How to Prepare for your Maternity Photo Shoot

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I'm Alexa, NJ wedding photographer, and I'm so happy you're here! View photo shoots and discover resources on my blog.

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Congratulations on expecting! Whether this is baby number one or five for you, pregnancy is a beautiful time. Your to-do list before baby comes is long and overwhelming, but taking the time to embrace your body and preserve the memory of this season of your life with professional photography is so worth it.

I remember my pregnancy fondly. Somedays, I just felt LARGE and uncomfortable. But whenever I had a good reason to get dressed up, I always felt so beautiful emphasizing my budding bump. There is something so inexplicably empowering about boasting a baby in your belly in a tight dress! I know my other mamas can concur.

So, put on your makeup and get your hair did. Slip into that tight dress and let’s take some photos! Here is how you can best prepare for your maternity portrait session…

Click HERE for location ideas for your session!

Schedule Your Session When Baby is the Size of a Lemon

That means around week 13. Right around the time you find out the baby’s gender (if you plan to) with the blood-based gender test. Why? Just because it’s easy to remember! And enough time to get on my schedule and buy a cute outfit!

Some websites will tell you to do your shoot at 20 weeks. Others might say at week 35. The exact week doesn’t matter to me because every body is different. Typically though, you should be showing for sure by week 25. The sweet spot time to book your session anywhere between weeks 28-32. Some women go into labor earlier than 40 weeks. Remember it will take me roughly 2 weeks to get your photos to you and you want time to share your photos before baby arrives. The biggest thing is making sure you definitely have a decent sized bump for us to “play with” in the photographs!

Choose an Outfit that Emphasizes Your Bump

All of my maternity session clients are offered the option for one outfit change. I always recommend doing a fancy look and a casual look (come in your fancy one first). Doing a tight dress? Perfect! Make sure your dress has some ruching around your belly and you are wearing seamless undergarments so we don’t see a line! Flowy dresses are perfect too. I will have you holding your bump a lot in images so we really see it through all the layers of fabric. Cardigan and a bare belly? I am here for it!

Some affordable, bump-friendly dress sites I recommend are:

Color Coordinate with Your Partner

If you’ve been following my work for a while, you know I love the color NEUTRAL! That is because it 1) looks good on everyone, 2) is timeless and 3) blends in with almost any location we go to.

Here are some color combos I recommend:

Make sure you and your partner have outfits that complement each other. For example: you’re wearing a beige tight dress, he/she is wearing a white top, khaki pants and tan belt. You’re wearing a light pink flowy dress, he’s wearing a light blue top with navy slacks. You’re wearing a patterned blue outfit, he/she is wearing a solid blue outfit.

Bring Sentimental Items to Use as Props

I love documenting the little details. Incorporating props, whether it’s photos of your baby or decor from the nursery, make for fun photos in your gallery. Some of my favorite props I’ve seen:

  • Ultrasound (just one or a strip. The standard, not 3D ones, look best)
  • Baby Shoes
  • Onesie
  • Custom Sign
  • Jewelry
  • Pets!

Expect a 90 Minute Session

Portrait sessions with me can be scheduled on weekday evenings. I always plan 60 minutes for a portrait session, but between the walking around locations, outfit change, and giddiness of talking about your bebe, budget 90 minutes for your session if you’re planning to make a dinner reservation afterward!

Pack Flats & Water

Oftentimes during portrait sessions we are moving around a lot. For example, if we go to a park, we might use an area with trees, an area with flowers and a scenic bridge – which could all be 500 feet away from each other. Pack flats, flip flops or sneakers if you’re planning to wear heels in your photos. Your pregnant feet will thank you!

Hydration is key when you’re pregnant and I know you don’t need me telling you that! But if we’ll be taking photos for almost 2 hours, it’s likely you’ll get mighty thirsty (I do, too). No fainting mamas-to-be allowed. We will also try to find a location with a bathroom on-site (bathroom breaks are major when you’re pregnant – I know you don’t need me telling you that part either!).

You’ve Got This, Mama!

I get it. Some days being pregnant SUCKS. Things hurt. It’s hard to breathe. Foods you love make you gag. I promise by the time you get in front of the camera for your maternity photos you will be feeling like the beautiful lady you are! In fact, it’s my mission to make sure you do. Once you see your images, you will be thankful you memorialized this precious moment in your life 🙂

P.S. Another last idea on thing to bring is hand lotion! Dry hands, elbows and knees look better on camera when they’re moisturized.


The Parenthood Package

Includes a Maternity Session, Newborn Lifestyle Session & First Birthday Session. Ask me about how we can memorialize every milestone of your parenthood journey!

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