Maternity Photo Session Outfit Advice

Maternity Photo Session Outfit Advice

Ottawa & Gatineau Maternity Photographer

I love shooting maternity photos and I want your photos to turn out beautifully. This is why I’m going to help you with some maternity photo session outfit advice. Most people don’t know what to wear for a photos shoot. I’m here to help you look your best.

I’m a natural light photographer, so I shoot all maternity sessions outdoors. It doesn’t matter if you’re pregnant in the spring, summer, fall or winter. Each season has its own beauty. Imagine a winter wonderland portrait session with snowflakes and icicles. Picture a fall session filled with reds, oranges, yellows, greens and browns painted beautifully in the background. Envision a summer session with a field of wild flowers and old farms in the background. Or a spring session with cotton candy coloured spring buds on the trees and a rainbow of colourful spring flowers. It doesn’t matter what season you’re pregnant as all seasons are magical. I’m here to work with you to create beautiful seasonal maternity photos.


Maternity Outfit Advice

Let’s work from the bottom to the top. First, we’ll start with footwear.


  • Say no to old shoes. Your shoes should be free of scuff marks and dirt.
  • Women look best wearing dress shoes, boots or nice sandals. If you wear open toe shoes, get a pedicure.
  • In winter, nice boots are the best option for women. However, avoid bulky winter boots if you’re wearing a dress, unless they’ll be covered by a long dress.
  • Men look best wearing either loafers or dress shoes.
  • Unless you’re going for a completely casual look (which I don’t suggest), avoid running shoes or flip flops.


  • Men, you can wear black, navy socks or socks with fun designs on them. However, for the love of all that’s good and holy, DO NOT WEAR WHITE SOCKS!!!!!
  • Women, you can either wear dark coloured socks, nylons or go without anything.

Pants (Women):

  • Women can wear dress pants, leggings or dressy jeans, if they’re not wearing a dress.

Pants (Men):

  • Don’t wear shorts, unless your photo session is at the beach.  And even then, khakis are still a better option. In my opinion pants look so MUCH better than shorts.
  • Dressy jeans (without rips) or khakis look great. If you want a formal look, dress pants will do well too.
  • In addition to avoiding wearing shorts, please also don’t wear cargo pants. That’s way too casual–even in a rustic setting.


  • Simple patterns or solid colours are your best bet.
  • If wearing a sweater, make sure there are no lint balls on it. They show up A LOT in the photos
  • Avoid shirts with large logos or writing. It’s too distracting.
  • Men look dapper with a button up or polo shirt. Blazers or vests are also a nice touch.
  • Women can wear a blouse.
  • NOTE FOR MEN: No worries if you have a bit of a tummy or a “Canadian Tire”. However, just make sure that whatever shirt or sweater you wear isn’t so tight that it’s going to accentuate those areas.


  • I think women look best in a beautiful dress for their maternity session.
  • Long, flowing dresses are so beautiful and feminine. Or, if you tummy is still small, go for a form-fitting dress.
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  • For winter or fall sessions, you can wear a dressy coat as part of your outfit. Vests are nice too and add warmth.
  • If wearing a coat, keep it classy. Think: classic tailored wool coat, peacoat, tweed or leather jacket
  • Avoid: ski jackets, sports jackets, bomber jacket, parka, and old coats in general.

Hats, mittens & scarves:

  • For winter portraits, feel free to include nice hats, mittens/gloves and scarves. These just happen to be awesome accessories that help to keep you warm.

Women’s Accessories:

  • Your hands will be showing in the belly shots, so get a manicure (even if a friend does it).
  • Earrings, necklaces and/or bracelets are a welcome touch
  • Costume jewellery style rings give pizzazz to belly shots
  • Feel free to wear a flower wreath on your head.
  • And cute little belts above the belly help define that bump.

Make sure your nails look good for the belly shots.

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Hair & Makeup:

  • Women, have your hair done so that you look your best.
  • Wear makeup, including lipstick or lip gloss to look your best.
  • Having a makeup artist do your makeup is an excellent option. Or get a friend to do it.
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Hats can be a great accessory, provided you choose the right hat. In the winter, they can help you keep warm, while also help you look stylish.

One thing I will say is if you’re going to wear a hat, please don’t wear a baseball cap. They bring the class factor WAY DOWN. You don’t need to wear a baseball cap for a photo shoot.

I understand that some men wear baseball caps to cover the fact that they’re losing hair. However, a baseball cap is not the way to go. There are other types of hats that can be worn: flat cap, newsboy, fedora, pork pie, panama, etc. For men who are bald or have a large bald spot, I recommend to wear a hat in order to cover the bald spot. It’s not to cover the fact that you have no hair. It’s actually to avoid the shiny spot on your head from the sun.

I almost always shoot with the sun behind my clients to get the pretty light. By doing that, it highlights your head, including that hairless, shiny spot. Sorry for being blunt. I’m just stating my observations as a photographer. Trying to tone down that shiny spot in post production has some challenges.


Neck ties for Men:

Unless you’re having your photo session in an urban environment, I highly suggest for men to avoid wearing a neck tie or a full suit. Neck ties or suits are just too formal for a rustic setting. However, I do like bow ties, depending on the rest of the outfit and setting.


  • Co-ordinate your outfit with your partner’s outfit, but don’t match exactly. You don’t want to look like twins. (ie. Don’t both wear jeans or khaki pants with a white shirt. That look deserves to stay in the 90s.)
  • Pick one or two main colours with one accent colour.
  • Use the colours to tie both of your outfits together. For example, if you’re wearing navy and plum, use plum as the accent colour. One could wear a plum coloured shirt, while the other one has plum accents in their sweater.
  • One partner could wear patterns on their clothes, while the other either wears solid colours, or just shows a little bit of the same pattern on their outfit. You don’t want to show up wearing all plaid. Instead, maybe one person can have a plaid skirt or shirt, while the other one has a plaid scarf. Be creative.

Colours, Patterns & Textures:

  • Floral patterns look feminine for the expectant mother. However, plain or small patterns are fine too.
  • Choose colours according to the season.
  • Spring Colours: Rich colours or pastels look beautiful with the green grass and spring blossoms. Turquoise, coral, pinks, blues, yellow, peach or a bit of cream look great for spring.
  • Summer Colours: You can pretty much wear any colour you choose.  Have fun!
  • Fall Colours: Stick with colours that compliment the leaf colours. Think browns, navy blue, greens, black, burgundy, maroon or ochre (dark yellow).  >>>Avoid pink and purple as they’ll clash with the red, orange and yellow leaf colours.<<<
  • Winter Colours: Bright colours, like reds, navy blue and plum stand out nicely against the snow and dark green pine trees. If you’re going to wear darker colours, avoid both of you wearing dark up top as it will be hard to showcase the baby bump against two dark outfits.  >>>Avoid wearing too much white/cream as you’ll blend in with the snow. Only use white/cream as an accent colour, if at all. Avoid forest green as you’ll blend in with the pine trees.<<<
  • Fabric with lots of texture photographs beautifully. Linen, tweed, wool and sweaters with different knit patterns catch the light beautifully.
  • In keeping with the classy style, no camouflage clothing. I see it being more and more popular with the couples of some other photographers. However, I can’t stand it. If that’s what you really want to wear for your maternity session, clearly I’m not the photographer for you.

Linda’s Final Thoughts:

  • Classic styles are always the best option and stand the test of time.  Avoid the latest out-there fashion as you’ll probably regret that outfit choice a few years down the road.
  • Either purchase new outfits for your session OR wear new clothing that hasn’t been worn much. Worn clothing looks worn in photos.
  • If you have pets at home, bring a lint brush to get rid of dog or cat hair.
  • Finally, make sure that whatever outfits you choose to wear actually fit properly (that goes for the partner too!) I’ve seen some men wear pants or shirts that no longer fit them, due to weight gain. There’s no problem if anyone gains weight. However, just don’t wear an outfit that fit you 20 lbs ago, because he stretching of the fabric will show in the photos.


If you’re paying for a professional portrait session, invest in how you look. The payoff will be priceless. I hope that these words of advice will help you to look your absolute best for your maternity portrait session.

If you have any questions about your maternity photo session, I also have a 8 Maternity Session FAQs blog post


I love shooting portraits. I have 15+ years of photography experience. My portrait photography has been featured on 30+ photography blogs. If you’re currently pregnant, contact me today to book your maternity photo session. I’d love to create beautiful natural light portraits of you and your partner. Check out my Little Lamb Photography website to see more of my maternity and portrait photography.


4 Responses to “Maternity Photo Session Outfit Advice”

  1. Kristen Harvey

    Great advice! I love that you mentioned things I wouldn’t have even thought of, like getting a manicure.

  2. Carley

    Awesome tips.