Tuesday, May 27, 2014

5 Tips for Taking Great DIY Maternity Photos

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Pregnancy is such an amazing journey.  And it goes by so amazingly fast.  There are so many amazing maternity photos out there and even more extremely talented photographers able to take those photos.  But professional shoots and photos can be pricey.  And if you're anything like me, that type of thing can also be a bit awkward feeling (being the center of a stranger's attention).  If you're thinking of giving it a go yourself, here are a few tips for taking great DIY maternity photos.

Dressers and children can make the best photographers.
Don't think that you absolutely have to have a tripod.  A dresser, stool, or countertop can do just as well to set your camera on. Another method if you've got the time to let them experiment, is to give your kiddo the camera and invite them to take pictures of Momma's belly.  They're at just the right height and their perspective and ability just might surprise you.  This is an example of a free shot taken by Bear {5.5}.  All I had to do was crop it down a bit.
Set the self-timer.
For the book shot below, I set the camera on Bear's dresser, turned the self-timer with the continuous shot setting.  I focused the camera on where I would be sitting.  After pressing the shutter button, I ran to the bed, quickly found my position, and sat there.  Using the self-timer function can require a quick dash to your pose position, but it works for simple pictures.
Send a message.
Make a statement in your photos by holding a book, sign, or handwritten note that means something to you.  The message can geared towards your new child or a message to family and friend who are viewing the pictures.  For the image below, I chose the book Oh, The Places You'll Go!  You could also use books like Love You Forever or Guess How Much I Love You.

Keep it light and simple.
Lighting and wardrobe choice are important.  I chose Bear's bedroom which gets the best light in the house in the afternoon.  The light in there is bright and clean without being direct sunlight, which could make the colors and shadows really harsh.  I also chose an outfit that was fairly plain, fitted around the tummy, and coordinated well with the surroundings.

Editing does wonders.
Editing.  It can do amazing things to photos.  Don't let editing intimidate you.  I couldn't navigate Photoshop if my life depended on it.  I love the site PicMonkey to edit photos.  It's easy to use and most of the functions are free. {Though I will say that the paid version of $4.99 a month is well worth it for the amount that I use it.}

Using just a few functions, I was able to convert this picture below from a quick, candid shot into a photo that I'll treasure for years to come.  To achieve this, I first converted the image to black and white.  Then in the "Exposure" section, I increased the shadows and contrast until the shelves on the right side were virtually gone.  Then I used the clone function to mark out any existing light spots.  To make the shoes colored, I used the Lip Tint to color them in. 
Once you're past the maternity stage and have that adorable newborn to take photos of, use these great newborn photography tips from MamaSmiles.  I'm excited for these ones, too.  I've already got some great props made and ideas set up!

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