When To Do Maternity Photos—Professional or Personal? Best Photo Ideas

When To Do Maternity Photos

Maternity photos are a fantastic opportunity to capture the period of time when you were eagerly awaiting the birth of your little one. Knowing when to book a maternity photo session can be tricky.

Each woman starts to show at different times during the pregnancy and you may wonder when to do maternity photos. It’s generally accepted that the best time to book a maternity photo shoot is during the third trimester of your pregnancy when you have a noticeable baby bump.

When to take maternity photos

Knowing when to book your maternity session means understanding the length of your pregnancy. Maternity pictures should show off your baby bump so that it’s obvious to you and to those who see the maternity photos that you are celebrating your pregnancy, rather than just having a personal photoshoot (although personal photoshoots are fantastic, also!).

When To Do Maternity Photos: Consider The Three trimesters

Pregnancies are generally split into three trimesters that last approximately three months each. While some women begin showing earlier than others, it’s not recommended to book your maternity photography session to take place in the first trimester.

The second trimester is months four through six of pregnancy, and some women do have a noticeable baby bump by this stage of the pregnancy. However, for the most part, your belly will most likely still not be prominent enough to be showcased.

The third trimester of your pregnancy is from the end of six months gestation until delivery. This is the stage in which most photographers recommend scheduling your maternity photo session. Your bump will be much more prominent, reaching the biggest size it’s going to be before delivering your little bundle of joy.

When in the third trimester should I book my maternity session?

The ideal time to take your maternity pictures is between seven and eight months gestation. This equates to between 28 and 34 weeks. This is because the baby is considered safe for delivery at 37 weeks, and you don’t want to risk booking a maternity photoshoot for 38 or 39 weeks and then delivering at 36 or 37 weeks. This is why it’s important to book your maternity photo session earlier than your due date.

You may consider booking even earlier than this if you are expecting twins or have any pregnancy issues that have resulted in your doctor thinking that your little one may arrive early.

How far in advance should I book my maternity photoshoot?

When you find out that you are expecting, most pregnant women start thinking of things like maternity photos, baby clothes, designing and decorating a nursery, and stocking up on diapers.

Suppose you know that you should wait until seven or eight months gestation to have your actual maternity photography done. In that case, it can lead women to wonder when the appropriate time is to contact a maternity photographer to take maternity photos.

Maternity photo session, maternity pictures

Book maternity photos early

You may not be taking maternity photos until you’re nearing the end of the pregnancy, but that doesn’t mean you should wait that long to book a photo session with a maternity photographer.

Maternity pictures are very popular, and while some photographers will do all sorts of photography, those who specialize in maternity photos tend to book fast.

Many women feel uncomfortable booking a maternity photo shoot while still in their first trimester, when the risk of miscarriage and pregnancy loss is highest. If you feel this way, that’s totally fine. You don’t need to book this soon if you’re uncomfortable with it.

You can, however, start to research photographers, lookup photo ideas, and look into pricing, trending locations and outfits and themes, and things of that nature. Once the second trimester rolls around, be sure to contact the photographers you like most and book your maternity photoshoot then.

Professional maternity photos vs. taking maternity photos yourself

Let’s get real. Having a baby can be expensive, especially if this is your first baby. Soon-to-be mums discover this quickly when they start shopping around and see the price of baby clothes, cribs, swings, maternity clothes, diapers, and everything else you need to welcome a baby into your home and your life.

It can be very tempting to pass on pregnancy photos for the mom to be on a budget. For some moms, the choice can come down to booking maternity photos with a professional photographer or buying a crib or other necessary items.

You can still have pregnancy photos taken, regardless of your budget. All you need is a friend or family member who has some knowledge of photography or editing or both, a camera, and patience.

DIY maternity shoot

If you want to orchestrate maternity portraits or photos yourself, it can be done quite well. The mom-to-be just needs to find someone with a camera who is willing to take the photos.

You can set up your maternity photoshoot in your own home, a public setting like a park or lake, and take maternity photos based on your personal preferences and individual tastes.

Your growing baby bump can be shown off for the world to see before baby arrives and still look great. With all of the editing apps and websites, you can even learn to edit your own photos weeks early, in time for your delivery.

Professional photography

If you prefer a maternity photoshoot with a professional, make sure to ask all of the questions you may have. Many first-time moms find a photographer when they are pregnant with their first baby that they go on to use for all of the rest of their photography needs in the future.

Newborn photography, family photos, baby shower photos, etc., can all be taken by the same photographer if you can find one who understands your wants and needs for photos and produces beautiful pictures.

Be sure to ask about pricing, any discounts you may be able to get, locations, portfolios, and more. These are helpful tips that can carry into any professional needs you may have.

Couple maternity photoshoot ideas

Many parents find that the last trimester can be a bit stressful. Your body is going through incredible changes, it’s time to take maternity leave, your belly is bumping into everything, and there’s just not enough time in the day to prepare for bub arriving.

A great way to reconnect with your spouse is to make your maternity photos a fun experience that includes both of you.

The following are some general ideas for couples’ photos during a maternity photoshoot.

Romantic photos

If this is your first baby, this may well be the last time that it will just be you and your significant other for photos. Make it memorable by getting close. Holding hands, kissing, and your partner paying special attention to your pregnant belly are all ways to bring a little romance to this magical time right before baby arrives.


When you have couples’ maternity photos taken, avoid taking photos at the same height. Varying heights make for more fun compositions in photographs. One of you sits while the other stands. One of you kneels (probably not the pregnant one) while the other is standing. Wear solid colors rather than distracting patterns to focus on your growing family.

Take maternity photos with your baby bump

Funny photos

These can be a blast to take, and many times the parents absolutely love how they turn out. Dad looking overwhelmed as baby girl items surround him, mom and dad looking ready for “one on one defense” if they are expecting twins, dad blowing a bubble gum bubble while mom holds a sign that says “Ready to Pop” are just some of the funny ideas you can use to make this special moment a little humorous, and definitely unforgettable.

Baby shower announcement

If the time frame that you’ll get the photos back coincides with the date you’ve chosen to send baby shower invites, you can use this opportunity to take photos that announce the shower. Ask your photographer to make it special by selecting the ideal time of day or setting so that you can then use the invitation for your baby book or memory book.

Maternity photo ideas

Maternity photo ideas are vast. Depending upon your taste, you can get photos that are breathtaking, sweet, funny, or whatever you like. Be sure to ask your photographer for any fun ideas they have as well. Many past clients miss out on the opportunity to get some great shots just because they didn’t think to ask for a few tips or suggestions.

The following are just a few of the many ideas for maternity photos:

  • Water photos – Pose in a pool, old bathtub with floating flower petals, creek bed, or near a lake.
  • Letter board photos – Use cute puns, an educated guess as to your due date, baby details (you can always ask your photographer to edit the date if you end up delivering earlier), and pose nearby.
  • Use of hands and props – Use your hands to form the shape of a heart on your belly, or use props like a pair of baby shoes resting on your belly, a onesie draped over your belly, or the ultrasound pic in your hands as you proudly show off your nice round shape
  • Include other children and pets – Get the whole family in on it! Not all pregnancies are highly anticipated by other siblings due to jealousy or nervousness. Show some love to your older kids as you celebrate your new addition.

Have the shoot you want

When you book, your maternity photos can vary depending upon factors like your due date, any issues with the pregnancy, availability, and other special needs. Seven to eight months is optimal, but life happens, so make the most of it!

You may worry about your budget, but you can take beautiful pictures yourself with the right location and preparation. Maybe next time around, you can hire someone. If you do hire someone, ask lots of questions.

Make the photos your own. Moms who felt amazing, empowered, and most beautiful in their maternity photos are the ones who fully submerged themselves, their personalities, and their excitement for the new bundle of joy in their maternity photoshoot. Just have fun and be yourself!

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