How to Plan Your Maternity Photo Session

Motherhood is one of the most beautiful gifts in life and the first 9 months of pregnancy are the early moments where you begin to create a lifelong bond with your baby. Yes, I know pregnancy isn’t all glamorous, (no one enjoys morning sickness and swollen ankles) but this is such a beautiful and significant time in your life that deserves to be captured with maternity photos.

Why You Should Take Maternity Photos

Whether it only happens only once or a handful of times, your pregnancy is a special time in your life that deserves to be documented. As a photographer, I am all about capturing moments; fleeting moments that can never be reproduced. Moments that happen only once and after all is said and done, all that’s left is the memories we have and the photos that help us remember them. So take this opportunity in your pregnancy to document your family’s journey and celebrate this special time by planning a maternity photo session.

Need more reasons to take maternity photos?
– To look back years down the road and remember when you didn’t have to share your baby with anyone else and that is something a mama’s heart will always cherish.
– To show your child the world they were a part of but never saw and that is something they will be able to appreciate for years to come.
– Use the photos to share on an announcement or at a gender reveal party or baby shower.
– Print, frame, and enjoy the photos in your home, plus they make for excellent nursery decorations!

PNW Couple Maternity Photo Session

When to Schedule Your Maternity Photoshoot

The best time to take maternity photos is when you feel like you look your best and are the most comfortable, but it can be hard to know when that time will be if this is your first pregnancy and you are trying to plan ahead. In general, I recommend scheduling your maternity photo session when you are around 7-8 months or between 28 – 36 weeks as this is the time most women have a nice, round belly but still feel comfortable enough to try posing. Of course, if you are feeling good earlier and are happy with the size of your belly, then it’s absolutely ok to schedule your photo session.

You may also want to schedule your session earlier if you are a high-risk pregnancy or if you are expecting multiples. I do caution waiting until the last minute to take your photos as babies make up their own minds when they arrive and you wouldn’t want to miss capturing photos of this special time due to early arrival.

Again, with any mother, do what works for you, not what others tell you worked for them. Your pregnancy is your own journey so do what’s best for you and your babe.

Determine Your Session Style & What to Wear

You are a beautiful mama and there is no better day for you to feel like one than on the day of your maternity photoshoot! Now that you’ve booked your maternity session, it’s time to figure out what style of a photoshoot you want and what outfits you’re going to wear. The most important advice I can give is to choose a style and outfits that represent you. There are a lot of photos and articles about what you should wear but the best way to capture photos you’re going to love is to stay true to your own personal style. That being said, I do have some tips about what style shoots are available and what outfits typically photograph best.

Maternity Photo Session Types & Locations

There are a variety of maternity photo session types and locations to shoot at when it comes to shooting pregnancy photos, and it all comes down to your preference and what you are looking to get out of the shoot.

– Glam / Dressy: An excuse to get dressed up and show off your bump. Outfits are usually bold and colorful and are typically taken in a studio or outdoor location. If you don’t have or want to purchase a dress for the session, consider renting a dress from companies like Mama Bump Rentals.

Outdoor Maternity Photoshoot

Photo by: Little Wildflowers Photography BC

– Comfortable, Cozy, and Everyday: A very common type of shoot where you can wear whatever outfit feels comfortable. Most of my maternity shoots include you and your partner, but they can also include other family members as well. These photos can be taken in any location; studio, at home, or outdoors.

Mother posing for her Maternity Photo Session

– Maternity Boudoir: Pregnancy boudoir photos are similar to regular boudoir photos in the sense that it is a shoot where you are in lingerie, lightly clothed or naked. This type of shoot focuses on capturing the beauty of the pregnant female body before it changes and is usually taken in a studio or at home but can be shot outdoors as well.

Seattle Boudoir Maternity Photography.

Once you’ve chosen which type of style(s) photoshoot you want and where you are going to take your photos, it’s time to start planning your outfits.

What to Wear for Your Pregnancy Photoshoot

– Be comfortable. Don’t choose an outfit that is too tight and pinching or one that you have to keep adjusting. You want to be relaxed and free during your session, not worrying about how you look or feel.

– Solids are best. Stick to solid colors and avoid large prints so the focus is on your face and the bump.

– Textures always photograph well. Try a lace dress or knit sweater. Linen pants anyone?

– Incorporate layers. Layers add dimension and interest and allow you to play around with different textures so feel free to mix and match.

– Something that accentuates YOUR bump. Every bump looks different, so find outfits that look good on YOU and make you feel good and beautiful.

Midi and Maxi dresses are very common for maternity photo sessions in part because they are so comfortable to wear and they photograph well, however, it’s ok if dresses aren’t your thing. Choose an outfit that reflects you and is comfortable for you to wear. Maybe a pair of jeans and an open button-down with a cute bralette is more your style, or a cute romper or a pair of overalls. Whatever it is, choose a style that reflects YOU! Just because it’s a popular option doesn’t mean that you have to wear it if it’s not your style.

Check out my Pinterest page for more maternity photo inspiration.

Seattle Couple’s Maternity Photo Session

Pamper Yourself with a Hair & Makeup Appointment

As if you need a reason to pamper yourself when you are pregnant, but your maternity photos are a great time to take advantage of this time and go all out and pamper yourself. You’re getting ready to do something big and bring a tiny human into the world, so do something nice for yourself and schedule a hair and makeup appointment for your maternity photoshoot. I promise it will make your photos so much more special. If you need recommendations, I have a great list that I can provide. Just make sure to schedule your appointment so it ends at least 90 minutes before the photo session.

And don’t forget, we’re going to get lots of shots of you holding your belly, so consider getting a manicure or pedicure as well. This is an extra opportunity for you to pamper yourself that also adds an extra layer of detail to the shots!

Tips for the Best Maternity Photos

– Lay your outfits out the night before. This will help ensure you aren’t rushing around at the last minute trying to find something to wear.

– Get a good night’s sleep. You want to look and feel rested and refreshed the day of your shoot.

– Schedule your hair and makeup to be completed at least 90 minutes prior to the shoot.

– Moisturize your belly if you plan to show it.

– For maternity boudoir photos, make sure to wear loose clothing before the shoot. Tight clothing will leave marks on your skin that will show up in photos.

– Touch your belly! You probably do this naturally already, but your photoshoot is the time to go all out. Touch and hold your belly to help show the intimacy and connection between you and your little one.

Seattle Maternity Photography
PNW Pregnancy Photos

I can’t wait to meet you and work with you capturing this beautiful and special time in your life. Check out some of my other maternity photo sessions here for additional inspiration and feel free to reach out with any questions.

If you plan on taking newborn photos (which I highly recommend) you will want to start planning for those and book your newborn session in advance, so while we are booking your pregnancy photos is also a great time for us to start talking about newborn photos. Read more of my tips (including timeline) for planning a newborn photo session here.