We see so many beautifully artistic and highly styled maternity photos online, you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s all a bit overwhelming.
But it doesn’t have to be. Heidi Talic, a Click Love Grow courses grad, prefers a more lifestyle approach to her maternity sessions, and this one included a toddler.
So with the help of Heidi and that gorgeous gallery, we came up with 7 easy maternity photo ideas with a toddler, to provide you with plenty of beautiful, natural moments to capture, and take away the overwhelm…
Heidi says she usually starts on the bed so the toddler immediately learns she’s a fun camera lady – jumping on the bed, tickles with mum.
Do this only with mum’s permission, and make sure she’s standing close by in case her little one gets a little too close to the edge!
You’ll need a fast shutter speed for this one, we suggest at least 1/800 to freeze that speed of motion.
Things usually get pretty crazy after jumping on the bed, and it’s easy to forget all about the belly. So after you have those shots, move on to some quiet moments being sure to include the belly.
Have them lay down on the bed and get comfortable. Encourage mum to interact with her little one and and tell her to ignore the camera. Give these prompts to mum and/or her little one:
Vary your shots with close ups of laughter, kisses, hands tickling, and wide shots to include that belly… don’t forget the belly!
You can do this anywhere you can find lovely soft light, but the family bed is always a good comfy spot especially for a tickle fest!
Show me a toddler who doesn’t like to run and I’ll show you a sleeping child!
Ask mum to stand at the back so you can capture her (and her belly) in the distance. This also means she can hold her little one until you’re ready to start shooting.
You’ll need a fast shutter speed of around 1/800. You’ll also need to use a continuous focus mode so that your camera will track the movement of your subject and refocus each time it moves out of your focus point.
If you’re not sure how to use continuous focus mode, we’ve included a mini-tutorial at the end of this post.
Once you’re ready to start shooting, call ready set go! This mode of shooting can be tricky to nail focus, so be prepared to have a few runs at it. I’m sure the toddler will love it
Taking photos in the nursery is a great way to convey the excitement of preparing for the baby’s arrival.
To vary your wide shots, try shooting around the doorway, it gives a peeking in feel which is a great way to convey intimacy.
Related: Lifestyle Photo Ideas with a Toddler
Introduce a quiet activity such as reading with mum and capture their connection through those intimate moments. As a bonus this is an easy way to keep a busy toddler in place.
Vary your frames and perspectives to get loads of variety in your photos without having to move mum at all.
Try these compositions of the same scene:
You can use these variations on every set up in this tutorial as a means to get a gallery with huge variety whilst being cohesive.
While you’re at it… if you’ve got that bub’s attention why wouldn’t you grab some classic portraits? Mum will love you forever!
But rather than trying to pose a toddler (I would love to see anyone try!), they respond better when you engage them with games.
I like to sing the wrong words to their favourite songs, this works really well to draw out natural laughter. Also try silly statements such as “where’s your nose? Is it… on your foot? Is it… on your ear?”. This also illicits candid smiles.
Related: 10 Ways to Get Real Smiles from Kids
This shot is beautiful, it’s timeless, it says it all… and it’s a great one to take at the end when she’s tired and ready for some cuddles.
Get a lot of different images from this one pose simply by taking multiple frames close up and wide, use negative space, and zoom in on details.
As mentioned, you need a fast shutter speed to freeze motion… but how do you keep your subject in focus if it’s moving positions?
It’s all about your auto focus drive mode – different drive modes tell our camera how we want it to focus (as opposed to where we want it to focus), relative to the type of scene or subject we’re trying to capture.
For example, when we’re photographing something that doesn’t move, we would use “one shot” focus drive mode – this tells the camera to grab focus where we aim, and hold it there. If we have a moving subject, we can use a “continuous focus” drive mode, which will refocus when our subject moves out of focus.
You need to be in full manual mode for this function to be available to you.
Related: Getting out of Auto Mode
So assuming you’re shooting in full manual mode, change the drive mode on your camera to continuous focus mode. Then switch to high speed burst mode so that you can take a lot of shots with one press of the shutter button.
If you don’t know how to change your drive mode, check your camera’s user guide to locate the button that controls it. Note that it might be called something else depending on the camera you’re using, eg. Canon call it AI-Servo and Nikon call it AS-C.
As long as your chosen focus point is covering the spot you want to focus on, the camera will recompose every time your subject moves out of focus.
Related: Take Sharp Photos of Moving Subjects
A BIG thank you to Heidi for her contribution and beautifully organic maternity photos! Heidi works in and around the Gold Coast in Australia, and you can check her out at House of H Photos.
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