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Maternity Photography Posing Tips for Beginners

Maternity photography is a beautiful way to capture wonderful images of a mother expecting her child. Here are a few starting pointers to help you create a solid foundation as a maternity photographer.

1. Use Legs and Hands to Highlight the Belly Maternity photography is all about the belly. To make sure our focus stays on the belly and the couple, hands and legs are great tools.

couple maternity photography pose

Place both hands below the belly or one above the belly and one below. You can position one above and slightly to the side and the other opposite. Or just have your client rub her belly as she normally would if she were just standing alone. Remember to place the hands so that the fingers are close together and hands are overlapping but not overwhelming the belly. For legs, have mom cross her legs if she is facing you so that you can add more lines toward the belly. This will add focus to the bump much more than if she were straight-legged.

In other maternity poses, try to have her bend one leg at the knee so that it gives the same effect as well as gives her more shape.

2. Remember All Bodies Are Different Pregnant bodies are all different, and not all maternity poses will work for each mom. Also, not all maternity poses will be comfortable to get into either. Remember to always ask before putting your client in a difficult or uncomfortable pose. Great maternity photos are made because people are comfortable in the pose, in the location, and in front of the camera. You can tell right away if someone is uncomfortable so try your best to watch out for this and repose your client.

black maternity boudoir photography pose

Remember that some maternity sessions you’ll need to accentuate the belly more by the use of hands or perhaps a belt, or turning your client at an angle. Try and let poses evolve organically and allow for interaction to flow. It’s the in-between moments where the couple is laughing or enjoying the moment where the best photos are made.

3. Shoot Dad With the Belly Just because the belly is the focal point doesn’t mean Dad can’t have his time in front of the camera. Have dad kneel and get close to the belly with both hands on each side. Have him talk to the belly and enjoy the closeness.

father kissing belly maternity pose

Another great maternity pose idea is to have Dad stand half behind the mom and place his hands on her belly. Get in close so that you just get the hands. Take a mid-length photo and focus on the dad’s eyes rather than on the mom.

Have him look at the camera and then down at the belly. If Dad has a special request for a pose, do it. Letting them feel like a part of the maternity photography session is going to produce more intimate photos for your clients.

4. Shoot Silhouette Maternity Poses If the mom is shy in front of the camera, silhouette maternity pictures are perfect for easing the atmosphere. Her body shape and belly will pop out in the pictures. But she doesn’t have to worry about her facial expression. You can take silhouette maternity photos while the mother is standing or sitting down. To make the baby bump stand out, ask her to turn and show one of her sides to the camera.

fitness maternity pose black and white

You can also involve the father to give a kiss on her belly. This will create a very intimate scene, almost as if we were watching them in their home.

5. Shoot Active Maternity Poses There are lots of moms who love fitness or maternity yoga. Why not taking maternity pictures while she is exercising? You don’t have to worry about fast movements. Maternity yoga or aerobics isn’t that dynamic.

maternity pose light cube

If the mom is comfortable about her belly, you can ask her to wear activewear that shows off the baby bumps. You might want to use large fitness balls that will create a funny resemblance with the belly. Pregnancy is about growing a new life, and the mother’s body needs extra care. Exercising is a good way to show how much the lady cares about her body.

6. Direct Walking Maternity Poses Walking poses can add dynamics to the maternity photos. It also helps your clients relax and feel more comfortable. Sitting in one place, especially with a baby bump, can feel uncomfortable after a while.

couple walking maternity photography pose

You have a few good options for walking maternity poses. The mom can lead the dad while they are holding hands and smiling at each other. Ask her to put one of her hands on her belly from time to time.

You can also take photos of the couple as they are walking towards the camera, looking at the lens or at each other. To show more intimacy, ask them to walk in a slow and natural way.

You can also ask them to talk about the baby. This will trigger them to look at the mum’ belly or touch it. This way, the maternity poses won’t look staged.

7. Build up the Maternity Poses You can easily build and get various poses all without having to move your clients very much. Keeping your clients in one spot also allows your client to relax. It can be tiring to walk around a lot while being 8 months pregnant.

For example, start with the couple facing each other and with the outside hand embracing the belly. From there, you can ask your clients to look down, then look at each other. Have the dad look at the belly and the mom at the camera, hug a little tighter, kiss, or hold hands.

Another example is having the dad behind the mom and with the hands close to the camera holding the bottom of the belly. From there, you can have the dad kissing the mom on the temple while the mom is looking down. They can hold hands, or like the example, hold the props that they brought to the session. Use longer lenses to get close-up shots and far-away shots for variety. For each variation, take about four to five so that you can ensure you got at least one great photo from each pose.

8. Don’t Forget to Play and Have Fun Maternity sessions don’t have to be all tender and intimate moments. You can also ask your clients to have a little fun with it. If they’re up for it, have them walk around, dance, and enjoy the moment. Ask them to talk with each other and have the mom say something nice to the dad and then vice versa. This usually causes many of those natural in-between expressions that make for great photos. The photos are showcasing exactly who your clients are during this moment in their lives. Sitting down maternity poses are also popular. Ask the couple to sit on a bench, cuddle a bit and pretend they are on their couch. They can play around or tickle each other too.

9. Keep Arms and Face Away From the Body Maternity sessions happen between the 7th and 9th month of pregnancy when the mom’s belly is usually much rounder in shape. But this also means that arms, legs, and face tend to swell as well. Even just by walking a lot because of the excess water they are carrying around to help the baby grow and develop. Keeping the face away from the neck by asking your client to push their chin toward the camera can help avoid squished necks and double chin. Keeping the arms away from the body and bent can add shape and lines to the contour of the body as well as not make the arm seem fuller than it really is in real life.

TIP 1: If you are photographing a couple, don’t forget to take photos of just the mom. Getting good maternity portraits of her embracing her bump is going to make for tender and meaningful photographs. Posing her in flattering ways can also create more depth and warmth to the photograph. Try putting her at a 45-degree angle from you. This way, we are putting more focus on the bump’s silhouette. This is especially helpful when the baby bump is small. TIP 2: Tell her to rub her belly and talk to her baby. If she feels awkward doing this, have her smile while looking down at her bump. Have her think of meeting the baby. This will get more authentic expressions in the maternity portraits. Take full-length, mid-length, and up-close photos of her. Once you feel like you have taken enough solid portraits, experiment with different crops.

TIP 3: Ask her to bend one leg. This pose helps to relax and shift the weight. It also adds more interesting lines leading to the baby bump, which is the focal point of the whole maternity photoshoot. TIP 4: During her portrait session, try and keep her hands moving as well as where she is looking. Have her look at you, at her partner, down her shoulder, at her belly. When she looks at her belly, have her poke her neck out towards the camera and actually look at her feet. This will avoid getting any squished chins. Maternity photos are intimate and a great way to begin a lasting relationship with clients. So that they come back for the newborn session as well as all future ones. Having these tips in mind during a maternity session will help you to stay focused. These poses also allow for variety and experimentation. Build the poses to have a bigger mixture of photographs to showcase to your clients. Remember to consider different body shapes, and always give your clients a great experience!


Mother Solo Maternity Poses

Capture memories that will last for a lifetime with some professional photos together. Here are some maternity picture poses for an expecting mother's photo shoot.

1. Caress the Baby Bump - STRAIGHT ON

Facing the camera, hold your belly in a protective and caring way.

2. Caress the Baby Bump – 45 DEGREE ANGLE

This is a variation on the first pose, but you have to face at a 45-degree angle from the camera. In this case, you show better the size of the baby bump.

3. Caress the Baby Bump- SILHOUETTE

Silhouette maternity photos are perfect for showing a mom’s belly. This is great if you want to do a week-by-week photo session to keep track of the growing belly.

4. Showing the Sonogram

Try holding the sonogram in front of the belly. This way, you can include the baby’s first picture in your maternity photos.

5. Milk Bath

A milk bath is one of the best maternity photoshoot ideas – and it’s also great for the skin. Approach a professional photographer to get the best results.

6. Holding something of the baby

Hold some of the baby’s items (possessions) next to your pregnant belly – for example, some baby shoes or plush toys.

This is great if you have the photo session in the baby’s nursery. Otherwise, you can bring some items with you if you’re doing it outdoors or in a studio.

8. Legs Crossed

A simple pose for females that’s very effective for maternity shoots is to sit down with your legs crossed. This way, you create a visual base that supports your beautiful baby bump.

10. Looking at the belly

A classic pose in maternity photography is looking down at the belly – sitting, standing, or lying. You should also check out our guide to sitting poses for flattering portraits.

12. Half-lying on the side

Not all maternity poses are different from any other portrait photoshoot. You can sit on the floor sideways, supported by your arm. Then, use the other hand to touch your adorable baby bump.

15. Walking

An outdoor maternity photo shoot invites you to take some beautiful photos walking. Also, you’ll get some wonderful natural light if you do it during the golden hour.

Couple Maternity Poses

Capture memories that will last for a lifetime with some professional photos together. Here are some maternity picture poses for a couple’s photo shoot.

1. Holding hands

You can’t miss a picture of you and your partner holding hands when doing a couple’s maternity photo shoot.

2. Holding the sonogram as a couple

A must-have maternity photo shoot pose is to have the couple holding the baby’s sonogram.

3. Face to face

Having the couple look into each other’s eyes makes a lovely maternity pose.

5. Embrace from the back

A husband hug from the back is one of the best maternity photo poses. You can even take fun pictures from the side if they want to compare their bellies.

6. Partner kissing the belly

One of the sweetest maternity photo ideas is to have the partner kiss the pregnant belly.

8. Front and sideways, holding the belly

During a pregnancy photo shoot, it’s also important to try different poses. This will help the couple find one where they feel more natural and take great maternity photos.

For example, try having the partner hug the mom’s belly from the side.

10. Mom and dad’s hands on the belly

A couple’s maternity photo shoot is about the connection of both parents. One way to show this in the pregnancy photos is to have the hands of both of them on the baby bump.

12. Standing behind her

Poses with different heights create dynamic compositions. This also applies to maternity photos. For this, try having the future mom sitting down and the partner standing behind her.

15. Recline on him

This pose makes for casual and intimate maternity photos. It works as well outdoors as it does in the client’s house. You should try it out the next time you do a pregnancy photoshoot.

16. Hand heart

A must in maternity photography is to have the hands forming a heart on the belly. This pose works well in a solo or a couple’s maternity shoot.

Family Maternity Poses

It’s not always easy to find maternity poses for the whole family. So, here are some pregnancy photoshoot ideas to get you inspired.

1. Dad and older child touching the belly

Maternity photos where all the family members are touching the belly are beautiful.

You need to arrange the group around the mother to create a good composition. How you do this depends on how many people are in the photo.

5. Dad kissing the belly and the older child on top kissing mom

A pregnancy photo shoot in the studio allows one to get more creative with the poses. A beautiful maternity pose is to have the partner kneeling so that they can kiss the belly. Then, have the older child climb on their shoulders so that they can kiss the mom.


  • Schedule an outdoor maternity session during the golden hour. This way, you’ll have soft, warm light that’s very flattering for a pregnant woman.

  • Ask the model to push the chin forward to avoid a double chin.

  • Suggest a comfortable outfit that flows naturally for a beautiful maternity shoot.

  • Most of the time, you won’t be doing a maternity photoshoot for a professional model. Instead, it’s a pregnant woman who wants to look good but doesn’t know how to pose or act in front of the camera. It’s your job as the photographer to help her relax and act naturally.

Pregnancy Photoshoot Posing FAQs

Which month of pregnancy is good for a photoshoot? There isn’t a hard and fast rule on when you should have a maternity photoshoot. Any time after the baby bump is noticeable is a good time to have your pregnancy photos taken. Just don’t wait until the last minute before the baby arrives so you can move around. This is why most pregnant women choose to do it between 28 to 36 weeks into pregnancy.

How do you take good pregnancy pictures of your tummy?

If you want to do a pregnancy week-by-week session, you’ll want to be facing sideways to show how the belly grows. Otherwise, face 45 degrees towards the camera for some flattering maternity pictures. Ask your photographer for some photoshoot outfit ideas. Yet, make sure that you always feel comfortable.

How should I pose for maternity pictures? Maternity pics where you hold your belly are a must-have. Another typical pose is with you showing baby clothes. Looking at your belly while sitting or standing is also a common pose in a maternity photoshoot. Always remember to have a little fun, though.

How do you hold your stomach in maternity pictures?

In almost every pose of a pregnancy photoshoot you have your hands holding your baby bump. You can do this by placing both hands under it to show support. A good variation is putting one hand on the top and the other on the bottom as an embrace. Finally, another option is to form a heart with your fingers.

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Alexis Gray
Alexis Gray
Oct 10, 2023
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Capture the beauty of pregnancy with these maternity photography tips and ideas. From serene nature backdrops to creative props, cherish the journey with stunning images. Learn more about maternity photography.

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