How I create natural and candid maternity photos

February 13, 2023

When I speak with my maternity clients, their biggest concern is that they won’t look relaxed or natural in their portraits. They say things like “I’m not photogenic,” “I’m awkward in front of the camera,” or “I’m not like the women I see in your portfolio.” Well, I’ll let you in on a little secret: almost all the women you see in my maternity portfolio said the same things!

As a client, it’s not up to you to come to the session looking natural and relaxed. It’s MY job, as the photographer, to create natural and candid maternity photos.

I’ve been a maternity photographer in Los Angeles to close to a decade now, and over the years, I’ve developed some tried and true methods for creating those natural, relaxed portraits.

studio pregnant portrait

I give my maternity clients constant direction during the session.

You may think that you are awkward in front of the camera, but you actually feel awkward when you don’t know what to DO. All that panic about where to look, what to do with your arms, how to stand, etc., will make anyone freeze. During your maternity session, I take you out of your head by giving you constant direction on what to do with your body. When you know exactly what to do, relaxing is much easier.

Even with natural maternity photography, there is an art to posing. There are all sorts of tiny tweaks that help you feel and look more relaxed in your photographs. Luckily for you, it’s my job to see what needs adjusting and tell you exactly how to do it.

Garden maternity portrait of couple

I keep my clients moving during their sessions.

When directing a maternity session, I am not putting you in a series of static poses but guiding you through a posing flow. By keeping you moving through this flow, I help you relax and can capture plenty of subtle variation. When you are moving, you don’t have the chance to stiffen up in front of the camera.

black and white outdoor maternity portrait

I help my clients laugh through the discomfort.

Yes, you will look relaxed and beautiful in your maternity portraits. This does not mean that you will feel comfortable at all times during the session. At the start of your maternity sessions, we discuss how you feel. I always warn my clients that they will feel silly or awkward sometimes. If you don’t, you are either a model or an alien. I keep things light during your session and make sure we can laugh through the awkward moments. Laughter is a great way to get rid of nervous energy, and it’s often the images that I capture during or right after those laughs that become client favorites.

studio portrait of pregnant woman laughing

I curate my clients’ galleries with an expert eye.

As your photographer, it’s my job to help you relax, take great photographs, AND curate your gallery. I take lots of photos during our time together, and there are plenty that you won’t like. But, luckily, you’ll never see them! I go through the photos from your session individually and carefully choose the best. This part of the process, culling, and curation, is almost as important as the session itself. I’ve got a keen eye for all the elements that make for a relaxed and flattering portrait. Anything that doesn’t make the grade, doesn’t make it into your gallery.

relaxed maternity photoshoot portrait outdoors

Ready for your own natural and candid maternity photos? I’d love to hear from you.


big sister and newborn

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I photograph maternity, newborn, baby, and family sessions in and around Los Angeles. If you're interested in a session, please get in touch.

Ariel Cannon Photography | Los Angeles

Newborn Baby with arms overhead
Baby girl portrait on bed

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