After booking a session, the next question moms usually ask me is ‘what do we wear?’. I get that. It’s hard to make sure everyone looks good together without being too matchy-matchy and I’m always happy to offer wardrobe advice and/or critique outfit choices. Maternity sessions add an extra layer of difficulty because you have to consider how the bump will appear in photos too. It’s all to easy to choose something that doesn’t work as well as you thought it would. I thought I would use the Bannon family’s maternity session as an example as I share my tips for dressing yourself for a maternity session.
USE OF COLOR & TEXTURE
While preparing for her maternity session in Fort Walton Beach, Stephanie asked me if I thought it would be ok to wear white/off white on the beach. Would it blend into the sand too much? It may surprise you to know that it doesn’t. A monochromatic color palette actually works exceptionally well and is extremely flattering to skin tones. When working with monotones, it is a good idea to incorporate textures such as lace, knits, linen. Textures add another layer of visual interest to an image without competing or distracting from the subject. Stephanie chose a dress with a lace wrapped bodice that I think works perfectly.
When dressing the bump for photos, it is important to consider how your choice shows off your belly. I generally suggest something fitted around the whole belly so you aren’t having to hold loose fabric in to get a nice pregnant shape. It is also important to make sure you have boob/belly separation. Shirts or dresses that are so tight that the fabric stretches flat over the space between your breasts and bump, should be avoided.
The first outfit that Stephanie sent for review was an off the shoulder white top with a hi-lo hem (or at least it was hi-lo over a baby bump!) and a taupe skirt with excellent texture and a waist band that sat below the bump. Very boho and beachy. I loved the color, texture, and the fact that her bare belly poked out (the cutest!). BUT the skirt was unfortunately not designed for maternity wear and the ankle length hem hung much lower in the front than in the back. As much as I loved the outfit, I had to advise against it. But she was on the right track.
If you aren’t comfortable with a bare belly or form fitting outfit, that’s ok. Just be sure to choose the right fabric. Thick or stiff cotton dresses don’t do anything to show off the curves that are the whole reason behind this photo shoot. The dress Stephanie ultimately chose was this flowing, empire waisted gown made for maternity photography. It wasn’t fitted, but the empire wast provided perfect bust/bump separation and the fabric used on the more voluminous maternity gowns is slinky and skims the body as it moves. It is also light enough to billow beautifully in the wind. Such material is an important feature in a dress that isn’t fitted, as it facilitates belly definition, especially as the wearer is walking or sitting.
If ever there were a time to wear body shaping undergarments, it’s with fitted dresses and fabrics prone to clinging to curves. Everything we just talked about. And guess what…Maternity Spanx are a thing! If you’d like a little help smoothing everything out, go for it. No one will know…unless you tell me…and I’ll admire your dedication to bump definition…especially if it’s August.
The key thing to remember here is that whatever you choose to wear for your maternity session should make it very apparent that you are pregnant. Without any extra work on your part. You should be able to move and sit in it and still look pregnant. If you have to stand a certain way, hold back fabric, or otherwise make an effort to define your belly, then it’s not a great choice.
I’m always here to help with suggestions, direction, and feedback should you need it.