How to Take Baby Bump/Pregnancy Progression Photos
About the author: This post was put together by my amazing sister Tanish who just had a beautiful baby girl! She is an extremely talented photographer and went above and beyond when putting together her photos.
So you’ve just found out that you’re pregnant (congrats, by the way) and are realizing that you’d better get started now if you want to get some good pregnancy progression photos. Or maybe you’re already a month or two in and are worried it’s too late. Fear not; we have tons of pregnant belly picture ideas and tips to get you going.
Is it worth doing pregnancy progression photos week by week? Probably only if you intend to stitch them together into a video. There are 40+ weeks and unless you know immediately when you get pregnant, you’re bound to miss the first few weeks, as well as a few when you happen to be on vacation or just away from your shooting space. For those reasons, and because it’s hard enough getting the same conditions nine times, much less forty, I opted for the baby bump month by month approach.
Choosing a style:
Whatever you pick up front, you’re pretty committed to, so take some time to choose a background, pose and layout that you like and that fits your personality. I love being outside and tend to prefer simplicity over decoration, so I opted for this tree (bonus: symbolizes growth, strength, nature) in a local park, but there are tons of baby bump progression photo ideas to be had. For example,
Ultra simple/clean: often a solid white or black background with the opposite colored clothing, or a silhouette (this approach can really highlight the change in the body). For real success, you’ll want exactly the same light every time.
Chalkboard: useful for tracking which week/month you’re on and a nice way to give a few details about what’s happening during that time in the pregnancy. Just watch out that it doesn’t make your final layout too busy.
Funny: air pump filling up the bump, t-shirts, hats with numbers or seasonal markers, signs with annoying symptoms, other object that changes size with you (I kind of went this direction by showing which fruit/veg was the same size as the growing baby)
Involve the family: include your partner and/or kids if you can wrangle them to participate every time
Choosing what to wear for your pregnancy progression pictures:
Either choose something that will stretch with your changing body (and you don’t mind throwing away), or be prepared to change every time. If you choose the latter, you’ll probably want a theme to tie everything together. If you want to keep the focus on the baby bump, plan for fewer other differences between each of your pics.
Unless you have a photographer who can commit to meeting each week or month, you’ll want to take your photos yourself. This means a tripod and camera with a timer. You can certainly get away with a phone camera or something simple, but it’s nice to have some control if you are shooting in variable conditions. I used the Canon 7D Markii with a L-series 24-105mm lens and a B+W polarizing filter to combat the daytime haze.
Critical components to truly beautiful pregnant belly photos:
Get clear from the start on your focus. Is it the changing scene or your changing body? For me, I wanted to focus on the bump which meant that everything else needed to stay simple: clothing, background, pose, light.
Any shoot that happens over a long period of time is bound to have some complicating factors. Outside shoots will inevitably have different light and changing seasons. You can try to minimize that or even highlight it (I attempted a bit of both). You could opt to show the holidays in each month or the changing weather and colors. Indoor shoots offer more consistent light options, but also may require more setup.
Pick a pose and angle that will work throughout your pregnancy (unless changing it every time is part of your plan). I got lucky that leaning against the tree was still an option later on, but your center of gravity will change dramatically during 1 to 9 months of pregnancy pictures. As you can see, I also mixed up which leg was up part way through. Oops! To that end, the most successful pregnant belly pictures I’ve seen are usually shot in profile. Overhead angles can be cool, but growing boobs can complicate things and it’ll take awhile before the belly is showing enough to really be interesting. Make sure you create some marker so that you can put yourself and the camera in exactly the same spot every time.
With a little effort, it’s easy enough to get some cute pregnant belly pictures that it’s worth dragging that belly out to do it every month, and it’s a pretty amazing record to have of such a huge journey.