When to Take Maternity Photos: Tips for the Best Time to Capture Your Journey

Maternity photoshoots are a popular way to capture the beauty and excitement of pregnancy. However, many expecting mothers may wonder when the best time is to take these photos. 

Pregnant woman and father
Photo by Renan Rezende

There are several factors to consider, such as the size of the baby bump, the mother’s comfort level, and the availability of a photographer.

According to several sources, the ideal time for a maternity photoshoot is between 28 and 35 weeks of pregnancy. During this time, the mother’s belly is typically large enough to be noticeable, but she is not yet too uncomfortable to pose for photos.

 Also, there is still enough time to get the photos printed and displayed before the baby arrives.

However, the exact timing may vary depending on the mother’s individual circumstances. For example, if she is expecting multiples or has a high-risk pregnancy, it may be best to take photos earlier in the second trimester. 

In the end, the decision of when to take maternity photos should be based on the mother’s personal preferences and comfort level, as well as the advice of her healthcare provider and photographer.

First Trimester

Weeks 1-12

During the first trimester, many women experience morning sickness, fatigue, and other symptoms that can make it difficult to schedule a maternity photo session. 

However, some women choose to take photos during this time to capture the excitement and anticipation of their pregnancy.

If you decide to take photos during the first trimester, it’s important to keep in mind that your body may not have changed much yet. 

You may not have a noticeable baby bump, and your breasts may not have started to grow or change shape. However, you can still take photos that highlight your excitement and joy about your pregnancy.

Keep in mind that many photographers recommend waiting until the second trimester to take photos when your baby bump is more visible.

Second Trimester

Weeks 13-27

The second trimester is often considered the best time to take maternity photos. During this time, most women are past the early stages of pregnancy and have not yet reached the discomfort of the third trimester.

Also, the baby bump is usually more prominent and defined, making for great photo opportunities.

Many photographers suggest scheduling your maternity shoot around 20-24 weeks, as this is when the bump is typically at its best size and shape. 

However, this can vary depending on your individual pregnancy, so it’s important to discuss timing with your photographer.

Another benefit of taking maternity photos during the second trimester is that you may be feeling more energetic and comfortable than you will in the later stages of pregnancy. 

This can make for a more enjoyable and relaxed photoshoot experience.

When planning your maternity shoot during the second trimester, consider incorporating some of your favorite activities or hobbies. 

For example, if you enjoy hiking, you could take photos in a scenic outdoor location. If you love cooking, you could have a photoshoot in your kitchen while preparing your favorite meal. These personal touches can make your photos even more special and memorable.

Third Trimester

Weeks 28-40

The third trimester is the most popular time to take maternity photos. This is because the baby bump is more prominent, and you are still comfortable enough to pose for photos. 

However, it is important to schedule your photo session earlier in the trimester, around 28-34 weeks, to avoid any complications that may arise in the later weeks of pregnancy.

During the third trimester, you may experience swelling, fatigue, and other uncomfortable symptoms. It is important to communicate with your photographer about any concerns you may have and take breaks as needed during the photo session.

You may want to take photos in a natural setting, such as a park or beach, or in a studio with a plain background. 

You can also bring along items that represent your pregnancy journey, such as ultrasound photos or baby shoes.

Overall, the third trimester is a great time to capture the beauty and excitement of your pregnancy. 

When is it too late to take maternity photos?

While it’s important to capture the beauty of your pregnancy, there is such a thing as waiting too long to take maternity photos.

A friend of mine recently called me asking me if I could take a few photos of her pregnant wife, It was like 2 weeks before her due date. Unfortunately, I was out of town, and when I came back, I called my friend to set a date, that very evening the baby decided to come one week before the due date.

The lesson was learned, no more last 2 weeks of pregnancy photoshoots will even cross his mind. As a photographer of course I took note too.

Here are some factors to consider when deciding when to schedule your session:

  • Your due date: If you wait too long, you may risk missing the opportunity to take photos altogether. Keep in mind that babies can come early, so it’s best to schedule your session for no later than 36 weeks.
  • Comfort level: As your pregnancy progresses, you may become more uncomfortable and less inclined to take photos. If you wait too long, you may not feel up to it at all.
  • Physical appearance: While every woman is beautiful in her own way, some may feel self-conscious about their appearance as they near the end of their pregnancy. If you’re concerned about how you’ll look in photos, it’s best to take them earlier rather than later.

Ultimately, the decision of when to take maternity photos is a personal one. However, it’s important to keep in mind that waiting too long may result in missed opportunities or discomfort. 

Aim to schedule your session for some time between 26 and 34 weeks, when you’re likely to be feeling good and looking great.


Health Concerns

When planning your maternity photo session, it’s important to consider any health concerns you may have during pregnancy. 

If you have a high-risk pregnancy or complications, it may be best to consult with your healthcare provider before scheduling a session. 

Additionally, make sure to discuss any concerns with your photographer beforehand to ensure they are aware and can make accommodations as needed.

Location and Setting

Choosing the right location and setting for your maternity photos can make a big difference in the overall look and feel of your session.

Consider whether you want an indoor or outdoor session, and think about locations that hold special meaning to you and your partner. 

Some popular options include parks, beaches, and urban areas. Keep in mind that certain locations may require permits or have restrictions, so be sure to do your research beforehand.

Clothing and Props

What you wear and the props you bring can also play a role in the outcome of your maternity photos. It’s important to choose clothing that is comfortable and makes you feel confident. 

Many photographers recommend wearing form-fitting clothing to showcase your baby bump. 

When it comes to props, consider items that hold special meaning to you and your partner, such as ultrasound photos or baby shoes.

Keep in mind that less is often more when it comes to props and accessories. Too many items can be distracting and take away from the focus on you and your growing baby.

If you are looking for more props ideas you might love our simple maternity photos props ideas


After researching and reviewing various sources, it is clear that the best time to take maternity photos is between 28 and 36 weeks of pregnancy. This time frame allows for a visible baby bump without the discomfort and bloating that may occur in the later stages of pregnancy.

While this is the general time frame, it is important to consider each individual’s pregnancy and schedule the photo shoot accordingly. Some mothers may prefer to take photos earlier or later, depending on their personal preferences and schedules.

Overall, taking maternity photos is a special and exciting way to capture the beauty and joy of pregnancy.

By scheduling the photo shoot at the right time and with the right photographer, expecting mothers can create lasting memories to cherish for years to come.

You might be interested in our list of Maternity Photoshoot ideas here