10 Pro Tips for a Gorgeous Maternity Photo Shoot

maternity photo shootOnce upon a time, women spent their pregnancies hiding from cameras -- but thanks to the advent of glamorous and artistic maternity photo shoots, moms-to-be now have the opportunity to document this magical time in their lives. But how can you make the most of your own personal photo shoot? We asked NYC-based maternity photographer Lola Melani for her tips on getting the most memorable and beautiful shots possible.

The first step, says Melani, is to "find the photographer whose style you love the best and with whom you connect the most."

"Remember, the task of your photographer is not simply to take flattering images, but to provide an unforgettable experience and ambience of relaxation and comfort in which you feel pampered and beautiful," Melani told CafeMom.

"I believe that the most important advice I can offer is to understand that the goal of your photography experience is to celebrate YOU, the miraculous life within you, and capture, in portraits, the essence of your beauty and emotions as you await the birth of the greatest gift you will ever receive."

Click through our slideshow for Melani's advice on how to prepare, what to wear, and much more! 


Image via Lola Melani Photography

  • The Right Preparation

    Image via Lola Melani Photography

    "Even though you might want to look tan for your photo session, I recommend that my clients avoid spray tanning, excessive bronzers, and shimmers," Melani told CafeMom. Also to avoid? Tight underwear! "Arrive at your photo shoot in loose clothing to prevent body marks," says Melani.

  • Getting That Glow

    Image via Lola Melani Photography

    When it comes to hair and makeup, Melani advocates for an natural look. "I recommend soft waves for the hair and light daytime makeup with an even skin tone and accented eyes and cheekbones," she says. Steer clear of dark eye shadow and highlighting -- but if you do want to go a little extra glam, she's a fan of false but natural-looking eyelashes.

    "The curve of the eyelashes helps to create a gorgeous, feminine silhouette," she explains. "I recommend using individual eyelashes so that they look more natural even in daylight photography."

  • Bring the Bling

    Image via Lola Melani Photography

    Melani encourages her pregnant mothers to bring accessories such as statement jewelry, scarves, flowers, hair crowns, etc. "Textures and colors will add a dimension to your portrait," she explains. "However, I recommend to keep the images simpler and not to do too much accessorizing so that it does not take away from the beauty of a maternity portrait."

    More from CafeMom: 10 Belly Bump Shots to Take During Your Pregnancy 

  • Smooth Silhouette

    Image via Lola Melani Photography

    "Your maternity session is the perfect excuse to shop for a few outfits that hug and complement your beautiful pregnancy curves," says Melani.

    "I recommend bringing at least one black dress to wear for the silhouette shot and another dress in cream or white for the more ethereal, dreamy, and soft portraits. Along with form-fitting dresses, flowing maxi dresses are also recommended. Another practical yet lovely option is to buy a long 'infinity' dress. Draped in many different styles from strapless to halter, they can be a great option for elegant clothed portraits."

  • Show Some Skin

    Image via Lola Melani Photography

    Something like this is a great perfect option if you don't want to reveal too much but still want to show off your belly, Melanie says of the shot here. "The skirt can even be a piece of stretchy fabric elegantly draped around the hips." 

  • Lace It Up

    Image via Lola Melani Photography

    "Lace dresses, lace cover-ups, lace fabrics, lace robes … I love the way lace enhances images with beautiful texture, dimension, and femininity," says Melani.

    More from CafeMom: Badass Mom Expecting Quintuplets Shares Her Beautiful Journey (PHOTOS)

  • Sheer Drama

    Image via Lola Melani Photography

    "Sheer baby doll, sheer maxi skirt, sheer blouse ... anything that lets a little light through and show your body contours will look stunning for silhouette portraits," Melani reveals.


  • Living Color

    Image via Lola Melani

    "Add a little color to a few images during your maternity session with a colorful dress or fabrics," said Melani. But, she adds, "Stay away from patterns, as they can take away from the beauty of the portrait. Solids are best." 

  • Material Girl

    Image via Lola Melani Photography

    "Natural silks, chiffons, or any sheer flowing fabrics that can be beautifully draped around you and be tossed in the air create beautiful images," said Melani.

    "I recommend at least four yards of fabrics for the 'tossing' images and at least three yards for the full body image. In fact, it can even just be a plain white bed sheet, but with the right lighting and pose, it will look stunning. Think outside the box!"

    More from CafeMom: 16 Things Adventurous Pregnant Ladies Have Done With Their Baby Bumps 

  • Timing Is Everything

    Image via Lola Melani Photography

    "Maternity portraits are best captured from week 31 to week 36," Melani says -- but, of course that can vary! For example, she recommends scheduling a photo shoot from week 27 to week 31 if you're carrying multiples. 

    Whenever you schedule your appointment, Melani adds, be sure to factor some post–photo shoot romance into your plans. "Planning a romantic lunch or dinner date with your partner after the session is the perfect way to enhance and sustain the significance of your photo shoot experience!"

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