As a seasoned family and maternity photographer, one of the questions I get asked most often is, “When is the best time for maternity pictures?” It’s a great question because timing can greatly affect both the look of your maternity photos and your comfort during the session.
The simple answer is: the best time to take maternity pictures is typically between 32 and 36 weeks. However, there are several factors to consider to make the most of your maternity photos, including when to book your session and the time of day that’s best for the shoot. Let’s dive into it.
When to Take Maternity Pictures: 32-36 Weeks
From 32 to 36 weeks, your baby bump is beautifully defined, making it the perfect time to capture your pregnancy. You’re showing off a full belly, yet you’re usually not too uncomfortable to pose for portraits. Plus, this timeframe also allows for rescheduling if need be, without getting too close to your due date.
However, make sure you keep reading because there are a few exceptions to this “rule” of when the best time for maternity pictures is.
When to Book Maternity Pictures
As for when to book your maternity photo session, as soon as you’re comfortable is ideal. As someone who has personally experienced pregnancy loss, I understand the fear of booking maternity pictures too early. There are so many what ifs or thoughts about “jinxing” things.
However, the second trimester is typically when most moms-to-be feel comfortable booking their session.
It’s also a good idea to keep in mind the time of year you are due. If your newborn is due in November or December, I encourage booking earlier. Your maternity session would need to take place during peak family photo season and photographers’ calendars tend to fill up quickly, meaning booking earlier will ensure availability.
The Best Time of Day for Maternity Pictures
The time of day your photo session is scheduled can dramatically impact the aesthetic of your maternity portraits. For outdoor maternity pictures, I photograph families 1-2 hours before sunset. This is what photographers call “the golden hour,” when the light is soft and warm, casting a magical glow that beautifully illuminates your baby bump and flatters your family. Read more about the best time of day for outdoor family photos.
If you’re opting for an in-home maternity session, the best time to utilize the indoor natural light is between 10-11 am. This timeframe usually offers bright yet diffuse light, creating an intimate and cozy atmosphere for your maternity photos.
Now that you know all of the best times for maternity pictures, let’s talk about those exceptions to the rule.
Pregnant with multiples?
It’s no secret that those carrying multiples will show sooner. If this is the case, you could schedule as early as 25 weeks. You’ll not want to wait too late in case of earlier delivery or needed bed rest. The best way to plan for maternity pictures when you’re expecting multiple babies is to be in contact with your photographer and decide together on the best timing.
Have a high-risk pregnancy but still want maternity photos?
This is another time when aiming for 28-32 weeks is ideal for pregnancy photos. Again, the goal is to capture this time a little earlier in case of needed bed rest or early delivery. And just like if you were pregnant with multiples, keeping your photographer in the loop is the best way to ensure you’re baby bump is photographed!
What if I deliver before my session?
In rare cases, baby can come before your session. If that were to happen, any deposit paid would go towards your newborn session or a family session to take place within a year.
In summary, the best time for maternity pictures is a combination of the right stage in your pregnancy (usually between 32-36 weeks), booking your session during your second trimester (or earlier if during peak season), and scheduling your photo shoot at a time that optimizes natural light.
Remember, every pregnancy and every mom-to-be is unique. Therefore, these guidelines are just that—guidelines. The most important thing is that you feel comfortable, beautiful, and at ease during your session.
At Neyssa Lee Photography, my aim is to capture these fleeting yet magical moments of your pregnancy, highlighting the joy, love, and anticipation your family is experiencing. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or if you’re ready to book your maternity session. Together, we’ll ensure that your maternity pictures beautifully reflect this special time in your life.
Planning on maternity pictures? Pour through the resources below to help you in preparing for your session.