Maternity Portraits

The Concept of Pregnancy Portraits

There are a growing number of photography studios now focusing on maternity portraits. New York City-based Sarah Merians Photography & Co. has traditionally been known for bridal and family photography, but now is one of the premier studios for pregnancy photography. “In this day and age, women are getting married well into their 30s and 40s and having babies later,” says Sarah Merians, professional photographer and studio owner. “Pregnancy becomes a greater challenge, and documenting this precious time has become so popular.”

A pregnancy portrait is not just a great souvenir to be appreciated by the generation you are creating, but also a beautiful way to adapt to your new body image. “Looking at my portrait felt like I was stepping outside of my body for a moment,” says Diane Abraham, a mother from Northridge, California. “From the outside, without the discomforts involved, I could finally see the beauty in me. It made me feel so feminine.”

Expecting Beauty

Many women are not sure what to expect during a maternity photo shoot, but many leave feeling like they have spent a few fun hours being pampered and feeling beautiful.

“Pregnancy is a very special time,” says Anthony Colella, professional photographer and co-owner of Richter-Colella Studios in Peabody, Massachusetts. “It is only natural that couples would want a special photograph as a momento. In my portraits, I seek to capture the beauty of forming life. I am always aware that this photograph is not only a meaningful portrait of the new mother, but almost always the first picture in the new baby’s photo album. Although most women feel uncomfortable having their photograph taken even when they’re not pregnant, I take care to help them relax and enjoy the session.”

Wardrobe Wonders

With the body changes that are common during pregnancy, many women are not sure what to wear to a maternity photo session. According to Merians, keeping it simple and subtle makes for the best poses and photos.”There is no need to run out and buy some expensive maternity gown or outfit,” says Merians. “Most women wear their husband’s dress shirt or simply a black or white lingerie robe. Simple thin clothing works well to show off the pregnancy and your belly, which is what we want.”

Making Time

Pregnancy takes the greater part of a year, and women may want to wait until the third trimester before planning maternity portraits. That way, the photographer is sure to capture the fullness of a woman’s belly. Taking the portraits too soon may not offer you the results you wanted. “There is a ‘best time’ to take maternity portraits,” says Merians. “It is best to be at the very end of your pregnancy. Yes, women are bigger and have gained some weight, but this is part of the beauty of pregnancy. Capture the beauty of your big belly and be proud.”

To Color or Not to Color

Many women interested in maternity portraits will ask to see samples or a portfolio of other women’s portraits. When doing so, they will see a variation of film types used: black and white, color, and sepia tones. Does it matter what type of film is used? According to Merians, it is a matter of preference and desired results. “You can choose color or black-and-white film for maternity portraits, and both offer great results,” says Merians. “However, black-and-white film is recommended for a strong contrast. And remember, the photo shoot should have dramatic lighting to highlight the belly and face and offer a beautiful shot.”

How to Pose

Posing for maternity photos involves the obvious: getting your best side. However, how your “best side” is captured does vary. “All photos are primarily taken from the side,” says Merians. “You want to capture your belly’s fullness. Spot lighting is used to highlight the stomach and face only. The shoot is usually done standing up because the body position needs to show the stomach fully. This is the most flattering position. However, contemporary poses such as sitting on a bench, a stool, lying down, or kneeling can also be done, taking into consideration the comfort and safety of the woman, of course.”

There are as many variations on images and poses for maternity portraits as there are expectant women. Most pregnant women feel naturally drawn to the artier aspects of black-and-white or warmly-toned sepia prints. “Nudes, semi-nudes, and silhouettes are popular approaches,” says Elizabeth Vegvary, professional photographer and owner of Northern California-based Angel Photography, which specializes in capturing images of pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding. “However, there are also women who feel more at ease fully clothed in vibrant color outside in a field. This is your portrait session; most photographers are extremely accommodating. Natural lighting during the daylight hours, either inside or outside, also is a wonderful way to capture the pregnant form.”

Article Posted 4 years Ago
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