September 8, 2016

Dress The Bump: What to Wear to Your Maternity Session

With a maternity session, you have an extra accessory you don’t have at other shoots: a baby bump! If you’ve been following along with Shea Brianne Photography, you know that I have been working on a Motherhood Project and shooting lots of baby bumps lately! If you haven’t gotten to check it out, go to my Facebook Page for a peek!

This post is meant for my mothers-to-be or preggo ladies out there considering doing a maternity session! Dressing for a maternity session can feel a lot different than picking out at outfit for any other session because you want choose something that is flattering, but also something that shows off your bump. I have noticed with the Motherhood Project that the biggest questions or concerns that my mommas have are about clothing options for their session. So, I decided to break it all down in this post!

Honestly, an outfit can sometimes make or break a session in my opinion. I have shot a couple of maternity sessions where the weather was lovely and the momma was all dolled up, but the outfit was just a little distracting from really displaying the heart of this season of the parents’ life. If you have a maternity session coming up, here are my tips to consider when picking out your outfit!


When clients ask me for outfit advice for any session, I always start by suggesting some neutral options. I know to many people neutrals probably seem boring, but consider these colors as a blank canvas. Wearing an un-distracting color such as white, grey, cream– or even a lighter shade of maybe blue, pink, or purple– allows people to truly see YOU and not just your outfit. These colors usually compliment every skin tone and can even make your location/background look more like a gorgeous pop of color behind you (see the image on the right). You could take this color and go formal or casual; maybe something like image on the far left is too frilly for you– you could totally just do a long, comfy grey T-shirt dress, wrap your arms in a creamy-colored knit cardigan, and then layer on some gold or silver necklaces! Perfectly stylish, but still using those neutral shades to let your natural beauty be the focal point. Not sure where to look to find something like this? You really don’t have to break the bank if you don’t own something like this. My favorite spots to look are Forever 21 (especially for maxi dresses like these – you can find them super cheap!) or, if you have a larger budget, try Lulus or ASOS.


Not everyone is a die-hard romantic like me, I know. But there is a time and a place for everything and personally, I think the time and place for a feminine outfit like these examples is a maternity session. When I am shooting a maternity session, there is something (no matter what the outfit looks like) so strongly feminine about the images. Nothing displays your womanhood more than becoming a mother. I truly believe that. So when a woman with child slips on a dress that she is confidently displaying her femininity in, I literally get goosebumps! Long, flowing pastel dresses like these really compliment that vibe, but also compliment the scenery. The colors aren’t distracting, but really play into that feeling of softness, nurturing, and what it means to be a mother. Dresses that play well into this might have flowy sleeves, maxi-length skirts, some tulle, easy-moving fabric, or even some lace detail. Need inspiration? Some of my favorite spots to look at dresses like these are Free People and BHLDN. But be forewarned; the dresses on these sites are gorgeous, but pricey! If you’re on a budget, check out Rent the Runway, or do what one of my favorite maternity clients did– borrow a friend’s bridesmaid dress!


This outfit option is totally based on your taste. Some mommies-to-be love the idea of having photos of their actually belly, and some think it’s weird. Let me say this though: if you want to do it, go for it! There are some really fun and beautiful ways to show off your real baby bump, whether it’s popping out of a lace crop top or showing through a thin fabric silhouette. I am always extremely careful to keep things very tasteful with my clients when we do these pictures, and I have always loved how they end up turning out. For these more intimate shots, we usually shoot inside the studio or right outside of it so that my mommas can feel confident and like they have ultimate privacy. For these shots, I recommend picking something out that is sheer or see-through. This allows your bump to be seen without you needing to pull any clothing up or off. Some options include bathing suit cover ups (there’s some way cute ones out there!) or even boudoir/lingerie items. If you’re thinking you want to go a little more casual, consider something like the image on the right here: maybe a lace shirt without a cami, or even a dress that has a slit in it for your bump to poke out of. I have had multiple mommas even just bring in a sheer floral robe which looks fantastic! My favorites are from Plum Pretty Sugar.

Those are my best tips to consider when choosing outfits for your maternity session! Remember that if you’re just not sure you’re on the right track that you can bring lots of options to your session for us to look at and decide on! But more than anything, pick something that makes you feel really beautiful and confident and happy. If you don’t love any of these styles at all, don’t wear them. Choose what makes you feel proud to be a momma-to-be. I often hear from my momma-clients after their session how thankful they are they booked simply because they hadn’t felt beautiful or confident in a long time. Pregnancy is a beautiful miracle, but it comes in a package that can look more like gaining weight, having morning sickness, and needing to go pee all the time. If you’re on the fence about maternity sessions, please don’t doubt the beauty that happens in the two hours we spend together. It’s not just about getting pictures with your baby in your stomach. It’s about you as a woman, your undeniable beauty, not to mention your strength and bravery. Maternity sessions are pretty and they’re fun, but the reason I love them most is because I watch clients walk away seeming changed and impacted in some way–whether it’s that it’s sinking in that they’re about to be parents, or feeling that they, underneath the giant bump they can’t see their feet under, are truly, truly beautiful inside and out.

Ready to book your maternity session now? Shoot me an email!



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