Expecting moms have a lot to focus on while pregnant, especially if it’s their first pregnancy. From getting healthy and staying active to getting enough sleep and taking multivitamins, a safe and healthy pregnancy requires a lot of work. While your schedule may be busier these days, you don’t want to forget to capture precious memories. Maternity photography is a popular way to celebrate your pregnancy journey and create beautiful visuals of the growing bond between you and your baby.
When planning a maternity photo session, it’s important to time the shoot just right. The best time to take maternity pictures can vary depending on a wide range of factors. Here you’ll learn the best time to schedule a maternity photoshoot, when to send out pregnancy announcements, and even what to wear during your photography session.
When Is the Best Time to Take Maternity Photos?
As you progress further into your pregnancy, it’s normal to start feeling its effects. You may get tired more easily than before, you may have trouble standing for long periods of time, and you may feel unwell at certain times of the day. However, there is a window in which many expecting moms still feel comfortable enough to pose for pictures.
The average pregnancy lasts for about 40 weeks or 280 days. A baby is considered preterm or premature if delivered before 37 weeks. A moderately preterm infant is born between 29 and 33 weeks and extremely preterm infants are typically born between 23 and 28 weeks.
The truth is that babies do not always arrive according to plan and may enter the world earlier or later than we expected. To avoid missing out on a wonderful experience like a maternity shoot, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Consider scheduling your photo shoot between 26 and 34 weeks of pregnancy.
During Which Trimester?
Pregnancy is divided into three stages referred to as trimesters. Each trimester lasts between 12 and 14 weeks in which the fetus will grow and meet different developmental milestones.
The first trimester lasts from 0 to 13 weeks. During this period, the body structure and organs develop. It’s common for expecting moms to experience fatigue, nausea, breast tenderness, frequent urination, and similar symptoms during this time.
The second trimester lasts 14 to 26 weeks. This trimester is often referred to as the “honeymoon period” as many of the unpleasant symptoms of pregnancy begin to subside. During this trimester, expecting moms may experience some leg cramps, abdominal pain, and heartburn.
The third trimester occurs between 27 and 40 weeks. It’s common to experience physical symptoms during these last few weeks, such as urinary incontinence, shortness of breath, and sleeping problems.
In most cases, a pregnancy photoshoot is scheduled in the third trimester. However, you don’t want to book the photo session too close to your due date. Booking a maternity session during the third trimester ensures that your belly bump is nice and round. At this point, your belly will likely not have dropped yet, making it appear higher to better fill out your maternity dress.
What Time of the Year?
The time of year in which you take maternity photos will ultimately depend on when you get pregnant. If you are planning an outdoor session, you may want to aim for a spring or summer shoot. You can enjoy warmer temperatures, beautiful flowers in bloom, and maybe even splashing at the beach. You’ll also have more options for outfits, such as the strapless Aphrodite gown or sheer embroidered lace Kinsley dress.
You can still enjoy warm temperatures in the fall, but expect cooler days. The vibrant leaves and changing trees make for a beautiful backdrop. However, you’ll likely want a dress with long sleeves, like the Analise sweetheart dress.
Maternity portraits in the winter months can be a bit trickier. Depending on where you live, you may have snow to deal with, as well as cold temperatures. However, if you are specifically looking to incorporate snow into your shoot, there are photographers that specialize in snow sessions. With this type of photoshoot, the date may be variable depending on weather and location.
For the perfect snow photoshoot session, you will want to select a long solid dress like the Paisley. This will let you keep your snow boots on the whole time and will even allow you to put a nice pair of thermal leggings under the dress for extra warmth. Make the photoshoot extra special by adding a cape or shawl for an added touch of luxury. A few extra tips to keep in mind for snow sessions:
- Bring a partner or friend with you to hold your coat, so you can quickly put it back on.
- Make sure the coat you bring has a warm, fuzzy lining that retains body heat well, so you will stay comfortable and warm.
- Put hand warmers in your boots, hats, and gloves if possible.
If your due date is near the holidays, you may be tempted to celebrate the upcoming festivities in your pregnancy photos. Show off your baby bump and the holiday spirit in a soft stretch royal velvet maternity dress like Amelie or Willa.
If you’re planning ahead for your portrait session, consider what season your third trimester will land in and decide if it’s better to schedule directly after your second trimester or to wait a few more weeks to accommodate your seasonal preferences.
When Is the Best Time to Book Maternity Photos When Expecting Twins?
While most expecting moms opt to book their maternity photography session during the seventh or eighth months of pregnancy, this may not be realistic for everyone. If you are expecting twins or triplets, you may need to schedule your maternity photo shoot earlier.
The time frame will depend on several factors, such as your expected due date and how many babies you’re carrying. While there are no hard or fast rules, consider booking your photo session during the second trimester, or around 20 to 24 weeks of pregnancy. If you are carrying multiples, your pregnant belly will likely be well established by this point, and you may still feel comfortable enough to pose for professional photos.
Every pregnancy is unique and what may be the right time for one pregnant woman may not be the right time for another. Discuss your individual situation with your photographer, who will be able to guide you in the right direction. It’s also important to remember that your chosen photographer may be booked up. It’s best to book your photography session soon after discovering you’re pregnant.
When to Send Out Pregnancy Announcements?
A pregnancy announcement is a common tradition among many families. Pregnancy announcements are sent to friends and family by the expecting parents to notify them of the impending birth of a new child. This differs from a birth announcement which is usually sent within the first year of the baby’s birth to alert family and friends of the birth of the baby.
If you are planning on using your maternity photographs for your pregnancy announcements, you’ll want to book your session a little sooner than normal. Ideally, you’ll want to have your professional maternity photos done no later than the start of the third trimester, or around 27 to 28 weeks. This is the sweet spot that allows you to get the pictures done in time to send out announcements before the due date.
Tips for Booking Maternity Photoshoots
If you’ve recently found out you’re pregnant, now is the perfect time to book an appointment with a photographer. When booking a shoot, consider photography tips you may want to share, any maternity photo ideas you may have, and whether you want to schedule a newborn session with the same photographer. Here are some other tips for achieving beautiful maternity photos:
- Choose the right photographer. Pick a professional photographer whose personality and style you naturally connect with. Today, many maternity photographers also offer newborn photography services which can save you time after the baby is born. Search online and social media for reviews.
- Ask about availability. Some photographers can fit you in the very next week, while others may put you on a waiting list for months. Always ask your photographer about their availability to avoid missing out on this opportunity.
- Consider previous pregnancies. Women who have been pregnant before tend to show faster than new moms who have never gone through a pregnancy.
- Don’t wait too long to schedule. The last few weeks of pregnancy can be rough on both your mind and body. Avoid waiting until the last minute to have your session.
- Pay attention to your body. Only you know how you’re feeling and if you’re up for a maternity shoot. Choose a time when you are feeling your best.
- Order your dress in advance. It can be hard to find the perfect maternity dress last minute. Give yourself plenty of time to find the perfect dress. Some recommendations include the Anya, Cypress, or one of our best sellers, Jax.
The right maternity gown can take your maternity photos to a whole new level. When choosing a dress, avoid distracting patterns and stick with a solid color. Options like our Jeorgia Set can really set the mood, while dresses like Jessa are highly feminine and traditional. For even more amazing maternity dress options, check out our large selection of designer maternity dresses at J&L Designs Boutique.