One of the most frequently asked questions I hear when speaking with a client about planning their maternity session is ‘what do I wear for maternity photos?’ Having had the same question myself, I completely understand the want – and need – to find the perfect outfit for your photo session, especially for one as important as maternity photos! In this blog post, you will find 4 things to think about and get you started in the right direction for selecting your maternity session wardrobe. I have also included some links to my favorite places to shop online for dresses for you – the glowing and expecting mama! So let’s get started:

First things first: Color

Color is one of the most important things to take into consideration when selecting what you are going to wear. Light, neutral colors photograph beautifully and help to create a timeless and clean aesthetic. My goal as a photographer is to photograph and focus on the connection between my clients – including the connection between an expecting mother and the incredible growing life inside her. Wearing light, neutral colors helps to draw the viewer’s eye to that story of connection rather than distracting them from it. 

The other wonderful thing about selecting a light, neutral color for your outfit is that it tends to go with a variety of color schemes and locations. A cream dress with tiny light blue flowers on it will look beautiful in a field, on the beach, or in your house. If you are thinking about using your maternity photos for a gallery wall in your home, light neutral colors complement most color schemes and therefore won’t restrict where you can display your images. 

Images show a pregnant woman wearing a sage green dress for maternity photos.

Patterns – what to keep in mind.

Along the same lines as light, neutral colors, I always recommend wearing either a solid color or a very small, light-colored pattern. Again, keeping the overall aesthetic clean and simple helps to draw the attention of the viewer to the subject, and not to their outfits. This also helps to prevent your maternity photos from looking dated which can happen when wearing bold prints or big logos.

Images show a close-up of a woman's pregnant belly, she is wearing a sage green dress with light pink nail polish for her maternity photos.

Dress it up.

In general, I recommend wearing long, flowing dresses for your maternity photos. Full-length dresses create long, clean lines in your images, helping to create that clean and classic look. They also help you to look taller which is an extra bonus if you are on the petite side! Long flowing dresses also help to create movement in your images which makes them more dynamic and visually intriguing. And, let’s be really honest here – a long, flowing dress is much more comfortable to put on than trying to struggle into maternity jeans!

Speaking of comfort, a dress will be much more comfortable in the summer months when it is hot and humid here in New Jersey and can be made to look extra cozy by layering with a sweater during the colder months.

Image shows a pregnant woman wearing a long flowing dress for maternity photos in a natural light studio

Think outside the box:

One of my favorite tips when shopping for your maternity photos is to remember to look at dresses that aren’t necessarily maternity dresses. The beauty of a long flowing, non-maternity dress is that it will look timeless and classic, and you can wear it after your baby is born – bonus! A sweet idea is to wear the dress for your maternity photos, and then again at your newborn photo session to show the before and after of you holding your bump and then holding your baby. 

There is a big trend right now for specialty maternity gowns, and while they can be quite beautiful, I have a fear that they are going to look very dated in the near future. I never want my clients to look back on their maternity photos and have to think “why did I choose that? It’s so (insert year here)!”. Keeping all of the above tips in mind when shopping for your outfit will help to make your maternity photos looks beautiful and timeless, and prevent any of those potential cringy moments down the road.

Image shows a pregnant woman sitting on a decorative bench wearing a sage green dress for her maternity photos in a natural light studio in New Jersey
This dress is a non-maternity dress from Baltic Born and was perfect for this in-studio maternity session!

Where to shop:

Here are a few of my favorite places to shop for dresses for your maternity photos. I’ve listed shops that are both maternity and non-maternity shops. None of the following links are affiliate links, they are simply here to help you find the perfect outfit for your session!

Baltic Born (Non-maternity, but does have a “bump-friendly” section)

Nothing Fits But (both maternity and non-maternity options)

Show Me Your Mumu (both maternity and non-maternity options)

To wrap up, here is a quick recap of everything that we covered: 

  • look for light, neutral colors
  • aim for solid colors or small prints
  • long, flowing dresses are ideal for creating that timeless and classic look 
  • don’t feel limited to maternity dresses only!

Need more help?

After a client books a session with me, I send them my Welcome + Prep guide. This guide goes even further into detail with what to wear for maternity photos including fabrics and specific dresses that I recommend as well as how to style the entire family for the session. My goal is to make the entire experience as easy as I can for my clients and guide them through the process of selecting their perfect session wardrobe. I’m always happy to help my client with styling their sessions to make sure that they will love their images for years to come. If you’d like to learn more about booking maternity photos with me, you can click 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!), click on the button 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!

I really hope this mini-guide was helpful and that you feel more confident selecting the perfect outfit for your upcoming maternity session! Let me know in the comments if you have any other favorite stores for dresses that I should check out!

NJ maternity what to wear

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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Effortless Maternity, Newborn, & Portrait Photography