Expert advice for bad-ass maternity boudoir shots

Photo courtesy of Jessamyn Harris Photography
Photo courtesy of Jessamyn Harris Photography
A good photographer can capture a lot of things…

A stolen glance from two lovers, the way light softly plays with the highlights of a baby's hair, the forlorn beauty of a tree dancing in the wind. If a good photographer meets a bold mom-to-be, the ensuing photos can be stunning.

Maternity photography has been pretty traditional for a long time. You all know the shots I'm talking about, mom with hands on tummy, dad with hands on tummy, dad holding mom from behind with hands on tummy, etc. Those photos are fine, and are wonderful mementos of a beautiful time.

One thing I've noticed doesn't get photographed a lot is the natural sexiness that comes from being pregnant. For sure pregnancy can occasionally make you feel less-than-alluring, but with the right lighting, the right photographer, and the right mama…


Photos by BG Productions. Click here to view the full set.

Even if you're not the type of person who would frame one of these shots to hang above the mantle, what better way to remind yourself of your amazing body during pregnancy? Personally, I'd love to have pictures like this to keep for my husband and I to share and remind us of that incredible period of time during which our family went from a family of two to a family of three.

Photo courtesy of BlondeShot creative.
Photo courtesy of BlondeShot creative.
Photo by Hey Cupcake photography.
Photo by Hey Cupcake photography.

I asked some of the amazing photographers who have shot maternity boudoir photographs for some tips on how to ensure the best results for this kind of shoot. If you're gonna do this, you might as well do it right, no?

Photo courtesy of Jenny Jimenez Photography.
Photo courtesy of Jenny Jimenez Photography.
Jenny Jimenez says it's helpful to wear loose clothing before the shoot in order to avoid imprints or patterns on the skin.

She also recommends bringing music that makes you feel comfortable, and scheduling plenty of time for the shoot. Some of her best shots come toward the end of a shoot, when everyone's had a chance to get warmed up.

Also, hiring a good makeup artist can really make a difference in how your shots come out and how confident you feel during the process.

Photo courtesy of BlondeShot Creative
Photo courtesy of BlondeShot Creative

Jenn of BlondeShot Creative points out that the opportunity to do something like this doesn't come around often, so just do it! She says she gets the best results when the shoot takes places somewhere the mom-to-be is comfortable, wearing clothes she's comfortable in.

For more photos from this shoot, you can check out the rest of the Flickr set here. This couple is so adorable, they make looking cute on camera look easy!

Photo courtesy of Jessamyn Harris Photographer
Photo courtesy of Jessamyn Harris Photographer

Jessamyn said it better than I ever could, so I'll quote her directly:

Try not to worry too much about how you look (easier said than done, I know). Yes, you might have stretch marks, cellulite, the "mask of pregnancy," weird nipple or coochie things happening, but you are also a fertility goddess overflowing with the beautiful creation of life. Seriously, you are "allowed" to get away with any imperfections or "flaws" now more than ever, so try not to focus too much on how things should or shouldn't be looking.

Pregnancy is a great time to learn to accept and embrace yourself, so find the right balance of what you're comfortable with, but also cut yourself a break and think, "So I have cellulite, screw it!" Sure, the photographer can address any concerns and shoot accordingly (to crop out any parts of your body you're really feeling insecure about right now), or retouch certain things.

But I really encourage my subjects to relax into the insecurities too, because I am not seeing the things that you may feel self conscious about – and when I don't see them, the camera doesn't either.

We heartily recommend working with any of these awesome photographers if maternity boudoir photography sounds like your thing. As you can see, they know what they're doing, because what they're doing is making pregnant mamas look hot!

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  1. I love these photos! However being plus size I don't know how I would look in something like those. But I envy those who take these. They are lovely.

    1 agrees
    • Amanda, maybe we'll hear from a photographer who's done plus size maternity shots — I can imagine lots of voluptuous mama-gorgeousness!

      8 agree
    • You'd look awesome :) I think it's not really about whether you have one of those basketball belly pregnancies, it's more about how comfortable you feel in your own skin.

      2 agree
    • I am plus size, and I had nudes done while pregnant with my first. Everyone loved them, and I became the very definition of MILF! Even if no one sees them, it is a wonderful, freeing experience every lady owes to herself at least once.

      4 agree
    • Amanda, as a photographer I think it would be amazing to do a plus size maternity shoot! Light on curves is BEAUTIFUL! And sexy IS NOT a size, it's confidence! I say go for it! You can always play with fabrics to cover up areas you're not comfortable with. =)

      Maternity boudoir is a FANTASTIC idea!

      6 agree
    • I feel the same way! I'm searching the internet for ideas and tips…not much to choose from sadly!

    • I am a plus size momma! I just had some maternity boudoir photos taken, and with there right photographer, they can capture those curves with such delight! You'll be proud to sport them, believe me!

  2. Just out of curiosity, do women have bikini or brazilian waxes for these? I can't imagine that would be fun pregnant, but I don't see any bushes in these shots, either? Can that be airbrushed out?!

    1 agrees
    • I would assume they could airbrush it out. I was told by a professional waxer a little while back that ladies like to get waxes before birth but she couldn't understand it. You're so much more sensitive then and it hurts ten times worse.

  3. I really, really want to do some shots like these, but I have to admit that I have a hard time getting over the enormous stretch marks I have from my 1st pregnancy… definitely easier said than done, letting stuff like that go! I have heard that taking shots of the belly from above can get you a nice picture of your naked belly without showing the stretch marks underneath, so I will hopefully try that :)

    • The lighting makes a BIG difference too. If the shot is taken from above AND the light is coming from above… POOF! No stretchmarks visible!

  4. I'd love to try some plus size maternity shots! there's such body/ appearance pressure out there that I think it can be tough for any size pregnant woman to take off her clothes for the camera (much less post the resulting photos online), but I stand by what I said above: that as long as you feel comfortable, there is such beauty in your body (any size) that a good photographer can capture it in the photos.
    in other words: let your light shine, and it will totally show in the photos. make sense?
    as for bush shaving – again, totally your perogative. most of the women I've worked with have had some kind of waxing or shaving done (by a salon – usually by that point, it's kind of scary to try to feel around without being able to see much in the pubes region!) before the photos – but I think that's more coincidence (wanting to feel as pretty as possible in general, and getting pampered as well as having photos done all around the same time). I would love to do a shoot with a big hair bush… but most moms want to wear panties since there can be all kinds of stuff coming out by that point in your pregnancy…
    again: comfort, comfort, comfort.
    as for stretch marks: you could try softer lighting, light fabric or drapey clothes over the belly, and of course retouching if you feel that concerned about it. it's great to try a bunch of positions! shooting the belly from straight-on can be tricky (it's hard to show the depth of the bump that way) but I bet you could play with some above shots for some fun perspective.

    1 agrees
  5. Beautiful! There is something about a pregnant woman that makes her have this awesome power! Too many women worry about the way they look when they are pregnant. It's sad! I don't think as many of the off-beat mamas would have a problem with these lovely shots as regular old suburban, soccer moms would be!

    I loved my body when I was pregnant and my husband enjoyed being a mother-f***er 😉

  6. Most of my responses when reading these comments were already touched on by Erika and Jessamyn, however I do want to add that if you find the right photographer, your shoot will work out in your favor no matter what your issue is (ex. stretch marks, being plus size, hair, other body issue?). There is ALWAYS a way around those things. While comfort IS key, it's not hard to hide a flaw that you may be worried about and still have an awesome shoot. It's all about working closely with your photographer, creativity, planning, and thinking outside the box!

  7. I hope that I look as hot as those women look in a few months. Right now I just look like I've been eating too many cheeseburgers. 😉

    3 agree
  8. This is so inspiring right now! I just scheduled my pregnancy photoshoot and i hope to do it somewhere very unusual like an abaondoned warehouse or an old barn or something. I was thinking that I shouldn't look sexy, but this changes my outlook on things completely!

  9. I never did a maternity shoot before while pregnant with my other kids because I hated the belly and thought I looked like a beached whale. However, I did do a boudoir shoot (non pregnant) this past summer and I gotta say it was WAY better than anything I could have imagined. It was sexy as hell, and great for my ego and self esteem. If I should be so lucky as to get pregnant again (hope hope hope) then I may actually do something like this.

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