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What to Wear for Maternity Photos

"What should I wear for my maternity photos?" Whenever you invest your time and money into something like professional photography, you want to make sure to get the most out of your session. One of the best ways to do this is to be intentional about your outfit selection.

There are many choices that go into planning a photography session. Each decision affects the result of your photos. This isn't meant to stress you out - but it is important to be intentional when making decisions on details. I'm dedicating this blog post to answering the timeless question of what to wear for maternity photos.

I always recommend dresses for my maternity clients. Dresses are such a flattering and feminine option for pregnant mamas. They are perfect for accentuating your growing baby bump while hiding any insecurities associated with your changing body. I recognize that long dresses are a little outside of most of our day to day wardrobe. For this reason, I decided to create a client closet of dresses available to all of my clients - maternity or otherwise! This way you don't have to worry about what you're going to wear, how much you're going to spend, or whether it'll arrive in time if you choose to order it online! When you book a session with me, you have the option to schedule a dress appointment to come peruse my collection and try things on to be sure you will love your outfits. Even within the realm of dresses, there are a few things to keep in mind when making your selections. I'll discuss some common questions below!

What color should you choose?

There are a few things to think about when choosing a color. What season are your photos scheduled for and where will they be taken? For spring, I love pastels like the soft pink below. White is usually an excellent option regardless of the season. I think it particularly pops in summer when everything has turned to a lush green. If we're moving into fall when the colors turn to oranges and yellows, a green dress can be a beautiful choice. Brighter colors like blue, green, and maroon look great in winter.

Are you having a girl or a boy? Some mamas want to wear pink for girls or blue for boys. This can be a fun extra way to celebrate your new little one! These mamas chose shades of blue for their little boys.

What colors look good on you? Most jewel tones like the ones below tend to be universally flattering. If you always get compliments when you wear a certain color, that is probably a good option for your session!

Should I wear a pattern?

On the whole, I recommend textures rather than patterns. Patterns can sometimes steal the show when overdone. If you're going to go with a pattern, I'd keep it the size of the pattern below or smaller so it doesn't distract from you!

This session is about you and accentuating your growing baby bump, I think textures are a great way to enhance rather than distract! I love lace and have several lacy maternity gowns in my client closet including the one below!

What length should the dress be?

I love the look of full length gowns. They're elegant and lovely. The only caveat is to make sure you're picking up the hem when you walk if it's a little long for you. Some mamas are feeling a little swollen in the legs, ankles, and even feet by the time of their maternity session. If you are experiencing any insecurities in this area, a full length dress is a great option for you! Ankle length dresses can be very fun and cute for spring and summer. I do have a few dresses in this length in my client closet as well!

What sort of silhouette or fit do you want?

There's a lot of variety within full length dresses. Some are fitted through the torso (like the green and red ones below), these show off your baby bump and the shape of your body really nicely. Some dresses are fitted in the bust and then flowy and loose below the bust. These photograph beautifully and we can always accentuate the baby bump with posing and hand placement. Full length dresses cover a lot of your body. I love using the top of the dress to expose a little bit of your skin to balance the rest of the dress. While I love V-neck tops, they don't work for every woman. If you're a little smaller chested like myself, I love the off the shoulder option that goes straight across the chest. These tops look beautiful and elegant while not requiring anything to fill them out. Slits are really fun to incorporate as well if you aren't feeling insecure about swollen ankles or feet. Dresses with slits photograph beautifully for walking photos and offer a nice balance of coverage to visible skin.

What if you don't want to wear a dress?

There are other options! I love the idea of wearing some oversized overalls and sitting in the grass with some flowers nearby. I also love the idea of denim that won't quite zip with a full coverage sports bra on top. Maybe we could incorporate some finger painting with your partner over your beautiful baby bump! These can be a really fun way to change things up and get creative. All of my maternity sessions include an outfit change so this could be a really fun second outfit! If it's winter time, a cozy long sweater and leggings could be perfect for an intimate in home maternity session with your partner.

If you do choose a gown, how should you style it?

What accessories should you wear? I recommend keeping jewelry minimal so it's timeless and not distracting from you. If it's Fall or Winter at the time of your session, you could bring a shawl or put a sweater over your gown. Adding a hat is a great way to give some personality to your look.

What shoes should you wear?

The beauty of a full length gown with no slit is that it doesn't matter what shoes you wear. If the gown is long enough, nothing will show! You can wear your most comfortable pair of shoes whether they're tennis shoes or hiking boots! If you expect your shoes to show, I recommend a simple sandal or ballet flat style shoe. In the summer, I've had mamas choose to go barefoot. I love this look as well because it feels so organic and natural.

What undergarments should you choose?

The biggest thing is to be sure your bra fits nicely and doesn't show with your dress. If you can't wear a regular bra with your dress or don't have a good strapless bra, I recommend getting some nippies from These are a great way to be sure nothing shows through the dress. If your dress is form fitting, make sure all underwear is seamless so you don't have bra or panty lines in your photos. If your dress is white or lightly colored, be sure to wear skin-tone underwear so it doesn't show through!

That was a lot of information! Don't worry, I'm always available to answer questions at your dress appointment and leading up to your session!

Keep reading for some bonus content about how to style the rest of your family! I'll also link some favorite places to shop below!

So what about the guys?

The most important thing is for him to match your level of formal. Within the realm of full length dresses, there's still some variety in the level of formality based on the fabric and style. Anything from a suit to business casual to jeans and a top (sweater, henley, or button down) can look great. If your dress is more casual (for example a ankle length sundress) you could even do jeans, a t-shirt, and nice shoes. If your dress is formal (for example a velvet fabric), a suit or an all black look (black button down, black pants, black boots) could look really classic and elegant. When in doubt, go for nice pants or jeans and a button down or henley shirt!

The dad below was styled great for their fall session with his jeans and long sleeved henley shirt! His outfit matches the level of formality of her dress once the hat was added for a more casual look. A button down and jeans would have also looked right with this dress.

In the summer, I generally don't recommend shorts unless the dress you've chosen is more akin to a sundress than a gown. If he does opt for shorts, I would make certain his shirt is a step up from a t-shirt. I love the look of button down rolled up to the elbows with nice chino shorts and a classic white tennis shoe or boat shoe. The dad below really aced his summertime look!

spring maternity family session group photo

What about the kids?

If this isn't your first baby, you're probably bringing the rest of the family as well! For little boys, I'd follow the guidelines for the guys above. I wouldn't make him match dad, but rather follow the same rules of matching formality and avoid plain or graphic t-shirts and athletic tennis shoes. For girls, I love the idea of getting a little dress that is similar in formality level to yours! I'll link a few websites below with some favorite places to shop for the rest of the family!

A lot of the dresses in my client closet came from Baltic Born! I love their bump friendly section. If you don't find something in my client closet that you love, this is a great place to look! If I love it, too, I'll buy it for my client closet and bring it for you to wear at no additional cost to you!

This is a great place for bohemian style options. If you're looking to dress your young daughter, they have an excellent dress selection here!

Morning Lavender:

This is a great online shop for soft and feminine dresses in pastel colors. They also have a nice children's section for the younger girls. Several dresses in my client closet came from here. I'm always open to getting a few more!

This company has a whole maternity section. I have several of their dresses in my client closet, and I love their variety.

This can be a great place to look for the rest of the family. They have plenty of good options to compliment your dress!

Ready to book? Contact me below!


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