What to Wear for Maternity Photos

Deciding what to wear for maternity photos can be daunting, but I wrote this with you + your growing belly in mind to help make it easy.

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I am so happy you are reading this, because that means you are at least considering having photos of that baby bump taken – YAY!! Pregnancy is such a unique experience. Not only is it slightly different for each woman, but in the grand scheme of things it’s such a short and beautiful period of time. Hiring a Tacoma maternity photographer to document this stage of your life something you will never regret doing.

Deciding on what to wear for pregnancy photos can be a daunting task, but I wrote this with you in mind to help make it a little less stressful. You won’t find links to specific outfits here, but I’ve made an outline to guide you through the process. I hope this will encourage you to choose things that you will not only be comfortable in, but will photograph well with your partner and family.

The first thing to decide on is a color or pattern when choosing what to wear for maternity photos.


You’ll definitely want to pick something that’s going to show off your bump, not camouflage it! Colors that are on the lighter end of the spectrum do this well – but don’t go neon on me! 🙂

I would suggest avoiding colors that are really dark (like blacks and dark blues) as the main color of your outfit. They can easily be incorporated as an accent, though! For example, you could choose a lighter color dress and have a black cardigan over to to add depth and layers.


Patterns can be really fun and add dimension to your photos. Choosing patterns that have contrasting colors (ex, light background with a dark color on the print or vice versa) will stand out in a good way.

Opt for patterns/prints that are small to medium size. If they are too small or too big, they can be distracting or cause any optical illusions if you stare at them too long 😉

There is no wrong choice between solid colors or patterns. If you pick something you love and feel comfortable in, it will show in your body language. That translates into gorgeous photos that are full of your beautiful personality.

Think about the the season it will be when deciding on the type of maternity outfit to wear

Spring and summer welcome light and airy dresses, and long sleeve dresses or sweaters are perfect for those colder seasons.

A dress is often the go-to for maternity photos. They can be flowy with lots of movement and give off a fun and even romantic feel, or they can be form-fitting and show off that perfect baby silhouette with ease. Dresses work for really any time of year, but you may just need to add a sweater or choose one with long sleeves when it’s cold.

Features to look for in a dress:

  • Fitted at the top/above your belly, then flowing after -or- fitted throughout. Another option is to make it look fitted from the top of your belly is to add a belt!
  • Floor length is best for the flowy dresses, a bit shorter if your shoes help pull together the look.

**Don’t forget – your body changes in more ways than just your belly, so try on those outfits at least a week ahead of time to make sure it fits well in all the right places!**

Outfits that include pants/leggings/jeans and your top of choice are just as lovely as dresses, especially if “girly” is just not your thing! (I say this a lot – comfort is key!). I myself am partial to a good fitting pair of jeans and a comfy basic shirt. Outfits with layers add depth and personality. These types of outfits work really well if you choose a more urban setting for your photos.

Can’t decide between pants or a dress? Do both! Changing outfits is totally an option for your session, just one we will need to plan ahead for to make sure you have a comfortable space to do so. Though not impossible, baby makes it a little harder to change in the car!

Pay attention to the material the pieces you select are made from

There are some materials that don’t end up being very flattering when it comes to maternity photos. There aren’t too many in-person options for maternity clothes shopping anymore, so it’s going to be pretty important to order things with enough time to try them on AND pick out something else if they don’t work out. Some really stretchy fabrics sound like they’d be a great idea, but they end up showing every little bump and groove (happened to me!), while others are fitting in a falttering way.

Fabric types:

  • Polyester and Rayon photograph well and usually fit in a flattering way
  • Crepe, chiffon, or gauze fabrics (even as an overlay on top of another fabric) give great texture
  • Avoid fabrics that wrinkle easily and don’t flow well (some cottons will do this) – another reason to try on and even wear around your outfit before your session!

Coordinate your family’s outfits around what YOU as the momma to be are going to wear for maternity photos

We want the outfits that your partner and other children are wearing to compliment your outfits. I have a whole other post about how to pick out outfits for the whole family, which is also a great resource to use for maternity photos as well if you have a whole crew that’s going to be included.

My goal here is not to ask you to spend a ton of money on outfits. I want you to feel and look amazing in your maternity photos, whether that means treating yourself or pulling from what you already have in your closet! We as women can be so hard on ourselves and how we look in pictures. On top of that, not all of us feel fabulous at the 7-8 months pregnant point. But I’m here to tell you that you do and will look amazing in whatever you choose because your body is doing something incredible – creating a human!

Lean in to what’s going to make you feel great – colors you love, prints you love, and most of all having photos taken with the ones you love before you meet your newest love. (that’s a lot of love! 🙂 )

Thinking ahead to photos of your baby? Check out these posts about newborn sessions!

How far in advance should you book a newborn photographer?

How old should baby be for newborn photos?

What to expect with a lifestyle newborn session

Preparing your home for newborn photos

What to wear for newborn photos

Ready to book your maternity photos? Let’s do it!

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Ashley Morrisey

Tacoma-based lifestyle newborn and family photographer serving South Puget Sound + greater PNW


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