Getting ready for your maternity session should be really exciting, but it can also come with some questions about what to expect and what you need to bring with you. Today, I’m giving you my best tips for how to plan and have a successful, comfortable, and stress-free maternity session. We’ll cover everything from when to book your session, making sure you select the right outfit, narrowing in on the perfect location, and what little extras you can bring to make sure you’re as comfortable as possible. So without further ado, let’s dive in!

Image shows a pregnant woman at her maternity session in a field wearing a long pink dress.

When should you book your maternity session for?

One of the easiest ways to have a successful maternity session experience is to make sure you are booking your session for the right time. While there is no one “perfect time”, I recommend booking your session when you are around 28-34 weeks pregnant. There are a few reasons for this – first, your baby bump will be more obvious and adorable which is kind of the point of this entire session! Second, you will still be comfortable enough to move around during your session.

I’m not going to ask you to do anything crazy, but we will most likely need to walk a bit to get to where we will be photographing, and sometimes I like to get images of the beautiful expecting mama both sitting and standing. Making sure you are comfortable enough to move around will make your experience much better.

This time frame isn’t a hard and fast rule, however! If this isn’t your first pregnancy, or, you are having multiples and anticipate that you will start showing sooner, feel free to book your session for earlier than my recommended time frame. If you decided at the last minute that you want a maternity session – no worries! Get in touch and we can discuss how to safely and comfortably photograph you! 

If you have any questions about when to book your session, please reach out and ask – I’m more than happy to discuss your individual situation and help you decide on the best time to photograph your maternity session.

Image shows a pregnant woman at her maternity session at the beach wearing a white top with a gray sweater.

What should you wear for your maternity session?

Next up, selecting the right outfit for your maternity session. You’re going to notice a theme to this blog post – making sure you’re comfortable during your session! I have an entire blog post on how to select the perfect outfit – which you can find here – but in general long, flowy dresses are my number one recommendation. They photograph beautifully, are the least restrictive (I do not miss trying to be comfortable in maternity jeans!), and can be worn in just about any weather.

Speaking of weather, time of year will play a large role in what you select for an outfit. In the winter, I still recommend selecting a dress, but you can select a heavier fabric and add a chunky knit sweater over it to keep you warm and add some cozy texture to your images. 

In the summer, think more along the lines of a light cotton dress with an off-the-shoulder short sleeve, or straps that tie at the top of your shoulder for a romantic summer evening feel. This will ensure you stay cool and comfortable during your session.

Image shows a pregnant woman at her maternity session wearing a long sage green dress.

Location, Location, Location 

When it comes to selecting a location there are a few things you need to keep in mind to make sure your maternity session goes smoothly. First things first, how far will you have to walk to get to the actual location where we will be photographing? While some women feel comfortable walking for a bit of a distance, others are not. Keep in mind how far you’ll need to walk from your car – an epic location can turn into a nightmare if you are miserable, sweaty, and short of breath by the time we start photographing. 

This ties into selecting the right time for your session. The longer you wait, the less comfortable you’re going to be walking to and from a location. 

If you have any medical conditions that might require you to limit your activity during your pregnancy, it is extremely important to communicate this to your photographer. Your health and safety and the health and safety of your baby are the absolute most important thing. Knowing this information will help me to suggest when and where to have your session and will help me to select poses that will keep you safe. Home maternity sessions can be incredibly beautiful and will ensure that you do not have to over-exert yourself to get to a location. 

Another thing to keep in mind is how the walking surface is on the way to a location – is it paved and even or is it uneven or slippery? When you are pregnant, your center of gravity changes. This can cause you to be a bit more off-balance than you are used to. I personally ended up in a boot while pregnant because I misstepped and wasn’t able to catch myself correctly. While a beautiful trail or field will absolutely make for a gorgeous location – it’s not worth it if you fall or twist your ankle. You need to know your own comfort level and limitations – and stick to them. 

And finally – is there a restroom near the location? We all know how much more you need to visit the bathroom when pregnant, so selecting a location that has a restroom close by will ensure that you are comfortable and less stressed throughout your session. 

Image shows a pregnant woman at her maternity session in a field wearing a long lavender dress.

A few extras to make sure you pack: 

I have a few extras that I always like to tell my expecting mamas to bring to their maternity session to make sure they are as comfortable as possible. First up – a change of shoes! If you are planning to wear heels for your photos (which look great on camera – go for it!), bring sneakers or sandals to walk to the location in, and then change into your heels when we are about to get started. This will keep you and your feet feeling your best for the duration of your session. Bonus – you get to change out of your heels and back into your comfy shoes at the end of your maternity session. 

Next up – snacks and water. I never want you to feel lightheaded or dizzy during your session. I am more than happy to take a break from photographing for you to get some water and a snack if you need to. Sessions last about an hour, and even if you don’t feel like you’ll need a snack during your session, it’s nice to have it for when you get in the car afterward. 

Finally, I recommend a sweater if it’s windy or might get chilly. I like to photograph maternity sessions during golden hour (the hour or so before sunset) and frequently we finish when the sun has dipped behind the horizon. The temperature also tends to drop with the sunset so having a sweater will ensure that you are warm and cozy between photos and at the end of your session.

Image shows a couple at their maternity session on the beach walking together while holding hands and smiling at eachother.

Looking for more information?

After my clients book a maternity session with me, I send them my Welcome + Prep Guide. This goes over what to wear as well as provides a checklist of a few other essential items that I recommend my clients bring for maximum comfort during their sessions. If you’d like to learn more about the maternity session experience with Kate Voda Photography, you can click here. If you’d like some general Maternity session inspiration, check out my pinterest board here!

If you’d like to receive a monthly style board for inspiration on what to wear for your photo sessions (or just lovely outfits for you and your family in general!), fill out the form below to sign up for my email list. You will receive a welcome email with one of my favorite style boards (with links to each item of clothing) and then start receiving a monthly newsletter which includes the style board and all the appropriate links, as well as updates and information about Kate Voda Photography. I hate spam as much as the next person, so you’ll only find me in your inbox once a month unless there’s something really exciting going on at KVP!

Hopefully, these tips will help you to feel more prepared for your maternity session! If you’ve had a maternity session already and can think of anything I should add to this list, let me know in the comments!

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Kate Voda Photography is a New Jersey Newborn Photographer, New Jersey Maternity Photographer, and New Jersey Portrait photographer based in Princeton, NJ, and surrounding areas including West Windsor, NJ, Colts Neck, NJ, Chatham, NJ, as well as NY and PA.  My goal is to help you slow down and create intentional moments of connection with those you love the most. To learn more about working with me, click here. To book a session, please fill out the contact form located here.

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