DIY Maternity Photos

I didn’t take any maternity photos for my first pregnancy, so I wanted to make sure I got them done this time around. I started gathering quotes and the recommended photographers averaged about $400 for the package, which included about 5-10 edited digital images and 1 hour of photography. That price was just not in my budget so I figured I’d just try it myself and do it on the cheap. Here’s what I used for my own maternity photo shoot…

Camera and lens:
I’m an amateur photographer who owns a secondhand Canon Rebel T2i camera. I learned that for occasional, amateur photographers, the camera body is all you really need. There are places like Henry’s or Vistek that rent out lenses, so you can pick one up for $30/weekend. And they have all kinds of lenses, so you can select one based on the kind of photos you want to take. I used the Sigma 35mm ART 1.4 lens, which retails for about $900US. I really could have got away with just using my kit lens, but I wanted to use this as a learning opportunity as well.

Other equipment, if you’re your own photographer:

  • Tripod – Make sure you have a tripod that’ll position the camera the way you want it
  • Remote – A remote would definitely make things easier. My remote decided to stop working, so I relied on the timer.
  • Prop or stand-in – I used my son’s large Olaf doll as a prop to set focus. I would put the doll in my spot and set my AF (auto focus) point and then switch my lens to MF (manual focus) so the lens wouldn’t refocus when I switched out Olaf for myself.

I was going to shoot on one of the coldest days of the year (-25 degrees celcius), so shooting outdoors was not an option. I didn’t have any large bare walls that I could use either. So I just bought a $3 white painting sheet to create a plain backdrop and I also used our large patio window as a background. Other backdrop options:

  • Rent from camera store – $25-50/day
  • Buy from camera store – $75 and up
  • Buy fabric from fabric store – $5-20/meter (60″ wide)

Photo editing software:
I shot all my photos as RAW files and used Adobe Photoshop. I don’t quite understand RAW files but if you have the time to play around with editing, make sure your camera is set up to save this way. This will give you the most editing flexibility/creative options.

Hair and makeup:
I don’t wear a lot of makeup, so I had to make a few adjustments to my daily look for it to be “camera ready.” I added a little more eyeliner, darker eyeshadow, blush and lipstick, and I was good to go.

I used a few outfits that I already owned. The good thing about photos is that you can “fake” the fit of clothing. The item of clothing doesn’t necessarily need to fit right. You can pin things up or leave things open and just hide these alterations from the camera. I also quickly made a dress from a jersey knit and stretch lace. The fabric cost me $10 and I spent about an hour putting it together. It looks pretty plain in person, but I think the lace turned out great on camera.

$43 later ($30 lens, $10 dress, $3 backdrop), here are some of the final photos:

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