Are you planning on booking a maternity photo shoot?  Looking for some guidance on great location and outfits?  You’re in the right place!  I created this location and outfit guide for maternity photo shoots to help expectant mothers with this important moment.

Pregnancy can be such an exciting time, expecting your new little one.  It is natural to want to document this moment with a photo shoot.  You want to make sure you get the outfit that will make you feel beautiful, and a location that is special/beautiful to you.

To help ease some of the burden, I have created this Location and Outfit Guide for Maternity Photo Shoots to help you when choosing your outfit and location for your maternity photo session.  If you would like more general information on maternity sessions, please see my other article

Originally, I was going to make two separate guides.  However, these two seem to lend themselves to each other.  Plus, there wasn’t enough material to make two separate guides.  Thus, the one and only Location and Outfit Guide for Maternity Photo Shoots was born.


First off, location. When choosing a location for your maternity shoot, there are some things you want to avoid:

  • Extreme temperatures.  You will want to avoid going anywhere that is too hot or too cold.  You want to make sure you stay safe during the shoot.  Regardless of the temperature, be sure to bring with water so you don’t get dehydrated.
  • Unsafe locations.  You want to make sure the area you are going doesn’t have any dangers: Natural or otherwise. 
  • Private property you don’t have permission to be on.  If you have permission to do a photoshoot there, go for it!  Otherwise, be sure to respect property boundaries. 

For locations you do want to consider, I have four on the short list: 

  • Studio
  • Beach
  • Park
  • Forest

These are popular choices among expectant mothers for their shoots.  Let’s take a look at each one.

Pin 01 - Location and Outfit Guide for Maternity Shoots - Expectant Mom in Pink Maternity Shirt

In Studio

There are many benefits to have your maternity session in-studio: Temperature controlled, safe environment, easy area to access.  A huge bonus is you don’t have to worry about weather conditions.  Raining outside?  Won’t get wet in the studio.  Windy?  Your hair will stay in place!

You can also usually have a variety of backdrops to choose from.  Ask your photographer if you can see the selection they have.

A downside to using a studio is that if you have a long billowy dress, there may not be enough room in studio for the dress to stretch out.  You can ask your photographer the size of their studio to see if this is an option.


A beach can make for some amazing photos.  The ocean in the background, your feet in the sand.  If you have a dress with a long billowy train, this location works really well.  Depending on the beach, there may be rocks that make for a great place to stand.    

A downside can be that there will be a breeze, which can cause issues with hair.  Also, depending on the time of day, the sun may reflect off the water, causing a glare. 

Another downside can be the crowds.  If there are a lot of people in the background, it can ruin the effect.  Depending on the photographer they may know a location that isn’t as busy.  Or, if there are not too many people in the background, sometimes the photographer can edit them out. 


A park is usually a convenient place to get to, and has a variety of backdrop options.  If the park has open spaces and groves of trees, then you can get a two-fer.  Downsides of the park include: Inclement weather, crowds, choosing a park without the best scenery.


A forest with beautiful trees can make a spectacular backdrop for maternity photos.  The light shining down through the trees, or a wall of trunks in the background can make for some amazing images.  The downsides can be the same as a park or the beach: Inclement weather, crowds, etc.

Another aspect to consider is accessibility.  How easy is it to access the forest?  You will want to make sure you are not doing a huge, possibly dangerous trek, to a remote location.  Try and find one that is close and has a good trail   

Pin 02 - Location and Outfit Guide for Maternity Shoots - Expectant Mom in Black Maternity Shirt


For the outfits, I did something a little different.  Each one has my thoughts on the outfit, and some also a link to another photographer that discusses the option.  It can be helpful to have another photographer’s option on the situation.

When it comes to outfits for cake smash sessions, there are many different options.  I have listed the most popular choices below:

  • Flowy dress
  • Maternity gown/dress (specially for photoshoots)
  • Jeans and a top
  • Regular maternity clothes
  • Lingerie  
  • Maternity Robe

Let’s dive into the pros and cons of each outfit choice:

Maternity dress

This outfit choice is a very popular one.  A flowy dress can accentuate the bump and make it stand out in photos.  It is also a choice that leaves a lot of expectant mothers feeling confident and beautiful. 

For some great insights on wearing a maternity dress (and other considerations) check out Nestled In Time Photography’s blog article What to Wear for a Maternity Photography Session.

Maternity gown/dress (specially for photoshoots)

As maternity photoshoots have taken off, so has the market for specialty maternity gowns.  Generally, a maternity gown is very flowy and has a lot of material on it.  Or, it is very form fitting with a very long train.  If you go to Amazon and search “maternity gown” you will see a plethora of ideas. 

Jeans and a top

For this option, women stick with their pre-maternity jeans.  They leave the button and zipper undone and pair it with a crop top (or in some cases a bra and cardigan).  This can really accentuate the bump.

Pin 03 - Location and Outfit Guide for Maternity Shoots - Expectant Mom in Black Maternity Shirt

Regular maternity clothes

Some like to keep it casual, and that is ok!  A regular maternity dress, or maternity pants and a top are always a great option.  Plus, since the expectant mom has already invested in a maternity wardrobe, no need to invest in something that will be worn only once.

If you are including family members in your shoot, this is also a popular option.  Your family is more apt to have casual cloths, so you can match them a little bit better.


When a mom goes with this option, it is called maternity boudoir.  With this choice, you can find a photographer that specializes in boudoir.  These photographers are more used to posing and lighting that works well with lingerie.  They will also have tips on how to find the right outfit for your special shoot.

Maternity Robe

A maternity robe is another choice that has become popular in recent times.  Unlike a traditional robe, a maternity robe is very full and frilly.  It is very similar to a maternity gown, except it usually leaves the bump exposed.  This option leaves more of the skin exposed as well, and the mom to be is usually wearing coordinated panties with it. 

If you choose to go this route, be sure to wear loose fitting clothing to the shoot so that you don’t have line marks on you. 


Overall, choose an outfit you feel beautiful in.  This is a chance to document the bond you and your baby have before they entered the world.  If you would like more guidance on which outfit to select, check out Morning Light’s article.  In the beginning they go over some great questions to aske when selecting an outfit for your maternity shoot.

Other articles

Are there any other locations you would recommend for a maternity shoot?  Leave them in the comments below!

Thank you for checking out my article on location and outfit guides for maternity shoots!  Want to find out more about maternity sessions?  Please check out my other articles!

Maternity Photoshoot Guide (7 FAQ’s)

Maternity Photo Prop Ideas (15 Cute Ideas)