What To Wear for A Maternity Photoshoot

I get this question asked a lot from my clients, and although I had written a previous article that briefly touches on his topic, I’ve decided a whole new blog post was necessary just for this! 

I will cover some wardrobe choices for indoor + outdoor shoots. As well as solo and couple maternity shoots. 

Indoor Sessions

Maternity Mini

Let’s start with the most basic session you can book for maternity. A maternity mini solo session. This one is usually indoors, and you get about 2 outfit changes. Because it’s a mini session I always encourage my clients to come with the first outfit on to avoid waisting time on changing. The first look eighty percent of the time is a tight black or dark color dress. This accentuates the belly. It also looks great against a white backdrop and produce photos that are timeless and simple.

The second outfit should be bare belly. You would wear the bra and panties underneath your dress, so it would only take a second to change into your second look, saving you time again! I usually provide robes, and kimonos to throw on top. Or you can bring your own. The bare belly shots are a must, these also include close up shots of your belly with the mammogram photos of the baby or some booties. 


I’ve also had clients book indoor maternity couples session, usually in their home and sometimes in my home. Usually these will also be a little more casual than the outdoor couples sessions. But similar rules apply. (I touch more on couples outfits a little later so keep reading). This also applies if you already have little ones and it becomes a family session!


Vogue Maternity

If you booked a fancy maternity session, your outfits (or lack of) would be slightly different. Usually my vip vogue sessions are a little more on the boudoir side. They are in a professional studio using mostly backdrops, with some props/scenes. For the backdrop, you choose few fabrics and only wear panties (some clients will wear a bra) and hold the fabric and let the fan do most of the magic! 

You can also wear gowns or flowy dresses, I work with a rental maternity dress company. You can choose from thousands of beautiful gowns to rent for 5 days! Perfect if you plan to have your baby shower and shoot during that time. They make it super easy for you to return them as well! 

And at last you can also do a few shots with more sexy slips, and lingerie. Think Kardashians maternity photoshoots. Since the editorial vogue is about 3 hours long, you get unlimited outfit changes but on average clients tend to choose between 3-5. Then at the end, you would do some in your birthday suit! An important thing to note is don’t wear any tight clothing before the shoot, these leave indents and marks on your skin so when you do your birthday suit shots, you can really see them. And although yes they can be photoshopped, a photographer will charge you extra for that work. 


Outdoor Sessions

Now to touch on outdoor sessions. Mostly my outdoor sessions are with couples. I think I have only shot a solo maternity session once. But when you book a couple session, you always get some solo shots. The outdoor sessions are also short (about 33 minutes) and since we are outdoors, you only get one outfit. However I always encourage my clients to wear a giant sweater, a throw, or kimono, so that you could switch it up slightly. You always want to go for warm fall colors or white for summer. For example, burgundy, pumpkin orange, or brown and beige. You can choose to wear a white dress for the summer, but make sure it is not too loose or you won’t be able to tell that you have a baby bump! And remember no patterns, logos, words, this especially goes for the boys! You want to be in sync with your partner. And your outfits should compliment each other. You want your photos to be timeless no matter how fashion changes, so don’t wear loud, obnoxious patters or colors. And please don’t wear sweatpants or tank tops (yes this has happened before). And I can’t believe I have to say these, make sure your clothes is wrinkle free!

You don’t want to be too casual either. Think, what would you wear to a wedding if you were guest (unless it’s a home maternity session). And then wear that! Some clients choose to be a little more fancy with their maternity shoots. Fancier is definitely better than under dressed. But also keep in mind that the location and mood for your photoshoot will determine what you should wear. If you chose a beach location, you will most likely wear a white flowy dress (like you would if you were on a vacation in the Bahamas). If you chose a field & farm vibe, you would want to wear something Pacific Northwest. Warm colors, think lodging in a tree forest. If you booked the professional studio shoot and opted in to have your partner in some, then you would probably wear something that is a bit more elegant and fancy. 

I always encourage my clients to use Pinterest as a tool for ideas and to also show me what they have decided to wear the night before. It is so important to choose the right outfit, because as great of a photographer as someone might be, the wrong styling can ruin a shoot and nothing can be done to fix it. If you don’t know where to shop for clothing, ask your photographer, and if you don’t have the budget, you can always wear something and return in afterwards. So you really have no excuse to look your best for photos that you may potentionally be hanging on your living room wall!