Preparing for your maternity photo sessions: our 5 tips

As a birth/baby photographer, you certainly offer maternity shoots. This special moment with the future mother (and, increasingly, with the future father) is an opportunity for parents to keep beautiful shots of this very special period that is pregnancy. To succeed in your pregnancy shoots, it is essential to understand parents' expectations and reassure them. Maternity photoshoot accessories also make these photos more original.

Before you start: make contact successfully

Preparing well for a maternity photo session starts from the first contact with the future parents. To guide your work and convince them to work with you, it is necessary to directly identify their needs and desires. Here are the four essential pieces of information that you must quickly collect.

The presence of the future dad

Will the future father be present or not? And does he want to participate, or not, in the maternity photo session? If maternity photo shoots were, originally, often focused on mothers-to-be, this is tending to evolve and fathers are more and more present in the photos.

This first information is essential. It will allow you to prepare all the rest of your work, first for the mood board, but also to understand what the couple expects from this maternity photo session.

The purpose of the photos

The second essential information to know is the purpose of the photos: what will they be used for? Are they only intended for personal use, as a souvenir of the pregnancy for the family, or are they intended to be shared, for example to announce the pregnancy and/or the sex of the baby?

If the photos are intended to announce the sex of the baby, consider asking the sex of the baby (it seems obvious but it's always better to write it down!) and this could impact the accessories and colors chosen for outfits and photo backgrounds.

Parents’ specific wishes

Third information necessary to know from the start, even before the start of the project: the specific wishes of the parents. Perhaps they have already put together a mood board (for example via a Pinterest board) of photos that they like and would like? Having an idea will help you know where you put your camera! 😉

Past photo shoots

Fourth and final interesting information to know: the number of photo sessions in which the mother-to-be or the couple has already participated and, if applicable, how these photo sessions went. This will allow you, in one question, to assess the couple's comfort in front of the lens and the couple's expectations of you, as a photographer. Do they want you to guide them, how, do they simply want you to take the photos they have in mind... Even more, you will know the elements of reassurance to send them, to validate the service but also during the collaboration, to that they feel at ease.

Tip #1: Prepare a mood board

Once you've decided to work with the soon-to-be family on their maternity photo session, it's time to prepare a mood board. In other words, a set of already existing photos, representing the universe that you want to give to the photo shoot.

Depending on your way of operating and your prices, you can create a specific moodboard for your clients or have several moodboards already ready to offer them according to their desires. For example: a boy moodboard, a girl moodboard, a couple moodboard. Unless you prefer to think in terms of atmosphere with a bohemian moodboard, a floral moodboard and an urban moodboard, for example. Generally speaking, we find it interesting to work with pre-established universes because this allows you to have a pre-established set of maternity photo session accessories for each atmosphere.

Tell us in the comments to this article how you like to operate? Do you do 100% tailor-made or do you have predefined atmospheres that you twist for each of your clients?

Tip #2: Comfort and reassure future parents about their choices

It’s time to reassure future parents! Sending them the mood board and letting them express themselves on it is already a first way to understand their desires and give them the feeling of being heard before the photo session.

But you can go further, by giving them tips and tricks to prepare on:

  • the choice of outfits: if you don't plan to provide them during the shoot, it is essential that the outfits are adapted to the chosen atmosphere!
  • hair and makeup: if the mother-to-be wants to take advantage of this moment to do specific treatments, you can advise her on what would work best in relation to the atmosphere selected together;
  • personal accessories to bring back: it is possible that the couple would like to bring back accessories of their choice for the maternity photo session, for example an ultrasound or the pregnancy test (yes, yes). Discuss with them what they take care of and what you provide so you can be sure to avoid oversights. For example, plan to send them a list of accessories to bring back.
  • The don't: If certain things should be avoided for your shots (such as the use of oil on the mother's body, too original a manicure, perhaps we avoid green nails or too strong a color...), think also to specify it in advance.

Again, if you work with predefined universes and atmospheres, we recommend that you prepare an automatic email with all of this information in order to reassure your clients before the shoot.

Tip #3: Rent and/or locate an intimate venue

Depending on the type of atmosphere desired (intimate, in a photo studio or outdoors), select the location of the photo session. If the couple wants an outdoor session, consider doing some scouting in advance so as not to be caught off guard on the day of the photo session. ⚠️ A pregnant woman may have difficulty moving around, this is a point not to be neglected!

If you have your own photo studio and still work from home, this job shouldn't take up too much of your time! 😇

Tip #4: Gather props for your maternity photo session

Last step and not least to properly prepare for your maternity photo session: gather the accessories you will need to enhance your session.

Our list of accessories for your maternity photo session

To succeed in your maternity photo sessions, here is our list of essentials. Some will accessorize a photo of a single mother-to-be, while others will facilitate an announcement or enhance a couple photo.

  • A crown of dried flowers for a bohemian and floral atmosphere;
  • A doula, this protective and traditional necklace, so representative of pregnancy, for a gentle and intimate atmosphere;
  • Outfits, lingerie, kimono, dresses and flared tops , revealing the belly. You can also ask your future parents to come with their own outfits but be sure to give them some guidelines on colors and style so that your shoot is beautiful. Suggesting your own outfits will allow you to establish total consistency for the entire photo shoot and reassure the mother-to-be if she has the impression that nothing suits her anymore;
  • Balloons, and in particular balloons in the shape of letters (BOY, GIRL, etc.), are classic accessories for revealing the sex of the unborn child;
  • Smoke bombs, particularly colored ones, again to announce the sex of the child;
  • A child's accessory (soft toy, pacifier, bassinet, toy, etc.) to show that the child is expected. Parents can bring an object that will soon belong to the child to give meaning to the photo;
  • Podiums and cubes to seat the models;
  • Vinyl and paper photo backgrounds to enhance the background of photos and give a specific style.
Access Shooting is a reference site that has existed since September 2022. Our site offers for sale several of the accessories mentioned in this list.

Our tip for accessories for your maternity photo session

To save time and avoid having to multiply accessories, while still pleasing your customers, we recommend that you start with two to three different atmospheres to offer to your customers according to their desires. This way, you will use your accessories regularly, which will allow you to make them profitable and avoid taking time to buy new ones for each shoot.

On Access Shooting, you will quickly find pregnancy photo session kits by atmosphere to save you even more time.

  • Kit of 3 basics to dress future mothers
  • Floral maternity shoot accessories

Tip #5: Put your models at ease!

On the big day, beyond the planned poses and photos, the most important thing will be to put your model(s) at ease, depending on whether the mother-to-be poses alone or accompanied by the father. If the quality of the photos is necessarily important, the experience during the pregnancy photo session should not be neglected: it is also what will condition the couple's memories and word of mouth afterwards.

A meeting to put your models at ease before the big day

A few days before the big day, you can also offer a telephone or video meeting to validate the outfit of the young mother or the couple before the pregnancy shoot. This moment will allow you to create an initial link that you can rely on during the shoot and to reassure participants about their outfit beforehand.

Put your models at ease on the big day

To help the young mother and/or the couple enjoy this moment, several solutions are available to you on the big day:

  • Suggest a make-up session on the big day with a make-up artist you know. This can help the mother-to-be relax and enjoy, especially if she is not used to wearing makeup;
  • Offer a massage before the session to help with relaxation;
  • Prepare a snack before the pregnancy photo session to start the discussion and help take the drama out of the session.

From there, it’s your talent as a photographer that comes into play! ☺️ Reassure, exchange, motivate... It's up to you to arrange so that your models feel good and come out of the session with a smile, nice memories and beautiful photos.


And you, how do you prepare for your maternity shoots? Is there any specific information you communicate to parents? What are your favorite accessories for the maternity photoshoots you organize? What accessories do your customers like the most?

See you soon !

The Access Shooting team

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