How to Prepare for a Maternity Photoshoot


First of all, congratulations! This is such an exciting time in your life right now. Enjoy it! As you plan to capture this moment with a maternity photography session, you likely have many questions (especially if this is your first time!). That’s why we prepared this guide to walk you through every step of the process and provide essential tips. At the Milk + Lily Portrait Co., our years of experience with maternity photoshoots has shown us just how important it is to make every session unique and special for the mother-to-be. The information provided below will help facilitate all of the special moments this day will entail. 


Scheduling Your Photoshoot


The earlier you book your session, the better. We recommend making the call to schedule your session when you’re between 16 and 20 weeks pregnant, and booking the session date during your third trimester, ideally between 28 to 32 weeks. This time is perfect because your baby bump will be proudly showing, and you’ll still be able to move and pose comfortably.


Pre-shoot Planning Call


Every mom-to-be is special and unique, and no two sessions are ever the same; despite Pinterest and Instagram inspirations boards, a styled session printed onto your wall should be tailored to your own unique taste. That’s why our next step is always to schedule a call with you, the expectant mother. We usually like to chat about two weeks before the session to discuss what your goals are. Are we shooting for a particular space up on the wall in the living room, or for an album open on the coffee table? Do we want to shoot in-studio or on-location? We’ll help guide you through these and many more questions on the phone together.


Considerations Before Your Session


Pamper Yourself with Hair and Makeup

It is important that when you walk into the studio for the maternity session that you feel fresh and vibrant. We always recommend having a professional style your hair and makeup before your photoshoot. The Milk + Lily Portrait Co. provides an in-house hair and makeup stylist for an extra fee ($125 for hair and $125 for makeup), but if there is an outside professional with whom you are close with and would like to take care of you, that is a good option as well. The general idea is that this is a special experience, and we want you to feel pampered and luxuriant!


Get Plenty of Rest the Night Before

We know getting any type of rest during your pregnancy can be difficult (midnight bathroom visits, anyone?!), but we recommend trying to take extra consideration on getting a good night’s sleep the next before your session. While a photo shoot may not seem like the most exhaustive activity in the world, it can still be draining, and it’s important that you feel as relaxed and refreshed as possible as soon as you walk into the studio. 


Eat a Good Breakfast and Drink Lots of Water!

It’s so important I’ll say it again -- Eat a good (great!) breakfast! We also recommend eating a snack or two before your session. Hydrated skin is also beautiful skin so remember to constantly drink water during the day before your photoshoot. If you forgot, don’t worry! At Milk + Lily, we have bottles of water and light snacks on hand in case you start to feel lightheaded or need an energy boost. If you have to take a few trips to the bathroom during your session, that is okay!


What and Who to Bring


Family Members

Family members, such as your spouse and children, are always welcome in a maternity shoot and can help create some beautiful moments, especially younger children with their soon-to-be sibling (these shots are precious!). If you are bringing children, it may be a good idea to arrange for someone to pick them up after their part of the shoot is complete; that way, they are not left bored, watching you in all of your individual shots. Extra people can, however, sometimes distract from the goals you may have in mind for your session. You may also want to avoid bringing close supportive friends or extended family as spectators, as it may affect how comfortable you are in front of the camera.


Special Items

Sentimental or nostalgic items such as jewelry, heirlooms, or mementos are great to bring along as they can draw out your emotion during the shoot. Anything that brings out your identity as a mother or a mother-to-be is worth including in your session! 


What to Wear


There is no set rule for what to wear for a maternity shoot. We want you to be comfortable and support your vision for the session! Some Moms prefer a more casual look, while others prefer the elegant, flowery maternity dress. It’s a good idea to have multiple outfits prepared so you can try a few different looks. Our studio also does offer maternity wraps for our models, which are loose articles of fabric that flow along the woman’s skin and can create beautiful shots. Outside of personal preference, we have a couple of suggestions in regards to outfit choice. First, go with more stretchy fabrics or wear long sleeves whenever possible. Looking good is important, but so is comfort, and stretchy fabrics will allow you to feel more free-flowing during the session. Also, we recommend keeping your colors simple. You and your baby bump are the primary focuses of your photoshoot, so you may want to avoid outfits with bright or vibrant colors. Neutral tones are much better for highlighting what you wish to show during the session and work for any background or skin tone. 


Other Important Considerations for the Day of the Session


Apply Non-Greasy Lotions a Few Hours Before

We want your skin to glow and look as best it can, so we recommend applying a non-greasy lotion two to three hours before the shoot. This will reduce the appearance of any uneven dry spots or other skin-related problems.


Remove Any Elastic Clothing Before the Session

Elastic clothing or accessories such as bracelets or socks can leave elastic marks on your skin, so you will want to remove those at least an hour or two before your shoot so your skin is as smooth as possible. 


Most Importantly, Relax and Have Fun!

It’s easy to get caught up in the many stresses of being pregnant, and we don’t want concerns about this session to flood into that category, so remember what this session is all about: you! It’s for you to have fun and appreciate your awe and beauty as a mother-to-be while we capture all of it on camera. This is a very special day, and we are so excited to help you take part in it. 


If you have any additional questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to call the Milk + Lily Portrait Co. at 925-430-9928 or email us at [email protected]. We look forward to hearing from you and how you want to mark this special moment!

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