists. After all, who doesn’t want a gorgeous photographic record of mom’s belly?
One thing that you probably don’t anticipate is figuring out which maternity shoot poses will create gorgeous photo shoot results!
Our bodies are different during pregnancy; it’s not always easy to figure out what to do with them. Thankfully, there are plenty of angles, accessories, and inspiration to help you get that picture-perfect capture you’re dreaming of.
So, look no further if you’re on the hunt for stunning maternity photoshoot ideas! I moonlight as a photographer, and these are my personal tips for maternity poses to help you get the most out of your pregnancy photo shoot.
Are Maternity Shoots Necessary?
I’m the type of person who thinks any big event is an excellent excuse for a photo shoot. That’s probably why the moment I got a positive pregnancy test, I went straight to Pinterest to search for maternity session ideas.
Not every soon-to-be mom feels the same, though.
If maternity photography isn’t something you long to do, then don’t. There’s no iron-clad rule mandating you get pregnancy photos if you don’t want to!
My only suggestion is to think over the option before you say no.
Each pregnancy is a unique experience you’ll never have again. Even if you’ve been puking for eight months straight, you’ll probably want to look back and see all the hard work your body did to get baby here.
Most importantly, there won’t be any opportunity for a maternity do-over if you decide not to take photos before your little one makes their big debut.
Should You Hire a Professional Photographer to Do Your Maternity Portraits?
Listen, I won’t deny that professional maternity photography can get expensive. Sometimes it’s just not in the budget, and that’s okay.
There are, however, a few benefits to booking an expert if you have the means to do so. Here are a few:
- Expertise: Professional photographers understand what it takes to create a beautiful image, no matter the circumstances.
- Equipment: While knowledge is the most vital component in photography, having the right camera equipment makes a huge difference.
- Props: Many pregnancy photography studios have a wide range of props for clients.
- Wardrobe: Some photographers even offer access to client closets to go along with their prop inventory. This can help you save money on buying an outfit for your maternity shoot.
Are There Options for Affordable Maternity Photo Sessions?
Dads and moms-to-be have tons to pay for before and after their little ones arrive. For that reason, maternity photos don’t always make the cut when you’re budgeting for baby.
If you’d really like to do a pregnancy photo shoot, there are a couple of options. For starters, you can look around for local maternity photographers who offer gift cards and add a link to your online baby registry.
Another good option is to look for photographers just starting their businesses. They often run deals or have lower pricing.
You can also ask photographers in your area about mini sessions they might have coming up. Photography minis are a great way to get some adorable pictures without spending an arm and a leg!
Save Money with a DIY Pregnancy Photo Shoot
When it comes to budget-friendly maternity photos, however, planning a DIY session can be a great option if you don’t want anything fancy.
Ask a friend to take a few photos of you to commemorate your pregnancy. For the best lighting, shoot during golden hour (the hour after sunrise or the hour before sunset), and you’ll get a gorgeous, dreamy glow.
The Best Maternity Shoot Posing Guide for Gorgeous Pregnancy Pictures
Now for the fun part! Whether you’re looking for tender moments between you and your partner or silly pictures of mom’s belly, here are my professional suggestions for the top 30 maternity shoot poses and ideas.
1. Close-Ups of Mom’s Belly
An instinct with photography is to capture as much as possible in your photograph. But when it comes to maternity photoshoot poses, why not go straight to the main event?
I love taking shots of just the baby bump. Sometimes, I’ll cut mom’s face out or crop the photo so that a small portion of her smile is all you see.
2. Silhouette Pregnancy Shots
There’s something so gorgeous about silhouette pregnancy portraits. Stand in front of the sun and have your photographer darken their settings to achieve this romantic shot.
3. Belly Kiss
Are you looking for a sweet, simple maternity shoot pose? Why not have someone plant a smooch on your belly?
A gentle kiss on your baby bump is always a good idea, whether it’s from your kids or partner. One popular option is to have your partner get down on bended knee for the pose.
4. The Sonogram Picture
I love when couples include their baby’s sonogram photo in their maternity photos. I’ve seen many cute ways to do this, including placing it in front of your baby bump or having your partner hang it out of their back pocket.
5. Sitting Down Photos
Sitting down for your maternity session is a great way to get some snuggly photos. Some easy options are to sit side-by-side or in front of your partner between their legs.
6. Walking Photos
Hold hands with your spouse and slowly walk away from or towards your photographer. These make beautiful candid pregnancy photos and are a great way to ease into your maternity session and get comfortable in front of the camera.
7. Profile Images
One of my all-time favorite pregnancy shoot poses is when photographers capture their profile. Hold your hands on your belly and face the side.
It might feel awkward, but it looks incredible when mamas arch their backs a little for this photo.
8. Milk Bath Sessions
This maternity photo type is exactly what you think it is – snuggle into a warm bath of water and milk. The final pictures are absolutely breathtaking!
Just fill a tub with water and add enough milk to make it look white and creamy. Throw some flowers in for a romantic final touch.
And if you’re nervous about getting into a bath in front of a photographer, try wearing a tube top and matching underwear. It will look super cute in the final photo, trust me!
9. Hand Heart
Make a heart shape with your and your partner’s hand, and then hold it over your growing bump. Have the photographer zoom in to capture only your hands.
10. Add in Siblings
If this isn’t your first child, include your other kids in the photos. Sit or stand and let your little ones place their hands on your belly. This is a simple pose that always yields tender results.
Side note: if you like this kind of pose idea, let your photographer know that you want some candid photos. Posed photos are great, but some of the best shots come from simple moments between you and the people you love.
11. Floating Dresses or Skirts
Most of us have probably seen the incredible shots of an expectant mama cradling her bump while her skirt floats in the air behind her. This can be tricky to navigate, but if your photographer catches it at the right moment, it’s sure to be a favorite maternity shoot pose.
To achieve this shot, you’ll probably want a dress with a flowy skirt – here are some great products:
12. Gender Reveal Photos
If you haven’t announced the big news yet, your maternity photo session is a fantastic time to let everyone know whether you’re having a boy or girl.
13. Include Balloons
Not only are balloons a great way to do a gender reveal photo, but carrying some behind you in a photo is a fun addition to any session.
14. Bring Your 4-Legged Friends
Some of my favorite maternity photo ideas are pictures that include pets! I love when I capture moms sitting on the ground with their dogs or cats curled up next to their growing bellies.
15. Use a Bench
It’s not always comfortable for mamas to maneuver their pregnant bodies onto the ground for sitting photos. That’s why I always look for benches as an alternative when I’m shooting a maternity session.
Benches are cute ideas for couples, families, or even solo shots of the mom-to-be!
16. Put Your Hands in Your Hair
There is something so ethereal about capturing a candid shot of mama while she combs her fingers through her hair with her bump on full display. It’s gentle, romantic, and absolutely beautiful.
17. Head to the Studio
While I prefer outdoor maternity photoshoots, there’s something so sleek and sexy about studio sessions. I especially love them for black and white photos, so if that’s something you’re into, consider poses in the studio.
This might be a great option if you’re looking for simple and classic pregnancy pictures.
18. Belly Hugs
If you want a seriously adorable maternity photo, ask your photographer for a shot of your older child (or children) hugging you around your belly!
19. Family Kisses
I know I already mentioned belly kisses, but this one deserves its own spot on the list. If you want a unique family portrait, have dad bend down while holding your older toddler on their shoulders. Then, dad will kiss your belly while you hold hands with your oldest and give them a smooch on the lips.
20. Lay Down for a Spell
A popular solo shot for moms-to-be is having them lie down during their session. This is a great way to showcase their beautiful baby bump.
Some good options are to have them lay down facing upwards and arch your back or to lay on your back with your head turned sideways.
Note: The photo will look better, and you will feel more comfortable if one leg is bent while lying down.
21. Serious Face
Yes, pregnancy is an exciting time, and you’ll surely want to smile through most of your maternity session. For a different look (and a serious mood), look straight at the camera with your hands on your belly and keep your face serious for the picture.
22. Looking Down
Take a moment to look down at your gorgeous pregnant belly for a sweet moment during your maternity session. I like to do this one while mamas are leaning against railings or walls and shoot it from the front or the side.
23. Belly Comparison
Yes, you want to look like a pregnancy goddess during your shoot, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a little fun at the same time!
Belly comparison photos are always silly and a great way to break the ice during pregnancy shoots. These can be done with dad (always hilarious!) or with older children.
24. Use Baby Props
No matter what maternity poses you pick for a pregnancy shoot, you can always switch up the look by adding in a prop or two. Some adorable options are a pair of baby shoes, onesies, headbands, letter boards, and more.
25. Rainbow Baby Photos
If you’re pregnant with a rainbow baby, you might love the idea of incorporating the rainbow into your session. You can hold a cluster of rainbow balloons, wear a rainbow dress, or even have someone set off rainbow-colored smoke in the background of your photo.
26. Cozy Shoots at Home
Sometimes it just feels better to do your photos at home. Whether you snuggle up on the couch or lie with your partner on your bed, this type of cozy maternity picture is always a popular choice with expectant parents.
27. Don’t Look at the Camera
Take a moment to walk towards the camera, but don’t look at it. Pick a spot to the side and keep your focus there for the picture. This creates a natural, candid shot that you’ll love.
28. Dance With Your Partner
From sexy slow dances to playful twirls, you’ll get so much emotion and gorgeous movement from dancing photos.
29. Over the Shoulder Looks
Walk away from the camera for this one, and when your photographer gives you the cue, softly turn your body to look back over your shoulder. You can also add other soft movements and gestures to this pose, such as playing with a strand of hair or holding the strap of your gown.
30. Show a Little Skin
If it’s something you’re comfortable with, ask to do a maternity shoot pose that includes your bare belly bump.
Some women are brave enough to strip down completely bare, but it also looks great to lift your shirt or wear a tube top or sports bra for these photos.
Don’t Be Afraid to Practice These Pregnancy Poses at Home
Okay, I know this is going to sound silly, but why not start working on these maternity shoot poses at home before the day of your session?
When you’re trying to do different poses that might feel a little funny, you can come across as looking uncomfortable. As photographers, we’re trying to capture moments that are both natural and intimate. The more you practice, the easier this will be.
Each of the 30 maternity ideas listed above is pretty common amongst pregnancy photographers. If you spend some time practicing a few in the mirror, you’ll feel like a natural (or at least more comfortable!) on the day of your shoot.
Additional Tips for a Successful Maternity Photo Shoot
Aside from these specific ideas, you can do plenty of other things to make sure your photos look great. Check out the suggestions below:
- Ask your photographer to help you choose the best time for your session.
- Lift your chin slightly to avoid a double chin in the photos.
- Arrive on time or early for your session – you’ll look and feel less stressed if you’re not running late!
- Avoid tight clothing on your bump if you want bare-skin photos. Indentations on your skin aren’t pretty in photos if you want some bare-belly shots.
- Bring some water and snacks for a quick energy boost during the session.
Treat Yourself to Unforgettable Maternity Pictures
Every pregnant woman deserves the chance to celebrate the incredible changes in her body.
Maternity portrait photography is a wonderful way to do just that.
Whether you set up a DIY session or book a professional photographer, trust me when I say you’ll be happy you chose to commemorate this momentous occasion in your life.
Have you used any of these maternity shoot poses in a pregnancy session? Which ones are your favorite?
More All About Mama Articles
Motherhood is just as much about us as it is about our babies – check out these great articles to learn more about our parenting journeys:
- Self-Care for Moms
- Rediscovering Yourself After Motherhood
- Dealing With Anxiety as a Mom
- Funny Mom Gifts
- New Mom Survival Kit
Kristen Bergeron is a freelance writer from Florida. In addition to writing, she is a wife, mother of two beautiful girls, Hadley and Scarlett, and a part-time photographer. After overcoming infertility and having two successful IVF cycles, she’s made it a personal goal to help educate men and women on the realities of fertility struggles. She is passionate about supporting fellow women who are trying to navigate the complicated world of conception, pregnancy, and learning to be the best mothers we can be.