10 Awesome Dresses To Wear For Your Maternity Shoot

10 Awesome Dresses To Wear For Your Maternity Shoot

Much like your wedding pictures, your maternity pictures capture a special time in your life when you look and feel a certain way that you’ll never forget.

You’ll reach such a level of happiness that you definitely want to capture every smile, and in this case, every curve and “bump.”

So, you’ll need to plan and prep for your maternity shoot by shopping for the perfect maternity dress.

Not sure what kind you should consider?

Check out these 10 awesome dresses that will play up your growing figure and will capture your mother form fabulously!

Long and Lace

A floor length lace dress is ideal for a maternity shirt. It not only hugs all your curves, it has a flattering layer of texture that sets a soft, feminine tone.

I love this dress because it also has long sleeves, which looks flattering on all kinds of forms—and a slimming v-neck that points downward toward the belly!

Whimsy Maxi

A whimsical maxi dress is perfect for hot, summer shoots in the forest. It looks flowing and free, and allows lots of freedom and forgivingness to the form.

Look for something that falls off the shoulder or that boasts loose fitting short sleeves. These long but loose dresses are ideal for a maternity shoot because they allow you to grasp your belly and create a flattering shape and angle that focuses solely on your belly.

Fitted Off the Shoulder Dress

A fitted off the shoulder dress that boasts a straight neckline will look ultra-feminine on your growing figure. Opt for something floor skimming and skin tight to totally encompass your bump.

When possible, look for ruffles either across the bust of the gown or along the sides and bottom for an ultra-feminine finish.

Night Gown Dress

I love the look for a night gown dress for maternity photos. It looks so soft, natural, and maternal when photographed.

Feminine elements like bows and lace should adorn it and it boasts a loose, but flattering fit. Its waist can gather around your belly, and a satin fabric can shimmer in the right lighting.

Split Front Belly Dress

For those who aren’t modest and want to show a bit more skin (especially around the belly and legs), you’ll love a split front dress. This allows a photographer to truly capture a snippet of your bulging belly.

These are generally long and flowing, and are mostly composed of lace with a straight and stretchy strapless bust.

Caped Dress

A caped maternity dress is perfect for cold fall and winter pictures.

It provides plenty of coverage across your arms and chest, but is fitted throughout the waist to capture your growing tummy. These dresses are floor skimming and are usually made of velvet or soft chiffon.

Mermaid Silhouette Gown

A mermaid silhouette gown is great for women who are confident about their figure and who wish to truly embrace and capture each and every curve. These dresses boast modest cap sleeves and a sweetheart bust.

They generally are made of lace and another smooth and soft material that is stretchy. Their hemline resembles a mermaid’s tail and it spreads and sits across the ground gracefully.

Tutu Two Piece

A tutu two piece dress fully flaunts the pregnant form. It consists of a bandeau top that is stretchy and shapely, and a puffy tutu skirt that fully covers the legs but leaves the belly exposed.

It’s a great dress to capture a fully exposed belly!

Empire Waist Dress

An empire waist dress cinches tightly at the bust and flows throughout the tummy and hips into a full length hemline.

These dresses allow you to hold onto your belly and highlight your upper body, but have plenty of coverage on your bottom half. It’s a universally flattering cut!

Peek a Boo Cut Dress

A peek a boo cut maternity dress has a piece of skin that peeks out. Whether it’s in the back, on the side, or on the front of the dress, these styles tend to be fitted in the top portion and flowing on the bottom.

They also are full length, so they provide plenty of coverage on the bottom and aren’t as tight in the tummy.

Tips for Selecting a Maternity Dress

Maternity dresses are much different than traditional dresses you’d find in your favorite shops. They are solely designed to flatter a growing belly and a pregnant woman’s curves.

When picking out a maternity dress, look for one that ...

  • Has a Lining. Dresses that are made of 100% silk or satin are very thin and rarely lined. This shows off lumps and bumps, which can look very unflattering in certain poses and lighting. Avoid!
  • Complements Your Bump Size. If you’re getting pics done and you’re about to pop, avoid small prints on your dress—it will make you look much bigger when photographed. The rule of thumb when wearing prints or patterns is to select one that nearly matches your body size. If you’re small and petite, go for small florals or mini-polka dots. If you’re of a larger frame, or sporting a monstrous bump, you can play up big, punchy florals and chunky stripes.
  • Has Bust Support. Built in bras are always a good idea when looking for a maternity dress. They help provide some lift, support, and shape. Even strapless styles can boast a shelf bra—it just makes your lines look cleaner. Especially around your decolletage area.
  • Fits and Flares. A skin tight fit rarely looks flattering when pregnant, so opt for a fit and flare style. It will cinch right around your waist, allowing your bump to be seen, but will flow over the rest of your form, rather than cling to it.
  • Clean Lines. Avoid ruffles, tassels, and other unnecessary textures or embellishments. Your bump should be the key focal point—anything else on the dress may draw the eye away from it!
  • Enhances the Colors Around You. Hot pink probably isn’t the best pick if you’re getting your pics done in the winter time. Consider your setting so you can pick a color or print that looks complementary to your backdrop—whether you’re indoors or outdoors. Most photographers will also make color recommendations for you, not just because of your background, but because they are aware of the lighting and what will look best with your skin tone.

Tips for Doing a Maternity Shoot

Often times, photographers will have a picture plan of action in mind. But, other times, many are open to your ideas or actually want you to lead the shoot since you have a personal vision in mind of the outcome of the photographs.

Here are some major tips to consider, regardless of the type of shoot you’re doing:

  • Hug Your Bump! The whole point of the shoot is to draw attention to your belly, so make sure you get some shots hugging, holding, and touching your belly (or getting your children to) so it’s the main focal point.
  • Get Some Height. Ask your photographer to utilize a ladder so they get a shot of you sprawled out on a bed or blanket. This not only captures your bump from a different perspective, but it flatters the rest of your frame as well.
  • Just Be You. Get a few shots smiling of course, since being pregnant is certainly something to smile about. But, also ask for some natural shots where you’re just being yourself. Look out into a field, walk down a grassy path, curl up in a chair—you don’t always have to be beaming directly into a camera, perfectly posed.
  • Show Emotion. If you’re having your partner or kids in the pictures, let them hug or kiss your belly. Have your partner get behind you and position their hands on the growing baby—these poses elicit a sweet, emotional response.
  • Incorporate Some Props. For some of the pictures, bring in some personal props, like a bassinet, baby booties, get pictures taken in the nursery, etc. Make your pictures personalized by adding in the little extras that will become your baby’s.
  • Play Around With Lighting and Lenses. Your photographer will be a pro at using various lenses to get different effects. Ask them to explain what their lenses can capture and how certain lenses can flatter your figure and background. You can also request black and white finishes or the use of editing effects to make your lighting and background in the pictures look truly unique.

Wrapping Up

Have an upcoming maternity shoot scheduled?

Be sure to check out these 10 styles of dresses and select one that will work best for your body, personality, and shoot time and location!

Also, consider some of the shopping tips and photography tips for your upcoming shoot to make the most of your session.

After all, a picture is worth a thousand words, and there’s so much to be said about the miracle of pregnancy!


Hi there, I'm Kate! I started Maternity Glow to be a place for new and expecting moms to come to for practical pregnancy advice, parenting tips, and baby care tricks.

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