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Try out these 13 maternity photo shoot ideas for military couples
(Photo: Courtesy of LeJeune Photography)
By Lizann Lightfoot
Before giving birth, many women want to capture the beauty of their pregnant belly with maternity photos. Military families are no exception. However, if the service member is deployed, they may need to be more creative and original. We asked a photographer who is a military spouse and works with military families for some of her professional tips about maternity photos.
Jenny LeJeune, of LeJeune Photography, has been photographing maternity sessions and military couples for ten years. Here is her advice:
  • “I recommend maternity sessions from 32 to 38 weeks. The number one priority is mama’s comfort level and if there’s been any complications in pregnancy. You want just enough belly, but not so much that she won’t be able to move around and pose.”
  • “Choose your outfits first, then find a location that matches. I like to photograph maternity sessions at sunset, but can work with the client’s needs.”
  • “I’ve had clients ask for picture frames with glass to be in the photo (if their spouse is deployed). I tell them no. Glare doesn’t look good in photographs and that kind of style is extremely outdated. I pride myself on limiting Photoshop, and I hand-edit. It takes longer, but the end result is much more authentic.”
Not all military couples choose to do a military-themed maternity photoshoot. But if you want to add a touch of patriotism or the service member’s uniform into your maternity session, there are many creative ways to do it. If you are a pregnant military spouse or female service member, would you pose for one of these maternity photos?

Photos with the service member

  1. If the pregnant woman is also a service member or veteran, she may chose to wear her uniform or part of it, such as the blouse or cover.
  2. Take a photo with the last name on military name tapes held in front of the woman’s belly.
  3. Pose together in a way that displays the last name from the back of a cover or from the uniform blouse.
  4. Include a shot that shows dog tags in the couple’s clasped hands.
  5. Hold an American or military branch flag behind you or drape a flag over the belly. The same flag can be re-used in photos of the newborn baby.
  6. For a pregnancy announcement, display the baby’s ultrasound in the uniform cover or pocket.
  7. Use a sign saying, “Reporting for duty on…” with the baby’s due date.

If you are pregnant during a deployment

There are tasteful ways to include the service member into a maternity picture, even if he or she is not available to be present during the photo session.

  1. On your cell phone, have a picture that looks like the service member is kissing the edge of the screen. This could be taken during a Skype session or even before deployment. During the maternity photo shoot, hold the phone up to the belly so it looks like the service member is giving a kiss.
  2. Have the deployed service member send a photo from their location, where they are reaching out a hand towards the edge of the photo. The pregnant woman can take a picture that–when placed side by side–makes them appear to hold hands.
  3. If your photographer works with Photoshop, have the deployed service member take a photo kneeling and holding up a hand. This image can be edited over an image of the mother, so that the service member’s hand appears to touch her belly.
  4. Use the service member’s uniform, boots, or cover as photo props for the maternity pictures.
  5. A photo of a pregnant mom standing alone at sunset can capture the essence of being pregnant during a deployment.
  6. A yellow ribbon–a symbol of deployed troops–can be tied around the belly or used as a photo prop.
Try out these 13 maternity photo shoot ideas for military couples
(Photo: Courtesy of LeJeune Photography)

Should a spouse wear a military uniform?

This is a touchy subject that is really up to each individual couple to decide. Some people feel it is inappropriate or disrespectful for a non-serving military spouse to wear a uniform they haven’t personally earned. Other people think it is fine if it is the spouse’s uniform, and that it is a touching way to show patriotism. Ultimately, a maternity photo shoot is for you and your spouse to enjoy, so you should wear whatever you both think is comfortable and shows your story.

From Jenny LeJeune: “I have photographed many women in their husband’s uniform (I even did it for our second). I think it was a thing back in 2007-2010. I haven’t done it for a while. It’s just another thing that has gone outdated and overly done. So if I client wants to I probably would do if for her but may not show many of the photos.”
Lizann Lightfoot is an associate editor at Military One Click and a Marine Corps spouse. She can be reached at lizann@militaryoneclick.com. 

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