The Best Clothes To Wear For an Outdoor Maternity Photo Shoot

best clothes outdoor maternity photos

As you prepare for your maternity photo shoot, one of the things you may spend the most time thinking about is what you will wear.

Whilst the main focus of your photographs will be you and your gorgeous bump, the style and colour of your clothes will change the look and feel of the images. Choose something without enough shape, and your bump may get ‘lost’ in the fabric. Similarly, too much pattern can mean that the viewer’s eye is distracted from the people in the photographs.

The ideal outfit will complement the natural environment around you, and complement your partner and/or children’s outfits if they’re involved in the session too. This will give a cohesive feel to your photographs, and a more professional finish. 

In this article I’ll explain how to create a timeless, cohesive look when choosing outfits for your outdoor maternity photographs. The key points are:

  1. Choose clothing that shows off the shape of your bump
  2. Make sure everyone is dressed for the same season
  3. Choose complementary colours
  4. Be prepared for all temperatures

Take your own bump progression photos

Choose clothing that shows off the shape of your bump

Your maternity session is all about capturing the beauty of your new shape, and it’s important to choose an outfit that shows off the beauty of your bump. The camera tends to amplify excess fabric which means your bump can get ‘lost’ inside baggy clothes. So choose something that ‘hugs’ your bump.

Some ideas of outfits that tend to do this are:

  • Maxi dresses that are fitted over the bust and then flow over your bump
  • Bodycon dresses
  • Jeans and a fitted top

If you’re not sure where to start, you can find some ideas over on my Pinterest board:


Make sure everyone is dressed for the same weather and occasion

As you put your outfit together with your partner and/or children’s outfits, make sure that everyone in your family is dressed for the same weather and occasion.

For example if everyone is wearing short sleeved tops with shorts or skirts, but one person is wearing a thick cardigan or coat the person in the cardigan or coat will look out of place.

Similarly if one person is in shorts and a t-shirt whilst everyone else has formal dresses and trousers on the person in shorts will look out of place. Making sure that you’re all dressed for the same weather and occasion will make sure you look cohesive as a group.

Surrey Maternity Photographer - Clare Murthy Photography

Choose complementary colours

Colour coordination might sound a little OTT  but choosing complementary colours can really bring photographs together, and importantly make sure that we see the people first and their clothes second.

This doesn’t mean that everyone in your photographs has to wear the same thing, or that everyone has to wear every colour in your colour scheme. The goal is to coordinate not match.

When putting together your family’s colour scheme choose a maximum of two or three colours that run through it.

If you’re not sure where to start it might help to think of one outfit that you definitely want to include and build your colour scheme with three or four colours and tones that complement it. Or choose one patterned item – for example your dress or your partner’s shirt – and use the colours from that as the basis of your scheme.

As you choose your colour scheme, take some time to consider the colours that will surround you in your chosen location, as these will also influence the colours that will work best for your shoot.

For example, during the spring and summer nature provides a softer colour palette – think pretty spring flowers, or long grasses in the summer. During the autumn and winter there can be much more brown, gold, and orange.

With this in mind, soft neutral colours tend to work well all year round. Deep, bold colours can work well during the autumn and winter, but don’t work well in the spring or summer.


Colours to avoid

There are some that don’t work well in outdoor family pictures at any time of year.

Black, neon, and very bright colours generally don’t work well in outdoor photos, and can make them look quite imbalanced as they are so different to the softer colour palette that Mother Nature provides. I recommend avoiding them completely.

Surrey-Maternity-Photography | Clare Murthy Photography

Be Prepared For All Temperatures

After all the hard work you’ve put in to planning everyone’s outfits, you don’t want to find that you’ll have to put a coat on top of it, or take off the cardigans and jumpers you had planned on everyone wearing. Think about what everyone will wear in both situations so that you have a plan B you’re happy with.

During the colder months, including lots of layers and textures in your outfits can remove the need for coats completely, which does give a cleaner look. Think thick cardigans, gilets, scarves, and jackets instead of one large coat.


Finishing Touches

Your hands will feature prominently in some of your photographs so you may like to give your fingernails a quick check over before the shoot too.

Cobham, Surrey-Pregnancy-Photographer

Summary: What To Wear For Your Outdoor Maternity Photo Shoot

I hope that you’ve found this article useful as you plan outfits to wear at your outdoor maternity photo shoot.

Keeping in mind the overall aim of showing off your bump, complimenting your environment and each other should help you achieve that cohesive look.

It can often be helpful to see real-life examples of how other families have coordinated their outfits. A good place to start is in your photographer’s portfolio. You can also find more inspiration over on my “What to Wear” Pinterest board:


Useful Articles

You may also find these articles helpful as you prepare for your maternity session:

How to do your own make up for photo shoots

What to do if you’re camera shy

Clare Murthy

Clare Murthy

I’m a newborn, baby and family photographer working with families from South West London and Surrey. I specialise in timeless, natural photography with no props or unnatural posing. I photograph babies at my studio, and families in beautiful outdoor locations. I'm based on the Surrey / London border, close to Hampton Court.
%d bloggers like this: