Ready for some posing tips for maternity sessions?! One of the most unexpected blessings of our business has been doing maternity sessions for our past brides. After shooting their engagement sessions and weddings, it feels like such a full-circle moment to photograph them as expecting moms and dads! They basically feel like family. Especially now that we’re parents ourselves, it’s extra special for us because we can relate to them on a whole new level. Plus as an added bonus, since our clients are already so familiar with our complete posing system, getting back in front of our camera feels so natural and comfortable for all of us. We’ve been getting asked more and more about posing tips for maternity sessions. There are a few specific things we try to keep in mind that are different than how we’d pose an engaged couple, so today we want to share with you three of our favorite posing tips for maternity sessions!
1. One Hand on the Bump – ALWAYS
When we’re shooting maternity sessions, it’s really important that it’s clear that it’s a maternity session. We know that might sounds obvious, but it’s not (always). Depending on how far along our mom-to-be is and/or how much she’s showing — or not showing — we want to make sure to always have at least one of her hands cupping the bottom of her belly. This helps pull the extra dress fabric tight and accentuate the shape of the bump.
There are two benefits to this.
First, it’s flattering for Mom’s figure, because so much of what we see if based on ratios and proportions. The human eye evaluates the size of one thing based on the size of something next to it. When Mom cups her hand underneath her bump, it’s makes everything else look smaller proportionally, which is more flattering to the rest of her body. It’s one of the reasons why so many moms of the previous generation comment on moms today things like, “Oh my goodness! You’re so tiny! When I was pregnant, I looked HUGE!” Now, we’re not doctors or scientists, but we doubt this generation of pregnant women are magically and miraculously multiple sizes smaller than the generation before. What we do think happened is this: our own moms wore “tent” dresses that weren’t form-fitting at all, which made them look larger than they actually were, because there was so much space between their bodies and the fabric of their dresses. As opposed to this generation of expecting moms who are wearing much tighter clothes designed to show off the bump. So, when you’re posing your clients, make sure there’s always at least one hand on the belly. For extra definition, one hand on top and one on bottom will really accentuate the bump even more.
If we had to choose, placing a hand on the bottom of the belly is first priority, since there’s typically more loose fabric there than on the top. Even if Mom’s dress is form-fitting all the way around the belly, we still recommend having her put at least one hand on her baby for this reason.
The second benefit of having Mom’s hand on her belly is simple: it’s sweet and maternal. In our Posing Course, we explain that there’s almost nothing more awkward in a photo of two people (who are supposed to be in love) who have stiff, awkward hands. So, we encourage our students to always “give the hands something to do” and include a lot of different ideas and examples. For maternity sessions, the bump is kind of like the bouquet. It should almost always be in the bride’s hands. There are few things sweeter in life than an expecting mama holding her belly. It’s warm and nurturing, and exactly the sentiment we want for a maternity session.
2. Make Sure the Bump is Visible in Every Pose
When Mom or Dad have their hands on the belly, make sure they’re all the way on the top, or all the way bottom, so the bump is fully visible. For example, sometimes we’ll ask Mom to put her hands on the bump first, and then we’ll ask Dad to put his hands on the bump, too. Since men’s hands are so large, we have to be careful that Dad’s hand isn’t right in the middle of Mom’s belly and, thus, covering most of the bump. On top of Mom’s hands works, or slightly off to the side, too.
Also, we don’t want to hide the bump (ever) by posing Mom facing all the way away from the camera. When we’re posing regular engaged or wedding clients, we’ll typically do a set or two with them facing away from the camera, to accentuate the back of our bride’s dress for example. But we never want to do that with a mama-to-be, because it’s the most unflattering angle for her. Plus, if we can’t see the bump, going all the way back to the beginning, it’s not clear that it’s a maternity session — which it should be in every. single. shot.
We try to keep that in mind as we compose our images too. We love to do super close tight shows of our brides and grooms, but for a maternity session, we never want to get too tight where you can’t see at least part of the belly anymore.
3. Make Time for Portraits of Mama by Herself
Just like on a wedding day, we want to make sure to get plenty of shots that feature the mama-to-be by herself. This is such a special season for her as she gets to know her little one as he or she grows inside her belly. The expecting mama is like the “bride” of the maternity session. Ours dads-to-be usually LOVE this (just like our grooms do on wedding days) because it means they get a break from the action to talk with Jordan or catch up on the latest sports scores. Plus, these are really nice extra images to add to our client’s gallery to give them some added variety, and capture such a special relationship between mama and child.
Bonus: Pose Intentionally to Flatter Mama’s Body
There are few things in life more beautiful than the glow of an expecting mama. The truth is, though, a lot of mamas-to-be, just like our brides, feel insecure and self-conscious about a specific part of their body.
If our clients don’t like the way they look in a picture we take, they won’t like the picture. It’s human nature. It doesn’t matter if the technical photography is perfect, if the client can’t see past their perceived imperfections.
So, as photographers, if our goal is to love and serve our clients well — especially our expecting mamas — and give them self-confidence, and help them see themselves the way we see them in such a sweet season of their life, then it’s our job to make sure that our posing is so good, that they look at the final product and exclaim, “I can’t believe that’s me!”
That’s exactly why we created this 1-hour online posing class for you! The best part? It’s completely FREE! We’ll be revealing five of our favorite posing tips and secrets to flatter EVERY body, so whether you’re posing a maternity couple, a bride and groom, a high school senior, taking family photos (or even just want to know how to pose YOURSELF better!) this free posing tips class is for you! Click here to sign up now!