5 Tips on what to wear for a maternity session

Maternity Photography

“Nothing fits now and I can’t seem to find things that work with my ever-changing tummy!”

I remember the frustration I felt as I got further along in my pregnancy when I couldn’t find things that fit right anymore. Everything in my closet was either too tight or too short or just unflattering all together. I was so amazed that my body could pooch out that much! Who knew that a watermelon-sized shape that felt like a taught water balloon would keep me from being able to tie my shoes that I could easily access a few months before?raleigh-maternity-photography-kate-cherry-photographyImage Credit: Elizabeth Weddington

When it came time to doing maternity photos for both of my pregnancies, one of the hardest things I had to do was find something to wear. Not only did I have to make decisions for me, I also needed to figure out what the other members of my family should wear too.

Aside from being asked about the photography services I offer, the number two question I am asked is, “Kate, how do I choose what to wear?!?” I totally understand the stress of this, as you know these images will be around for a long time, and you want them to be timeless. You want everyone to look nice since your images will likely be displayed in prominent places in your home or included in beautiful memory books for your grandchildren to peer through one day.


raleigh-maternity-portraits-kate-cherry-photography-1What to wear for a maternity session

So where do you start? When talking with my clients, I always offer five tips on what to wear for a maternity session:

  • #1: Be comfortable. This is the most important thing to consider. Nothing is more awkward or frustrating than trying to be natural and real during a photo session when the shoes you have on hurt, the outfit you’re wearing doesn’t move well, or you’re in something that doesn’t feel authentic to you.One of my favorite looks for a mom is to be in a beautiful flowing dress or maternity gown that drapes gently over her tummy. I find that these types of outfits move really well, are comfortable, and offer a gorgeous look to a mom-to-be. It can also help complement images with mom and any other little ones she has.Some moms I photograph choose to go the casual route with maternity pants or jeans and then wear a nice top that shows off their belly well. This can be a fun look, especially with a significant other, as you can complement one another.
  • #2: Wear something neutral or solid that accentuates your belly. I like for the focus of my photography to be on the people who are in them, not so much the props or outfits someone has or is wearing. What you wear is definitely important, but shouldn’t distract or take away from you and your little one as the focus of the image. I always suggest wearing clothes that are relatively neutral in color/style and go well with your skin color and eyes. Solid colors or items that don’t have obtrusive patterns or writing on them are best to choose so the outfit doesn’t become the main focal point.
  • #3: Wear simple shoes or go barefoot. My maternity sessions are typically done outdoors and incorporate themes of nature. For moms, I love the little flat ballet shoes or slippers or even a nice simple flat sandal – usually something without a heal, as it can be a challenge to wear heals when pregnant due to your center of gravity changing. Walking over uneven land can also potentially be a fall hazard in shoes that put you off balance. Boots can actually be a great accessory too, so long as they don’t have a steep heel to them and are comfortable for mom to walk in. Going barefoot is another option that offers a natural and authentic feeling to your images.
  • #4: Accessories can add a lot. But let me preference that by saying that simple accessories can add a lot. Going back to what I mentioned before, I believe the accessories should help accent the photos, not take away from what is truly being captured. A beautiful necklace and set of earrings could compliment an outfit well in addition to a simple scarf. Perhaps you have a special locket you’re planning to gift to your new baby upon her arrival that you’d like to wear, or a nice loose sweater to wear over a tighter-fitting shirt. Adding a layer or two offers dimension and interest.
  • #5: For your family members, choose a color scheme that you like, but don’t match each other exactly. I love for my families to color coordinate, but have found that images come across less posed and formal if everyone doesn’t match each other exactly. A different alternative is to pick a few colors that compliment each other well and then strive to find things that fit within that color scheme for each member of the family.

The options are limitless to finding outfits that work well for a maternity session, but the main thing is to find something that you like, are comfortable in and you feel will be timeless as the years go by. I love helping my clients think through options and always encourage them to ask questions or seek my thoughts on what would work in different settings and lighting situations. That’s what I’m here for, and there’s nothing I enjoy more than helping a mom be the best she can be at a session.

wake-forest-maternity-photography-kate-cherry-photography-1Read more about booking a maternity session and why you should do it here!