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Celebrating Mommy and Her Baby Bump


It’s not long ago when maternity shoots were unheard of in India. There were and still are attached beliefs and superstitions to expectant mothers. She was discouraged from flaunting her belly. On the contrary, she was guarded against the limelight, and her pregnancy was kept a secret from everyone except the close family group until she could no longer hide her baby bump.

Times have changed, and we, as a cosmopolitan society come a long way now. Maternity shoots are trending, and moms are vocal and expressive in celebrating the new milestone of their life. Maternity shoots are in high demand, and moms-to-be are happy to share and celebrate their maternity period. “I love to capture human emotions, and maternity is a precious phase in a woman’s life that she would like to remember all through her years. For me creating memories for expecting couples that they would love to cherish is precious and sacrosanct, says Rashmi Choudhary, a renowned photographer of Delhi & NCR.

Awarded with the ‘Canon Maestro’ title and over 10 European, US and Australian photography awards, Barkha Agarwal is a well-known name in maternity photoshoots and for the photography of newborn babies.

“Becoming a mother is one of the most special moments for a woman. A beautiful maternity photoshoot is one of the best gifts an expecting mom can give herself, or the husband can give to her expecting wife. While the lady goes through all the physical and emotional changes during her 8th-9th month of pregnancy, a maternity photoshoot can be a lifetime experience. A good maternity photographer can make the lady feel most pampered and beautiful. She can truly capture the emotions of the expecting mom, her love and bond with the baby,” shares Barkha Agarwal.

 Shailja Narita, a marketing professional in corporate humdrum, quit her promising career for her love of photography. She admits, “As a professional photographer, I like shooting all genres of photography, but the most challenging and interesting is newborn photography. They have their minds and moods, and their innocent mood swings, sudden hunger pangs, soiling of nappies or falling off to sleep can get in the way of your work.”

Speaking on the skill of capturing newborns or toddlers, Shailija says, “One has to be extremely patient and gentle to lay them or adjust the little ones around the props that we want to use. One needs to engage them in baby talks or sounds, focusing on their eyes, making them feel safe and secure.”

 Probing her more on capturing the tiny tots in her lens frame, Shailija gleams and says, They may be the tiniest subject for a photographer, but goodness gracious, they throw the maximum tantrums. They certainly know how to disarm us with their overloaded cuteness. The biggest challenge I face is whether I should be cuddling them or shooting them,” she laughs.  

The best time for a maternity shoot?

“The best time is usually after 30 weeks of pregnancy as by then, the tummy is well rounded and is visible in the pictures. Though there have been times when I have shot couples, and the woman has delivered within the next 4-5 days, I do not recommend this as the last few weeks are draining for the pregnant woman, and it is cutting too close to the delivery date,” says Rashmi.

Rashmi continues working on the popular themes for the shoot, “all my shoots are pre-designed. The poses, outfits, locations, and props are all considered well in advance. While some clients want extensive usage of props or coordinated costumes, some others like to keep it casual and intimate. All these personal preferences are taken into account while conceptualising the shoot. I would also like to add that while I go with a structure in mind, there’s always room for impromptu shots and improvisations. We introduce fluidity as and when needed.

It is imperative to be empathetic towards the expecting woman. Having gone through the phase, I can relate to the discomfort concerning weight gain, hot weather, low energy, water retention and feeling bloated, mood swings and more. Whenever I am doing a maternity session, I educate a couple of the timelines and ask them to come prepared with some energy drinks and light snacks. Maternity photoshoots must be handled delicately; we cannot rush the expectant mother.”

So many young couples also want to capture the milestone moments of their babies because they grow up so fast! “I feel privileged to be a part of such intimate experiences. Families are now more comfortable expressing themselves before the camera,” says Shailija.

 What has made the shift?

Though taboos exist in certain pockets yet, folklores are losing ground. It’s common to find full-time expectant mothers at public gatherings, parties and shopping. Social media has played a broader role in narrowing the gap of inhibitions. From not letting the cat out the news of pregnancy which was kept as a guarded secret, now the parents-to-be are also posting images of the ultrasound of the foetus. Society has come a long way! 

The community of new moms have happily crossed the bridge unstirred and taken over the baton from the predecessors dropping all old belief systems, marking a change in the society as they bring the Alpha generation to life.  

Celebrities stepping out of their comfort zone, flaunting their baby bumps and sharing the different facets of their life have inspired the commoners to celebrate their lives similarly. Now so many mothers-to-be feel confident about posing before the camera.

A quick guide to maternity shoot

Most women organise their photoshoots between 28 and 32 weeks. It’s when the mommy-to-be has a defined baby bump, and she is not that uncomfortable giving different poses for the photoshoot. So, choosing a comfortable dress that lets you move freely and highlights your baby bump is the first essential.

Go Timeless

Trends come and go. So, make the photoshoot classy by picking outfits that never go out of style. Neutral and flowy dresses are timeless, for instance. When deciding on the dress, choose a colour palette that works well with the background and highlights the baby bump. “Solid colours help baby bump stand out. Bodycon dresses focus well on your beautiful curves and bump. This could be your pick if you don’t mind showing off your curves,” adds Rashmi. Frills and florals are a ready choice for the shoots.

Getting a maternity photoshoot can be an expensive proposition to some. Instead of investing in fashionable maternity gowns and outfits, the entire maternity range of gown dresses is available online to buy and rent.

Style your bump in a saree

Is there any photoshoot complete without a saree? Those six or nine yards of sheer elegance are what one needs to accentuate your body and your baby bump. Choose from flowy chiffon to silk or satin drape, and enjoy posing with those curves to get captured in the frame.

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For those who are high on casual wear, denim rompers of the 90s and overalls make a good choice. A simple street looks with a midi, tank tops, jeans, sneakers, or trousers is preferred by many. “Matching outfits are another trend in 2022, but couples aren’t going for identical or matching tees, says Shailja.

Trends in the west

Some trending Western concepts for the maternity shoot include a milk bath concept. Yeah, a reminisce to the story of Cleopatra often bathing in donkey milk, essential oils and honey. Gigi Hadid, a famous American model pulled on a flowy wet-look pregnancy dress for Vogue; since then, the wet look has been trending in the western world for maternity shoots.

The golden hour photography trend is an all-time favourite of photographers globally in the outdoor photoshoot. The ‘magic hour’ of photography it’s shortly before sunset or shortly after sunrise when one gets that beautiful golden glow shining on the subject.

“Shot against a source of light, silhouette photography is to indoor photography what golden hour is to outdoor photography. The contours, the stark contrast between the subject and the background leave a strong impression on the eye of the beholder,” concludes Shailja.

While working on the story, I’m reminded of the bold Cover of Vanity Fair magazine,1991of Demi Moore. She stunned people then, and the image remains strong three decades down. There could be no better feeling than the movement of life inside you. The small moments make life big; capture them in a frame as a treasure for legacy.

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