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7 tips for a maternity photo shoot you’ll never forget

The best advice for your maternity photo shoot

Pregnant woman standing next to a horse
Christin Noelle / Unsplash

Pregnancy is a momentous occasion in any person’s life, and it should be celebrated and remembered. Nine months out of your life where your body is changing and nurturing your baby may feel like a long time when you’re in it, but when it’s all said and done, you may not remember much about your pregnancy at all! The solution to that maternal brain fog? A pregnancy photo shoot!

Maternity photos are a gorgeous way to remind you down the road of all your body is capable of and maybe make you a little nostalgic for those tiny butterfly kicks. And sure, every pregnant person glows, but there are ways to take your maternity shoot from fair to fab.

When should you do a pregnancy photo shoot?

Pregnant woman standing in wooden sun room
Omar Lopez / Unsplash

Your body changes a lot over the 40 weeks you’re growing a baby. From the early days, when you aren’t showing, right up until the end, when you may feel like you have a whale stuffed under your shirt, it might be hard to know when the time is right to let your belly shine for the camera.

Professionals recommend early to mid-third trimester or 28 to36 weeks. By that point, your bump is gloriously obvious, your mom-to-be glow is in full effect, and hopefully, you’re not too uncomfortable to stand for a while and move around naturally.

But there are considerations other than how far along you are to schedule your shoot. Here are six tips for a perfect maternity photo shoot.

Choose your photographer

Photographer holding a camera
Ailbhe Flynn / Pexels

Working with a photographer who understands your vision for your maternity shoot is crucial. Ask friends and family for recommendations and visit potential photographer websites to look at their previous work to help narrow your choices. Make sure their style is something you love, and their photos have the look and feel you’re aiming for.

Social media is also a great way to see a potential photographer’s work and to read comments from past clients. Once you decide you’re interested in hiring a photographer reach out and discuss your vision for your maternity photo shoot and make sure you’re both on the same page. Professional photographers will want to ensure you’re happy with your pictures so communicating your wishes ahead of time can help ensure that.

Location, location, location

A pregnant woman outside wearing a flowing dress and headpiece.
Danie Franco / Unsplash

Location is everything when it comes to maternity shoots. Choose a spot that reflects something about you, whether that’s a wide-open field, an industrial concrete and metal warehouse, or an urban graffiti wall. The location is one of the most important decisions you’ll make in creating the maternity shoot of your dreams.

Be creative! Do you love to garden? How about a few shots at an artful garden center? All about nature? A waterfall backdrop could be stunning. If you’re a homebody and love nothing more than the comforts of home, candid shots of you just chilling can be poignant.

Time of day

A profile photo of a pregnant woman outside.
Josh Bean / Unsplash

Any photographer worth their salt will tell you that morning and evening are the best times for outdoor photos. The angle of the rising or setting sun can make for some dramatic lighting while midday and afternoon light tends to wash you out and cause unflattering shadows.

Consider your location in relation to the direction of sunrise and sunset. Go stake it out at various times during the morning and evening. Take a walk and see where the light comes from, where the shadows are, and how the light affects the mood of the location you’ve chosen.

Other people

A mother and daughter wear sunscreen at the beach.
IKO-studio / Shutterstock

Including other people in your maternity shoot is a great way to remember the importance of your tribe. Whether this is your partner, your bestie, or your older children, having a record of the people who loved and supported you through your pregnancy, and who were just as excited about the arrival of your baby as you are, can make for an impactful photo.

And remember it doesn’t have to be just people! Including your beloved pets in your maternity shoot can provide a double dose of nostalgia down the line!


Pregnant Black mother and child
Cavan Images / Adobe Stock

Your maternity shoot is the time to let your inner soul shine! Wear whatever you want, or nothing at all! Casual, comfy clothes, a boho earth mother dress, a princess gown, whatever speaks to you. However you want to remember yourself, just go for it! Remember that to really show off your bump, you’ll want to go with something a little form-fitting. You can still opt for that earth mother flowy gown, but your photographer will most likely have you gather it under your belly for several shots, just so you don’t lose the shape of your belly in the flowing beauty of your dress.

And don’t discount the power of the bare human form. Pregnancy nudes can be tasteful and elegant in the hands of the right photographer. If you want to go au natural or even just have some lovely bare bump photos done, be sure to avoid clothing that will leave marks on your skin for at least a few hours before the shoot. Those leggings might be comfy, but if that elastic waistband cuts into your belly, you might be looking at an unsightly red mark in your photos.

Consider props

A pregnant woman with flowers
Denys Poluliakh / Shutterstock

While the belly is the star of the show in maternity shoots, incorporating simple props can really elevate a photo. A letter board or chalkboard with your due date or the baby’s name is a great addition. Also, incorporating items from your location can be a great way to tie everything together. For example, if you choose to have your shoot done in a field of wildflowers, holding a few stems can be a lovely addition.

Keep in mind though, your photographer is a professional, and they want you to have the best photos possible. If they advise against a certain prop, it’s best to listen to them.

The perfect pose

Pregnant woman smiling sitting outside
Amanda Ware / Unsplash

Though your photographer will definitely advise you on the most flattering angles, it never hurts to go prepared. Pregnant bellies are best shot from the side, providing a profile of the beautiful bump. Head-on shots tend to lose the shape of the belly and you may end up looking wide.

Placing your hands on your belly is a great way to draw the eye to the star of the show. And, though it may be the last thing you want to do while you’re pregnant, often the best solo shots are captured with the subject standing. Sitting photos work well for couples or groups, but standing is probably the way to go for mom-only snaps.

Capturing the beauty of pregnancy on film is a wonderful way to remember the magic of your pregnancy once your due date has come and gone. Following these tips and listening to your photographer’s advice will ensure you end up with photos you’ll love for years to come.

Kristi Pahr
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Kristi is a professional writer and mother of two. When she's not writing or playing chauffeur to her kids, she enjoys…
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