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10 Gorgeous Maternity Photoshoot Dresses + Tips for Great Pictures

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Now that we are nearing the third trimester with our second baby, I wanted to schedule family/maternity photos. Not only did I want photos in a pretty dress with my bump, but I also wanted prioritize having Thomas in photos too. So instead of a full-on maternity session, we did family photos and had our photographer snap some individual shots of me + my bump throughout the session.

Since I was sort of blending maternity photos with regular fall family photos, picking out a dress was a little more difficult. I ended up deciding to wear the same dress that I wore for maternity photos with Thomas! Not only was it so special to get to wear it again for baby #2, but it was also a perfect shade to wear next to the boys (who wore blue).

Today I’m sharing what I wore this year and some of the other options I had planned in case there are any soon-to-be mamas looking for outfit ideas for their maternity photos this season. I also included some additional tips for choosing your outfit below, in case these options don’t work for you!

10 Gorgeous Maternity Photoshoot Dresses

1. Rachel Pally Isa Dress

I wore this long sleeve maxi dress for my first and second maternity photoshoots. It was a big splurge considering it’s a maternity dress that won’t be worn often, but I felt so pretty in our first photoshoot and I love that I got to wear it again for this one. That definitely helps justify the price. (And I likely wear it to a baby shower, if we have one.)

The low square neckline, the fitted sleeves and bodice, and drapey skirt make this very flattering and timeless. Both times I’ve worn it, I’ve felt so beautiful and feminine. I like that it’s a lightweight, casual fabric too since I prefer more natural looking photos of us as a family. The color of my dress is a cream/off white. I have a size XS and it fits perfectly with comfortable stretch in the sleeves.

This style also comes in a gorgeous pecan tan color that I’m absolutely in love with for fall and winter (and it has more sizes in stock). If you love the look of this dress but the price is not quite right, this maxi dress from PinkBlush is a very similar alternative.

2. Mocha Off Shoulder Maternity Sweater Dress

I discovered PinkBlush about a month ago and LOVE all of their maternity pieces. They have literally hundreds of options to choose from, and almost everything is under $100. It’s SO nice to have a brand to shop from that makes fun, trendy pieces that are designed for pregnant bellies. This Mocha Off Shoulder Maternity Sweater Dress is stunning and perfect for winter. I love the long sleeves and the thick fold-over neckline. The midi length is perfect for a fun pair of block heels or booties. Use code TERILYN25 for 25% off.

3. Beige Chiffon Printed Square Neck Empire Maternity Maxi Dress

If you like something a little more feminine and frilly, this Beige Chiffon Maxi Dress (also from PinkBlush) is perfect. The soft hues are perfect for an outdoor setting and would match well with denim or khaki pants for dad. The cinched wrists and flowy sleeves add pretty details. Use code TERILYN25 for 25% off.

4. Exclusive Isabel Classic Dress

This Pink City prints Exclusive Isabel Classic Dress is a fun option if you want to wear something girl-themed this fall! While I typically like to steer clear of a ton of pattern for maternity photos, I do think this print is gorgeous and so fun for a bright fall day. The smocked bodice works well on small-ish busts, but I find that full smocking on the entire top of a dress starts to look weird on me when my bust is larger than a C. Just something to keep in mind as you’re shopping!

5. Moon River V Neck Tiered Dress

Want to keep things extremely gender neutral? This green maxi dress would be beautiful for photos, especially outdoors. The long, tiered skirt and shirred elastic waist will work perfectly with a bump. And it has pockets!

6. Blue Chiffon Long Sleeve Pleated Maternity Maxi Dress

Wrap dresses are always a flattering option for maternity. Not only do they accentuate your bump, but the deeper neckline is also incredibly flattering. This Blue Chiffon long sleeve maxi dress comes in 8 colors. I love the thick sleeve cuffs, the drapey material, and the fact that it’s double lined. This is one of those dresses that you just wouldn’t have to fuss with. Use code TERILYN25 for 25% off.

7. Dahlia Embroidered Maxi Dress

I mentioned above that full smocking on a bodice isn’t the most flattering on large busts (I feel like it stretches out a weird amount), but this style of smocking works well on everyone because the width is a little smaller, like a bandeau! I LOVE a big, long sleeve like this. It reminds me of an old Cara Cara dress I wore for family photos two years ago. Not only does this Free People dress come in 12 colorways, but it’s under $200.

8. Long Sleeve Skater Tiered Maxi Dress

This long sleeve tiered dress is similar to the blue chiffon dress linked above, but I like that this is not a wrap dress and there are ties on the sides of the bump. The light blue color is gorgeous, and the sheer sleeves add a flirty aspect. It’s under $100 too!

9. English Factory Ruffle Detail Midi Dress

This white midi dress feels like it’d be a little more appropriate for warmer weather, so if you’re planning on snapping maternity photos in the spring or on vacation, this would be beautiful! It’s not a true maternity dress, but because of the cut, it’ll work well with a bump. You could accessorize with fun shoes and earrings too. And while I’m looking at English Factory dresses, I also wanted to mention that this dress would be a pretty option for spring too!

10. Forest Green Square Neck Maternity Maxi Dress

I love this forest green color for fall and winter photoshoots and it will work well for the holidays! If you can’t tell already, I have a thing for sleeves, especially for the fall, and this dress meets all of my requirements. The square neckline is beautiful and flattering, and the back tie adds just at touch of fun detail. Use code TERILYN25 for 25% off.

Tips for Choosing an Outfit for Maternity Photos

Not too trendy 

This is pretty good advice for any professional photos you have coming up, maternity or otherwise. 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 your style will change significantly, but you can absolutely make an outfit choice that won’t be completely out of style later. 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?

I went for a more timeless look since I wanted our smiles and joy to be the highlight of the photos – not a bold or distracting dress.

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 places that feel natural to us: outdoors, in the grass, casual, versus a studio or urban area. But again, I’d pick a place that feels like you. For our maternity session when I was pregnant with Thomas, we went up to the mountains because it felt special to be somewhere that Tommy and I love so much. If you live in a city and love it there, stay in the city. If you love a styled photoshoot or a set and backdrop, go that route. The point is to do what feels like you.

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. And don’t give into the pressure to wear a specific color based on your baby’s gender. If you like light pink but you’re having a boy, wear pink. And same with blue or navy if you’re having a little girl. If you want to wear a color that coordinates to the gender, then go for it. But don’t sweat it if you like how you look in a different color more!

Flattering Cuts 

On my frame, I find more fitted items the most flattering on a day to day basis. Plus, I like to accentuate my bump and show it off. And since I’m so petite, boxy dresses can overwhelm my frame. If I’m going for a boxy option, I make sure it’s a little shorter in length or can be adjusted to tightened. But, in contrast, I LOVE long flowy dresses for photoshoots since I feel beautiful and feminine every time I wear a well-fitted maxi dress. 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.

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 

I’m not wearing heels very often these days, but when I do, they are always block heels or something low. I don’t want to roll my ankle, and I hate how my back feels after wearing heels more than an hour or two. For this photo session, I ended up opting for a block heel so that my dress would graze the ground (I had it hemmed one inch).

I didn’t want my photos to be too glam or formal, since Tommy and I aren’t that way normally (and we all know Thomas isn’t either). Whatever shoes you wear, make sure you feel good in them and aren’t in pain – that can come through in photos!

I wore these lace-up block heels for our maternity photos this year. They’re very neutral and easy to walk in but still pretty if they do peek out from my dress.

Accessories that compliment the outfit 

Not accessories that make a huge statement! I rarely wear big earrings or bold necklaces, but I go especially simple for maternity photos. I have all my everyday jewelry in this blog post, in case it’s helpful.

Also, if you have your little one in your photos and they have a toy that they just won’t let go of, think of it as an accessory to highlight your current stage of life. In our family photos last year, a mack truck made an appearance in a few photos. This year, we’ll have a giant Nerf gun in almost all our photos. But hey, the pictures are capturing our current stage of life and that Nerf gun is a big part of Thomas’ life right now. Go for memories over perfection.

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