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35 Stunning Maternity Photoshoot Ideas (Plus Tips On How To Take Them)

maternity photoshoot with pregnant mom and a boy kissing the belly.

When it’s time for you to start brainstorming maternity photoshoot ideas, take inspiration from your baby’s first two “photo ops” in utero. As a pea-sized nugget in a sonogram printout, they showed up in your pregnancy announcement. About four months later, they took centerstage again in your social media feed; this time for their gender reveal. The visuals of both these events set the stage for a gorgeous maternity shoot.

Now, the timing of a pregnancy photoshoot is important. You don’t want to do it too early because your baby bump might not be obvious then. Neither would you want to schedule it on your ninth month of pregnancy because by then, going through a photoshoot may be too uncomfortable and exhausting for you.

So get a photographer to take your maternity pictures between 28 and 32 weeks of your pregnancy. During this period, your little one will be big enough to give you an impressive baby bump. Also, moving freely will still be easy for you. That means you can still have fun during the shoot. And you and I know there’s no other way to capture your “pregnancy glow” with your partner, family, and friends.

What you need to know about a pregnancy photoshoot

Like any other shoot, a pregnancy photoshoot requires keen attention to detail. Who takes the photos? Where do you do it? When do you do it? What time of the day is perfect for the shoot? Will it include just you; you and your partner; or the entire neighborhood? Most importantly, how do you show off your baby (bump)?

Consider the following during your planning session:

The all-important theme

Your theme will dictate how the maternity photoshoot ideas pan out. Answer these questions: How do you like being portrayed on camera? What mood do you want your photos to show? How do you want people to feel when they see your photos? Most importantly, how do you want your child to feel when they see the photos?

There is a wide range of themes to pick from. Try one of these: nature and the great outdoors, home sweet home, the concrete jungle, cottage core, minimalism, haute couture, the animal kingdom, comedy central.

A photographer facing the camera gets ready to take a photo.

The maternity photographer

Photographers, just like chefs, have their specialties. When you start thinking about maternity photoshoots, it’s important to consider photographers whose forte is taking maternity pictures. Here are other things to keep in mind:

  1. Their availability. When you interview photographers for the job, see if they don’t mind penciling in a range of dates for the shoot. That gives you an allowance if on the day of the shoot, you feel especially tired or under the weather.
  2. Their price. The average rate for a one-hour maternity shoot is $400. Depending on the experience of the photographer, one might charge you $100 and another might send you a bill for $900. Organize your shoot by, first, figuring out your budget. Go from there.
  3. Their experience. You want to book someone who knows how to direct a photoshoot, and who has done many maternity photos for clients. Ask if they know which poses are good for pregnant women and which ones are potentially dangerous (i.e., twisting and posing belly-down).
  4. The quality of their work. Ask for the photographer’s portfolio. Observe how they use light. Check if their subjects look comfortable and relaxed in their photos. Good, professional photographers wouldn’t impose poses that don’t come naturally to their subjects.
  5. Their style. Before you begin your search for your photographer, it would be great if you already have an idea, even a rough one, of how you want your photos to turn out. Pick a photographer whose style matches yours.
  6. Their personality. Any photoshoot becomes a breeze to do if the whole team—including you, the subject—meshes well together. A short interview with a potential photographer can show you if your personalities jive.
A field of grass and wildflowers with the sun setting over a mountain range in the horizon

Location, location, location

If the theme dictates the overall mood of the shoot, the location forms its backbone. Where you decide to take your maternity pictures can make or break the vibe.

It has to be somewhere easily accessible as you will be navigating this place while heavily pregnant. Your and your baby’s comfort is paramount. If you decide on a public location, check city rules if you need permits to do a shoot there. The rules will also say if animals are allowed in the area—you’ll need to know this if you decide to include your pets in your shoot.

The perfect time for a shoot

Timing is always important, especially for your pregnancy photoshoot. Pick a date early on in your third trimester. Your baby bump will be in full display then, but still won’t be as cumbersome as when you reach full term.

As for the time of your shoot, schedule it when you have the most energy. Also, find a good time between naps, as napping is vital to expecting moms.

It would be a good idea to consult your photographer, as well. Many photographers prefer to use natural light when they shoot outdoors. So they’ll have opinions on the best way to maximize sunlight outside.

Yes, the subject matters

You can conceptualize your maternity photoshoot with just you in the frame. Or you can include your partner, your family, or even all your friends. It’s up to you. Just remember that the more people you choose to join you in your photos, the more complicated scheduling will be. (But, if you’re an extrovert, it’ll also be way more fun.)

Maternity photoshoot ideas to choose from

Pregnant woman sitting with her partner on a bench holding baby shoes.

Home sweet home

If you pick this theme, you won’t have to go far to get your maternity pictures; just maybe 10 steps out to the porch. The bathroom’s clean and close by; so is the kitchen.

By your front door. Do you have a beautiful front door? Use it as a backdrop. And if you pose outside, you’ll get the perfect shot: a gorgeous background lit up by natural light.

In the kitchen. If you have lovely kitchen tiles, then you’ve found your setting. Sit on the kitchen floor holding a glass of milk while gently cradling your baby bump.

The silhouette of expectant mom in front of a window with the drapes open.

Silhouetted against a window. Stand in front of an open window with light streaming in from outside. (One advantage of this shot? You won’t have to worry about makeup!)

In the nursery. If you’re still in the middle of decorating it, that’s even better. Your nursery is still under construction, just like your baby. Sit in front of the half-completed crib, or pore over paint samples in front of a blank wall.

Lounging on your bed. What’s a more comfortable spot than on your bed? Get some decorative cushions with a matching bed cover and lay down in the middle.

A pregnant woman in a wispy lavender dress stands in the middle of a field while holding lavender blooms

The great outdoors

Let Mother Nature provide the jaw-dropping backdrop for your maternity photoshoot: majestic mountains, a colorful field of wildflowers, a bubbling river, stark sand dunes, towering waves.

In a field of flowers. What do you think of standing in the middle of a field of lavender for your maternity pictures? You could even cradle your tummy with a bouquet of wildflowers. No other photo would appear as fragrant.

Deep in a forest. Channel a nymph with a floral crown and a billowy dress as you pose beside gigantic trees. Want to be extra? Have an artistic friend fashion some wings for you to wear so you can flit through the forest like a fairy.

A woman cradles her baby bump with both hands while standing by a lake, looking away from the camera

By a lake. If it’s a windy day, ripples would provide great texture; so would the water’s glasslike appearance if it’s a quiet, windless day. You could even get IN the water for a more dramatic option.

On the summit of a hill. But only if you don’t have to go on a six-hour hike to reach it. Know of any peaks in your neighborhood that are accessible by a drive and a five-minute walk? Go there. If you can, go either before sunrise or sunset so you can catch the perfect light.

At the beach. Pose on the sand, wade in the sea, lay down and let the waves engulf you, look pensively into the sunset…the choices are endless.

 A mom to be at the beach, with the baby daddy holding her belly.

In the heart of the city

Are you a city girl? You might prefer playing with maternity photoshoot ideas that build on having skyscrapers in the distance or using public parks. Remember, though, to check if you need a permit to shoot in whichever public place you pick.

Against a backdrop of skyscrapers. How cool would it be to have your maternity pictures set in the middle of the business district, with all the tall buildings standing around you?

Crossing a busy pedestrian lane. Shibuya Crossing is a tourist destination in Tokyo, Japan. Pedestrians regularly spill onto the three crosswalks at a major intersection in downtown Tokyo. If you have something similar in your neighborhood, stand in the middle of it and pose as people stream around you. (Just make it quick. You don’t want to be shouted at by irate pedestrians.)

An expectant mom wearing a red floral dress stands in the middle of an overgrown park.

In the middle of a public park. Some parks are more on the “wild” side and can provide a rough kind of charm. Bonus points if there are rocky mountains in the distance to give more texture.

At a traffic light. Pick an intersection that is rarely busy. Time your pose when the light turns green, signifying all systems are go for baby. Just make sure there are no cars on the road when you stand under the green light.

Shopping for baby stuff. Now that you’re about to have a baby, you know how much stuff this tiny one needs. Why don’t you document your baby shopping spree for your pregnancy photoshoot? Wait until you’ve accumulated about 10 shopping bags. Then take the shot with you carrying all the bags, laughing with glee at all the stuff you were privileged to buy.

A pregnant woman, with belly exposed, sits on a bed with a snoozing beagle next to her and a furry onesie laid out between them.

Animal kingdom, represent!

This would be the perfect opportunity to show how gentle and protective pets can be when they’re beside their mom’s baby bump.

Snoozing dog beside the baby bump. Pet dogs are known to develop protective tendencies when they feel their hooman is expecting a baby. Have your pet dog pose right next to your baby bump. They’ll probably fall asleep while waiting for the photographer to get the lighting right. But that’s okay.

Cat’s paws on your bump. Dogs aren’t the only ones who can sense there’s a little one on the way. Let your cat lounge on your tummy (the way they do). Better yet, place your hands on your baby bump, and get your cat to place their paws on it as well. Then crop the photo so that it shows just your hands and your cat’s paws cradling your bump.

An expectant mom in an orange bikini and a flower behind her ear, stands belly-deep in a pool while holding on to a pink inflatable flamingo.

With an inflatable. It doesn’t have to be a real animal, right? A pink inflatable flamingo is just the ticket when you want vibrant and fun maternity pictures. Look, it’ll even smile for the camera.

Puppies, anyone? Chris Evans once gave an interview under a deluge of frisky puppies. If Captain America can do it, so can you! Aside from giving you a lovable, dynamic pregnancy photoshoot, it also promises to be so much fun.

Birds of a feather pose together. If you’re a passionate bird watcher, how about posing with one of them on your arm (while your other arm cradles your baby bump)? Head over to a zoo where they may let you pose with one of their majestic birds.

Expectant parents pose with baby daddy kissing mom's baby bump, while mom rests her hand on dad's head.

The more the merrier

It’s not too early to tap on your village for your pregnancy photoshoot—you know, the one that will help you raise your child.

Baby daddy with baby mama. You can’t go wrong with a photo of a tender moment between the expectant parents. Your partner can spoon you while cradling your baby bump. Or, even more expressive, have them kiss your bare tummy.

Here come the neighbors. Do you live in a close-knit community? Invite all your neighbors to join your shoot. Have them throw confetti in the air as you stand in the middle of this circle of friendship. (Leaves would be an environmentally friendly alternative to synthetic, store-bought confetti.)

Expectant parents hold hands and touch foreheads while daddy stands against a wall.

Baby daddy with baby mama, but this time, face to face. Yup, we can’t get enough of cozy pictures of expectant parents. How about a full-body shot of you and your partner touching foreheads while contemplating the wild ride you’re both about to get on?

With your surrogate. What a beautiful gesture it would be if you could invite your surrogate to join you for your pregnancy photoshoot? After all, they’ll be giving you the best gift anyone could ever give.

Hello, grandparents-to-be. Get your photographer to capture the excitement and glee on the faces of your baby’s grandparents. When your child is grown, let them see how much love was waiting for them before they were even born.

An expectant mom is shot from above. She's sitting on the bed, holding a cup of black coffee while a donut with sprinkles rests on top of her pregnant belly.

Turn on your wit

What’s a pregnancy photoshoot if it’s not a vehicle for your humor? Let your wit shine through one of these funny maternity photoshoot ideas.

Belly table. If you’re a fan of the TV show Friends, you might remember the season when Phoebe was pregnant with her brother’s triplets. In a couple of scenes, she was shown using her baby bump as a table for snacks. Sounds like a perfect set-up, don’t you think?

Matching bumps. If your baby daddy has a beer belly, how about maximizing it for your shoot? Have them pose with you, belly-to-belly. Anyone who’ll see your photos can judge whose belly is bigger.

Want to go an extra step? Leave your baby daddy to pose by himself as he puffs out his belly majestically.

Parents and their pre-schooler pose against a chalkboard, smiling. Their birth years are printed on the board, including one for the baby in mom's tummy.

Let your family in on it. Stand in front of a chalkboard with your birth years printed on it. Don’t forget to include the birth year of the newest member of your family.

Graffiti baby. Sit on the floor and have your bare baby bump in full display. But add fun to the shot: scribble something witty on your bump. Try one of these: “Eviction notice. 30 days.” “Bun almost done.” “Time to move out, little one.” “Aren’t you ready yet?”

A mountain of a belly. Let your baby daddy sit behind your bare baby bump and look directly at the camera. It’ll be hilarious to have just his eyes showing, with your tummy blocking the rest of his face. Then crop the photo so that it’s just your belly and his face showing.

In a black-and-white photo, the light catches just a pregnant woman's belly and her facial features. The rest is left in darkness.

The coolness of a studio

Shooting your maternity pictures in a studio has a lot of advantages. You won’t be at the mercy of the weather or the quality (and quantity) of natural light. There won’t be any need to secure permits. The photographer will have all their photography equipment within reach—which means they can do more with the process.

Use a spotlight. In a studio, your photographer can play with lights. They can focus on your pregnant belly and leave everything else in darkness.

A white background is always a winner. Since white goes with everything, you can wear whatever you want and use any kind of prop. You can sit on the floor with just your jeans and a pretty top that bares your belly. Then just pose away.

Set against a red background, an expectant mom wearing a black jumpsuit cradles her belly while looking seriously at the camera.

Dramatic colors. The fun thing about studio shoots is that no color is off-limits. The photographer can even add background colors in post production. Find a color that will make you pop—like red—then wear an outfit in a contrasting color.

The shape of you. Your background doesn’t have to be a solid color. Have fun with shapes, too. Simulate a full moon with a round hot light (a continuous source of light in a photographer’s studio). Then stand in front of it and make like Tinkerbell.

Barbie, is that you? How about doing pretend play? Dress up the set with all-pink accessories to channel Barbie. Not a fan of Mattel? Use props and costumes from your favorite fandom and have a blast posing for the camera.

The best maternity photoshoot ideas make you glow

The true star of a pregnancy photoshoot, aside from your baby bump, is your radiance. Every mom-to-be shares this glow. So when you’re brainstorming ideas, narrow your choices down to the ones that feel natural to you. Because then, you will appear luminous regardless of the theme or pose.

Have you picked a theme and concept for your own shoot yet? When you’re done with your shoot, we’d love it if you could post your photo and tag us. Who knows? You could inspire other moms-to-be with their own brainstorming sessions. Let us build our community of expectant moms, one beautiful maternity picture at a time.

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