What to wear for your maternity session

March 1, 2021

Wondering what to wear to your maternity session? Don’t worry, I have you covered.

As a Los Angeles maternity photographer I’ve helped countless mamas find the perfect outfit for their maternity portraits. This guide will tell you exactly how to find the perfect maternity session dress.

Choosing a maternity dress that photographs well

There are a few things to keep in mind when choosing a dress for your maternity session. Not only do you want to feel great and look great in it, but you want to make sure that if will photograph well and show off your bump.

What to wear for your maternity session
Dress by Baltic Born


Above all else, your maternity session dress should be flattering and create a pleasing silhouette. There are a few easy ways to achieve this.

maternity dress semi-silhouette
Dress by Rachel Pally

First, your dress should be relatively fitted through the chest and shoulders. Second, your dress should have a waist and tuck in just above your belly. Third, your dress should fit loosely in the skirt, so that the fabric drapes over your belly. Lastly, I recommend choosing a dress that is floor length. It can be shorter, but should fall at least below the knee.


If you’ve opted for a studio maternity session, I recommend that you choose a pale color for your dress, such as white, cream, or blush. A light dress photographed against the white walls of my studio will give you those light and airy maternity portraits that you’re looking for!

finding the perfect maternity dress
Dress by Rachel Pally

For a garden maternity session you can choose almost any color you like! I advise that you stay away from green so that you aren’t fading into the foliage. Also, try to steer clear of very dark colors (like black and dark blue), which often lose definition in photographs and make you appear larger than you are.

Material & Pattern

When choosing a maternity dress, fabric is definitely an important factor. I recommend a fabric, like jersey, that drapes well. If you’d like a little more going on, consider a dress that incorporates texture, like lace. You can also choose a dress that lets a bit of light through. This will look gorgeous in back-lit images either in the studio or the garden. Rachel Pally is my go-to designer for jersey maternity dresses.

what to wear to your maternity session
Dress by The Kooples

I LOVE a solid dress or, even better, a solid dress with a textural detail. That said, you can choose a pattern if you like. If you are choosing a dress with a pattern, make sure it isn’t too tiny or too large. I advise a medium-sized pattern with muted colors.


Maternity portrait outdoors with toddler
Dress by Baltic Born

Finding a dress that feels like you can be a bit tricky, especially when you’re navigating a new body. I would say most maternity dresses go in one of two directions: Tailored/classic or bohemian/romantic. It’s likely that you’ll be immediately drawn one way or the other!

Where to shop for your maternity session dress

Here are some of my favorite places to shop for maternity dresses:

Rachel Pally is one of my absolute favorites. Pally makes gorgeous maternity-friendly dresses and has tons of lovely jersey options. Most of her designs fall into the tailored category.

Ingrid and Isabel is a great place to shop for tailored maternity dresses in creams and whites. I have quite a few of these dresses in my studio collection and love them for my Studio Maternity Sessions.

Baltic Born has a ton of pretty bump-friendly styles. I especially love their wrap dresses.

Co & Ry offers a dedicated collection of bohemian/romantic maternity dresses with plenty of light, lacy textures.

Shop Stevie has quite a few maxi dresses that are maternity-friendly. This is a great place to shop for romantic dresses with fun texture and detail.

Coven & Co is another great choice for bohemian maternity dresses.

Hazel & Folk has quite a few bump-friendly styles. A good choice if you are looking for something natural & rustic with plenty of flow and texture.

Roolee caters specifically to moms and has a great variety of dresses that will take you from pregnancy to postpartum. Always a bonus when you can rewear your maternity session dress!

Christy Dawn and Doen offer a selection of maternity-friendly dresses in delicate prints.

The studio wardrobe collection

Don’t love shopping? Your Los Angeles maternity session includes studio wardrobe. I’ve curated a gorgeous collection of dresses that fit, flatter, and photograph well. Take a look through the studio wardrobe catalog and let me know if there’s something that strikes your fancy.Neutral dresses

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I photograph maternity, newborn, baby, and family sessions in and around Los Angeles. If you're interested in a session, please get in touch.

Ariel Cannon Photography | Los Angeles

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