When people see my pregnancy collage, they always say how much they wish they’d done something similar for themselves. I love it because it shows the incredible transformation that a woman’s body goes through during pregnancy (and I’m pretty proud of it considering it was all done with selfies!). I decided I would share the love and write a little article on how you can create your own pregnancy collage!
Consistency is key
To achieve a really effective collage, you need to keep the photos consistent. Try and ensure the following things always stay the same:
- The position of your camera. Just slight changes in the position of the camera can make a big difference to your photos. Even if you’ve got someone at home who would be willing to take the photograph for you, I recommend trying to find a way of making sure the camera stays in exactly the same place each time. You can pick up a cheap phone tripod which perhaps you could leave where it is for the duration of your pregnancy – or mark out where the legs should be on a table/shelf that doesn’t move so you can always put it back in the same spot. You could even just prop the phone up in the same place, as long as you can achieve the same angle each time.
- Where you’re standing. This is just as important as the position of the camera – small changes could make a big difference to your final photograph. Standing in the same place each time will also help to keep the light consistent, which I’ll cover shortly. Unless you have strong photo editing skills, you’re not going to be able to get the cut-out look I have in my collage, but you can still get a good effect just by having a nice simple background which is consistent throughout your photos. If you are dead set on the cut-out effect for your own photo collage, you’re welcome to use my photo editing services and I’ll help you create the look you’re after.
- How you’re standing. Generally speaking, you need to have the same pose in every photo. Slight variations will look untidy but you could go the extra mile and plan in advance different poses that will all complement each other in the final image. This could be difficult to achieve if you end up missing any photos, so it might be worth having a straight standing pose just to be safe and then take something more creative afterwards (I cover some more creative ideas for you later on). Make sure you pick a spot on the wall where you’ll always look if you’re trying to keep things the same each time. After taking your first photo, you could even print it out and stick it on that spot on the wall and use it as a guide to make sure your pose is the same each time.
- What you’re wearing. Plan your outfit in advance and make sure it’s something that you’ll love in the end product. Also make sure it will still fit in nine months’ time! A few months into my project, I wished I’d chosen a different outfit but it was too late to change it by then.
- Your hair and make-up. I really wish I’d done my hair the same way in all my photos. The bun looks really neat so personally I’d opt for that next time around – but if you’d prefer to do something different, then go for it – just make sure you can recreate it each time. I don’t think make-up will matter a great deal as the focus will be on your bump rather than your face, however it will definitely stand out if you wear a full face of make-up one day and not the next. Just bear in mind that you won’t always feel as spritely as you do at the start of your pregnancy and you might feel like you can’t be bothered later on.
- The light. Try and keep the lighting consistent in your photos – and make sure there’s lots of it to try and maximise photo quality. If you can make it so you’re standing near a window then that will help – but the lighting will still vary depending on the time of day and whether it’s bright or overcast weather. Unless you’ve got some kind of lighting system at home, I think this is one you’ll just have to do your best with.
How to actually take the photos
Ideally, you’ll have someone there to press the button to actually take your photograph but if not, that’s fine. You can do this! Here’s how:
- It’ll be much easier for you to use the forward facing camera so you can see everything’s right from your final position – but just bear in mind the camera quality of the rear camera might be a lot better.
- Use the timer function on your camera. Opt for the longest timer you’ve got so that you have time to comfortably get into position and make sure everything’s the same as last time, otherwise you’ll end up taking it over and over again! If you’ve got an Apple Watch or similar device, you can use these with your phone to take pictures remotely – but again, use a short timer so that you’ve got time to get into position.
As soon as you’ve taken the photograph, compare it with your last one to make sure they look OK together. That way you can retake the photo while you’re still wearing what you need to.
How often to take the photos
How many photographs you need to take depends on how you want to display your collage once you’re done with it. Printing and framing your photos in a multi-aperture frame like this one from John Lewis would only need photographs at a few key points in your pregnancy: right at the start, three months in, six months in and one towards the end. However, I would highly recommend taking lots of progress photos throughout your pregnancy – that way if you change your mind on how you want to display your photos later on, you won’t regret not having enough. Also, it took some real mental energy to summon up the effort to take my photos some weeks so I would highly recommend aiming to take the photos more frequently than you actually need them – perhaps every two weeks – that way, if you can’t be bothered every now and then, it won’t matter too much.
It’s also worth taking photos more frequently at the end of your pregnancy as your belly will be growing rapidly and there’s a chance that your baby could make a surprise early arrival! I was meant to take another pregnancy progress photograph at 39 weeks but Oliver decided he wanted to be in that one!
How to create your collage
Once you have all your photos, it’s time to put them together. Of course, the easiest way to do this would be to print the photos out and frame them side by side – if you can find a frame that will be suitable. But you’ll have lots more options on how to use and display your collage if you create a single image file from all of your photographs. You’ll be able to share it online and hopefully find suitable frames more easily if you’d like to see yourself in print!
There are lots of ways to digitally join your photographs together, however the easiest way will be to use an app or website specifically designed for creating collages. Apps such as PicJointer and Layout are really simple to use and have lots of standard templates to choose from. Generally you’ll find that you’ll have to have your photos on two or three rows depending on how many you want to use. They may also have a limited resolution meaning that they won’t print very well in larger formats.
If you have a computer, there are websites such as photo-collage.net and www.photocollage.com which offer similar easy-to-use services but with a greater variety of templates – some of them are really creative! Have a play around to see what works well for you.
If, after all of your hard work, you find that you can’t quite get the photos to fit together like you imagined they would in your head, then please contact me and I’ll do my best to help you out. If you’d like me to take over the final part by doing the photo editing for you then that’s no problem – or, if you’re anything like me and want to see a project through to the end, then we could even do a one-on-one training session to show you how to edit your photographs using some more advanced software.
Creative ideas to try
- It might take some balls (ahem) but you could keep things as nature intended and go fully nude. A pose, like the one shown here, will help to preserve your modesty whilst keeping things flattering.
- You might not want to combine these two ideas (or you might 🤷) but you could always head outdoors. You could achieve a super simple collage with minimal editing if you found a lovely flat piece of grass with nothing behind you to take your photos each time.
- Or if you’ve got a creative mind, why not tell a story? Check out this inventive photograph:
- Here’s a few more creative ideas I found on Pinterest:
I’m not going to lie, creating my pregnancy collage took a lot of dedication and mental effort at a time when I definitely felt like I’d lost my mojo (pregnancy does strange things to you). For every photo here, there were a lot more that I just couldn’t be bothered to take, so before you embark on it, make sure that you are 100% dedicated to completing it because you may find yourself disappointed if you just can’t face it later on in pregnancy.
If you’d prefer, I can take that responsibility away from you! Head on over to my Maternity Photography page to find out more about getting your very own professional pregnancy collage.