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Photographing your Pregnant Body

As a child, I remember my mom’s friend had a series of photographs on the bedroom wall of her pregnant belly. She was wearing a thin dress, her long hair was falling over her shoulders and a light was shining from behind her, exposing the swell of her tummy. She looked so serene and beautiful.

Fast forward twenty-odd years and there I was, clumsy and embarrassed, standing in front of a photographer in a skirt and white crop top. My ankles were swollen, my face was bloated and I felt plain awful.

I decided to have photo’s taken, with my two sons loving my belly. They were, after all excited about the arrival of their baby sister and I wanted to document that in her scrapbook.

I was embarrassed. I’d spent the last 36 weeks wearing baggy shirts and (those beautiful!) maternity pants to hide how big I’d become and now I was wearing practically nothing, baring my swollen, stretched belly to a complete stranger.

The photoshoot lasted for at least an hour. I posed for the camera holding my belly in my arms; I held a flower in front of my tummy; my boys each had a turn kissing my tummy and giving their baby sister a love.

As I put my baggy clothes back on, confident that I was now well and truly covered, the photographer came up to me and showed me some of the photos she’d captured on her camera.

I was beautiful.

Through the clenched teeth and forced smiles, getting up, getting down, turning this way and that way, I looked serene. I looked beautiful.

I couldn’t wait to show my family, my friends and more importantly my daughter my pregnant belly.

How do you prepare for a photoshoot?

Before the photoshoot

  • Do research. Get recommendations from friends and ask to see the photographer’s portfolio
  • Set up a meeting with the photographer and explain exactly what you would like to capture
  • Find out what the photographer expects from the photoshoot.
  • Ask the photographer what clothes you need to wear. This is crucial if you want to create a certain mood. In many cases, you’ll be asked to wear one colour or different colours that compliment one another (white is preferable)
  • Ask the photographer if you need to bring props or if he’ll provide them

On the day

  • Make sure that you had a good night’s sleep.
  • Go to the salon to have your hair done. You’ll feel better about yourself and be more confident when standing in front of the camera
  • Have your make-up done professionally, or if you’d prefer to do your make-up at home, make sure that you put your make-up on a little heavier than you normally would
  • Don’t wear elasticised pants that will leave a mark on your belly. Rather wear a dress or loose-fitting maternity pants. You don’t want to have a line across your belly for your photos.
  • Bring a selection of clothes with you, so that the photographer can play around with different looks.
  • Try to do the photoshoot earlier in the day, rather than later. You won’t be tired and you’re less likely to have a swollen face and ankles.
  • Talk to the photographer during the shoot. Tell her exactly what you’d like to do and what makes you feel uncomfortable.
  • Be courageous! The photographer has probably done dozens of shoots and knows what is likely to look good.
  • Have fun, after all, how often do get to be a model for a day?
Photo by Thiago Borges from Pexels