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What to Wear for Maternity Photos

“What should I wear?” This is a question that I get asked often. Usually it’s pretty easy to find something that compliments both you and your baby bump, but if you’re like me and need more guidance, then this is the post for you.

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Type of Maternity Session

Having a good grasp on the genre of photography that your hired photographer does is an important part to choosing what to wear. Studio portrait photographers are going to recommend something different than lifestyle photographers. For the purposes of this guide, I am focusing on lifestyle photography. (Note: most studio photographers will have some sort of client closet or guide that they will have you look through. A good place to start though would be browsing through Chicaboo.) With that in mind, let’s dive in to what I would recommend to wear for maternity photos!

Lifestyle Portrait Sessions

I love my outdoor maternity sessions, but there is something bespoke about lifestyle portrait sessions. Some of my favorite outfits for mom to wear are bodysuits, jeans, and fitted gowns. Pro tip: button fly jeans make it 10x easier.

Outdoor Maternity Sessions

Outdoor maternity sessions are when I love to bust out the flowy gowns. I am a sucker for a good breeze and flowy fabric. While you can absolutely wear something fitted, or jeans, or whatever you’d like, I love using flowy gowns outside because it feels more in tune with the organic feel that is nature.

Another favorite is utilizing big, fluffy robes. They can add contrast to the environment and help your photos feel elevated.

At the end of the day, you can never go wrong with something simple that eventuates your baby bump (see image 3).

outdoor maternity session
(my image)
gown from my client closet
(my image)
fluffy robe
(my image)
similar dress

Indoor Maternity Sessions

There is something so cozy and intimate about indoor maternity sessions. When you choose to have an indoor session, I encourage my clients to really lean into the simplicity of it. That can be hanging out in a bra, wearing a button up and jeans, or a simple dress.

What Not to Wear to Your Maternity Session

While you can wear whatever you want to your maternity session, here are some things I advise my clients to avoid so that they look their best:

  • Loud patterns. There are some beautiful dresses with beautiful patterns on them, but be mindful of the location you are taking your pictures in. For example, if you’re having pictures done in a flower field, by all means throw on a dress that has flowers all over it! If you’re wearing that same dress in the dead of winter, however, it is going to look a little out of place.
  • Fluorescent/neon anything. Unless you are having an 80s themed maternity session, I advise staying away from highlighter colors.
  • Clothing that most definitely doesn’t fit. I say this with love, dear mama. Your body is doing something amazing, growing a human being. I am a mom of three, BOY is my body different than what it was before I had children. Give yourself grace, don’t look at sizes, just wear what is comfortable to you.


The usually forgotten part of your attire: what should you wear underneath? The answer to this will rely heavily on what you are wearing. Is what you’re wearing sheer? Make sure to grab skin toned underwear! If you’re wearing a gown that is tight on your butt, make sure to wear some sort of shorts or shape wear (or go commando if your photographer is good with that!). At the end of the day, skin tone undergarments are the safest best, but always ask your photographer!


With some thoughtful preparation and a flattering outfit, you’re sure to get stunning images from your maternity photoshoot that you’ll cherish forever. Pregnancy is such a fleeting and amazing chapter, so take the time to thoughtfully prepare your outfit and accessories for photos you’ll proudly display for years to come.

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