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What To Wear On A Maternity Photoshoot

A maternity photoshoot can provide a perfect snapshot of a precious time in your life. You are soon to meet your child and are excitedly cradling that bump with unconditional life. The right photoshoot can tell this story. But, there is an important decision to make on what to wear.

When to set up your maternity photoshoot

Before we consider what to wear, it is vital that you book your maternity shoot for the best possible time. Ideally, you want to be taking your photos around the 30-week point. This means that you are far enough into your pregnancy for the bump to be big and proud, but not so close to the due date that you are dealing with too much swelling or other ill-effects. You want to look at your best. You could run the risk of taking it too early and then wishing you had something better when your bump was more full. Mothers of twins may want to bring this date forward as they will show much sooner.

Try and stay timeless where possible with your look

One of the most important pieces of advice for any expectant mother is to try and keep things as classic and timeless as possible. You could go for something now that is really nice and trendy and then regret that decision when looking back on photos in 5 years’ time. This means being careful with the following:

  • the style of the dress
  • alternative outfit choices
  • the colors that you use
  • your choice of accessories
  • your hair and make-up.

The first thing to consider is your dress. What style do you want to go for in order to show off your baby bump and your personality? There are lots of beautiful photos out there of women in flowing maxi dresses with a soft bohemian vibe. But, this might not work well in your photos if this is out of character. You need a dress that says something about you, not just your unborn child.

Do you want:

a) a flowing maxi dress

b) a more fitted bodycon dress

c) a more glamorous party dress

While the maxi dress is one of the most common, there is no point in compromising if you feel better in a bodycon dress. These tighter dresses are perfect for showing off a figure and accentuating the bump. Find a dress that says the most about you and how you are feeling in the moment. Don’t pretend to be something you are not. So, if that means a more glam shoot in a maternity evening dress then go for it. But, you still need to be careful with the colors, accessories, and your hair and make-up.

It doesn’t have to be a dress at all

It is commonplace for pregnant women to wear a dress on maternity shoots because of stereotypes and expectations about femininity and womanhood. But, what if you have never worn a dress and have no desire to? You can wear anything that is comfortable and suitable. Women continuing to work and run successful businesses can pose in their maternity suit and make a powerful statement about where they are in their lives.

Women that are comfortable showing off more skin or their sexuality can pose in something a little more revealing. Maternity lingerie shoots aren’t going to be for everyone, but could offer a different vibe if the bohemian or glam look isn’t for you. Swimwear shots on the beach are another idea. But, you have to be careful here that you are still focusing on the bump and not trying to show off how great your figure is.

Choosing the right color for your maternity photoshoot

It is a good idea to go for a single color with your dress or any other outfit.

Block colors mean that the eye isn’t distracted by patterns when it should be focused on the bump instead.

Some mothers choose to wear white as a softer color and a symbol of purity. You can also get some nice accessories to go with the white background. Pastels and earthy tones work too. You don’t want something too vibrant or any shiny materials that catch the light. Also, if you want to go for a black and white shoot, you can pick a color of swimwear, lingerie, or another outfit that contrasts with your skin tone.

Less is more with the accessories

Accessorizing can work in small doses. A couple of statement pieces are fine as long as they aren’t a big talking point.

Some mothers like to use a belt between their bust and the bump.

This helps to frame the bump and create a better shape.

You could also go for a piece of jewelry with a family connection or some flowers to enhance a natural theme. Floral crowns are very popular.

This also means your shoes.

Shoes can be a bit of an afterthought when it comes to creating the perfect outfit for a photoshoot.

Above anything, your shoes need to be comfortable to wear. You don’t know how long you will be on location and posing for these photos.

But, they have to work with the outfit. So, a simple pair of sandals in a neutral tone will be fine as they won’t distract from your bump. If you want, you could even go barefoot. This might work well if you are going for a more earthy shot and trying to get back to nature.

Don’t worry too much about your hair and make-up

Again, you don’t want to do anything here that will detract from your bump.

That is where the eye should be drawn. You deserve the opportunity to look your best on this occasion and to take advantage of some professional styling.

But, you have to think about the end results. What do you want people to say when they see the photos?

“Wow! You look so radiant and happy in this stage of motherhood”


“Wow! That hairstyle really suits you and you look amazing in these shots”

A more natural approach with hair and make-up will help you achieve the former and accentuate your joy about soon getting to meet the little one behind that bump.

Otherwise, it will look like a glamor shot where you just happen to be pregnant. Neutral lip gloss, soft eyes, and natural curls do a lot more than thick winged eyeliner and red lips.

Posing with your bump during a maternity photoshoot

Finding the right pose can be difficult. First of all, you need to consider where you place your hands. The most common approach is to cradle the bump, with one hand on the top and the other underneath. This draws the eye to the bump and the natural shape created. It also portrays a feeling of love and protection.

You also need to consider whether you are going to stand, sit down, or lie down. Lying down is great for those swimwear beach shots and you can create a brilliant silhouette. Or, you can lie against your supportive partner for greater symbolism. Sitting down in a chair may make the bump less prominent. Play with different angles and ideas and see which is best. There is no harm in doing some fun, jokey poses too to lighten the mood.

Are other family members involved in the photoshoot?

So far, these tips all focus on you as the mother and capturing this beautiful stage in your journey.

But, it is understandable that many mothers will want to include other people in the shots.

This could mean shots of you and your partner or bigger family shots if this isn’t your first child.

This can be a brilliant way to add my interest and memories to a photoshoot. You can start with the classic poses on your own and then bring in your loved ones. But, these extra people mean so additional challenges for what to wear.

Dressing partners and children in these family photos

This isn’t an easy task. You still need to be the center of attention in these shots – or more specifically your bump does.

This can mean putting young children to the side and getting them to wear more understated outfits. It helps if the whole family matches to create a better idea of togetherness.

Perhaps they can wear black and white dress outfits with small touches of the color of your dress. Or, they could use pastel versions of the color so you continue to draw the eye.

Use your maternity photoshoot to capture this unique time in your life in style

In short, it is important to wear whatever makes you feel comfortable, confident, and happy at that moment.

But, try not to go overboard with an idea and make your baby bump an afterthought. Frame that bump and show it off while wearing the right colors, materials, accessories, and make-up to enhance the experience.

Maternity - Updated: February 22, 2021