My DIY Maternity Photo Shoot with Bella!

It only took me 38 weeks and 4 days to finally set my butt in motion to take my own maternity photos. I knew I wanted them done, and I knew I would regret it if I didn’t do them. Unfortunately, professional maternity photos just aren’t in our budget, so I brought my outdated, yet still fancy DSLR and tripod outside for a fun, sentimental maternity photo shoot with my 7 year old daughter. Her days of being my one and only are coming to an end, and I wanted these pictures to be special and something for her to lovingly cherish for the rest of her life.

Here are some tips to help you successfully complete your own maternity photo shoot. Again, I’m not a professional. Just a hobbyist and a mom who thoroughly enjoys taking photos of my family.

Invest in a tripod: I don’t think this amateur photo shoot would have worked out if it wasn’t for my tripod. Sure, I could’ve handed Dennis my camera and told him what to do and what to focus on, but I have a “if you want it done right, do it yourself” mentality. I knew the poses and the angles I wanted and how to achieve them.

You don’t even have to spend a fortune on a tripod. Mine cost under $30.

Have an editing program: My pictures looked good straight out of the camera, but I wanted them to pop! I was going for an outdoorsy end-of-the-day type feel. I didn’t want bright, faded out, over-exposed photos. I wanted photos that were raw, but still gorgeous. I currently own Adobe Lightroom, along with some awesome presets made by my friend Cheryl over at 40 Aprons (the presets were originally created for food photography, but I use them for everything). It’s an amazing editing software that takes my pictures from okay/good to AWESOME.

Don’t have $10 to spare every month? No problem. There are free editing programs available online. My favorite is PicMonkey. I still have a premium account because I STILL love and use it! You’ll be able to do basic edits to your photos, including cropping, resizing, adjusting the exposure/brightness/contrast/saturation, etc.

Be aware of your background: This photo is adorable, with Bella lovingly embracing the baby bump. But do you see what’s in the background? A white, plastic chair leaned against a fence. It’s so distracting! If I were to retake these photos, I would definitely pay more attention to what’s in the background. It doesn’t have to be perfect since the field of focus is on the smaller side, but the bright white chair didn’t blend in with the rest of the background enough to just ignore.

Know your poses beforehand: One reason I believe this maternity photo shoot was successful is because I had a list of poses I wanted to do. I searched all through Google and Pinterest looking at maternity pictures involving older siblings and saved the ones that I wanted to replicate. Some of the poses I liked, unfortunately, were meant for younger kids (ie: holding her on my belly), and I couldn’t get down on the ground without being in pain, so we stuck with poses that involved us standing up.

Have patience: This can be insanely difficult when you’re in the final weeks of pregnancy. Patience flies out of the window. However, it’s necessary to have…especially when kids are involved in the photos. We tried the same poses multiple times because I had to repeat instructions over and over again. All before the camera timer stopped (yes, I need to introduce a remote to my hobby photography gear, I know). I’ll admit, I may have expressed my frustration a couple times throughout this whole process. But hey, I was 38 weeks. Cut me some slack.

Don’t expect perfection: When you’re scrolling online through hundreds of maternity photos to get an idea of what your preferences are, you can possibly set yourself up for disappointment if a certain pose or style doesn’t pan out. After all, they have expensive photography equipment and years of photography and editing experience! Of course their photos are going to turn out better than yours. AND THAT’S OKAY!! I walked into this photo shoot knowing full and well that mine won’t look as professional. I just wanted them to look nice and like I tried. I knew my skill-set was on the limited side.

And guess what? Everyone loved my amateur maternity photos regardless of my experience level. They saw what I wanted to capture and knew it fit me perfectly.


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