You have just found out you are pregnant, congratulations!  Now comes a plethora of decisions to make: Colors for the nursery, which names do you like, where to have your baby registry.  The list goes on and on!  One of those decision is whether or not to have a maternity photoshoot.  This is one of those decisions I can help you out with!  I created this maternity photoshoot guide to help you decide if this is right for you.  And if you decide to go forward, I have provided some information that will help you along the way.

If you do decide to go forward, planning a cake smash photoshoot can be overwhelming.  There are so many factors to consider: What style do I want, when should I book my shoot, and more.  I put together this guide to help you on your maternity photoshoot quest.  I go over some of the commonly asked questions in regards to maternity photoshoots. 

The questions answered in this maternity photoshoot guide are:

  1. What is a maternity photoshoot and why is it done?
  2. What do I need for a maternity photoshoot?
  3. How do you setup a maternity photoshoot?
  4. When should you do a maternity session?
  5. What outfit should I wear?
  6. What if I am feeling tired? Can I still do a photoshoot?
  7. What should I bring to my maternity photoshoot?

Note: This maternity photoshoot guide is more geared towards hiring a photographer.  If you are looking to go the DIY route, there is still information for you!  Be sure to also read my other article here for additional tips for doing the at home route.

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What is a maternity photoshoot and why is it done?

A maternity photoshoot is where you get pictures of you while you are in your third trimester.  The idea is to document your cute belly bump and celebrate the new one that is on the way.  Usually these pictures really emphasize the belly, which is not typical of other portrait photography.

The photos can be used for a variety of things, including invites and baby books.  A lot of care goes into picking out the right location, outfit, and props for the occasion.  These are images that family members will look back on for years to come.

How do I know if I should do a maternity shoot?

Every mom to be is different.  Some will love the idea of getting in front of a camera and showing off their bump.  Others will prefer not to document the occasion.  Either feeling is totally normal!  If you are not comfortable with getting images taken, you can skip out on getting a maternity session.

If however, you love documenting every part of your pregnancy and are in love with your bump, then I would seriously consider doing a maternity photoshoot.  This will be a chance to documents your pregnancy with fun and beautiful images. 

What do I need to start planning for a maternity photoshoot?

When you plan your photoshoot, you will want to make sure you get the following items:


If you are planning on hiring a photographer, be sure to start looking for one fairly soon into your pregnancy.  It is good to see who is available and what the prices are.  Hop onto Google and see which studios in your area are offering maternity sessions. 

Sometimes moms use this as a chance to try out a photographer that offers newborn shots as well.  Check to see if the photographer has any packages that include maternity and newborn sessions rolled into one.

If you are going to take your own photos, then no need to worry!  Just make sure your phone/camera is fully charged the day of the shoot and that you have enough storage space on your device. 

Cute Outfit

There are so many options when it comes to maternity outfits!  I go into more detail about outfits later in the article.  But it is good to start planning on what you might want to wear early on.

Family Members

If you have any other family members you would like in the photoshoot, be sure to check their schedules and willingness to participate.  However, many moms prefer to fly solo.  Less people to worry about means a faster photoshoot!

How do you set up a maternity photoshoot?

You can choose to do a photoshoot at home or hire someone.  An advantage to hiring a photographer is that they usually have a space in mind to create beautiful images.  They may have also been doing this awhile, so they know all the good shots to get.

If you choose to go with a photographer, here are some questions you will want to ask:

  1. Do you provide any outfits, or should I provide my own?
  2. If the photographer provides the outfits, what styles are they?
  3. Do you have any examples so I can get a feel for your style?
  4. What different themes are available for the maternity photoshoot?
  5. Will the session take place indoors or outdoors?
  6. How much physical energy will I need?

You can also choose to do an at home maternity session.  You don’t need any fancy equipment; you can use your cell phone and get some images that will work for you. You will need to ask a friend or family member to help you out with taking images.  Or, you can get a tripod and use the self-timer on your phone.  Before your session, I would recommend browsing Pinterest for inspiration.  

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When should you do a maternity session?

Usually, maternity sessions take place when the mom is between 28-35 weeks pregnant.  Any sooner, the bump is not usually as pronounced.  It then makes it harder to get those beautiful baby bump shots.  Also, those early months can be riddled with morning sickness and other issues.  Not fun to be taking pictures when you are constantly throwing up!

Any later, you run the risk of going into early labor.  Plus, there are so many last-minute things that the new parents are going to be worrying about.  Getting the maternity shoot done sooner is one less thing on your plate.

What kind of outfit should I wear?

Fortunately, there are a bunch of different choices for what you can wear.  If you have a favorite outfit (even if it is just jeans and a shirt) you can make it work.  Or, if you have a simple dress that will work as well.  Usually you want something that will accentuate your belly, which will make it easier for the camera to pick up on your bump.

Since maternity photos have gained in popularity, you can buy special maternity gowns just for a photoshoot.  These gowns are usually very flowy and beautiful.  If you search for them on Amazon, you can see the myriad of choices there are.

Some moms like to strip down and have nude maternity pictures (with their hands strategically placed).  If you choose to go this route, check with your photographer to see if they have done these types of shots before and if they are willing to take them.

What if I am feeling tired this pregnancy?  Can I still do a photoshoot?

Absolutely!  Keep your photographer up to date with any health concerns you may have.  If you are feeling tired, you can keep the session down to a reasonable length.  You can also choose to do the session indoors or at an outdoor location that doesn’t require any walking.


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What should I bring to my maternity photoshoot?

What I would bring to the photo shoot would be:

  • Water: Be sure to stay hydrated throughout the shoot! 
  • Change of clothes: If you are wearing something really fanciful, be sure to have a comfortable change of clothes for after the shoot.  
  • Any special props: If you have any special items you would like incorporated into your shoot, be sure to bring them.  You should also let your photographer know ahead of time that you have them, so they can make plans.
  • Shoes that work for your location:  If you are having to hike a ways to get to the shooting location, be sure to wear comfortable shoes that will get you there.  If you are shooting in studio, the photographer may get some images of you barefoot.  Make sure then you have shoes that come on and off easily.
  • Accessories:  If you are using any accessories for your shoot, make sure to have them all in one place and ready to go.
  • Hairbrush and makeup: Just in case there is wind on the day of your shoot, be sure to bring with a brush and makeup to do any touch ups. 

Thank you for reading my maternity photoshoot guide today!  Are there any questions that you didn’t get answered?  Leave a comment below for future articles.

If you enjoyed this article, please check out some of my other posts:

Maternity Phrases for a Letterboard (81 Sweet Sayings)

How to take weekly pregnancy photos (5 simple steps)