Technique Thursday: maternity sessions with Carly Hilo

How do you shoot a Maternity Session?  Are there rules?  We want some tips and Carly Hilo was happy to give us some today.

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From Carly:

“First off, the technicals – Mamiya 645 pro tl, portra 160, and a Nikon F80, portra 400
Location – Tower Grove Park, St Louis, MO

As for tips, I certainly suggest and spoke to Kate about wearing what she felt very comfortable and beautiful in.  I find when the client feels beautiful, I can get much more natural photos than when they just “look” beautiful – even if that means crazy colors and stripes!  We certainly did not pay attention to the “solid colors” rule because patterns and stripes are her personality.  As a photographer, I hope to photograph the essence of a person, so I find changing that a bit silly.  Your child will look at these one day, and how beautiful it is to think they can see the identity of their mother in the photos.

We took Kate’s photos a bit close to her due date, but I think that just a bit before – 7 months in or so-  is perfect.  Although I have never had the experience of being pregnant myself, I feel that the excitement of the baby and the strength and development of the mother really shine through during this period.

I would also like to add that I’ve had a great response from friends who’ve seen the pictures, that Kate took them independently.  I’ve taken photos of her and her husband, but we both found it very intimate to photograph the feelings of the woman who is physically experiencing the pregnancy.

Lastly, I would tell clients not to be apprehensive of “maternity photos.”  They do not have to intently focus on a belly.  Kate requested not to have “maternity” photos, so I simply took them of her at this new stage of her life.  Hopefully this is exactly what her child will find joy in viewing.


  • toni raper says:

    “They do not have to intently focus on a belly” oh this is good, good, good! Love technique Thursdays.

  • kati says:

    love these! agree with it all. i always joke that the rule is to take the shot only after asking yourself “is this an awkwardfamilyphoto dot com?” because sooo many maternity sessions seem to toe that line a little too close. more so than any other type of session. 🙂 these are lovely. i love that she’s wearing the jacket with pockets to flatter her waistline AND give her something to do with her hands!

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