I’m pretty sure there’s some sort of baby boom going on right now. No clue if it’s something in the water, or if maybe people are trying to save money in this economy by not going out as much, or what, but regardless it seems like there are babies EVERYWHERE at the moment! And of course, it’s no different at my own house, since we just had baby Bea last September The boom is continuing this spring and I am SO excited for the maternity shoots I have scheduled in the next few weeks! To make the most of those sessions, I thought I’d do a quick blog post to share some ideas on what to wear to a maternity photo session.
First off, you need to decide when to take your photos. Anywhere from about 32-35 weeks is ideal because your belly will definitely be prominent at that point, but you won’t be so huge that you’re just over it and uncomfortable. I’d aim for the earlier side of that range if it is not your first baby and/or if you are crazy short and start looking ginormous very quickly like myself. I would show you a photo of me at 40 weeks, but I don’t want to scare anyone away.
In general, I really think comfort is key. If you aren’t comfortable, your photos will show it. Wear something that makes you feel pretty, but that you can still move around in. I like to try lots of different places during shoots and sometimes that can even mean doing crazy things like climbing on the back of a train or dancing on a porch. I also like to keep props light because I really want your happiness and excitement to be spotlighted in your photos and an overdose of props can detract from that. That does NOT mean that you shouldn’t bring a tiny pair of Converse, a onesie you bought when you first started trying to get pregnant, your ultrasound photo, or anything else that is significant to you – just choose props that DO mean something to you and it’ll make a wonderful image!
Now, on to the most important things to consider when choosing your clothes for a maternity session:
Number 1 – Define the belly.
This one pretty much goes without saying, but you really want the focus to be on the belly at a maternity session. Think tight-fitting tops, empire waists, side ruching, and light, solid colors. Some prints are fine, just make sure they aren’t overwhelming. I’m also a huge cardigan fan (I’m pretty sure I buy one at least every other trip to Target), they look great over a cami either totally open or with one button done.
Number 2 – The perfect jeans.
Jeans are sooooo tough. Find the right pair and suddenly you are confident, comfortable, and your butt looks amazing. Wear the wrong pair and it’s a disaster. Honestly, if you can still pull it off, non-maternity jeans often yield the best “look”, especially if you want bare belly photos (please don’t do bare belly photos in maternity jeans unless you are trying to sell the jeans, they just look weird). However, I know this is just a non-starter for probably 90% of the population (I know I can’t get my jeans over my thighs after about 12 weeks, haha), so the next best thing are generally the low-rise waistband kind. They create a very clear definition between legs and belly and don’t create that line up on top of the belly like full-panel pants will. Light wash jeans will make a more casual portrait and darker washes will look more “dressy”; boot cut styles are universally flattering. Stick to jeans or khakis – brightly colored pants are super cute, but will draw the eye away from your beautiful bump!
Number 3 – Dress it up.
The rules for picking an appropriate top are the same when choosing a dress, with a couple caveats. I don’t recommend going with a dress that is tight all over – sure it shows off the bump well, but sometimes these dresses make the thighs look bigger, too. I really love the maxi dress styles that are popular right now (so long as it isn’t so full your belly is swimming in fabric), a maxi dress in golden sunlight in the fields at Manassas Battlefields would be stunning! If you are going for a shorter dress, I wouldn’t go too short because you’re probably going to be moving around a bit and you’ll want to be comfortable. You can also consider adding a belt to a dress to create some additional definition.
Number 4 – Less is more.
When it comes to jewelry for a maternity session, less is definitely more. Keep things simple and streamlined so your growing belly can be the focus. This goes double for your hands, since they will be in nearly every shot, helping to frame your bump, so make sure you splurge on a manicure (and anyway, who doesn’t love an excuse for a mani/pedi??)!