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When to Take Maternity Photos: Portland Pregnancy Photography

December 14, 2022

Filed in: Maternity

maternity photoshoot location: the columbia river gorge views

When is the best time for maternity photos?

Whether you’ve landed here because you’re wondering when is too early for maternity photos (or too late!) or if you’re just looking for maternity photo ideas, the first step is figuring out when to take maternity photos during your pregnancy. Generally speaking, photographers recommend taking your maternity photos between 24 to 34 weeks. The two main considerations to think about before deciding when to take maternity photos are:

  • when you’ll have a visibly pregnant belly (if you want that to be a focus of the session)
  • your health (are you high-risk or likely to have doctor-ordered bedrest or deliver early?)

Often, these factors have to do with whether you’re a first time mom and how many babies you’re carrying. Read on for the best time for maternity photos for you:


First time moms

Photographers typically recommend taking maternity photos between 28-34 weeks for first-time moms. You’ll be able to wait long enough to have a visible bump for photos, and getting it done before 34 weeks you’ll hopefully ensure photos are done before you’re too uncomfortable to be on your feet for an hour.


Moms of multiples, high-risk pregnancies and second+ time moms

Moms who have been pregnant before often start to show earlier, so they can usually get maternity photos done a few weeks earlier than their first-time counterparts. 26-34 weeks is usually a safe window for veteran moms to get their photos done, unless you have a history of delivering early.


Moms of multiples or high-risk pregnancies run the risk of getting put on bed rest later in their pregnancy, so their sweet spot for taking pregnancy photos is 24-32 weeks.


When is too early for maternity photos?

If you’re like me (read: checklist-making Type A planner), you probably want to get right on with taking your maternity photos like…the second you found out you were pregnant. You’re doing all the pregnancy to-do list items, cruising Pinterest, saving all your favorite inspiration posts, and dreaming of the moment it’s your turn. But hold on—you want your bump to actually show in your pregnancy portraits, right? For that reason, anytime in the first trimester is probably too early to take maternity photos. 


outdoor winter maternity photo


If you aren’t particular about obvious-bump portraits and just want to document this time in your family, then anytime you feel well enough for photos would be fine. But if you’re dreaming of images where you can clearly tell you’re pregnant, first time moms should schedule maternity photos at 28 weeks or later. Moms who have been pregnant before often show earlier, so you may be able to schedule maternity photos as early as 24 weeks.

When is too late for maternity photos?

Is it ever too late for maternity pictures? The main thing it comes down to (besides your baby making their appearance earthside) is your comfort level. The last few weeks of pregnancy aren’t the most comfortable. Do you want to be on your feet taking photos for an hour at 39 weeks pregnant? I know my main goal those last few weeks was to sit down and relax! If you want to tough it out, then go for it! But I probably wouldn’t plan it that way. There’s so many things that could come up: scheduling (I book about six weeks out), doctor’s orders for bedrest, illnesses or weather forcing a reschedule could all take that 39 week maternity session and turn it into a newborn session! So while I love to say that it isn’t too late for pregnancy portraits until your baby’s finally earthside, I’d plan ahead and get scheduled as soon as you know you’d like images to document your pregnancy. 


family of 3 walking in a field

When to BOOK your maternity photos 

Okay, so now that we’ve figured out when you should take your maternity photos, when should you book your maternity photoshoot? Well, that depends on how far out your photographer books. Most maternity photographers book between one to six months out, but it varies. In general, reach out to your photographer after your 20 week scan. 


However, if you’re hoping to do your photos during the busy portrait season (typically August through late October), reach out to your photographer even sooner. This is especially true if you have a busy schedule yourself, or aren’t able to take time off of work for a weekday session or other non-peak time of day. If you’re dreaming of a golden hour weekend session in October for your portraits: get on the calendar now!

Winter maternity photo ideas

What if the best time to take maternity photos lands in the middle of winter? Get creative! If outdoor maternity pictures are important to you, choose what to wear for your portraits carefully. Include plenty of layers, and bring handwarmers and a heavy coat to wear in between photos. Alternatively, you might choose a studio maternity session: ask me about details for this!

family of three in a field in winter: portland, oregon

Family maternity photo ideas

As you’re planning your maternity portraits, consider who you’d like to include in your session. Are you envisioning a solo session, or photos of just you and your partner? Do you have other children who you’d like to include in some or all of the photos? I love when clients who are celebrating their second, third, or fourth baby take family pregnancy photos. It’s like a regular family session, but with some extra time dedicated to pictures of just mom. This is ideal if you’re not looking for a whole session of pregnancy photos, but still want to document this time before baby joins your family.


portland maternity photography


More Resources to Help Plan Your Maternity Photos:

Portland Maternity Photographer Portfolio

Ultimate Guide to Outdoor Maternity Photos

What to Wear for Maternity Photos in 2022

Maternity Photos Investment & Session Details


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When to Take Maternity Photos: The Essential Checklist

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