How to Take the Best Baby Belly Photos

Beautiful ethnic first time mother to be holding her belly

If you want to capture your baby belly on film in a way that’s anything but ordinary, you’re not alone. Everyone from Beyonce to surfer Bethany Hamilton has shared their breathtaking maternity photos on social media, and the internet has gone wild over them. (Bethany posted a memorable underwater pic of herself to her Instagram in 2015 and got 116,000 likes!)

Mermaid momma #33weeks

A post shared by Bethany Hamilton (@bethanyhamilton) on

And let’s not forget about beekeeper Emily Mueller, whose 2017 outdoor shoot certainly generated a lot of buzz! Check it out on People.com.

Short of submerging your pregnant self in the ocean or reclining beneath a swarm of 20,000 honey bees, there are many memorable pregnant belly photos you can take from the comfort of your own home. Here are a few ideas to consider, along with some basic tips to ensure top-notch images:

Required equipment

If you don’t have a professional DSLR camera, you can get great results with any modern smartphone. I take tons of great photos with my Samsung Galaxy S8 and the A Color Story app, which allows me to apply various filters and effects.

You’ll be the subject of the photos, so you might want to use a tripod and a self-timer – especially if you know you’d feel self-conscious posing in front of your significant other. There are lots of inexpensive tripods that will hold a smartphone or a basic point-and-shoot camera. If you’ll be shooting in your yard, or in a room with lots of diffused natural light, this is really all you need. However, if you will be shooting in your house away from the window, you might want to invest in a light source such as the Diva Ring Light.

Do a time-lapse series

Without getting overly technical, a time-lapse series pieces together several still images in video form so that you can watch an object’s movement over time. People have used time lapses to speed up a sunset or to show a flower blooming. When used to document a growing baby belly, as seen in the video below, the results are pretty spectacular!

To pull this off at home, you’ll want to start as early in your pregnancy as possible so that the first and last images are in stark contrast to each other.

Pick a spot in your house with a simple, uncluttered background and plan to shoot in that same location every day. If you’re using a tripod, set it up and leave it there throughout your pregnancy. If you can, take the photo at the same time every day to ensure consistent lighting. If you worry you’ll forget, set a timer to remind yourself.

Some women like to wear the same outfit in every photo, but personally, I think the variation in wardrobe makes for a cute end result – especially as you transition into maternity clothes.

At the conclusion of your pregnancy, use a free editing program to turn all those photos into a video you’ll cherish forever. You can edit on your computer or download an app like Lapse It and do it right on your phone.

Utilize seasonal props

Fall is a wonderful time to take at-home baby bump pics because you can take advantage of the many cute props you already have around your house. In terms of wardrobe, keep it simple and seasonally-appropriate: jeans and a simple white button-down or black leggings with a cozy plaid shirt.

Pumpkins

I love the idea of playing with a pumpkin theme. You could use non-toxic body paint to paint your belly to look like a pumpkin. Wear an oversized button-down shirt, and knot it in the middle so that your belly is exposed. Stand against a simple, uncluttered background such as a white wall or an open field.

No matter what the background or what you wear, always let your personality shine through.No matter what the background is or what you wear, always let your personality shine through.

Alternately, you could face your significant other so that your sides are facing the camera. Have your partner hold a pumpkin in front of his stomach so that your bellies appear to be the same size.

Leaves

If you live in an area where the leaves change colors and fall to the ground, you can use that to your advantage. Simply turn to the side and put your hands beneath your belly to accentuate your bump.

If you want to incorporate older siblings into the photo, rake fallen leaves into a pile and use that to ground the image. You should stand in the center of the pile, and your children should sit (or play) in the leaves. Your significant other could join in by standing behind you and reaching around to hug your belly.

When it comes to achieving swoon-worthy belly pics, there’s one thing for certain: Let your personality shine through. Don’t be afraid to laugh out loud if that’s what feels most natural!

Erin Balsa is a Boston-based mom of two who met her husband on an airplane. Her interests include reading, writing and sleeping through the night.