Capturing the beauty of the bump

We speak to photographers based in Delhi-NCR about how parents-to-be in India are embracing the idea of maternity photoshoots

author_img Anjani Chadha Published :  18th August 2022 01:19 PM   |   Published :   |  18th August 2022 01:19 PM
Image for representational purpose only.

Image for representational purpose only. (File photo)

Gurugram-based Ruma Kapur was 32 weeks pregnant when she decided to get a maternity photoshoot done early this year. “I wanted the moments to be captured so that I could cherish my entire life,” shares Kapur, now a mother of two. The dreamy pictures—clicked by Gurugram-based professional photographer Meghna Rathore—feature Kapur (35) in elaborate gowns, posing in an elegant floral-inspired setting.

Kapur is one among the many newly-pregnant women who has managed to document—and later share on social media—her pregnancy journey. Pregnancy announcement has for long been considered taboo; families usually try to keep the news under wraps, and women are told to hide their baby bump under layers of clothing. However, over the years, we have witnessed a growing trend on social media of expectant mothers flaunting their baby bumps with grace.

While this trend has existed for a while in the West, International celebrities—Serena Williams, Beyonce, Rihanna, Cardi B, Behati Prinsloo—jumping on the bandwagon has only accelerated it. Even on home ground, celebrities such as Bipasha Basu—who uploaded her pregnancy photos on Instagram on Tuesday; Sonam Kapoor—the actor who took to the internet to share her pictures in April this year; Lisa Haydon, Kishwer Merchantt; have followed the trend.

Myriad motivations 

Most expectant mothers decide to have maternity portraits taken so as to archive their pregnancy journey. “You go through a plethora of changes while being pregnant. Even though the body is changing, there is a beautiful feeling of life within you,” mentions maternity photographer Barkha Agarwal. A recent mother herself, Agarwal feels that maternity photoshoot allows a woman to “capture the feeling of motherhood for a lifetime”.

It is not uncommon for women to feel unattractive during pregnancy. Such elaborate photoshoots that result in beautiful portraits enhance the confidence of women and give them a chance to love their baby bump. Meghna Rathore, who started maternity photography when she was working in Texas, US, eight years ago, explains, “[The idea is] to make a woman feel beautiful at the most abrupt time of their life. You gain weight, the skin becomes pigmented, and body parts swell; the idea is to get women to look and feel beautiful at such a time. Once they go through the images after the shoot, they usually find it difficult to believe that they can look so beautiful.”  

Perfect for the gram

Parents-to-be are now taking the creative route, and opting for unconventional poses, sets, and outfits for maternity photoshoots. As Rathore mentions, women are up for “bold shoots” to chronicle the experience.

Rathore and Agarwal affirm that social media has helped normalise the same. “Flaunting the baby bump was not very common until the last three to four years. With so many pictures being shared on social media, it is now being normalised. Also, as more celebrities post their pictures on social media, the message is clear that one does not have to be in hiding when pregnant,” comments Agarwal. Rathore also adds that over the past few years, customers have been approaching her with references to maternity photographs of celebrities such as Kishwer Merchant, Rihanna, and now Sonam Kapoor, as well as images by foreign photographers. “Celebrity culture gets people to do that… it makes them aware that something like this could also be done.”

Photoshoots are now being done to announce pregnancy as well as to document one’s journey—many expectant mothers get a series of images in varied outfits to post a monthly countdown on social media until the baby arrives. “Even though people don’t post their images on personal social media accounts, they prompt me [photographers] to add a picture or two on my page or else they feel deprived of the likes and the comments,” concludes Rathore. 

Get, Set, Click 

The ideal time for a photo shoot is 33 to 34 weeks, shares Meghna Rathore. “One should get their bookings done by the 25th week to ensure there is enough time for the preparations,” she adds. Barkha Agarwal, on the other hand, suggests one to customise the photoshoot as per their Go as per your persona, what you prefer. Do you like classy, casual, or semi-formal? At the end of the day, the shoot should resonate with your persona.”