My Tips on How To Dress For Your Maternity Photo Session

There are lots of options for what to wear for your maternity photos, but what I want is for you to look amazing. What you would wear in normal day-to-day life may not necessarily look the best for photos so keep reading for my recommendations. At the end I include links to my favorite dresses and stores to shop at.

What to wear for maternity photos - Beautiful pregnant mom in a white lace dress smiling

Some of the links in this post may contain affiliate links only for products I use and love. If you make a purchase after clicking one of these links, I’ll earn some coffee or tea money which I promise to enjoy while thinking up more useful content for ya!

maternity photo of mama wearing a lace pink dress

Choose a Flattering Silhouette for Your Maternity Photos

I’m adding this first because it’s the most important. If you stop reading after this tip, at least you will see this one! You want to wear a dress that will give you the most flattering silhouette for your maternity photos. So here is what to look for:

  • A dress/top that is tight up top, meaning that it is tight to just above the belly.
  • A dress or skirt that flares out starting just above the belly. You don’t want it to be tight underneath the belly. I know there are a lot of dresses like that, and maybe this is a personal preference, but I love a flowy skirt that allows lots of movement. I think it looks more flattering and it also gives you something to play with/swish around.
  • Length should be to the floor. Not too much longer than that because you don’t want to trip on it. And it’s okay if it’s slightly shorter if you want to show off your shoes. But typically a floor length dress is most flattering.

And when I say these recommendations, I’m taking about your main dress. You can definitely bring another outfit that is completely different, but for the main part of the session, this is what I love best. 🙂

couple standing and looking at each other, holding hands - what to wear for maternity photos

What Color Should You Wear?

The reason you’re booking this maternity photo session is to show off that beautiful bump, so make sure to wear colors that will show it off. Meaning do NOT wear black or navy or any other super dark color. It hides the bump and makes it hard to see, and that’s not what you’re going for. But at the same time, you don’t want to wear bright neon colors, either. Light to medium colors look best.

family cuddling and looking happy - maternity photographer

Be Careful With Patterns

You can’t go wrong with solid colors, and dresses with some texture (like maybe some lace or crepe fabrics). That would be my top choice. But patterns can be great, too! You just want to select the right one. If you select a pattern that is too tiny, it can be too busy and really distract. But you can also select patterns that are too big, which isn’t all that flattering. Medium sized patterns are what you’re going to shoot for here. 

maternity photography in lace dress

Dress for the Season

Make sure to think about the weather when deciding what to wear for your maternity photos. If it’s going to be hot out, pick a more breathable fabric. If it’s going to be cold, look for a long sleeved dress, or bring a chunky knit cardigan to go over top.

Maternity photo of mom in a pink dress with chunky knit cardigan over it

Chunky knits are great because you can wear it off your shoulders and it looks amazing, and then between shots you can cuddle up and get warm.

Dad holding son upside down while mom holds his hand. Everyone laughing. Maternity photos session

Avoid Matching Your Partner/Family

When deciding what your partner will wear, you want to coordinate but not match. If your colors are the same, you will blend into each other and it will be hard to see the separation. Same goes for anyone in your family, we don’t want anyone blending into each other. You can search Pinterest for complimentary colors or to get ideas. I also have a what to wear guide on my website or just message me for help! 🙂

Beautiful pregnant mom wearing an orange fringe top - Portland Maternity Photographers

Bring an Extra Maternity Outfit

Bringing another outfit to your maternity session is a great idea and give you some variety. I can bring my changing tent so changing on location is quick and easy. Sometimes the extra outfit is just a lacy cardigan over underwear so we can really emphasize your beautiful belly. Or maybe you want some casual photos in your overalls. Possibly you just want two different dresses. Whatever your style is, just let me know ahead of time so we can decide when the best time to wear it is, in the beginning or at the end of the session. I can help you brainstorm and I might have something in my client closet that you would love to use!

closeup of pregnant mom sitting on bed holding her belly - what to wear for maternity pictures
pregnant mom holding son with both eyes closed - maternity photos in portland oregon

Hopefully you have a better idea now of what to wear for your maternity photo session, but remember that I am always here to help! When you book a session with me, you gain access to my client closet, as well as my styling advice, so please ask me any and all your questions!

Beautiful maternity session, mom in yellow dress with flowers, wind blowing her hair. what to wear

Where to Shop for Maternity Dresses

Although I do have a client closet with dresses you can borrow, you may want to get your own dress.

I want to make your search for what to wear for maternity photos as easy as possible! So here are my favorite amazon dresses for maternity sessions (I own these so I know they’re good). They come in more colors than just what is shown below, as well. Tip: read the reviews on what sizes to get. When buying non-maternity dresses typically you need to order one size larger than you would wear normally.


Another great place to get maternity dresses is at small boutique online shops. Sometimes a dress that isn’t meant for maternity can be amazing, and bonus: you can probably wear it again after you have the baby! You want to look for stretchy fabric, dresses with elastic at the waist, and a higher waist line. You also want to pay attention to if it is lined or not, because some dresses are lined, but only partway down, and it’s too short to fit a bump.

In particular, I love Joyfolie dresses. Here’s a session I did where mom was in the Kimani Dress:

Pregnant woman in orange joyfolie dress

Other Joyfolie dresses I think would be amazing for a maternity photoshoot is the Gia Dress, Aniya Dress, and the Dawn Dress. I own all of these so I know that they work for maternity.

Other places I love to shop at:

Baltic Born

Free People

Jen’s Pirate Booty

Wren & Ivory

Piper and Scoot

Pink Blush

little girl hugging her pregnant mom - what to wear for maternity photosThis dress is from Pink Blush

three photos of pregnant women wearing dresses from Baltic Born
These dresses above are all from Baltic Born

More What to Wear for Family Photos Posts

If you’re interested in learning more about what to wear for family photos, I wrote more on the subject:

Patterns: What to Wear for Family Photos

What Colors to Wear for Family Photos

What NOT to Wear for Photo Sessions

What to Wear to Your In-Home Lifestyle Session

How to Prepare for Your Overcast Photo Session

I also have a What to Wear page on my website, and you can get inspiration from my Pinterest Board where I pin outfits I think would look great in photos.

More Helpful Maternity Posts

When to Take Maternity Photos

Beautiful pregnant woman in a white dress with wildflowers all around in the Columbia River Gorge

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  1. I never had a maternity photo session and i regret it. If you decide to have one you would want to make sure EVERYTHING is perfect too, so these tips are perfect!


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