When I set out to create this guide, my initial plan was to create a couple of pages demonstrating a few of the poses I have found work best. As I put the guide together, I realized I had much more information to convey. As a result, the guide you see here is more complex than I had originally planned and has even evolved into a 220 page interactive book for the iPad.
If you are short on time you may wish to skip ahead to "Finding a Pose." But, if you have a little time, you may find some useful tips and background on maternity photography.
The focus of this guide is primarily on poses, ideas, and the principles and rationale behind them. Finding a good flattering pose for an expectant mom is the base of a good maternity portrait. Even if the photo is not purposely posed — if it is candid — it still contains all the elements of a pose, good or bad.
Most poses here will be presented full length, with strong, clear lighting in order to allow you to evaluate how the body is situated. This is not meant to represent how you should compose or light your photos.
The moms-to-be who volunteered for this guide attempted to wear clothes that would help clearly show their poses. These are not meant to be wardrobe or fashion examples, except where specifically presented as such.
Though most of the guide will deal with deliberate poses, you may wish to apply the principles here to candid photography. In a candid photo you should seek moments where your subject looks great and encourage action or interaction that can bring about great poses naturally. Hopefully some of what you see here will help you to recognize what will look best.
I will cover a variety of other topics as they relate to maternity photography, including some information about composition and lighting. However, it is beyond the scope of what I could write here to provide in depth information about lighting and photography. This guide assumes you have some familiarity with the principles of photography. If not, there are numerous resources both online and in books that will explain the basics better than I could.
The models who posed for this guide are those who volunteered. As such, the guide does not reflect a full range and diversity of moms-to-be. Every woman is different and every mom-to-be carries her pregnancy differently. The suggestions, ideas and poses may vary in their degree of success from one person to the next, and I encourage you as the photographer to experiment with what will work specifically for your subject.
This guide is the work of one photographer, and as such, these ideas represent my approach and understanding of how to create a good maternity portrait. While I hope that my work represents some success in that field, I am sure there are other ways of working which may suit others better. If you have suggestions on how to improve this guide, please feel free to email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you have an iPad, I highly recommend my iPad version of the guide. (How could I not?) It has a more in-depth information, interactive features, and a ton of photo reference. Plus, it's $9.99 - a super bargain!