How to Recreate the Demi Moore Vanity Fair Cover Pose

Naked and pregnant. That’s how movie star Demi Moore chose to pose for her 1991 Vanity Fair cover photo. The classic shot, captured by legendary photographer Annie Leibovitz, celebrated the natural glamour of the pregnant body and became the most famous maternity photo of all time, changing the landscape of portrait photography forever.

How to Recreate the Demi Moore Vanity Fair Cover Pose
Photographer: Annie Leibovitz @ Vanity Fair 1991

Award-winning portrait photographer Sue Bryce breaks this legendary pregnancy pose down into 9 easy steps [mildly NSFW]:

1. Pose your subject in front of a matte black background.

2. Work with your subject to determine how naked they want to be. The classic Demi pose is fully nude* with giant teardrop diamond earrings and a giant ring on the right hand.

* (If your subject isn’t comfortable going fully nude, wrap her in pink tulle to create an ephemeral, feminine texture to define her belly. Create a sweetheart silhouette around her breasts by sewing a thread to cinch the material at her neckline. Tie the tulle at her back using safety pins).

How to Recreate the Demi Moore Vanity Fair Cover Pose

3. If the expecting mom is comfortable with removing her bra, have her do so. Have her keep her underwear on; you can remove it in post-production.

4. Pose the model’s right arm on the top of her belly, resting right under her breasts with her hand open. If she wants to keep her bra on, make sure her right arm covers the bottom of her bra — you can remove the top of the bra in Photoshop. Make sure to fold her bra straps down to minimize the editing you need to do.

How to Recreate the Demi Moore Vanity Fair Cover Pose

5. Wrap your subject’s left arm under her belly, with her hand covering her crotch.

6. To lengthen the legs, have your subject extend her left knee out from the body.

How to Recreate the Demi Moore Vanity Fair Cover Pose

7. Pull her left shoulder forward, so the shoulder rests in front of the elbow. Pull the elbow back towards the arch of her back.

8. Have her relax her mouth, and place her chin forward and up, angled towards the camera. The chin should be positioned midway between the shoulder and the clavicle.

How to Recreate the Demi Moore Vanity Fair Cover Pose

9. To recreate the exact pose, have your subject look off camera to the left, with her mouth closed and unsmiling.

About The Author

Sue Bryce is an award winning portrait photographer based in Australia. You can follow her blog here, and follow her on Facebook here and on twitter here.

To learn more about Sue Bryce and her photo techniques, watch her free creativeLIVE Bumps to Babies course August 23-25th. She’ll co-host the course with award-winning newborn photographer Kelly Brown.

  • This guy

    I was really hoping the 1st step would be:

    “1. Get Demi Moore pregnant.”

  • ThePixelDoc

    What the heck is with the “hood… uhm… head ornaments”??? Looks a lot like Russian-Mood-Chic, which I’m not particulary fond of to say the least.

  • pubilius

    Think. First step is to think. Stop copying, and think. this photographer did not make the first nude pregnant shot, just the first one to appear on the cover a large magazine cover. So stop and think. Ring on the middle finger of the right hand? Not a good idea for most expecting mothers. Turn her around and use the left hand to show her wedding band, assuming she has one.

    Next, I’d use a white wall, and separate it from the subject, lighting the subject by a few stops over the background. Magic. Black background. Let’s promote thinking to photography, not copying.