Are you wondering how to pull off a pregnancy photo shoot that looks like legit maternity photography, but without the hefty price tag?
Great maternity pictures always look so dreamy and special; it’s only natural for most moms-to-be to want to memorialize this special time. Others might just feel pressured to do it because it’s a thing now.
Either way, the experience can be daunting -and stressful, too- when you think about the costs associated with a pregnancy photo shoot. Even more so, when you have already spent thousands of dollars on all the stuff that your little one needs.
But fret not! My husband Miguel and I recently made some awesome maternity pictures in a beautiful setting for under $85 – here’s how you can, too.
How To Do A Beautiful Pregnancy Photo Shoot For Under $85
So let’s start with cost. Depending on where you live (more so if it’s a big city like ours) a professional photo session can start anywhere between $300-$400 for 1.5 hours.
Add to that the cost of what you’ll wear, plus getting your hair and makeup done, and you could suddenly be in the $500-$600 range! That’s akin to the cost of a stroller, car seat, and so many other things you probably have to buy.
Needless to say, a pregnancy photo shoot is likely not a budgeting priority.
So, here’s how to get beautiful maternity pictures without hiring a photographer:
1. Recruit a Trusted Friend That has a Good Eye for Maternity Pictures
Most people know someone that is great at taking pictures, though maybe you still haven’t realized who that person is in your circle.
Well, they’re usually attentive to detail and will take their time when taking pictures. They’ll also arrange things in a particular manner so that it looks more pleasing to the eye. They care highly about picture quality, and won’t mind taking their time until they’re satisfied with the end result.
These are the people that will usually grab the phone or camera with both hands, and would even kneel down to get the perfect angle.
If you know someone like that and you happen to be in their good graces, you’ve struck gold! I am lucky enough to work with a few of these individuals, who even volunteered to take the pictures. So, luckily, when the time came one of my friends volunteered for the task. I was overjoyed with the results.
2. Find Out who has the Best Camera Phone Among Those Attending the Photo Shoot
This is something we figured out last minute. I had brought a $500 DSLR camera that I had purchased back in 2014 to the photo shoot, but my husband noticed that my friend had the latest iPhone, so he insisted we take the maternity pictures with her phone since my friend didn’t mind.
Well, I’m glad we did. We compared both photos and the quality of the ones taken with the iPhone was far better.
3. Get a Classic Outfit for Cheap (Online)
If possible, try to find an outfit that’s not necessarily from the maternity section; I have found that maternity dresses in dedicated maternity stores tend to be pricier. So, try to find a cheaper dress that has the right cut and shape to accommodate a belly, and “size up”.
I opted for two dresses: a white one and a black one, since I feel those colors flatter my complexion more than pastel tones, and also make a nice contrast with natural landscapes in pictures.
I got these two at Amazon:
4. DIY Styling and Makeup
Avoid having a professional do your hair and make-up. Instead, wash your hair the day before so that it’s not flying all over on the day of the actual pictures. (The hairdo will look more set-in.)
You can always apply dry shampoo or hairspray on the actual day of the photo shoot to give your hair the texture you want. Also, if you wish to add some volume, you can curl it the night before (before you go to bed, which could give you looser and more natural-looking curls the next day).
As for the makeup, be careful with shimmery or face-illuminating creams and powders, since sometimes they don’t look good in pictures.
Go for a more matte look to avoid a shiny-looking face. If you’re doing your maternity pictures outdoors in the afternoon, chances are that as you walk around and the sunlight hits you the makeup will set in, giving you a nice glow.
The right lighting is everything. We went to the park in mid-November (in Miami) at 3:15 PM.
6. Find a Public Venue, Garden, or Park
Having gotten married at the beach, I knew it could get all windy – meaning you have less control of your hair and dress situation. The wind might hit you from a certain angle, making the fabric cling in a particular way, and suddenly highlighting areas like the crotch or other places you don’t necessarily want all the attention on!
I figured a garden would be a more controlled environment, plus I like how the sun comes in through the tree branches and you’re not squinting in every pose trying to look good. It seemed like it was a more relaxed and calmer way to have our pictures taken since we would have more room for mistakes with these things already in our favor.
The park entrance was $5.00, so for $15.00 we got us all three inside this beautiful venue that gave us everything; no props needed!
7. Research Common Maternity Photography Poses and Save Screenshots on Your Phone
Unless you know how to pose naturally (which I honestly suck at) you might want to do some Pinterest or Instagram research on common maternity photography poses.
In my case, my friend is also pregnant so she recently had had a maternity photo session herself. This helped a lot since she looked at her pictures and we were able to replicate some of my favorite poses from her session.
Here are some of the poses we did:
Also, check out this YouTube video for ideas:
Some Last Tips
The maternity pictures are not professional ones, so you’re not going to have the exact same results you would get if you had hired a professional
Do not take advantage of your good friend who agreed to take your pictures – limit the photography time to what you agreed on, or usually 1 to 1.5 hours.
This should include transferring the pictures to you right when you finish, if the person didn’t use your phone or camera. The last thing you want to do is have to harass the person the following weeks to get your photos.
Also, remember to get your friend a thank-you gift and a nice note.
Enjoy the Moment
Have fun! You only need one good picture that you like to memorialize this special moment.
If you want to have beautiful maternity pictures, you don’t have to break the bank or hurt your budget much. With the right friends, camera phone, venue, and light conditions, you can achieve great pictures that you’ll treasure for years to come.
That’s my take!
Have you tried hacking a photo shoot yourself to save money? Can you share some tips that made the difference in getting better quality maternity pictures?
I’m Lily, a lawyer and aspiring Miami fashion entrepreneur sharing life hacks and my favorite tidbits on lifestyle, shopping, fashion, and beauty. GIF enthusiast and lover of making shareable lists.