Your clients want to know: what’s the best time for maternity photos? Here’s how to photograph a beautiful baby bump maternity session any parent will love!

Most portrait clients can have their photos made any time, anywhere. Not pregnant people! For obvious reasons, taking photos for a maternity session can only happen within a very specific window of time. Here you’ll learn:

  • When to book and photograph a maternity session
  • How to create a great client experience
  • What will keep your maternity photography clients coming back
A pregnant woman stands on a beach at sunset. The sand is almost white, and dotted with footprints; and the sky is a beautiful pink tone. The pregnant woman wears a semi-sheer, lace, white gown that's billowing in the wind behind her. She cradles her baby bump as she looks back over her shoulder along the beach.
Rainiers Photography

Here’s when most clients should take their maternity photographs

“We recommend that our clients schedule their maternity photo session for when they are 28 to 36 weeks into their pregnancy.”

—Rainiers Photography

New York City photographers the Rainiers say you should plan to photograph most maternity session clients in the 28 to 36 weeks time frame. That’s as early as seven months, but no later than the end of the eighth month of pregnancy. These few weeks represent the best time to show off a nice round pregnant belly!

Side-by-side vertical portraits depict a young, Asian, pregnant woman wearing a semi-sheer, light pink dress in a pink-decorated bedroom adorned with flowers.
Rainiers Photography

What’s so magical about this photography window?

During the 28 to 36 weeks window, the expectant parent typically still feels fairly comfortable, so it’s less taxing for them to stand or pose for photos. It’s also late enough in the pregnancy for your clients to very clearly look pregnant, with a nice round belly to show off!

When to take maternity photos sooner than recommended

There’s a reason to break every rule, and maternity photos are no exception! Here are some reasons why you might want to schedule a maternity shoot earlier than 28 weeks…

A pregnant woman lies in a milk bath adorned with bright yellow flowers.
Rainiers Photography

If your client is expecting multiples

Twins, triplets, quadruplets: holy cow, that parent will be SO tired — and the babies are still weeks away from being born!

Parents of multiples typically feel ready for “bump photos” as early as their second trimester, beginning with week 13 and ending after week 26. More babies = more baby bump! And that means your client’s belly will look photo-ready even sooner.

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If your client’s pregnancy is considered high-risk

High-risk pregnancies have become more common as medical breakthroughs empower people to choose parenthood later in life. Though most high-risk pregnancies go smoothly, the best time to shoot maternity photos with your high-risk client is during their second trimester.

Two studio portraits depict a white woman posing with a round, pregnant belly. In one photo, she's topless, covering her chest with her hand. She poses against a gray backdrop for this black and white image. In the next photo, the woman wears a black sweater that is cropped above her baby bump. One arm hands by her side while the other drapes over her head. She stands against a black backdrop.
Rainiers Photography

If your client wants to print announcements or invitations

If your pregnant client is planning to use their maternity photos for bump announcements, baby shower invitations, or any other printed products, you’ll likely want to shoot their maternity session no later than the beginning of their third trimester — during weeks 27 and 28 of the second trimester. Modify those timeline recommendations according to your own turnaround time so your client’s product delivery isn’t delayed.

“As long as the mom still feels comfortable, we are excited to take their maternity photos—even at the last minute. This can mean that they won’t receive their final products until after their baby is born, but we believe it’s better late than never!”

—Rainiers Photography

A pregnant woman in a teal blue gown poses first against a glass wall, where her reflection echos her pose. Next, she poses in a portrait with her partner and child. The child sits on the partner's shoulders, and Mom leans in to kiss the baby on the forehead. The Brooklyn Bridge appears in the background.
Rainiers Photography

Create a great maternity client experience

Learning how to take maternity photos at the best time is just the start of delivering a fantastic baby bump client experience to every pregnant client!

“The relationship and understanding we create with our maternity clients are why they choose us for their pregnancy photo session. Our clients love our work, and we love them!”

—Rainiers Photography

A fine-art drone photograph depicts the tiny image of a white-dressed pregnant woman reclining on a beach above a bright blue ocean's waves.
Rainiers Photography

Client experience tips for maternity photographers

  • Schedule the maternity shoot at the recommended best time to make sure you provide the ultimate comfort and mobility for your baby bump client.
  • Encourage your client to moisturize their belly for soft, glowing skin at their photo session.
  • Remind clients not to wear tight clothing to their photo session. This can leave marks in the skin that are hard to retouch in your photos.
  • Instruct your client to get a good night’s sleep before their maternity session.
  • Establish a maternity shoot closet with a variety of belly-friendly outfit choices your client can select from.
  • Offer hair and makeup styling services to help your clients look and feel their best for the photos, no matter how many weeks remain in their pregnancy.
A pregnant woman is photographed against a deep blue studio backdrop. A light teal gown swirls around her.
Rainiers Photography

Shoot for success

To ensure a terrific maternity shoot indoors or outdoors, the Rainiers shoot with Canon and Profoto gear. Here’s their go-to gear list for maternity sessions:

  • Canon 5D MarkIII
  • Profoto B2 and A1
  • 35mm f/1.4
  • 24-70mm f/2.8

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Sell for success

Albums and framed prints are the most popular photography products offered by the Rainiers. These savvy photographers ensure healthy product sales by making maternity photos they know their maternity clients will love—the poses the Rainiers are known for! Their most popular baby bump poses are:

  • gown toss maternity pictures
  • poses with both parents
  • timeline black-and-white maternity images on a simple background
A pregnant woman in a flowing, pink, semi-sheer gown cradles her belly and gazes down toward her unborn child. She's standing on a beach shortly before sunset with dune grass and a bright sky behind her.
Rainiers Photography

Keep your clients coming back for more!

Don’t stop with maternity photo shoots! Once the baby is born and the doctor gives the all-clear, newborn photos are the obvious next-step for any photographer. Find ways to build comprehensive photography packages that will provide your clients with images that document their entire family journey, from pregnancy to birth to the wild toddler years and beyond.

“We believe everyone is a masterpiece in the making. Our business is to capture God’s masterpiece! With this in mind, we are determined to always give our best and go the extra mile.”

—Rainiers Photography


You’re never too old to learn new stuff…

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