Being a birth/newborn photographer as well a mom, my heart just breaks for those that are pregnant right now. The added stress of the chaotic world we are living in at the moment on top of every day normal fears of becoming a new mom, or even a mom again has to be gut wrenching.
I've seen so many people making face masks for our brave and hard working medical staff all over the world and was a bit disappointed knowing I have no clue how to sew. Over the last few days, I asked God to please help me find a way that I too can give back. I've heard about desperate moms literally begging photographers to please take their photos so they don't miss out on this special time in their lives. This got me thinking, what can I do personally to help eliminate this one stress from a new momma... and this morning, it came to me!
We all are stuck at home, doing our parts with social-distancing, so photography sessions just aren't possible. So what if I made a list of tips in order to help you take your own maternity photos at home? AND as an added bonus.....I will edit them for you, FREE of charge!
10 Tips For Your DIY Maternity Photos
1. When We want to see the bump so typically I suggest a session in the beginning of the third trimester but before 35 week mark. This way you're not to uncomfortable but have a great bump to work with :)
2. No fancy equipment needed unless of course you have a "fancy" dslr camera. If you have a dslr camera awesome, if not, cell phones now days are pretty amazing and will work in order to get you some great shots! If you have a significant other that is able to take your photos then you don't need to worry about a "tripod", but even if you do I would highly suggest they get in on some photos with you! And for that you still don't need anything fancy. Get a chair, some books to stack up to get the height you need and maybe a coffee mug or something to lean your phone on an you're good to go!
3. Wardrobe - Dont Hide the Bump! If you had already bought an outfit for your maternity photos or shower great! If not, anything you feel comfortable and beautiful in will work. Clothes that cling are the most flattering and will show off your bump better. Since you will be more than likely be shooting in your backyard or even inside, neutral tones work best for all skin tones and locations, but if you're a daring person feel free to wear bright colors if that's what makes you feel great! You can even use a a pretty sports bra and jeans in order to show that cute bump off for a few shots!
If you're one that normally wears makeup of any kind, have the saying, "more is more and too much of a good thing can sometimes be wonderful" in your mind while getting ready. You always, always need more makeup than you think you do on camera. Don't believe me? Take some time to add more and more as you take selfies and see the difference and to find the balance for you.
4. Location Since this post is helping during a stay-at-home order, location is limited. If you're lucky enough to have a well landscaped yard already, which most probably do not at this point in the spring season, then great! If not, I suggest looking for an area that's uncluttered without too many conflicting colors or objects. Find a beautiful fence, a plain wall, an uncluttered sitting area with not much busyness in the background. When in doubt, keep the background simple. If you have the nursery finished, don't forget to get some shots in there!
5. Lighting If you're shooting outside, have your "session" early in the morning just after sunrise or during golden hour (an hour before sunset). This will give you the best photo opportunities. Never shoot in direct sunlight, in the middle of the day. This creates squinty eyes and harsh shadows that never look good in any photo. If you will be shooting inside, keep an eye on where the light is, in previous days and different times of the day. You will want decent light coming in the room you will be photographing in but watch for harsh shadows. If you're wanting to capture a silhouette pose, you'll need a window to be able to stand in front of with bright light coming in.
6. Posing/Prop Ideas Prior to you shoot, take a look at your favorite photographers portfolio or Pinterest to get some ideas on what you like, how you should stand, where to put your hands, etc. Choose about 5 or 6 poses you love and even print them or have them available on a phone or computer to look at during your photo session. Try to keep props minimal so you focus more on the belly, but feel free to add in some cute meaningful things if you wish.
Try not to stand like a statue. Being in front of the camera is awkward for most people, including myself so I get it. As you're posing make small adjustments, raise your chin up and down, turn your head ever so slightly, small with an open mouth then with a soft closed smile. Laugh out loud or rotate your shoulders a little. You will feel silly! All of these small adjustments with each pose will help you achieve that perfect photo. Don't shoot up the nose and angles shooting slightly down are the most flattering.
7. Just keep Snapping! Whether you have recruited your partner or are using the self timer, I encourage you to snap, snap, snap. Even in your awkward moments, keep snapping, you never know what you will end up liking when you're all done. You can decide later what to get rid of. Ahhh....the beauty of digital photography. I can take 100-200 photos in a typical session, but this allows room for eye blinks, poor lighting, bad expressions, etc. And I NEVER delete anything in camera. Sometimes a little post process editing can do wonders for some photos you originally thought were trash.
8. Intravalometer Intra-WHAT? If there is one thing to have to help your DIY session go smoothly, especially if you want to get some photos of you and your partner together, it's an intravalometer. Big word, but don't let it scare you! An intervalometer allows you to take multiple images at a time, ever heard of sports mode on your camera? The difference is you don't need to be pushing the button. Set the timer and how many interval photos you want (I'd suggest 1 photo every 5 seconds) and there you go! You will get shots that show true emotion in the moment. If you're using your cell phone, you can download a free app called Photo Timer that allows you to choose the number of photos and at what interval to take. These can also be purchased for most cameras if you are going that route.
9. Have Fun! Enjoy this special time in your life and especially right now with so much negativity going on in the world. This is a true miracle you are capturing and how special to look back on and say, "hey I took those!"
10. Edits I would LOVE to help you with your finished portraits by doing some editing for you! These will be fairly simple edits as I wont be able to do a lot of in depth editing without RAW files but I'm happy to do up to 10 edits for you, FREE of charge. And!!!! You will also receive a $50 credit towards any future session in 2020! Shoot me a message on how to get your photos to me! *Offer is good for the duration of the stay-at-home order here in IN
I hope these tips help you to achieve memories you can look back on and remember how beautiful you felt and how excited you were to meet your sweet gift soon to arrive. Feel free to shoot me a message either through email or on facebook with any questions you may have and stay tuned...there just may be a blog post about DIY hospital and newborn photos!