Black and White Maternity Portraits

Black and white maternity photos are a fantastic way to create timeless pregnancy portraits. Removing the element of color from the images lets the viewer focus more on the subject matter.

A lot of images work well for black and white maternity photos, but the ones that really shine are the ones that are lit to give the body a bit more definition and contrast. Flat lighting can give rather uninspired images whereas something with some contrast can really create some drama in the images. Images that are back lit, creating a silhouette work especially well for maternity since the pregnant female form is so distinct and beautiful. A tiny bit of light can spill over and bring some definition to certain areas of the image or it can be reduced to the pure shape of the belly’s curves. If you’d like to create a cohesive look between your maternity and newborn images, this effect can work in both sessions.

a black and white silhouette photograph of a pregnant belly against a white background
a black and white silhouette image of a newborn and his family

Add a bit more light to the subject and this style of lighting can work well in both black and white and color

A black and white image of a pregnant belly with a toddler kissing it
a toddler kissing her mother's pregnant belly

Rim light is another beautiful  way of creating beautiful pregnant belly pictures. A slim sliver of light, touching the edge of your body, accentuating each curve, very dramatic when combined with a black background.

a black and white maternity portrait, the body and background are black with a rim light around the edges

Another reason that black and white works so well, and is something I’d recommend for your maternity shoot ideas, is that black and white images can make nude shots look a little less naked. Removing the color from the image makes it seem a little less fleshy and bare. Maybe that’s just me being a bit weird but a lot of my clients seem to agree.

a black and white portrait of a nude pregnant woman with her arms covering her breasts and one in her hair
a shirtless pregnant woman covering her breasts with her arms and wearing jeans

Will black and white work for all your maternity photos? Not always. As I mentioned above, lighting the image can help create a more dramatic image once it is converted to black and white and a lot of photographers previsualize the image in black and white while they are setting up. So if you think you’d like some of your images as black and whites for your final portraits, have that discussion with your photographer before your session. Not all black and white images have to be nude portraits, some colors of clothing work better than others when converted to black and white.

a glamorous maternity image of a brunette wearing a red velvet dress
Black and white image of a red dress

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