There is a very, very special time in a woman’s life – the baby bump time. As the belly grows, this special phase of life not only enriches the family, but also presents the photographer with a special challenge. If a woman has decided to give life to a child and wants to capture this moment forever – then baby bump photography is one of them.
During this time, a tiny, perfect creature grows in the woman’s stomach. From the size of a seed to the size of a watermelon. This is exactly how the most beautiful belly in the world, the baby bump , grows with it. Just like every pregnancy is different – you’ve probably heard that before – every baby bump is also different. Approx. It takes 9 months for the little miracle to be born. That is how long you have to take photos of the special time.
This is where my part begins. (Or maybe yours too.) I would like to share a few tips with you, far from the technology and the rules of image design, of how you can approach a baby bump shoot as a photographer . However, if you want to learn basics, I recommend that you browse through other contributions from pixolum or book an introductory course.
Nowadays, many women have a great desire – and with absolute justification – to take or have beautiful pictures taken as a lasting reminder of this time.
# 1 preparation
Talk to the mother-to-be and find out what she likes and what she doesn’t like in a preliminary talk. Get to know them and get an idea of how you see them. Imagine what could go well with her and her baby bump. Work out a questionnaire or write down a few keywords so that you don’t forget anything during the preliminary discussion.
- Who will be there besides the expectant mom?
- Is there a partner?
- Does the unborn child already have siblings? If so, how many and at what age?
- Are there any pets that should be included in the picture?
- Are there any special wishes that she would like to implement and that you can respond to?
Very important is the question of how fit the expectant mom feels and whether there are health aspects such as possible pregnancy complications that you have to take into account when planning the baby bump shoot.
# 2 planning
When you have clarified all the relevant questions, you can start planning the baby bump shoot. Because every photo shoot has to be planned! Get inspired, look at pictures on the Internet and find the pictures that you really like. But be careful not to choose too many of them, otherwise you can easily lose track! Create a collection of images on Pinterest or take notes or sketches.
A photo shoot always (really always!) Works differently than expected – at least that’s how it is for me – but a small plan, a reminder is very helpful if the air is out or other things happen that you could not have foreseen.
When is the best time to take baby bump photos? In general, it is said that the best time for a baby bump shoot is between the 30th and 34th week of pregnancy – the rounding of the bump should be most beautiful and the belly has not yet migrated downwards. But of course it is better to take photos later than not to take photos at all. The closer the photo shoot comes to the date of birth, the more you have to prepare yourself for the fact that the whole thing will be very exhausting for the mom ! And not to forget: you run the risk that the child will be born earlier than planned and therefore the baby bump photos can no longer be taken.
Location – indoor or outdoor?
Indoor and outdoor photos are equally beautiful. Depending on what you agreed with the mother-to-be in the preliminary discussion, you should ask yourself the following questions in advance:
- Where should the shoot take place?
- If the shooting is to take place outdoors, where exactly? On a field? In a forest? On the doorstep or in your own garden?
- If the shoot is to take place indoors, where exactly? In a studio? At home with the expectant mother? In a rented room?
Either way, make sure the decision is both comfortable and actionable for both of you.
It doesn’t matter whether nature or urban, the light has to be right! As you can already imagine as a photographer: If you want to take pictures outdoors, the existing natural light source must be taken into account when planning. For an outdoor shoot, think carefully: what about the sun? Where is the sun, where will it be at the time of the photo shoot and how will the shadows fall?
There are already good apps that simulate the position of the sun at the desired location. But the best thing is still, you go to the location and look at it on site and take a few test photos. For outdoor shoots, you should always have an alternative in mind if the weather doesn’t want to play along on the day of the shoot.
You get the most beautiful light in the golden hour.
Studio recordings of the baby bump
Be sure to deal with the lighting before the studio recording! Low key , high key or against a romantic background? Then it is easy for you to take really nice pictures.
If you are not yet practiced in this, I recommend that you invest a little time before the shoot and try out the different lighting settings. Definitely take part in a workshop, whether online or offline. Read this article if you have no experience with lightning at all.
Think about the lighting if the baby bump shoot is to take place in the studio. (@Susanne Henris)
# 3 equipment
The following three things are essential in any equipment for a shoot:
- Memory cards
- charged batteries
A reflector is very important for good light. It’s best to have a handy format with a handle so that you can easily hold it with one hand. (At least, if you don’t happen to have an assistant with you!)
Yes, maybe you are asking yourself the question: “Which lens do I use?” The best thing to do is to use bright lenses. Zoom for flexibility and prime lens for fine work. Outside I prefer to use my Sigma Art 85mm, f1.4 . It is very bright and you can really play with the blur and it makes a nice bokeh . There are certainly alternatives from other manufacturers. If there are children or even pets, I would rather use a zoom lens. Mine is from Tamron with 70-200, light intensity f2.8 . I am quick and flexible for the requirements and I can also easily capture unforeseen and lively scenes .
Because that’s always there!
# 4 Accessories – for a personal touch
You can ask the expectant parents to bring a few personal items, such as an ultrasound picture or a cuddly toy, baby clothes that are already available, or small baby shoes. If they forget that, you can prepare yourself well with small souvenirs. I bring neutral baby toys or cuddly toys that match everything in color. If there are children, soap bubbles should never be missing! Perhaps you will give the parents tips on their clothing in advance so that the photos will ultimately match the desired style.
But everything with measure and goal, otherwise the future parents are quickly overwhelmed!
# 5 The shoot – easy and fun to warm up
At the beginning you briefly explain the process to the expectant parents and what you plan to do with them. Clarify again if there are any other wishes for the shoot. Don’t forget to communicate with the children when they are around. Try to find a personal level in conversation – this makes taking pictures much easier. It is best to start with a little warm-up lap. Each family member writes wishes or small messages to the baby on a sticky note. These are then distributed on the stomach and the first photo set. Works well as an icebreaker! Children also have fun painting their belly and your photo shoot becomes a fun family event .
Most of the time, the parents let themselves be guided through the photo session, sometimes they also get involved during the shoot. I personally always wait for this moment, because this way the photos become “their” pictures.
A tip for more natural pictures
Many people are insecure in front of the camera. It is your responsibility to make them feel comfortable during the shoot. You can see that in the pictures. Believe me! Small tricks are recommended to solve the tension and uncertainties. So you can try to get into conversation with the expectant mom and the other participants apart from photography. Distract them or make them laugh. Let them whisper in each other’s ear.
# 6 main subject baby bump
The main motive for a baby bump shoot is the baby bump. The belly should be caressed and admired. From mom and all other family members. At my photo shoots, the partner or already existing siblings are always with me. I think that’s very nice, because it all belongs to it.
Don’t forget to take pictures of the mother-to-be alone, without a partner, without a family!
# 7 feel-good moments
Of course it depends on the personality of the woman – some love to be in the spotlight. Every person, every woman is beautiful. Find their merits. Let her feel that she is beautiful. Tell her she’s doing great. Give her a little compliment – that helps to put a small, real smile on her face.
Some mums don’t like to be in the foreground. Exactly these women need special sensitivity. You have to pick them up where they are. With a little empathy you make it that she forgets ideally you they are photographing and it is showing, if only a small moment. And then you have to press the camera trigger and the shoot is in the box.