When to take maternity photos

Wondering when to take maternity photos? I’m sharing the most ideal time to schedule your maternity shoot. This post may contain affiliate links.

So you’re pregnant and trying to find the best time to schedule your maternity session.

Today we’re talking all about when to take maternity photos. We’ll cover the proper range of time to schedule your maternity photoshoot depending on a a couple of factors and share some helpful tips for getting great images.

Why should you schedule a maternity shoot?

I truly believe every pregnant mom should have maternity photos of her adorable baby bump. Whether you hire a photographer for professional photos or find some beautiful lighting and take your on photos on an iphone, this baby is worth celebrating. Don’t miss out on capturing this special time and the miraculous body change that is happening. Pregnancy is a

How many weeks should you be for maternity pictures?

One of the common questions photographers get is around the best time for a maternity photo shoot The simple answer:

32-36 weeks

In general, I recommend that you schedule maternity photos for between 32 and 36 weeks. This means 1-2 months before your due date or sometime around the start of your third trimester . If this is your first baby and you don’t have any complications, this is a great time to take them.

You want to be big enough to really show off your beautiful baby bump (and I like documenting as late as possible to showcase how miraculous the female body is!). That said, a lot of women swell and get very uncomfortable toward the end. I don’t love getting photographed the last few weeks of any pregnancy. If you’re booking a photographer, a good time to aim for is 35 weeks with your first pregnancy and 32-34 for subsequent pregnancies.

Maternity photos in the second trimester vs. third trimester?

Are you debating between having your maternity photography session in your second trimester versus your third trimester? In general, stick with having your maternity photos at the beginning of your third trimester so your bump is bigger. The benefit of shooting in your second trimester is that you’ll probably feeling great! If you you know you get sick again in your third trimester, you’re traveling to a beautiful destination in your second trimester or this is not your first pregnancy and you’re showing sooner, you could consider your having maternity photos in your second trimester.

Why should you take maternity photos earlier than 32 weeks?

There are a few factors that would make you want to schedule your maternity photo session earlier than 32 weeks:

  • You are high risk: If you have a known medical issue or a high-risk pregnancy you might want to have your photos scheduled for a bit earlier (so you don’t risk getting put on bedrest or being admitted before your have your portraits done).
  • You are having twins: Similar to other high risk complications, with twins you are more likely to go into labor early.
  • This isn’t your first pregnancy: You usually show sooner with subsequent pregnancies so if you want to schedule photos earlier when you aren’t quite as swollen, you can.
  • You usually go into labor early: I have a friend who consistently has babies 3-5 weeks early (where I consistently have them 1-2 weeks late). 32 weeks still gives you plenty of time for for early delivery but, if you want to be on the safe side, consider scheduling images at 30 weeks.

What is the best time of day for a maternity photoshoot?

The best time for your outdoor maternity session is going to be the hour after sunrise or the hour before sunset. Sunset or sunrise is going to be the perfect backdrop for your maternity portraits. Photographers call this time golden hour because the sun is less harsh, giving you the prettiest (and most flattering) light for photos.

If you’re having an indoor session with a professional photographer, the time of day likely doesn’t matter. If it is a natural light photo studio (meaning the photographer is using light coming in from the windows instead of lights), check with your photographer to see what time of day they recommend.

If you’re debating between a sunset and a sunrise session, ask your photographer what they recommend based on the lighting at your specific location.

How to use your maternity photos:

Want to have this part of your motherhood journey captured but not sure what you’ll do with the image? Here are a few ideas:

  • pregnancy announcement: a lot of people share the news about their pregnancy earlier on but if you want to wait and share the news closer to your third trimester, you could use your images in a pregnancy announcement.
  • baby shower invitations
  • baby showers (decorations, sign in book, thank you cards, etc)
  • print and include in your baby book (these are my favorite baby books)
  • frame for the nursery

Last minute maternity photos – is it too late?

It is NEVER too late to take maternity photos (as long as you’re still pregnant). It might be too late to schedule a professional photographer (but if it’s in the budget, reach out to a few and see if they have any cancellations or last minute availability).

What to wear to your maternity photo shoot?

I have a whole post on what to wear for your maternity photos here, but these are a few tips:

  • stick with solid colors or very small, subtle patterns
  • choose a flowy maternity dress in a neutral color palette
  • consider hiring a makeup artist

A few other tips for your maternity session:

  • Ask if your photographer offers a discount for also booking a newborn session
  • consider including family members in your photos (if this isn’t your first child)
  • if you want a more casual maternity shoot, skip the outdoor shoot and go for an in-home maternity session (you could also do a casual outdoor session at the beach in jeans and a simple maternity top).


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