Maternity Photography: Backlighting Tutorial

A maternity photoshoot is a wonderful opportunity for a photographer to help the parents document a beautiful turning point in their lives. After all, what’s hiding under that belly will become an inseparable part of their days to come. During a maternity shoot, a backlit shot of the mom is a great one that you can include in the album as it emphasizes the baby bump beautifully along with other features of the mother’s body. In this video, photographer Kelly Brown walks you through the techniques you can use to take beautiful backlit maternity photos:

Brown shows you how you can use a big window to light the subject from her back. When backlighting a subject, keep in mind that the subject will come out underexposed. You can work this to your advantage by taking a silhouette shot or expose the subject correctly by using a reflector, or by overexposing the shot.

“I really want to use the light to highlight the shape of her body.”

Besides the lighting and camera techniques, Brown also demonstrates how you can pose the mother so that the light works best to highlight the right curves.

As you’ll see, you need to expose for the skin while making sure that you retain the details on the dress to get that high-key shot with a bright white background. In her case, Brown overexposes her shot by two stops. On the other hand, in order to get a silhouette, you can just expose for the background or slightly over. Brown overexposes her shot by just a third of a stop to get a silhouette shot.

While this technique works great for a maternity photoshoot, it works equally well when you want to emphasize certain body shapes. Be sure to try it out.

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