DIY saves the day again. Create your own beautiful maternity photos for absolutely free!
I think documenting your pregnancy and growing baby belly is so important. It helps you to slow down and appreciate the good stuff (especially when you feel like total crap). But I personally hate clutter, and am not one to hang on to a bunch of “keepsakes”.
What I do love is photos. Each photo I take creates a snapshot in my brain that brings back a flood of memories. And as a bonus, I can store them virtually and don’t have to keep a giant box of junk in my closet.
But most of all, I want to remember what I looked like. Women, and particularly moms, are so often the ones behind the camera. We document what we see, but who is documenting our lives? I want to be able to show my kids pieces of my past in a way that words can’t. That’s one of my favorite things about blogging. It takes my thoughts and my photos and paints a vivid story that I can look back on whenever I want.
So without pretending that I’m a professional, I want to share with you how I’m making that possible. You don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars or stress out about the details. All you need is to spend a few minutes capturing the beauty that is your pregnant body. You’ll be happy you did.
DIY CASUAL BEACH MATERNITY PHOTOS
#1 Choose your outfit
Don’t make this part complicated. We all know you have a Pinterest board full of maternity photos of other women that you’re dying to recreate!
I personally love the lace dress look. I was able to find one that was really inexpensive, so this is the only thing I spent money on for the photos. But you can easily use clothes you already have, like a light dress or your favorite lacey bra.
To me, there’s nothing immodest about showing off that baby belly. You’re not doing this to be sexual. So wear what’s comfortable to you and love that body! Trust me, you’ll be radiant in whatever you choose as long as it makes you feel good. Here are some dresses that are similar to mine that won’t break the bank: (click each photo to view the dress)
#2 Gather the right tools
This means a few different things. For one, you’re going to want to use a nicer camera. Sure, you can take photos on your iPhone, but they’ll definitely turn out better on a professional camera.
I used my Canon Rebel T3i, which I use for all of my photography. If you don’t have a nice camera, chances are that you have a friend that does. Specifically a friend who takes photos for fun, and not to make a living.
PLEASE, don’t be that person who asks your professional photographer friend to do your photos for free. It’s just not cool. They need to make a living, and they aren’t doing that by giving away their service to everyone they know personally.
Secondly, you’ll need someone to actually take the photos. Anthony took all of these for me, and I just directed him as to what I wanted. We aren’t afraid of being brutally honest with each other, so this worked perfectly for us. (Although he may have rolled his eyes at me once or twice). You want to find someone who won’t get their feelings hurt if you critique the angle of every photo they take. These are your maternity shots, after all!
#3 Know yourself
This covers just about everything else you need to successfully DIY maternity photos.
I’m not exactly a super smiley person. I prefer serious photos of myself, so that’s what we went for. As for the location, Anthony and I love the beach, so we decided to take the photos there since it makes me relaxed and happy. And although I do like to get dressed up sometimes, I typically go around with a naked face and messy hair. So that’s what you’ll see in my photos.
No frills, no fuss, just a makeup-less face and wet ocean hair. I thought at first that I would really want to be all done up. But in the end, these photos felt like me. They are an accurate representation of what I look like on a daily basis, and that’s the me I want my kids to see.
I also took time to gather examples of poses that I thought were most flattering and showed them to Anthony beforehand. I kept them on my phone so we could look at them when we were feeling stuck. Again, we aren’t professional photographers. So this little preparation helped me to get what I wanted out of the photos. And don’t forget to take tons of extras! Some of the poses I originally loved weren’t flattering for my body, so I was happy to have plenty to choose from.
Of all the DIY maternity photo steps, this one is probably the most difficult. Starting with the right tools will definitely make this part easier. When you’re working with a high quality photo, less editing is necessary. And good lighting also makes a drastic difference. We took a few photos in full sunlight, and they were pretty awful. So we waited a few more hours until the sun was behind some clouds and I was much happier with the results. The best lighting is right before/during sunset, so if you can capture that, you’ll have really beautiful colors to work with.
For editing, I use iPhoto, which is already on my MacBook. I was able to do most of my tweaking on there. Then I transferred the photos to my phone so I could use my VSCO CAM app. I love the filters on there and its FREE! I just used dropbox to quickly transfer things back and forth without losing much photo quality.
After some editing, there were photos I liked best in color, and others that I preferred black and white. Part of that was because of my own impatience and not wanting to wait for the sun to start going down. But despite that, the end result was a group of photos I really love!
The bottom line is, play with it and don’t take this too seriously. Take photos in different locations with different lighting. And then play around with editing in both color and black and white. There is no “right way” to do this. It’s just supposed to be fun and make you feel like a goddess. At the end of the day, you’re not going to care whether you paid $1,000 for the photos or went the DIY route. You’re going to care about how it made you feel and being able to capture these moments that will be gone so quickly.