Maternity session tips || Northern Virginia maternity photographer

This post originally appeared on Dear Photographer in August before I had my little one. I thought I would share it again here since the information could be helpful to my mom to be's out there!

This weekend, I’ll be having my own maternity session done by a fellow photographer/friend! While I’m used to being behind the camera, like most people, I get a little nervous when it comes to being in front of it. As I’m preparing to be on the other side of the camera, and figuring out what to wear, I thought it would be helpful to share some of my tips for those of you that might be in the same situation as me!

Indoor maternity session by Rachel K Photo

The first question people always ask, is when should I have my maternity photos done. It’s a hard question to answer, because really that all depends on you, and how big you want your belly to be! I generally suggest between 28-34 weeks though. You want to find that sweet spot where you’re showing really well, but also not so big that you’re miserable. I’m personally doing my maternity photos at 31 weeks, but I’ve photographed moms to be from 24 weeks, all the the way to a last minute session at 39 weeks! Second time moms, and those carrying twins also tend to show quicker, so keep that in mind too. 

Rachel K Photo maternity

General session tips:

Bring whatever you need to be comfortable! If you plan on wearing heels or wedges, that might include some comfortable walking shoes for in-between locations. I also suggest water, and for longer shoots, or ones that require a longer drive time to get to, even a snack! And if you’re anything like me, requesting a location with restrooms isn’t a bad idea either!

Maternity by Rachel K Photo

I’m not a big prop photographer, so if you show up to one of my sessions with baby shoes and signs, I might cringe a little on the inside.. however, I have had clients bring props that were meaningful to the family that I loved! The one that always stands out to me the most, is a quilt that the father’s grandmother had made. They took engagement photos with it, maternity, and once the baby was here, newborn, 3 mo, 6 mo, 9 mo, and one year. So if you’re thinking about bringing a prop to your session, I suggest that you choose something that is meaningful, rather than trendy.

Maternity Rachel K Photo Arlington Virginia

What to wear:

I always suggest at least one of your outfits for maternity photos be a dress. To me there is just something so elegant, romantic and feminine about showing off the bump in a pretty dress. Maxi dresses tend to work best, but shorter dresses also look great. Just keep the length in mind, if you plan on doing any poses that involve sitting down.

Maternity photography by Rachel K Photo
Arlington Virginia maternity photographer

I also suggest that you wear something form fitting to really show off the bump, that’s the whole point of the photos right?

And last but not least, I think everyone should bare the bump for at least a couple of photos. You may have stretch marks, a dark line down your belly, or just feel “huge”, but someday you will miss all of it. They may not be the photos you share with all your friends and family, or post all over social media, but I truly believe, that someday when that little baby growing in your belly isn’t so little any more, you love being able to look back and see what amazing things your body was capable.

Belly maternity photo by Rachel K Photo

Even though I love dresses, and bare bellies, you should ultimately wear what you feel good in! If you aren’t comfortable in what you’ve chosen for pictures, it will show. If you can’t find a dress you feel good in, but you rock a good pair of skinny jeans do that. If you can barely walk in heels, then wear some cute and comfy flat boots or pretty sandals.

More style tips:

Steer clear of fluorescents. They tend to color cast on faces, necks and hair and can be harsh sometimes. I recommend versions of primary colors. Yellow (mustard), red (maroon, brick), and blue (navy, royal).

Stay away from wearing a lot of green when having photos taken in grassy or wooded areas. You want to stand out amongst all the greenery you’re surrounded by, not blend in!

Layers add dimension and depth. So in the summer consider layering your outfit with a cute belt or statement necklace. In the fall and winter,  think cardigans, scarves, and hats.

Arlington Virginia rose garden maternity session

And for your significant other, and other little ones, don’t be matchy-matchy, but coordinate. Wearing the same colored shirt and pants can look a bit awkward. Coordinating color is what really brings a wardrobe together. I suggest choosing two or three main colors of wardrobe, and maybe one accent pop of color. Pinterest is a great resource for finding wardrobe inspiration!

Couple maternity photo by Rachel K Photo

And because I wrote this post originally last year, I can share a couple of my own maternity photos taken by Whitney Jade Photography. If you're in my hometown of Knoxville, TN you should definitely check her out!