12 Maternity Photoshoot Tips From a Professional Photographer

12 Maternity Photoshoot Tips From a Professional Photographer

pregnancyUpdated January 17, 2023

by Leigh Ripps

Professional Photographer


You peed on a stick and got two little pink lines. Hooray! You are having a baby! Now begins the 9-month whirlwind where baby names, stroller reviews, and tiny little shoes will consume your thoughts as you plan for this next season in your life. If you are like most moms, maternity photos will cross your mind at some point in that journey. And also, like most moms, you might be worried that you won’t look your best. I’ve been there! I had a maternity photoshoot with each of my three pregnancies. I also have photographed hundreds of others. I’m sharing my best advice to help make sure you LOVE your maternity photos.

Tips for Maternity Photos You Will Love

1. Find a Professional

Hiring an experienced, professional photographer is crucial to love the outcome of your maternity photoshoot. A seasoned maternity photographer knows how to pose you, utilize lighting, and capture the most flattering images to document your pregnancy.

Pay attention to their style. Just like you wouldn’t go to a cardiologist when you have a knee problem, different photographers specialize in different photography styles. Do you love dark, moody images, or do you prefer light and airy ones? Do you want formal studio portraits or a fun lifestyle session in your home? Choosing a photographer with the style you like ensures you both have the same vision for your images and will be thrilled with the result.

12 Maternity Photoshoot Tips From a Professional Photographer

2. Time It Right

Scheduling your maternity photoshoot during your 28-34th week is ideal. Every woman’s body shows at a different time. However, generally, first-time moms should probably wait toward the end of that window. You want a full, round belly but be comfortable enough to move around. If you are expecting multiples, a month earlier is probably best.

12 Maternity Photoshoot Tips From a Professional Photographer

3. Dress The Part

After you have picked out your photographer and secured a date, the next question is naturally, “What do I wear?!” Choose an outfit that shows off your bump with an empire waist or something that is fitted. Think about the setting for your portraits before making your choices. An urban location could call for bold and modern clothes, but a grassy field might look better with neutral, bohemian styles. Your photographer might also have specific recommendations that work best with their style of photography.

Many photographers who specialize in maternity photography also have an entire wardrobe full of tried and true outfits that their clients can borrow that photograph beautifully. It’s also an excellent way to save money on buying new clothes and avoid shopping frustration!

12 Maternity Photoshoot Tips From a Professional Photographer

4. Prep Your Hands

Get a manicure and shine up your wedding rings in the days leading up to your photoshoot date. Your hands will be photographed in detail while cradling your belly, so you’ll want them to look neat and fresh. Neutral nail polish is typically the right choice so that your bump, not your nails, takes center stage.

12 Maternity Photoshoot Tips From a Professional Photographer

5. Bring in a Professional Hair and Make-Up Artist

Professional hair and make-up can help bring out that maternal glow and let you walk into your photoshoot looking and feeling your best. The camera tends to wash you out, so having an expert add additional contouring and lashes will help your face look flawless. Even if you don’t usually wear a lot of make-up, a light professional application can give you a naturally enhanced look. For hair, as women, we all know that our hair never looks better than when we are fresh from the salon. Plus, if your session is outside, a pro will ensure your hair can hold up to whatever the weather throws at you.

12 Maternity Photoshoot Tips From a Professional Photographer

6. Choose a Meaningful Location

Do you enjoy spending time at the beach? In love with your baby’s new nursery? Maybe you have a special spot you and your partner always love visiting. Using a meaningful place as the backdrop to your maternity portraits will add an extra dimension to your photos that will bring back even more happy memories.

12 Maternity Photoshoot Tips From a Professional Photographer

7. Include Your Partner and Other Children

Your maternity photoshoot isn’t just about a new chapter beginning but also celebrating the chapter that is closing. Use this opportunity to document life as just the 2 of you (or 3 or 4) before this new baby joins your family. If your first child is a furbaby, talk to your photographer about including them too. Just be sure to bring along an extra set of hands to care for your dog when he’s not being photographed.

12 Maternity Photoshoot Tips From a Professional Photographer

8. Bring a Sentimental Item

Personalize your maternity photoshoot by incorporating an item that is significant to you. Keeping props limited to sentimental items will help your images stay sweet instead of cheesy. Some things you could consider are:

  • a parent’s baby item like shoes or a well-loved teddy
  • items from your wedding, like your veil or robe
  • an ultrasound photo
  • something from their nursery, like a baby blanket

12 Maternity Photoshoot Tips From a Professional Photographer

9. Consider a Baring Your Bump

Pregnant bodies are amazing, and many expectant moms like to showcase their new form with a more revealing or intimate maternity photoshoot. Based on your comfort level, these types of sessions can range from fully clothed (form-fitting) to fully nude. Your new curves will be the star, and this style allows a true fine art feel to your portraits.

12 Maternity Photoshoot Tips From a Professional Photographer

10. Take It Easy

Growing a tiny human is hard work, and so is being a model, and during your maternity photoshoot, you’ll be doing both. Communicate openly about your needs and ask to take a break, get some water, or move if a pose is uncomfortable. Outdoor sessions in the summer at eight months pregnant can be especially brutal, so don’t try to push yourself if you start feeling overheated and need to cool off.

12 Maternity Photoshoot Tips From a Professional Photographer

11. Make It a Date

After you’ve done all the hard work to look amazing and your session is over, trust me, you will be starving! Tell your partner to plan a date night in advance so he can whisk you off to a fancy meal right after. It might be your last night out for a long time!

12 Maternity Photoshoot Tips From a Professional Photographer

12. When in Doubt, Do the Photos

If you are on the fence about whether or not to do maternity pictures, you are not alone. Most moms-to-be that I talk to feel the same. My best advice is that if even a tiny piece of you thinks you might want these photos, do them. Once that baby arrives, there is no going back in time. Even though I didn’t feel my best at any of my maternity photoshoots, I would have so much regret now if I hadn’t done them. Remember, these photos aren’t just for you. These photos will be a gift to your new baby and will mean so much to both of you.

12 Maternity Photoshoot Tips From a Professional Photographer
Credit to Butterfly Chaser Photography and Ivy Nault Photography
Pregnant woman feeling pain while sitting at sofa in living room

12 Most Surprisingly Weird Pregnancy Symptoms

Pregnant woman window shopping at jewelry store

The Best Shoes To Wear During Pregnancy

Young pregnant woman at home sitting on sofa and relaxing with pet dog

10 Things Pregnant Women Do When They’re Finally Alone

Worried woman holding pregnancy test.

Cryptic Pregnancy: Everything You Need to Know

Portrait of beautiful pregnant black mother holding her pregnant belly at home. Close-up.

10 Commandments of Pregnancy

A pregnant constipated woman with bladder problems needing to pee, rushing to the bathroom.

Lightning Crotch: What It Is and Why It Sucks