My favorite tips on how to dress for your maternity photo session

Carefully selected outfits with intentional colors and textures are part of telling your story artistically.

Photography is an art form, carefully selecting styles and colors for the outfits you and your family wear during your photoshoot helps to tell the story and paint the picture with colors and textures that enhance the natural beauty and connection of the experience.

Our brains subconsciously notice when colors are clashing, or when patterns are too chaotic, and it distracts the viewer from being able to appreciate what is happening in the photograph. Using colors that go well together, are coordinated, and are intentionally curated to the season, type of session, and family, draws the viewer in and allows them to appreciate the beautiful moment without the subconscious distraction of displeasing color combinations.

Mama, you are the star of this show. Take the time to choose an outfit you are comfortable and confident in!

Long flowy dresses are by far my favorite and best recommendation for what to wear at your maternity session. They create a soft and feminine air in your images, and the flowy material accentuates your bump with grace and a poetic flare.

You can always bring a second outfit to your session for some of the photos too, but having that special dress is such a gorgeous asset to your photos!

I have a changing tent that I can bring to your session location so that you can easily change outfits.

happy pregnant mom maternity portrait

Look for a dress that will accentuate your baby bump while flattering your body

Here are a few things to look for in a dress that will be the most flattering on your body:

  • A dress with a fitted top (this would be right above your belly)
  • A dress or skirt that flares out - Ideally, you want this to start ABOVE your belly, and not below.
  • Floor length for a romantic and feminine feel + flowy material.

Remember that your belly is not the only thing that has changed size during pregnancy - Your breasts have likely grown too! Plunging necklines might be showing a lot more than you are accustomed to now, so keep that in mind when choosing a dress.

Especially if you have a toddler, like I do, you may want to avoid a plunging neckline that will get pulled even lower or a high split that will be difficult to keep from opening wider than you'd like.

Try your dress on ahead of time!

Possibly the only worse scenario than showing up to an event in a new outfit and discovering that it is lower cut than you wanted, or that the waist doesn't fall in the right spot, and having to wear it anyway is showing up for your photoshoot only to realize that you hate how your dress fits.

Make sure to try your dress on a couple of weeks ahead of time. This gives plenty of time for a new dress or size to be obtained, or to mess around with adjustments to make it comfortable.

(Remember to check the neckline and do a twirl in front of a mirror to see whether undergarments are showing through the material.)

Choose colors that work well for your skin tone + session location

AVOID black , navy and other dark colors that will hide your bump! (Hiding the bump is certainly not something you want to do in your maternity photos!)

Also avoid bright neon colors.

Personally, I love earthy tones, mustard yellow, rust orange, neutrals (I love shades of brown!) or jewel colors like ruby red.

You'll want to take into consideration the location where your photos will be taken, if there is going to be a lot of green you probably don't want to wear green, as you'd end up blending in.

You may also want to think about the time of year - In winter, a super summery dress will look out of place, or a light pink in the middle of fall can look out of place.

Dress for the weather

No one wants to show up for an outdoor photo session in a sleeveless dress on a snowy Minnesota day - Look for ways to add layers if it is going to be cold: Choosing something like a chunky knit sweater, faux fur stole, wide scarf, (or even a lap blanket that can be folded into a shawl) are all great options!

You can cozy up in those during or between photos. A sweater can be shrugged off your shoulders too to add more variety to your gallery.

Personally, I even love adding a sweater over my dresses when I am pregnant - I discovered that a cropped sweater top hits right above my belly, so it works great to put on over a dress!

maternity portrait in flowery field

Choose smooth undergarments to avoid creases

Make sure that your bra + underwear are neutral colors and not showing through your clothes (you might want to check in a couple of different lighting scenarios around your home) - Also check for bra straps! It is best to opt for a bra that doesn't have straps so that you don't run the risk of them showing.

You can wear shapewear if you'd like, it depends on the dress you choose and your personal preference. A tip for before you leave for your session would be to stand in front of the mirror (or ask your partner to help) and inspect the front and the back of your outfit (as best you are able) to check for an unsightly bumps from lumpy bras or underwear. No mama wants to have underwear outlines showing through their dress!

family maternity portrait summer

Don't forget to choose a coordinating outfit for dad!

Make sure to coordinate, (avoid matching!) using complementary colors. Dad can wear a nice pair of jeans or khakis and a coordinating Henley, or something similar to that. If it is cold, finding a nice coat or jacket that he can keep on during/in-between photos will be greatly appreciated by him, I am sure!

Your client session guide will have more details on this, and I am happy to send you specific outfit suggestions customized to your session. Just let me know!

mom and dad in field spring maternity

Where to buy dresses?

Some of my favorite places to buy maternity dresses are:

Joyfolie $$$

Baltic Born $$

Pink Blush $$

Reclamation $$$$

Piper & Scoot $$

Hopefully this has been helpful to you as you choose outfits for your maternity session!

Again, reach out with any questions or if you want my assistance - I am often checking for ideas and to see what is in stock, so I am familiar with what is on the market to some degree and love helping shop!

Renting a Dress

Gowns for photoshoots can be really costly (like, $300+ per dress!)

If you love some of those stunning dresses (like I do!) but don't have the space in your budget (or your closet) for an incredible maternity gown, there is a great option of renting one of these dresses.

Here are some of my favorite options. Any of these options would be an incredible addition to enhance your session and the colors go beautifully with the photoshoot locations near Saint Cloud that I like to use for maternity (and family sessions.)

Flowy gown, dramatic sleeves in burnt orange or natural

Plunging neckline, flowy gown with dramatic sleeves: Recommended colors of natural, burnt orange, or sand

Ivory lace gown with flowing sleeves

Scoop neckline, cinched sleeves, long flowy gown: Natural or burnt orange

Sleeveless, ruffled neckline, dramatic flowy gown: Cinnamon, rust, sand

Let me know which one you pick and I can help you figure out which outfits will go best for your hubby and any older kiddos. You are going to be STUNNING! I can't wait!

*If you are interested in renting one of these dresses, let me know. As your photographer, I am able to get you a 15% discount on your rental.







work with me
Susannah Ray Photography

A meaningful and fun photo experience with your spouse and kiddos in one of the beautiful outdoor locations near St. Cloud, MN: Whether it is a field, lake-side beach, or wooded area, I am always on the search for more beautiful places to recommend for my clients.




work with me
Susannah Ray Photography

Intentional photos of the expectant mother in a beautiful outdoor location. Her significant other and other children are included in the session as well. Flowy dresses to highlight your beautiful bump and make you feel as stunning as you are highly recommended!




work with me
Susannah Ray Photography

Intentional and stress-free photos of your beautiful newborn (and his or her immediate family) in either the comfort of your own home where baby's memories begin, or in a beautiful outdoor location near St. Cloud.

St. Cloud, MN based
family + newborn photographer

Hi, my name is


St. Cloud MN family and newborn photographer

Telling your story one image at a time.

The birth of my first baby is what lit the fire under me to help other families capture their own lives - From crazy toddler antics to tender in-betweens, these are the moments that I cherish with my own family.

As a mom to two under two, I am accustomed to the joyful chaos of young families and like to bring a relaxed approach to your photo session that encourages children to have fun and show their true personalities instead of forcing them to smile unnaturally on command.