Client Guides, Maternity

April 6, 2022

Top Maternity Photo Questions | Northern Virginia Photographer

Top Maternity Photo Questions | Virginia Photographer

If you have questions about maternity photos, you’re in the right place! As a photographer in Northern Virginia specializing in maternity and newborn photos, I’m here to help you get beautiful portraits. Over the years, these are the top questions that I get asked about maternity portrait sessions!

When is the best time to take maternity photos?

It’s best to have maternity photos done when you’re between 28 – 34 weeks along. The exact timing varies from person to person, as each pregnancy is unique! The goal is to have a bump big enough to capture the way you want, without being so far along that you’re uncomfortable while we’re taking them. If you’re having twins, you may want to have photos taken on the earlier side of that timeframe! Also, if you’re past that point but still want photos, it’s not be too late – you can technically take maternity photos up until baby arrives! And although I’m typically booked out at least a month in advance, last-minute openings are sometimes available. You can always check!

Where should I take my maternity photos?

When you choose me as your photographer, you have three options.

The first option is taking your maternity photos at my natural studio in Northern Virginia. This is an ideal spot if your photos will take place in the winter, or if it will be during the summer and you would prefer air conditioning. The studio offers white walls, cozy linens, and a simplistic backdrop. I’m located in Sterling, Virginia, and you’re always welcome to stop by the studio before you book! Simply reach out to schedule a complimentary appointment. We can chat about your vision for the photos, you can browse my client closet of dresses, and you can see the space! You can view a couple of studio maternity sessions here:

Ashtin’s maternity photos at the studio

Stef’s maternity photos at the studio

mountain maternity photos shenandoah national park northern virginia maternity photographer photo

The second options is taking your maternity photos at an outdoor location or venue in the area. Since I’m based in Northern Virginia, most of my maternity sessions take place in Virginia, DC, and Maryland. I occasionally travel for portrait sessions, so if you’re not located nearby, don’t hesitate to reach out.

I’ll help you choose a location in the area depending on your preferences. Whether that’s a garden filled with blooms, mountaintop views in Shenandoah National Park, iconic DC locations, or something that offers a little bit of city and nature, I promise there’s something for you. Get some ideas for Northern Virginia maternity session locations here! Or check out the top DC portrait session locations here.

Here are a few of my all-time favorite maternity sessions for ideas:

Mountainside Maternity Photos in Virginia

Elegant Waterfront Maternity Photos in Maryland

Jones Point Park Maternity Photos in Alexandria, VA

Chesapeake Bay Maternity Photos in Maryland

Manassas Battlefields Park Maternity Photos in Virginia

Most sessions take place an hour and a half before sunset for the most flattering light. If you choose an iconic DC location, such as the National Mall, those sessions take place at sunrise to avoid crowds.

Finally, your third option is to take your maternity photos at your home. This can be a great way to capture simple, intimate moments as you get ready to welcome your baby home. We can take photos in the nursery if it’s ready or outside in your neighborhood. All I need is window light, and we’ll capture some sweet photos. These sessions typically take place when your home gets the best light. This is often late morning or early afternoon, but I will help you choose what’s best!

Can my partner and children join the photos?

Absolutely! During a custom portrait session, we’ll make time for photos of just you and your bump; some of you and your partner; some with you and your other children; and finally, a family portrait with everyone together!

I do have one option that’s for mom’s only, which is available as a petite session when you book a newborn session or when you join the Baby Plan Membership. However, all of my other maternity sessions allow for your immediate family to join you for photos.

client closet dress northern virginia photographer

What should I wear for maternity photos?

Long, flowy gowns are my top choice for maternity photos. They emphasize your bump in a natural, effortless way. My studio also has a client closet of dresses for you to borrow during your maternity session! It includes a variety of dress styles and sizes, with many being “bump-friendly.” In general, I always recommend soft, neutral colors so the focus can be on you the emotions. The following colors photograph beautifully: ivory, cream, dusty blues, sage green, blush, lavender, and grays. Black dresses also can be a beautiful way to show off your silhouette.

Another option is to wear a casual outfit such as a loose, oversized sweater and jeans. If we’re having the session at the studio, many mamas like to show off their bump a little more with robes, cardigans, bodysuits, etc. You can even wear a dress and a casual outfit if you want! During the planning part of the portrait experience I’ll help you pick the perfect outfits.

maternity photo outfits

Do I really need maternity photos?

As a photographer, I strongly believe in capturing life’s most memorable milestones. One day you’re going to miss cradling your bump, and having these photos will effortlessly take you back to that special time. Sure, you may have iPhone photos. But there’s something special about capturing these moments with a professional photographer (especially on film! There’s something magical about this medium, adding a nostalgic touch to your photos).

Professional photos also give you the benefit of getting the most flattering poses. I can’t tell you how many mamas were nervous about getting in front of the camera, but when the gallery was ready, they loved how they looked in the photos. I also have plenty of gowns in my client closet to choose from, so you can dress up in something that makes you feel incredible. (Without having to buy the dress on your own).

Also, I can say that I’ve never had anyone say they regret doing them. Instead, I often hear moms say later on that they never had them done and wish they did.

If you don’t necessarily want a full session and want something a little more simple and sweet, there is a petite option available to my Newborn clients and my Baby Plan Members.

What makes your maternity portrait experience unique?

As I mentioned in the last question, I’m a film and digital photographer. By film, I mean old school, physical rolls of film I send off to a lab to have developed (not video)! I use film because it allows me to slow down as an artist and be extra intentional with every photo. It also gives you soft, creamy tones that are simply not replicated in digital photos. You’ll receive your film photos as digital scans, so they will be easily integrated in your final gallery. (The photo above was captured on film, and most of them on this page were too!)

I also strive to provide an exceptional experience every step of the way. By helping you choose the perfect location, providing complimentary access to my client closet of dresses, wardrobe styling advice, and everything else, your session is tailored completely to you. Whether you’re hoping to capture your maternity photos at the studio, an outdoor location, or at your home, I’m here to make the process as seamless as possible!

When your photos are edited and ready to view, I only offer the best in heirlooms. Custom-framed wall galleries, heirloom albums with custom debossing, professional prints and more are available. The best part? I take care of all the details, so you don’t have to lift a finger. You’ll walk away with moments you’ll always remember and timeless pieces to match.

When should I book my maternity session?

It’s best to book at the beginning of your second trimester. I take a limited number of portrait sessions each month to make sure I can give each of my client’s the attention they deserve. By booking early, you can ensure you get a date that’s best for you!

This is exactly what I’m looking for – how do I book?

To reserve your session date and time on my calendar, you’ll simply need to sign a contract and pay a non-refundable session fee. Both can easily be done online! Email me at or fill out my contact form to get started. I’ll be in touch with all the pricing details, and you’re always welcome to make an appointment to stop by the studio if you want to meet me in person. I can’t wait to work with you!

Do you have more maternity photo questions? Email me at I would love to help you!


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