Photographer Bob Berg: Why Pregnancy Pictures Are Important

02/27/2011 at 11:00 AM ET
Courtesy Bellies by Bob

Demi Moore did it. Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera went for it, too. So, why not get belly pictures taken too?

Photographer Bob Berg, of Bellies by Bob maternity and newborn photography, thinks every mom-to-be should. “It’s important for women to document this time,” he tells PEOPLE Moms & Babies. “You change so strongly, and I really believe there is a glow. It’s just the most beautiful moment.”

Berg, who got his start as a fine artist in the 1970s, moved toward the world of maternity shots even before Moore’s iconic Vanity Fair cover. “She took it from daring to beautiful,” he says. “And I was very much enamored with the female form in pregnancy.”

For Berg, a shoot involves hair, makeup, styling — “the whole Hollywood treatment,” he says — but it can be possible to do your own belly shots at home, too, by following his advice:

Wear loose clothing. To avoid putting marks on your skin, consider a wrap or other elastic-free garment. “You’re not naked, but at the same time, there’s a lot of skin showing,” Berg says.

Find your light. “When I see people taking pictures with their phone, pointing everyone into the sun with their faces all dark, it irks me,” he says, laughing. “You need a bounce pad at least!” For those of us who aren’t so artistically inclined, consider buying some white cardboard to reflect the light.

Get dolled up. Aside from doing your hair and makeup, Berg dares pregnant mamas to try heels — if you’re comfortable doing so. “They’re the great equalizer to all women,” he shares.

Pick a perfect backdrop. Though many of Berg’s shots happen in scenic California, you can make your yard or neighborhood your own photo studio by picking a clean, clutter-free spot for your shots. He even encourages women on bed rest to pose for pictures, too. “Make sure you still celebrate what you’ve done,” he says.

Relax. “Don’t be afraid, be comfortable,” Berg says. “Celebrate the beautiful. This is something a woman is reaching for, wishing and being. It’s incredible.”

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Showing 43 comments

Josie on

I just take side view pics of my belly every 5 weeks. I have pics of my belly at 10 weeks, 15 weeks, 20 weeks, and I plan on taking another pic at 25 weeks.

Holiday on

I wish I had professional ones done of my pregnancies. The pictured here is odd but I have seen beautiful ones.

Ashandra on

I have another one. Try to cover the belly up a bit if you have stretch marks all across the stomach. I went to the house of a friend and she had maternity photos from her pregnancy. She had one of those ‘exposed belly’ photos and there were huge purple stretch marks across it. It looked so inappropriate. A light camisole or cover up would have made the picture a lot classier.

The advice on wearing heels and dressing nicely is spot on. I see so many women forgo wearing heels as soon as they find out that they are pregnant- or wearing old sweats- I don’t know why! It’s more important than ever to take care of your looks during pregnancy and immediately after, because it’s typically when new mommies feel the most unattractive. No matter how tired I am, I can always find 10 minutes to do my hair and makeup and wear jeans or a nice dress instead of sweats with my little one!

Blog Follower on

If you were going to do an article on the importance of doing beautiful maternity portraits, atleast get someone to interview who actually takes some artistic pride in his work. I looked at his website and his work looks like they were done with a point and shoot or at the very most a Canon Rebel. CRINGE! There are so many more beautifully talented photographers who would have loved a feature like this, honor those who take pride in their work. This guy needs to go back to Craigslist where you found him.

Jennifer on

I think pregnancy photos are beautiful too. But something about this one kind of scared me. I actually thought it was Chelsea Lately trying to mock being pregnant. I don’t know.

Twyla on

I love pregnant photos. Too bad Bob is a bad photographer.

stacy on

Bwah! Ha ha ha!
That picture up there is just about the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever seen!

emma on

i’m sorry…i’m all for pregnancy pics i think they’re generally beautiful, but that has got to be one of the most awkward pictures i have ever seen

jessicad on

What an awesome story! I think all pregnant women are beautiful, even though I know some don’t feel that way:) I’m so glad I documented my pregnancy. Soon after my daughter was born I forgot what it was like being pregnant, I have those to remind me. I did many different shoots since my friend is a photographer, and honestly the nudes are my favorite, so natural and beautiful. I think every women should have them done, my sister is pregnant with her first right now and she hates the idea of taking pictures but I’m doing my best to convince her!

Bree on

I love the idea of belly shots. One of my dearest friends is a Mehendi Artist and she is so excited about doing my belly and getting her photographer to take pictures when we get pregnant (My husband and I are currently TTC) It is such a beautiful time in a woman’s life and such an expression of Love between a couple so celebrating that seems only natural to me.

amandamay on

i checked out bob’s site too – those are some of the worst “professional” photos i’ve ever seen. i think it’s fantastic to take pregnancy photos – just take a pass on bob!

Anonymous on

OMG i think pregnancy pictures like these are tacky!!!!! it looks so dumb when a shirt is all bunched up on top of the belly, or when the belly is just awkwardly sticking out. i’d advise women to pose with their shirts normally placed or completely nude.

p.s. i love baby bumps, i don’t think they’re something to be ashamed of so don’t get your panties in a twist.

Lorelei on

Love beautiful pregnancy photos as well, just not this one. It’s not the belly that scares me, it’s the unusual look on the face.

mila on

Honestly, some baby bumps are just prettier than others. It’s like a person face or butt or whatever, some women are just luckier than others. I did take pics of my ugly bumps for each pregnancy but I would never show anyone and I wasn’t fooling myself into thinking I glowed because “all pregnant women are beautiful.” Not all women are beautiful period so why would all pregnant women be? My best friend is a dog and when she’s pregnant, she’s a fat dog. Beauty isn’t one of her strong suits and so dressing her up in heels and shoving out her bump would not be appealing.

The bump in this pic isn’t very appealing either. Most of the baby bumps we see in mags are airbrushed so that’s not fair as a representative of normal bumps. I do know one woman who has the best bumps – smooth, shiny even, perfectly round, just perfect. Yeah, if I had that kind of bump, I would pay to have a portait. Otherwise, snapshots at various degrees of the preg seem fine.

Jennifer on

his website is horrible! The pictures are not flattering at all! Just kind of awkward!

Nat on

As a photographer, I have to say that those pictures are absolutely horrible.

Shelby on

True, artistic pregnancy pictures are amazing.

Skip Bob (and that creepy photograph) and check out Ryan’s two maternity series that have been featured here before. Now, THAT’s my kind of pregnancy photography!

http://pacingthepanicroom.blogspot.com/search/label/The%20walk%20to%2040%20weeks

http://pacingthepanicroom.blogspot.com/search/label/the%20belly%20pictures%20series

tep on

I think it is important to document pregnancy and taking maternity photos is something every woman should do, whether you have them done professionally or take them yourself. As an amateur photographer, I am pretty confused as to why this photographer was featured here… I hate to say it, but his photos are downright awful, with no artistic quality to them, no concept of composition or even basic lighting principles. What in the world?? To “Blog Follower”, I’ve seen beautiful pictures taken with a Rebel or even a point and shoot that were way better than these, I myself have a entry-level Nikon that takes amazing pictures. The camera has nothing to do with it, it’s all about artistry and the eye behind the lens. Ladies, please do your research before hiring a photographer!!

Adrianne Foreman on

I agree with Nat. As a photographer, (TN) NO WAY would I charge that much money for shot he took at night with a FLASH. Unbelievable. I’m a little surprised, actually, because his other stuff (bobbergphoto.com) is not nearly as bad.

As for maternity shots, I absolutely recommend them! Just get a good photographer ;-)

Adrianne Foreman on

I think I get it now. He’s a studio photographer and used to artificial light. Maybe natural light just isn’t his thing (clearly).

Emily on

“My best friend is a dog and when she’s pregnant, she’s a fat dog.”

Hey mina- class act!

Lucy on

His shots are weird… and the name of his company is kind of creepy, no? I’ve seen some gorgeous maternity shots but I’d definately pass on Bob!

Lisa on

Mila, I find it hard to believe you actually have a friend.

Indira on

Lmao @ Mila! You shoot straight from the hip.

I kind of a agree with you tho. I hate when people romanticize pregnancy. I’m really put off by a late in pregnancy belly. They’re just bulging and disproportionate, most pregnant women look really uncomfortable and far from beautiful. I think that if I were to take pregnancy photos I would take professional ones earlier in the pregnancy. For example, I like the ones that Miranda Kerr took around her 6/7th month.

Jackie on

His photos were awful! And he charges $1,500 for one session!

Robin on

I never in a million years would have let anyone take a picture of my pregnant belly. I don’t see the appeal.

amy on

I did check out his website, and the pictures are bizarre. Did anyone else think the woman on the home page in the hammock had this look on her face like “oh my water just broke!” LOL also, mina, that is the rudest thing ever. I wonder what your friends say/will say about you when you are pregnant. Of course, you must be perfect…

Kiki on

His photos are not good. They look regular point and shoot photos, certainly not professional. For some beautiful maternity photos, check out these

http://www.coastsidephotography.com/galleries.php?g=maternity&a=0

Stella Bella on

Kiki, those are beautiful photos! Thanks for posting that link.

Marla on

Really??? Of all the photographers who photograph pregnant women, this is who you profile? I’ve seen ones that are beautiful and ones that are not (there’s a blog about awkward pregnancy photos). This could maybe join that site.

At any rate, I never know where a pregnancy photo would go? I loved my preggo belly, but, I never had it photographed.

JLD on

I’m an amateur photographer, maybe even one step above amateur and I take photos WAY better than these. http://joleighphotography.webs.com/
No belly shots, but still better than this guy.

Corrie on

Wow, Mila, with friends like you…

Jes on

I have to agree his shots aren’t ones I’d use to inspire me to use him as a photographer. No kids for me but one of my friends has a 4 month old and her preg photos are incredable. She is a very pretty women to begin w/and her shots are gorgeous and he bump/belly is wonderfully high lighted, to the point in one you can see him kicking. They had them taken periodically over the 9 month w/the last ones the week she delivered.

Mira on

Oh my. Bob’s pics are ugly indeed. And he chose a really unfortunate name for his site. Yuck.

I think documenting your pregnancy is a great idea. Just don’t wear heals and pose seductively– it’s really tacky and off-putting, I think. The only pregnancy pics I like are earth-mother style pics. The others look either ugly or like fetish p*rn.

fuzibuni on

“Berg dares pregnant mamas to try heels — if you’re comfortable doing so. “They’re the great equalizer to all women,” he shares.”

BWAHAHAHA! REALLY BOB???

Jillian on

I am all for pregnancy photos, but this is an awkward photo. Just something about it is not done right. Can’t figure it out.

sharon on

There’s some good advice here. The magic of pregnancy shots is that every woman looks beautiful. It captures a moment in time and sometimes that opportunity only comes once.

lk on

Oh my goodness, those pictures are horrific!! Awful awful. Really terrible photographer to feature, People.

Alyssa on

Who chose that picture??? A pregnant woman lost in a backyard of banana trees??? Come on! There’s some many other pregnancy pictures out there than that one!

Eileen on

That should be an example of how NOT to do a classic, tasteful pregnancy photo. Hmmm….which to show the in-laws? The nipple shot, the racy panties or the pseudosexy hammock shots? Horrible, horrible, horrible.

Michelle on

I think she looks beautiful and natural.

MG on

I love belly shots & I wish that I had taken more photos when I was pregnant. I do kinda like the pic that they have featured here. She does look very natural. The other photos in his gallery are very unflattering & awkward. For the amount that he charges, I would expect more of a range of photos & better quality. I think they could have found another photographer to feature in this article.

Leslie on

The types of beautiful, natural photos on this mans website are just what we are looking for and wouldn’t hesitate to look Bob up when the time comes. The photo used here is not the best representation of his work, but is certainly not a horrible photo and maybe exactly what the client was looking for. Maybe she’s a surfer chick in her own environment, which is how I would want it done. This article has certainly brought out the amateur photography critic in so many people. So much negativity to share. Loosen up people!

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