Badlands Maternity Photo Shoot: DIY Tips

Badlands Desert Maternity Photo Shoot

Badlands Desert Maternity Photo Shoot

Badlands Desert Maternity Photo Shoot

Badlands Desert Maternity Photo Shoot

Badlands Desert Maternity Photo Shoot

Badlands Desert Maternity Photo Shoot

Now that I finally have a nice big baby belly, it was time for our DIY maternity photo shoot, in the desert badlands! These pictures were taken in Drumheller, Alberta when I was 35 weeks pregnant by my wonderful husband, and I think they turned out spectacular!

After our fun but exhausting Las Vegas Babymoon we originally thought a mountain retreat spa day was in order, but taking Baby J to see the dinosaur museum was a much better idea! It had been decades since we had been to the Badlands and my husband and I had never been together. Since we did our maternity photos for Baby J in the Rocky Mountains, we figured it would be great to try a desert photo shoot for the new baby instead. Plus, it seemed like a more appropriate place for a photo shoot considering we’re having a boy–there’s just something about the combination of boys and dinosaurs, am I right?

Actually, my little super-feminine Baby J was enamored with the dinosaurs! No gender stereotypes for this girl: last month she went as Batman to Comic Con and now here she was roaring at the dinosaurs and running around the museum saying “wow!” with a gaping mouth at everything she saw. That’s my little nerdy girl!

As for the photo shoot itself, that was loads of fun! We brought my sister (catch her over at Barefoot Louboutins) with us and she entertained Baby J in the stroller while I modeled for my husband. We didn’t have a plan for where to take the photos but rather just started walking on the trails into the badlands and stopped when it felt right.  I didn’t know how long we would have to search before we found the perfect location so I actually changed into my dress right there on site. Of course just as I was getting my arms out of my bra literally an entire school of children came around the corner…but a lifetime of highland dance competitions has taught me how to change an outfit without exposing myself, so it wasn’t the embarrassing catastrophe it could have been!

Speaking of clothing, isn’t that dress fantastic?  I knew red would be a great colour with the rocks and sand but I never imagined how stunning it would be!  It’s not even a maternity dress, just a really stretchy backless dress which I wore for my graduation 4 years ago.  I thought you might like to see what it looks like on a non-pregnant lady so I made this before and after photo.  See what I mean about stretchy?!  I am extra tiny in that photo because my husband and I were both in contest prep at the time, him in bodybuilding and me in bikini, and we were less than a month out until the competition. Makes for quite the contrast, eh?!

before after pregnancy transformation bikini competition

We took about a million pictures in a few different spots, then I got changed and we headed inside to the museum. It was such a fun day to have with Auntie Ray Ray as a family of three before the new baby comes, I’m so glad we went!

Here are my tips for anyone wanting to do their own DIY maternity photos. If you want more DIY photo shoot tips you can check out my “Boudoir Photo Shoot Tips and Tricks” post…different vibe but same idea!

DIY Maternity Photo Shoot Tips

one: find location inspiration. I actually got the idea of doing a desert/badlands maternity photo shoot when I was planning the Babymoon in Vegas. But you don’t have to travel far to get a nice landscape–a farmer’s field of bright yellow canola, a botanical garden, a ravine or city park, even a mall with a carousel. Be open minded about what’s available to you, then do a Google image or Pinterest search to see how the professionals set up their shots. Show your favourites to your amateur photographer so they know what you’re trying to achieve.

two: find pose inspiration. It’s hard enough posing for a regular picture and knowing what to do with your hands. Now add in this massive baby bump that you’re supposed to embrace without looking like a weirdo and things get complicated. You want to bend the knee close to the camera rather than keeping it straight and also not to squish your arm flat against your body, especially if you’re sleeveless because it makes your arm look huge. Do another image search to see what you like and what you feel comfortable doing, and reference those poses while you’re at the photo shoot. Move around all the time and try different things, don’t stay in the same pose for every shot.

three: wear more makeup than typical. Keep to a style you’re familiar with, but wear a little more than you would for everyday. When you’re outside and the sun is shining on your face it can bring out the imperfections. You want to have a smooth skin tone with nice contouring and highlighting so that the photos are just radiantly beautiful rather than washed out or splotchy.

four: keep the wardrobe simple. I think solid colours are the best for outdoor photo shoots because the landscape is busy enough without you being decked out in prints. Different textures will give you a different feeling, for example spandex will not flow in the wind like chiffon, and I always find long sleeves are more flattering to your arms.  Accessorize with jewelry or a crown of flowers or dark red lipstick, but keep the clothing simple. Patterns can be fine if there’s a particular look you’re going for.  Perhaps you want a pinup style and have a cute polka dot dress, but in that case I would keep the background as simple as possible.

five: embrace spontaneity. You don’t have a professional directing your posing or setting up the best shot so the responsibility is on you to do the research and planning. So come prepared! But with that said, try to laugh a little and enjoy it, don’t worry that your photos don’t look like the ones you saw on Pinterest because they aren’t going to–those were taken by professional photographers at the crack of dawn for the perfect lighting with potentially a model wearing a pillow under her dress made up by a makeup artist and hair stylist. Just do your best, have fun, and take way more pictures than you think are necessary! Better to have too many than not enough, and all you need is one good one to frame, right?!

Badlands Desert Maternity Photo Shoot

I’m almost 38 weeks now so this baby is coming anytime, how exciting and terrifying!  If you haven’t already subscribed you should because I’m going to take you with me on my post baby weight loss journey, with YouTube videos and everything!  I know I won’t be getting back to the tininess of that before picture anytime soon, but I have other goals that I will be working towards and you can do it with me!  It’ll be fun and it’ll be hard but we will be rocking the bikinis by the beach in no time!


Red Dress: I got this years ago on Ebay and can’t find it any more.  I don’t want to link to something without knowing how stretchy it is!  But try searching for bodycon+ dress+backless+long+sleeve and see what you can find!

Turquoise Necklace:  I also got this on Ebay but it is terrible quality, I don’t want to link to the seller!  It arrived in the mail broken so she sent me a new one, and that one broke, too (the string snapped but I tied it back together).

Turquoise Ring:  I found this just the other day at Michaels for $12 CAD, fully adjustable!

Camera: Olympus O-MD E-M10 Mark II with 14-42mm IIR lens

3 thoughts on “Badlands Maternity Photo Shoot: DIY Tips

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