When to Take Maternity Photos

7 min read

Your clients want to know: what’s the best time frame for maternity photos? Here’s how to photograph a beautiful baby bump any parent will love!


Most people can have their photos made any time, anywhere. Not an expecting mother with a growing belly! Here you’ll learn when to take maternity photos and how to give the perfect client experience.

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A pregnant woman stands on a beach at sunset. The sand is almost white, and dotted with footprints; and the sky is a beautiful pink tone. The pregnant woman wears a semi-sheer, lace, white gown that's billowing in the wind behind her. She cradles her baby bump as she looks back over her shoulder along the beach.

Rainiers Photography

When to Take Maternity Photos

New York City photographers the Rainiers recommend scheduling a maternity photo session within 28 to 36 weeks of a client’s pregnancy. That’s as early as the seventh month, yet no later than the end of the eighth month of pregnancy. This period around the third trimester is the best time frame to show a round baby bump!

During the 28 to 36 weeks window, the expectant parent typically still feels fairly comfortable, so it’s less taxing for them to stand or pose when taking photos. It’s also late enough in the pregnancy for your clients to very clearly look pregnant, with a nice round belly to show off!

“We recommend that our clients schedule their maternity photo session for when they are 28 to 36 weeks into their pregnancy.”

—Rainiers Photography

Side-by-side vertical portraits depict a young, Asian, pregnant woman wearing a semi-sheer, light pink dress in a pink-decorated bedroom adorned with flowers.

Rainiers Photography

Holding a Maternity Photo Session Earlier Than 36 Weeks

There’s a reason to break every rule, and maternity photos are no exception. While there’s an ideal schedule for a maternity shoot, every woman may experience body changes differently, so there are situations where a photographer can take maternity photos earlier.

  • Expecting multiples: If your client is carrying more than one, schedule the maternity shoot as early as the second trimester or around 13 to 24 weeks of the pregnancy, even if the little ones are still weeks away from being born!

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  • High-risk pregnancies: High-risk pregnancies have become more common as medical breakthroughs empower people to choose parenthood later in life. Though most high-risk pregnancies go smoothly, the second trimester is the best window to take maternity photos of a high-risk client.
Two studio portraits depict a white woman posing with a round, pregnant belly. In one photo, she's topless, covering her chest with her hand. She poses against a gray backdrop for this black and white image. In the next photo, the woman wears a black sweater that is cropped above her baby bump. One arm hands by her side while the other drapes over her head. She stands against a black backdrop.

Rainiers Photography

    • For announcements: If the family wants to use maternity photos for announcements or other printed products, do the maternity shoot no later than the beginning of their third trimester or around weeks 27 to 28. Modify the timeline according to your turnaround time.

“As long as the mom still feels comfortable, we are excited to take their maternity photos—even at the last minute. This can mean that they won’t receive their final products until after their baby is born, but we believe it’s better late than never!”

—Rainiers Photography

A pregnant woman in a teal blue gown poses first against a glass wall, where her reflection echos her pose. Next, she poses in a portrait with her partner and child. The child sits on the partner's shoulders, and Mom leans in to kiss the baby on the forehead. The Brooklyn Bridge appears in the background.

Rainiers Photography

Maternity Photo Session Tips

Learning when to take maternity photos also involves technical and creative planning to show off a client’s body and nice round belly.

“The relationship and understanding we create with our maternity clients are why they choose us for their pregnancy photo session. Our clients love our work, and we love them!”

—Rainiers Photography

A fine-art drone photograph depicts the tiny image of a white-dressed pregnant woman reclining on a beach above a bright blue ocean's waves.

Rainiers Photography

Help the Mother Prepare for the Maternity Session

Schedule the maternity shoot at the best time frame to make sure you provide the ultimate comfort and mobility for your client. 

Don’t forget to advise mothers to moisturize their nice round belly bump for soft, glowing skin, and instruct them to get a good night’s sleep to make sure they feel comfortable to move around. Remind them not to wear tight clothing to their maternity photo session. This can leave marks on the skin that are hard to retouch in your maternity photos.

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Establish a wardrobe with a variety of comfortable yet belly bump-friendly outfit choices. Always choose simple clothes that can accentuate the subject’s body. Avoid distracting patterns and stick with small or solid prints instead so that the bump can truly shine.

You can offer hair and makeup styling services to make mothers look and feel their best for the photos, no matter how many weeks remain in their pregnancy.

A pregnant woman is photographed against a deep blue studio backdrop. A light teal gown swirls around her.

Rainiers Photography

Use the Proper Equipment

To ensure a terrific maternity shoot indoors or outdoors, the Rainiers shoot with Canon and Profoto gear. Here’s their go-to gear list to make sure you can do the perfect pregnancy shoot:

  • Canon 5D MarkIII
  • Profoto B2 and A1
  • 35mm f/1.4
  • 24-70mm f/2.8

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Keep Your Customers Coming Back For More!

Albums and framed prints are the most popular photography products offered by the Rainiers.

As a photographer, you can ensure healthy product sales by instructing simple pregnancy and family poses customers will love.

Once the little one is born and the doctor gives the all-clear, newborn photos are the obvious next step for any photographer. Find ways to build comprehensive photography packages that will document the family journey.

“We believe everyone is a masterpiece in the making. Our business is to capture God’s masterpiece! With this in mind, we are determined to always give our best and go the extra mile.”

—Rainiers Photography

A pregnant woman in a flowing, pink, semi-sheer gown cradles her belly and gazes down toward her unborn child. She's standing on a beach shortly before sunset with dune grass and a bright sky behind her.

Rainiers Photography

Conclusion

While the best time frame for a maternity photo session is around 28 to 36 weeks of the pregnancy, expecting mothers can enjoy a shoot as long as they’re not a little too close to their delivery dates and they can still move around with a growing baby bump.


Written by ANNE SIMONE | Featuring RAINIERS PHOTOGRAPHY


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