Author : Mohua Das

Dramatic baby bump photo shoots – in a pool, on a football field, or on a bicycle riding through a fake European street – are all the rage

Wrapped in yards of flowing red fabric she dives into water, gliding and swirling like a mermaid as the flashbulb explodes. What might seem like a glamorous calendar shoot is actually a mum-to-be having some serious fun with her baby bump.

Maternity shoots like these are becoming increasingly popular as young parents chase photo ideas that can be wacky, artsy and cute. There was a time when pregnancy was a fraught phase for women and baring the bump or photographing a new born were taboo. Then came the hands-on-the-belly shoot. Now, a clutch of young photographers are offering unconventional ideas that involve styling, sets and props. The results are often cutting-edge and quite breath-taking. Some images seem like avant-garde paintings, some are underwater spectacles, some vintage shots and some are playful photographs of painted bellies.

A favourite with expecting mothers are dreamy walk-in-the-wood shots dressed in Greek togas, a floral tiara around the head. “At a time when they think they’re not looking their best, this feels feminine and flattering,” says Delhi’s Shipra Chhabra.

Even dads are going in for man-ternity shots. Ritesh Sharma is one of the many enthusiastic dads ready to extend the fun he had with the pre-baby shoot. “Now that my daughter is eight months I plan to get another portfolio done. This time of my arm tattooed with Lord Shiva cradling a child where the faces are mine and my daughter’s,” he says.

These images end up in coffee table books, Facebook albums and on living room walls. Designing the look is no cakewalk. Amit Chhabra recently turned his studio into a narrow alley of Amsterdam with a flower-decked cycle that the expecting mom rode. “She lives in Netherlands but was delivering in India so she wanted to recreate that mood,” he says.

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