Calling all pregnant mamas and maternity photographers — this guide to 8 gorgeous maternity photoshoot poses is the perfect resource for you! As a maternity photographer, I've perfected the best and most flattering poses for pregnancy photos over many years of photographing moms-to-be. Maternity photoshoot sessions are all about making mom feel her most beautiful and highlighting the one-of-a-kind connection between her and baby.
Before we jump into my top pregnancy poses, I want to highlight a few tips and tricks that will ensure you get some gorgeous maternity pictures:
Don't do a front-facing shot - this isn't very flattering on anyone, and it also defeats the purpose of showing off the baby bump. Instead, have mama stand at a 45-degree angle facing the lens while keeping one knee naturally bent under the bump. This accentuates the belly and highlights the mom-to-be's best angles!
Don't slouch - this is a good rule of thumb for any style of photo, but is especially important for pregnancy pictures. I tell my mamas to focus on rolling their shoulders back by sticking out their chest and bum. I know it sounds weird, but it helps your posture look great while letting the focus stay on the baby bump.
One of the questions I frequently get asked during maternity sessions is, "What do I do with my hands?!" Here are some ideas to keep your hand placement natural and flattering:
Place one arm over and one arm under the bump - this will naturally frame the belly to accentuate the roundness in an adorable way.
Have one arm under the bump while the arm closest to the camera rests on the small of their back, with fingers pointing down. This creates some beautiful angles and really highlights the belly.
Rub the belly with one hand and use your other to play with your hair or dress. This is a good one for walking photos since it helps them look natural and effortless!
Top 8 Maternity Photoshoot Poses for Pregnancy Pictures
1. Cradle the bump and look away
The first maternity photoshoot pose I LOVE is having mama cradle her baby bump with her hands and look off into the distance. The key to this pose is having one arm over and one arm under the belly so you can beautifully frame the bump. Looking away from the camera also gives pregnancy photos an effortlessly dramatic and almost ethereal vibe. This maternity pose is especially gorgeous when the mom-to-be is dressed in a flowy, feminine dress.
2. Lean with it
One of the best ways to highlight the baby bump in maternity photos is to lean against something, like a fence or tree. You can also instruct mama to kick one leg up, which adds some interesting angles and dimension. Experiment with having the mom-to-be look down at the bump, away from the camera, and directly into the lens for some extra variety.
3. Lay down with your head in your partner's lap
If your partner will be joining for your maternity session, this third pregnancy pose is a beautiful choice. I'll have mom lay down with her head in her partner's lap and have the couple alternate looking into each other's eyes and the camera. I also enjoy playing around with mom looking into the camera while their partner looks down at them lovingly. The result is a romantic and intimate maternity pose for couples!
4. Look down at the bump
One of the sweetest pregnancy poses for moms-to-be is cradling the baby bump while looking down at it. Whether the mama places one or both hands on her belly, this pose creates a beautiful sense of connection between mom and baby. This maternity photo pose is a great option if there's a slight breeze since it adds a hint of movement and fluidity.
5. Hug the bump
"Hug the bump," as I like to call it, is a great pose for maternity sessions with partners and other members of the family. I instruct the partner to stand behind mama and hug her bump from behind, with mom placing her hands with on top or alongside their partner's. If you have other kids that you'll be incorporating into your pregnancy photoshoot, you can guide them to stand on either side of the bump for a beautiful family picture.
6. Frame the bump for a close-up
Some of my favorite maternity photos involve mom framing the baby bump with her hands for a close-up shot of the belly. Have the mom-to-be stand at an angle and place one hand on top and one underneath the bump. This will give you a simple yet artistic pregnancy portrait that really highlights the belly. You can also use cute props on the belly like flowers, little baby shoes, a onesie, etc.
7. Side profile
Photographing a side profile shot of mom is a classic way to highlight the baby bump. I usually have my mamas look down and smile at their belly as they frame it with their hands to accentuate the shape of the bump. The further into pregnancy you are, the better this pose gets since the belly will be popping!
8. Walk and laugh
The last maternity photoshoot pose I recommend is walking and laughing, which is great for both solo and family maternity sessions. I like to instruct the mama to rub her belly as she walks, which helps accentuate the bump while encouraging some natural laughs. Walking and laughing also provides some movement which leads to candid and authentic pregnancy pictures.
Hopefully, you're feeling inspired to knock your maternity photoshoot out of the park! Want a handy cheat sheet that has all of my fave poses on one page? CLICK HERE for the download.
Once baby arrives, don't forget to check out my favorite poses for newborn sessions.
If you or someone you know is expecting, I'd love to document this special time! Give me a shout over at www.casaraphoto.com.
Jessi is a lifestyle documentary photographer based in southern Alabama, serving the Gulf Coast from Mobile, AL to Pensacola, FL, along with the Nashville, Chattanooga, and Atlanta areas. She specializes in couple, wedding, maternity, newborn and family photography, and also enjoys commercial and creative portraiture. Available for travel worldwide. Find out more at www.casaraphoto.com.