All maternity photos aren’t created equal.. The best maternity shoots don’t just show off your pregnancy–they should also show off your personality and capture what makes your journey as an expecting mother so unique . With these simple tips, we’ll show you how to make any maternity session your own, while walking away with stellar photos that you’ll cherish forever.

Pick the right studio
In order to get the perfect shot, you need the best space and lighting possible–a feat that can usually only be achieved at the right photo studio. Studio photos are so much more than a cheap backdrop at the local mall. Photographers have complete control of lighting and backgrounds in their studio, allowing them to capture images that perfectly reflect your personality and beauty. Unless you’re going for a home or outdoor session, you’ll want to take time and find a great studio for your shoot.

Go with the flow
If you’re looking for stunning imagery, consider wearing a flowing maternity dress with a long train. These dresses are widely available and can have a big visual impact, especially if you’re shooting outdoors. When it comes to looking your best during a maternity shoot, nothing says elegance like beautiful fabric rippling around you in the wind.

Show off your silhouette
A particularly stunning way to capture the beauty of your body during pregnancy is by taking a silhouette shot. . You’ll want high-contrast lighting for these shots, so try taking them in front of a sunset, in a studio, or even in your home in front of a window. No matter where you choose to take your photos, the silhouette shot is a lovely way to capture the miracle of pregnancy.

Choose an unexpected location
Sometimes the best locations are the ones you wouldn’t normally think of. Instead of going for a park or field, consider the natural wonders of your area, whether that’s a mountain backdrop, a gorgeous hiking trail, or a secluded spot on the beach. Talk to your photographer about their favorite less common spots for photos and be open to trying something new.

Mix it up
Sure, you might look good in the classic post where you’re holding your baby bump and smiling at the camera, but your maternity shoot can be so much more than that! Don’t be afraid to try different poses, whether serious or silly. Let your personality show, and remember: your session is what you make of it.

Catch the Golden Hour
Timing is everything when it comes to natural light photos, and one of the best times to take maternity photos is during “golden hour”—just before sunset. As the sun goes down, everything is suffused with a beautiful golden glow, which is the perfect setting for your maternity photos. If you want to get these stunning images, be sure to talk to your photographer about the best time of day to schedule your shoot so you don’t miss this magical lighting.

Get in close
While it’s wonderful to have full-body photos, sometimes closeup images can be the sweetest ones! Whether taking photos with a partner or on your own, ask your photographer to capture some closeup images of your hands and belly. You never know what unique shot might end up being your favorite!

Try a big city feel
If you’re looking to shoot outside, don’t limit yourself to just natural environments. Consider going a little more urban by strolling the streets of your local downtown. Murals, cafes, shops, and even graffiti can make for incredible backdrops to your images, and you still get all the color and brightness of natural light with a fresh, more modern look.

Do what you love most
Are you an avid reader? Do you love to garden? Maybe you play piano or work with rescue animals. Whatever you love, consider incorporating it into your maternity photos. Whether it’s wearing a jersey for your favorite team or bringing your dog along to your session, express the things that matter most to you—and the things you can’t wait to share with your child.

Consider staying at home
Not interested in going out for your maternity photos? Consider an at-home shoot, which can sometimes be the perfect setting for personal photos of you during your pregnancy. . When you’re at home and in your element,your photographer has an opportunity to snap more natural, candid photos of you and your family.You might even be able to take photos in the nursery room of your future baby, which often is a great place for personalized maternity photos.

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