This might be a controversial opinion but choosing what to wear for your maternity photos might be just as important as choosing the right maternity photographer. Hiring a professional photographer is an investment and these photos will be passed down over generations. Make the most of your investment by following some of these guidelines to get gorgeous maternity photos that capture the natural beauty of your birthing body, without distractions.

what to wear for your maternity photos

Wear Colors That Photograph Well

First up, COLOR. The colors that you choose to wear for maternity photos can truly make the difference between mediocre and stunning images.

My biggest piece of advice is to color coordinate with your background using basic principles of color theory. The predominant color of the season or location should be the starting place for choosing outfit colors that will complement the overall scene. For example, for outdoor maternity photos during Summer in Rochester NY, the predominant colors of the scene will be green (lots and lots of green). So, you’ll want to choose lighter colors that will contrast the sea of green, like pinks, purples, orange, etc. This will help you stand out from the background in your photos rather than blend in. This is especially important for maternity photos because we are trying to accentuate your bump. The more contrast the better!

Here are some seasonal color palettes to give you some inspiration

Colors to Avoid in Maternity Photos

Avoid bright primary colors or very dark colors. Opt for light / pastel / neutral / muted colors, especially as your main outfit color.

One exception is Winter in places where the trees drop their leaves and there’s snow on the ground. In this case, richer tones (i.e. jewel tones) look great against a wintry scene.

I would avoid dressing in all black or any very dark colors but there are exceptions to this rule! When you’re in a studio environment and it’s part of an intentional style & concept, black can work really well.

When in doubt, consult your photographer about wearing black and other dark colors (navy, gray, etc) and always feel free to ask for color recommendations, as well!

Choose Fabrics That Photograph Well

The fabrics you wear are an important consideration for both comfort and your look. You’ll want to avoid stiff or very constricting fabrics that will make it difficult for you to pose and move around.

Avoid ‘tough’ fabric if you can, like thick linen or stiff cotton. The exception to this is jeans, see below!

Add Movement with long flowy dresses or floor length maxi skirts — anything that moves and catches light will result in photo magic! This also gives you something to hold on to and something to do with your hands — a double plus.

Don’t forget texture! Think lace, tulle, satin, layers of fabric or accessories. The texture adds interest to the photos and helps you stand out from the background.

Styles that Look Great for Maternity Photos

Empire Waist Dress

maternity photo with empire waist gown

Unbuttoned Jeans and a Crop Top

maternity photo wearing jeans and a crop top


black and white maternity photo wearing lingerie

Simple Fabric Wraps

fabric wrap for maternity photo

Don’t be afraid to think outside the box!

This is simply a beach cover up that is worn with simple bra and underwear. I love the texture, the tassles, and the flattering fit that shows off this Mama’s beautiful bump.

beach cover up outfit in maternity photo

What kind of underwear should you wear for maternity photos?

In general, your underwear and bra should be as close to a ‘nude’ color as possible so they won’t show under your cloths. You’ll also want both your bra and underwear to be seamless, especially your underwear. You don’t want to have lines showing underneath your dress. Shapewear is a good alternative if you feel more comfortable wearing that. Don’t mind going commando? By all means, skip the underwear all together!

I recommend wearing pasties instead of a bra if you’re planning to wear a dress. This will give you so much more flexibility in what you can wear AND I won’t have to photoshop out your bra straps in your final images 😉

Where to Shop for Maternity Clothes

If you’re a client of mine, you’ll have access to my maternity closet that has options ranging from formal gowns to casual options. We’ll go through my wardrobe options when we meet for your Style and Concept consultation about one month before your session. If you want to shop for your own maternity clothes, here’s some recommendations for where to look:

Looking for a Maternity Photographer in Rochester NY?

I specialize in capturing the natural beauty of your pregnancy. I’m known for creating an easy-going and natural environment for you to feel empowered & beautiful in your birthing body.  And by leading with genuine curiosity about you and your story throughout the process, I’m able to craft images that get to the heart of what’s most important to you.

I’d love to hear more about you and what you’re dreaming up when it comes to your maternity photos. Inquire here to start a conversation!

More Resources for Planning your Maternity Photos:

Best Locations for Photos in Rochester NY & The Finger Lakes

When To Take Maternity Photos

Are Maternity Photos Worth it?

What to Wear for Maternity Photos

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