Underwater Maternity Photoshoot Guide: Top Tips for Magical Pregnancy Portraits
As mothers-to-be seek more inspired ways to document their pregnancy, underwater maternity photography has surfaced as a breathtaking option. This imaginative genre artfully blends the radiant beauty of the pregnant form with the ethereal qualities of water.
Imagine yourself floating gracefully beneath the surface, where the embrace of the water showcases the beautiful bond between you and your little one. It’s not just a photoshoot; it’s a celebration of the miraculous journey of motherhood, captured in the serene, ethereal backdrop that only the water can offer.
As a professional underwater maternity photographer, I’m sharing with you some of my insider tips to help you make the most of this beautiful photoshoot experience.
Fabrics & Colours
Picking the right fabric is one of the keys to an otherworldly underwater maternity session. Sheer, lightweight materials will give you that dreamy vibe, as these will float in the water instead of sinking. Think chiffon, organza, tulle or silk, which will gently swirl around you as you move through the water.
Stick to white, pastels or bright hues for a striking visual effect. Avoid darker shades (black, brown, navy) because these usually appear dull and muted underwater.
And have some safety pins on hand to strategically secure the fabric around your waist or bust—keeping everything in place beautifully, no matter how the water moves.
Underwater Makeup Tips
Regular makeup won’t cut it for an underwater photoshoot. You’ll need the tough stuff—cream-based or wax-based professional-quality makeup that won’t budge. And waterproof mascara is a must.
For underwater sessions, go for makeup that’s heavier than your everyday look. Sunlight diffuses differently underwater; water tends to dilute colours and soften contrasts. So a bolder makeup choice will counter this “washed out” effect, ensuring your facial features pop.
You may instinctively use your hands to sweep the water off your face after each immersion… but try not to if your want your makeup to last as long as possible.
Some photographers team up with professional makeup artists who specialise in underwater sessions, ensuring expertly applied makeup that looks stunning and stays put.
When considering an underwater maternity shoot, safety must be your top priority. A controlled environment, such as a swimming pool, means you don’t have to worry about marine hazards, currents and tides. Heated pools are ideal; warm water keeps you comfy and relaxed, helping you pose beautifully and hold your breath with ease.
Start off in shallow water where you can touch the bottom comfortably and not tire yourself by having to tread water. As you start to get the hang of managing breath control and wrangling fabrics, you can gradually venture into deeper water.
It’s vital that your photographer works alongside an assistant who will look out for everyone’s safety during the shoot.
Getting into the water with full makeup, wearing a dress, while pregnant, and in front of a camera… it will feel a whole lot different than jumping in to go for a swim. And if you’re nervous at first, it will show in your photos. So try to ease any tension in your face, especially around your mouth and jaw. Smile a bit more than you feel necessary. And keep your eyes soft, even when closed.
Slow, deliberate movements help conserve your energy and allow for more graceful, flowing poses. And the more you relax, the easier it will be to hold your breath for longer.
Working with an experienced underwater maternity photographer is a game changer when it comes to mastering those elegant poses. Your photographer will guide you through the right way to breathe, how to position your body, and how to stay relaxed under the water—which all adds up to creating serene and natural-looking portraits.
My simple pro tip for achieving elegant underwater silhouettes: always point your toes.
Embracing the Unpredictability of Water
The real magic of underwater maternity photography lies in going with the flow—literally. The fluid dance of fabric, the organic flow of hair, and the gentle movements of the body in water come together to create photos that are unexpectedly stunning and entirely unique.
No two immersions can ever be the same, so there’s a sense of excitement about what could unfold each time. It’s all about patience and being open to trying different poses and setups to create that perfect shot, and it can take several attempts to get there.
Sure, underwater portraiture might take longer than your traditional photoshoots, but the OMG results? Undeniably worth it.
An Unparalleled Experience
An underwater maternity shoot is no ordinary photoshoot. It’s a beautiful adventure, full of can’t-get-this-anywhere-else moments. Any challenges you encounter, like learning to pose underwater or to move fabric gracefully, become part of a vivid core memory.
The weightlessness of water, the serenity of the environment, the dance of dappled light on skin…this art form creates emotionally-resonant portraits that celebrate your strength and beauty in this incredible chapter of womanhood.
In an age where meaningful experiences often outshine material possessions, underwater maternity photography is a visual love letter to celebrate the beauty of this most transformative life stage.
Check out this behind-the-scenes video from one of my recent shoots:
Find out all about the underwater maternity photoshoots I offer…