Trying to figure out the best time to take maternity photos can be overwhelming, especially if this is your first pregnancy. Learn more about the ideal time for a maternity photo shoot.
Getting ready for your new baby can be such an exciting time! Picking out names, decorating the nursery, setting up a registry, and packing your hospital bag are just the few essential things that are prioritized for preparing for the new baby!
As a mom who has just welcomed my second baby, I am in awe of pregnancy and creating life. I have never loved and accepted my body more than when I was pregnant. Watching my belly grow was beautiful, and I miss it! It truly was such a special time in my life.
Maternity pictures are the perfect gift for you, your family, and your baby! Documenting the journey is such an excellent way to look back on those memories. I find myself looking back at photos (even the ones I hated at the time) frequently, and I love them all! I spent both pregnancies looking for that beautiful glow, only to look back and catch glimpses of it in photos.
Planning for professional maternity photos can be overwhelming! I have consulted with my photographer, Celia Jakob (check out her instagram @celiajakob), to help provide answers to some of the most common questions, including when is the best time to take maternity photos. She took all these photos except for the ones I’m wearing floral maternity gown (those were taken during my first pregnancy with photographer Paige Kentner).
When is the best time to take a maternity photo shoot?
Finding the best ‘right time” can vary with each pregnancy!
Many photographers prefer taking maternity photos by week 36 of pregnancy. Months 7 and 8 are a good time for pregnancy photos. Celia shares that “The belly is full in size with a nice round shape, and typically the baby hasn’t dropped at this point. There is definitely a too early when the belly doesn’t show well yet.”
This is very important! This can also determine the type of maternity session you may want. You want the maternity photos to work with you. It is important to understand that your level of comfort will show through the photos. You know your body. How you are feeling should be one of the most significant indicators for the timeline of your professional photo shoot. This includes how well you are sleeping.
When to schedule maternity portraits for high-risk pregnancies
As a Nurse Practitioner, I can’t help but consider your past pregnancy history when booking your maternity photo shoot.
Here are some things to consider when booking your maternity photography sessions for a high-risk pregnancy:
- Did you go full term?
- Did you have any complications with previous prenancies that put you on bed rest or even hospitalized?
- Do you have a history of high blood pressure?
- Are you curently having any health issues with this pregnancy?
For high-risk pregnancies and a pregnancy history of early deliveries, it is recommended to schedule your photo shoot before your 8th month of pregnancy.
I encourage you to consult your physician regarding your risk level and mutually decide on a window ideal for maternity photos.
When to schedule maternity photos with multiples
Are you expecting twins or triplets? Many photographers suggest that the best window for a professional photoshoot is between weeks 20-24 of pregnancy for twins and even earlier for triplets.
When carrying multiples, the due date is often much earlier. Thankfully, your belly will show much sooner, so you can still get those beautiful photos!
When is the best time of day for a maternity photoshoot
Many photographers have personal preferences on favoring an indoor studio shoot or a maternity photo shoot outside.
Celia Jakob prefers an outdoor session during the afternoon with natural light. Striving for that “golden hour.” If you have maternity photos done in the winter, and it’s too cold outside, she suggests taking them indoors with as much natural light as possible.
I experienced my entire second pregnancy and birth while stationed in Germany. Thankfully, we could capture the beautiful maternity photographs before the cold weather arrived.
Check out my post: My experience of being pregnant while living in Germany
Things to consider when you are a military spouse
As military spouses, unpredictability is a normal part of life. This can be incredibly challenging when making plans. Sadly, the military doesn’t always take into consideration being married to a pregnant woman. Celia recommends being completely transparent with your photographer. She also suggests booking with a photographer that will allow you to select two or three dates, enabling you to have a backup plan.
If your spouse will be deploying or unable to attend the session, talk to your photographer about doing something creative where your spouse can be photoshopped.
A last-minute cancellation agreement policy may be a strong consideration when choosing your photographer
What to wear for your maternity photoshoot
Many photographers have personal preferences. My photographer for my first maternity shoot suggested a floral print dress, whereas Celia advised against it. She shares that she preferes “solid colors only; Shapes, flowers, and patterns of any kind will distract from the beautiful baby bump and distort the round shape.” Wearing a dress that flows is encouraged.
Ultimately, find the maternity dress that YOU feel beautiful in! Choose a dress that flatters you and that you’re comfortable in! Show off that beautiful belly how you want to remember it!
Booking your pregnancy photo session during the second trimester
The second trimester can be a bit early for full-belly shot maternity photos.
Booking maternity photos during the second trimester may be a good option when:
- You want to have pictures for pregnancy announcements and baby shower invitations
- You want to have more than one session to document the pregnancy journey
- Your military spouse will be deploying or away for service
- You have a high-risk pregnancy or pregnant with multples
Taking maternity photos with your toddler
Are you wanting to include your toddler with your maternity photos? This could be an excellent opportunity for some family portraits!
Here are some helpful tips for taking family photos with your toddler
- Consider your energy when booking these photos
- Understand that your toddler may or may not cooperate
- Consider an outdoor photoshoot
- Have your family members wear complimentary tones to the pregnant mom
- Make this pregnancy photoshoot a fun experience for them
- Understand that the session time may need to be shorter to accomodate your toddler
Booking your photographer
Find the professional photographer that is right for you! Even consider talking to their past clients. Looking at their photos can also give you some maternity photo ideas for your session.
Book your photographer several weeks in advance. Be sure to be utterly transparent regarding your wishes, vision, and any unpredictability you may have if you are a military spouse.
Ask if the photographer takes newborn sessions, and go ahead and book them!
Take photos at home to document the pregnancy journey
These photos are a great way to document the weekly stages of pregnancy and any latest news you may be experiencing. These photos were unprofessional, but I took them in the exact location for consistency. Even if you take them last minute, they will be fun to look back on all the changes of your pregnant body.
My final thoughts on taking your maternity photos
This is such an exciting time! If you are feeling unattractive, uncomfortable, and huge- I still encourage you to consider having a maternity photo session. This is such a beautiful time where your body is going through incredible changes! These professional photos are perfect for capturing this magical experience that is your pregnancy.
At the end of the day, the best time for maternity photos will be what works best for you!
I would love to hear about your experience with your maternity photos! Did you notice a difference from your first to your third photo session? Would you make any other recommendations. If you were a military spouse, what hoops did you have to hurdle?