One of the most common questions I get asked as a maternity photographer is “What should I wear for my maternity photos?”
I am always trying to keep an eye out for outfit ideas and dresses for my clients. Something I always strive to create in each of my portrait sessions is a timeless and classic look. This will make the professional pictures of your pregnancy something you still cherish decades from now!
I always want to photograph an expecting mother with a timeless style and elegant grace. It is my hope to always create photographs that become iconic heirlooms in her family. When you’re expecting a baby, you know that your body feels almost foreign to you. The last thing anyone wants to feel during a photoshoot is worried if their outfit is unflattering. I also know that there is so much on your todo list when you’re expecting a baby. You are busy getting everything ready for their arrival. It’s my hope that this article will be a great help to you as you search for the perfect maternity session outfit!
One of the most important tips I have for you in finding the perfect maternity session outfit is don’t be afraid of looking outside of the “maternity” brands and lines.
Thankfully the maxi dress style has really become popular and more easily found in stores over the last couple of years. I also really love the loose-fitting, but still flattering, more “flowy” dresses, over the skin-tight options out there currently.
When good posing is used during a session, the kind of dress with a more draping fabric can bring such a romantic feel to the images- which I am a huge fan of!
There are many maternity dress styles out there with big floral patterns, but I personally recommend doing with a minimal pattern or texture and sticking to a solid color when at all possible. I recommend this for a couple of different reasons.
First, maternity pictures are taken from a variety of angles. Often a loud pattern can be distracting when viewing the final photograph. Second, I work with black and white film as a signature of my work, and colors translate differently in black and white. You may not love how the pattern looked when it’s shown in black and white.
Because I photograph a lot of my maternity sessions in black and white, there are certain colors that translate much better than others. I recommend color palettes that include cream, blush, grey, navy, burgundy, emerald, and so on. Solid white or solid black are not off-limits, but I would strongly suggest choosing a fabric that has texture to it if you choose those.
The type of layering depends on the location. I am currently local to Coral Springs, Florida- so when I recommend layering here, I would recommend thinner and breathable fabrics. Perhaps this is a silk scarf that you can drape over your arms in a sleeveless dress.
I travel often for my clients, so if your maternity session will be in Boston or NYC, I may recommend a cozy sweater option to layer.
Layers can be a creative way to make your outfit feel more flattering. They can also provide a variety to the look of your images without changing outfits completely, as well as provide additional posing options. (aka something natural to do with your hands!)
Do I love to photograph an expecting mother in a beautifully detailed dress with all the extras? Of course! But I love photographing expecting mothers in a simple outfit just as much and having a simple and minimal outfit is not only ok, sometimes it’s perfect! Your style may not be a long flowy dress that you would never wear at any other time. Maybe you’re more of a light slouchy sweater and comfortable leggings or shorts curled up on your bed. Wear something that makes you feel beautiful and is also your own personal style. Feeling comfortable and yourself will show in the images in the best way!
If you are looking for the perfect dress for your maternity portrait session, here are a few favorite options representing some different styles that I have recently come across:
I like the Fete Gown (in all three of the currently available colors!)
The Camilla Dress is so perfect for a classic, elegant maternity session. Both colors would work well, but the ivory is my favorite!
The Anaelle Dress has the most beautiful ruffle details on the shoulders. The floral pattern is soft and romantic, but not too loud and distracting. I also love that it’s shorter in the front, which is perfect for here in South Florida in the really warm weather!
The Margarette Dress is perfect if you want something feminine, but also light and flowy. They have a blue and pink tone for color options and both would look beautiful for maternity pictures.
Anthro is a great example of a brand that often offers great maxi dress styles that aren’t necessarily a “maternity brand” like Hatch Collection, but you can still find great outfits! Definitely keep in mind my tip about loud patterns- a style that Anthro is known for. But clients of mine in the past have had great success in finding a dress for their maternity pictures there!
This white maxi dress called the Rochelle Eyelet Maxi Dress is a gorgeous option. If you are looking for a simple white maternity dress that you will love to wear even after you’re pregnant, this is a great option! You can see how fashion blogger Loverly Grey wore it while she was expecting on her Instagram account HERE.
ASOS has great options (and a great return policy if something doesn’t fit right) for maternity outfits. It’s also an often much more affordable site if you’re looking to keep the cost lower.
While I am linking to mostly maternity dresses in this article, you may be looking for an outfit that would work well for a casual, intimate maternity session at home. In that case, look for something simple like this ASOS Design Maternity Mix and Match lounge outfit. This would be ideal for a maternity session in the quiet and meaningful spaces of your home, with just you or including your husband as well.
If your style is a bit more glam and you’re looking for a fancier maternity dress for your session, you may like this Maya Maternity Bridemaid Dress Available by ASOS as well.
I also love this dark green maternity dress that ASOS currently has available. The cape style on the top can be really flattering for upper arms that you may wish to conceal a bit.
The Long Caftan Dress by Rachel Pally is a popular maternity dress for pictures. It’s simple, offers flattering pleats, and is available is a handful of neutral color tones that suit well for maternity pictures.
She also offers additional maxi dress styles like this Gauze Adelaide Dress that while may not be maternity specific, may still be a great possibility with the maxi style.
Seraphine Maternity was really made popular when Kate Middleton was seen wearing some of their styles.
I love this cream lace maternity dress for a more formal maternity session. Even though the dress is listed as a maternity wedding dress, I think this is a perfect dress for a downtown session. Think suit and tie for him, and dress and heels for you. It has a classic, estate feel to it that I love!
Their Emerald Knot Tie Maternity Dress is such a pretty color. I like the way it gives detail in the knotting, while still giving you a simple solid color.
I am local to Coral Springs, Florida, and travel often for the clients I work with. While based in South Florida I travel often to Boston, NYC, Connecticut, and Coastal Maine for maternity and newborn sessions.