When Should I Book My Maternity Session? [Chicago Maternity Photo Tips]

Tips for mom-to-be on what to expect from a maternity session.

I’ve been photographing expecting moms for almost a decade now and it’s one of my favorite kind of sessions to document. Don’t get me wrong, I love photographing those squishy little newborns but there’s something so beautiful about maternity photos that gets me so excited. Maybe it’s because moms are glowing and so excited to meet that little life growing inside of them, or because I just love any kind of love so much. Or maybe it’s because I love that I’m giving these babies a glimpse of their beautiful mama at one of the most exciting times in her life. I never knew what my own mom looked like when she was pregnant with me. I think there might be one snapshot that I remember from a baby shower but otherwise, I have no idea what she looked like when she was pregnant with me and that makes me a little sad. Some might think maternity photos are a silly splurge, but I think it’s just as important as any other celebratory photo shoot -you’ve got the glow going and want to remember how beautiful you feel! You created a life and that’s kind of a big deal in my eyes!


I’m often asked “When should I book a maternity session with you?” While every body and every pregnancy is unique, I recommend scheduling your maternity session when you’re around 30 weeks or 7-ish months if you’re expecting just one baby, when you're still feeling comfortable and can move easily. If having multiples (!) aim for 26-32 weeks as they tend to make an earlier appearance. You want that belly to be in the spotlight, but not so much that you’re not able to move from swelling & general aches & pains! Life happens, though, and sometimes I photograph maternity sessions sooner or even later. The biggest concern when waiting too long is that your little one might arrive sooner than you were planning & you might miss the opportunity to get a session in. 


Keep in mind the season also. Most Chicago sessions are done outdoors so weather plays a big factor. Most people do their sessions in the warmer months but I will never ever turn down a snowy or chilly maternity session. In fact, you’ll have a built-in little heater to keep you warm so it’s a win for you! Your home is also a great location! Studio options are available for an additional fee.


Ok, but what do I wear? You’re not restricted to the number of outfits in a session so bring a few options if you’d like! I recommend something tight and stretchy to show off your bump if you’re having an outdoor session. Long, flowy or form-fitting dresses are great and really help accentuate that bump. Blouses, button-down sweaters and men’s dress shirts can also make for cute photos but you’ll just want to be careful to not cover the bump too much and make sure they’re not too bulky. Studio sessions can be a little different and more revealing if you’re not comfortable showing skin in public places. I highly recommend getting your hair and make-up done no matter which kind of session you decide on. If not in the budget, though, your date-night look will be just fine! If you DO get H&M/U, then you can use it as an excuse to go on that hot date after your photos!


As always, partners, kiddos (if this isn’t your first rodeo) & dogs are welcome too!


Maternity Session - Lake Ellyn

Oliver the Golden-doodle stole the show at this maternity session! I certainly can't wait to watch him as he takes over his big brother duties. This stunning mama was such a trooper at 8 months pregnant; not everyone would lay down on the ground in a patch of flowers for some pretty photos! Congrats Martha & Josh - can't wait to meet your sweet little lady!


My Sister is Almost a Mom!

I got to see my sister this weekend and had to take some quick photos of her before she has that baby girl, due in just a little over a week! The next time I see Hilary, she's going to be a mom and I'm so excited for her. She's one of the most beautiful people - inside and out- and she's going to be such a great mom. I can't wait to spoil another niece and get some more baby cuddles.

We used to play in these very woods behind our parents' house and it was the perfect setting for some maternity photos. The great flood of 2008 also brought an abundance of Wild Phlox to the creek and they've been rapidly multiplying ever since. Thanks, Mother Nature for a pretty backdrop and the quick dose of afternoon sunshine in between showers!