What to Wear for a Maternity Photo Session

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While we all love having professional pictures to remember significant moments and milestones in our lives, the planning can be a little stressful! The hardest part for me has been choosing an outfit. It may sound silly, but when you’re planning to have these photos forever and likely display them prominently in your home, you should put some thought into what you’re going to wear and where you want to take the photos.

I have a maternity photo session coming up this August that I’m really excited about. Tommy and I wanted to document this season of life before it changes forever later this fall, so we booked our favorite photographer (he did our engagement photos and wedding photos!) and are working to narrow down the details.

What to Wear for a Maternity Photo Session

While we sort through the details, I thought it would be helpful to share what we’re evaluating for for any readers who are also planning a photo session in the future! While this post and the outfit examples are specific for maternity, I think this would be helpful for all occasions like family photos or engagement photos!

What to Wear for a Maternity Photo Session

All outfits linked below!

Tips for Choosing an Outfit for Maternity Photos

Not too trendy 

This is pretty good advice for any professional photos you have coming up. Since you’re paying a photographer to capture these moments, you want to make sure you’ll love these pictures forever. Granted, in the next 50 years you will change significantly, but you can absolutely make an outfit choice that you know isn’t completely going to go out of style. Think –– “Will I like cheetah print with cold shoulder cutouts when I’m 65?” Maybe not… but hey, if you want to capture what you love now, DO IT. The key is to think about what you what to capture and if your style is part of it, then play that up!

One thing that often helps is to look at photos from a while back. If you love a specific one, why is that? Does your outfit play into it? Or, do you love it because your outfit isn’t the main feature?

My plan is to go for a more timeless outfit since I want mine and Tommy’s relationship and my sweet baby bump to be the highlight of these photos — not a bold outfit.

Let the location and setting add to the photos

I mentioned this above, but since these photos are an investment, make sure everything about them reflects this time of your life, including location. For me, this means sticking to a more rural or mountainous location since I’m drawn to those types of locations right now more than urban areas. I’m craving peace, quiet and the outdoors in this stage of life. You may prefer an urban setting or the beach.

For our engagement photos, we specifically shot photos in downtown Winston-Salem since Tommy and I both lived downtown when we were dating. We wanted to capture and remember that phase of our life. Think about the phase of life you are trying to capture and remember and align your maternity shoot location accordingly.

Consider colors and patterns 

When it comes to something like maternity photos, pick colors that speak to you, not what you think you “should” wear.  I’m drawn towards calming colors right now and am looking at more solid colored dresses than prints. I do have a couple prints in my wishlist but they’re floral and not too busy, loud or distracting.

On the other hand, you may be drawn to bright bold colors and patterns to capture your excitement. When trying to figure out what speaks to you, create a style board (Pinterest is great for that) and just pin things that you like. Then, try to identify a theme.

When it comes to maternity photos, you might also want to pick something related to the baby’s gender. Maybe a pale pink or blue, or even white with pink or blue accents.

Flattering Cuts 

On my frame, I find more fitted items the most flattering. Plus, I like to accentuate my bump and show it off. And since I’m so petite, loose dresses can overwhelm my frame. If I’m going for a looser option, I make sure it’s a little shorter in length or can be adjusted to tightened around the bump just a bit (similar to the dress pictured below).

What to Wear for a Maternity Photo Session

Dress | Heels | Earrings | Bracelets

But, in contrast, long flowy dresses may look GREAT on your frame. So, similar to colors, figure out what you feel BEST in and try a few options in that category. Try on a few things outside your comfort zone just to see if you end up loving it, but again, go with what makes you feel beautiful and confident.

I recently got this dress in my Trunk Club shipment that I love too! It’s hard to see in this photo, but it has really pretty ruffle detailing on the neckline. Sort of like a mock-neck.

What to Wear for a Maternity Photo Session

Dress | Shoes

No Zippers

This is just a suggestion to help you narrow down dresses when you’re shopping! If you look on true maternity websites, you’re going to be more in the clear, but I’ve still been able to wear some of my non-maternity dresses as long as they don’t have a zipper. And for the dresses I bought to try on, I chose ones without zippers!

Comfortable Shoes 

While for any other occasion I’d wear heels, I haven’t been wearing heels often during pregnancy (also because I’m not going out much, thanks COVID).  If I do wear heels, they are low and/or chunky. I will probably bring a pair of chunky-heeled sandals and flat sandals for these photos. I don’t want my photos to be too glam or formal, since Tommy and I aren’t that way normally. Whatever shoes you wear, make sure you feel good in them and aren’t in pain – that can come through in photos!

Even early on in pregnancy before my back ached and my feet were swelling, I wore low chunky heels for our baby announcement photos. A little sparkle made them a little more fun! (Tip if you order the shoes pictured below: they run small, so size up. I usually wear a size 6 and got a 6.5 and they’re perfect.)

What to Wear for a Maternity Photo Session

Jumpsuit (sold out) Similar | Heels | Bracelets and Bracelets

              What to Wear for a Maternity Photo Session

Teri: Jumpsuit (sold out) Similar | Heels | Bracelets and Bracelets

Tommy: Top | Belt | Jeans | Loafers (similar)

Accessories that compliment the outfit 

Not accessories that make a huge statement! I’m looking at dainty gold necklaces and bracelets. I’m also not looking at big statement earrings. I have a few gorgeous pairs of studs saved in my wishlist.

Here are a few outfits I’m currently eyeing! 


Dress | Earrings | Shoes | Necklace

Dress | Earrings | Necklace | Shoes

Dress | Necklace | Shoes

Dress | Necklace | Shoes | Earrings

Dress | Necklace | Earrings | Shoes

Dress | Earrings | Necklace | Pink shoes | Blue shoes

Dress | Earrings | Shoes | Cuff

Dress | Earrings | Shoes

Dress | Earrings | Shoes

Dress | Earrings | Shoes (pink) | Shoes (blue) | Cuff

Dress | Earrings | Necklace | Shoes

Dress | Earrings | Shoes


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