Maternity Boudoir Guide: What to Know Before You Book


Planning a maternity boudoir photoshoot can be an exciting and empowering experience. And what better way to immortalize such an amazing time in your life than to capture it in such an intimate way? I’m a strong believer that stripping away all of the elaborate dresses and props to photograph pregnant women and their bellies in their natural state is an amazing way to celebrate the feat that is carrying a life.

If a maternity boudoir shoot is something you’re considering, here’s a comprehensive guide on everything you need to know before booking your photo shoot:

What is Maternity Boudoir Photography?

Boudoir is a French term for “women’s bedroom or a private room” that eventually evolved to also define an intimate shoot that captures the essence of a woman’s body, whether through tasteful nude posing, being draped in lingerie, or clothing that gracefully accentuates its enchanting curves. 

Recently, more women have decided to embrace their sensuality throughout their pregnancy and go for a more modern approach to a maternity shoot. This is how maternity boudoir photoshoots became more popular with moms who wanted to capture their pregnancies in a more modern way.

Why Choose a Maternity Boudoir Session?

From pregnancy to birth to breastfeeding, there’s such a microscope on women and the decisions that we make about our bodies and our children. A maternity boudoir session is the ultimate expression of body positivity and throwing all of those opinions in the trash where they belong. It’s completely normal to lose footing in your self-confidence journey while your body is drastically changing all over, and one of the best ways to get your mojo back is by getting a gorgeous makeover, being pampered, and letting your photographer show you the goddess that you are.

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When is the Best Time to Schedule Your Session?

The best time to schedule your session is between 28-34 weeks pregnant. If you schedule your session before 28 weeks then you could risk not having a perky bump that more resembles a food baby than a real one. If you schedule after 34 weeks, there’s a very real possibility that you’ll be exhausted and not up for a photoshoot. Not to mention, the occasionally overachiever babies that like to make an appearance earlier than we’d planned.

Selecting the Right Photographer

With the sensitive nature of boudoir photography, it’s even more important to vet out your photographers and make sure they’re the best fit for you. 

Some things to look out for are:

Portfolio – It’s so important to thoroughly look through their portfolio to make sure their style matches what you’re looking for. Check their Instagram and website to make sure you’re in love with their work. You also want to be looking for a decent-sized portfolio that shows they’re experienced and maybe even specialize in the type of photos you’re looking for.

Reviews – I can’t stress enough that a really great thing to look at is a photographer’s reviews. Just like any other service, check out sources like Google or Yelp instead of the reviews on their website to see verified reviews from past customers on the experience, their comfort level, and even photos from their photoshoot.

Pricing – Lastly, consider pricing, as it can significantly differ among photographers. I always like to say buy it right the first time, to avoid buying it again later or regretting a purchase. You want to find a photographer who is the best balance between your budget and the quality of work you’re looking for. A super cheap photographer often has the work/experience to show for it and also every high-end photographer isn’t always worth the price tag.

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What to Wear?

Maternity boudoir styling is all about wearing things that will make you feel sexy and confident. I always recommend to my clients is for them to choose something they feel comfortable in. The way you feel in the outfit is what makes it sexy, not how little clothing you have on or showing off every insecurity. Your photographer should work with you to find your perfect looks and should never pressure you to wear less than you’re comfortable with.

With that being said, some typical things you may wear for your maternity boudoir shoot are lingerie, tossing fabrics, heels, robes, maternity dresses and of course you could choose to be completely in the nude.

If you’re looking for some inspiration on what to wear, poses, etc. take a look these maternity boudoir ideas.

How to Prepare for Your Maternity Boudoir Session

For any photoshoot experience, it’s important to come prepared. Some pre-session prep I always recommend is:

Mani/Pedi – Usually pastels or nudes are the best nail colors since they go with everything. 

Hair Removal – If it’s something you’re into, I always recommend either a full body shave or wax. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with hair or no hair just make sure it’s a conscious decision either way. 

Skincare Regimen – I also recommend keeping up with your skincare routine leading up to your shoot. This includes staying super hydrated so you have that gorgeous glow for your session. 

Hair – If your photographer offers hairstyling services, then usually you just need to make sure you have a clean and blow-dried base for the stylist to work with. If you’d rather do your hair yourself, that’s completely fine and you would just arrive at your session with your favorite style. 

Get A Massage – Since alcohol is not an option, a great way to soothe your nerves before your photoshoot is a soothing prenatal massage. While it’s not a requirement, it’s always good to zen out so you can enjoy your photoshoot as much as possible. 

Location and Set Up Ideas

I always recommend a studio as the best location for your maternity boudoir session, however, you can also have your session in your home, outdoors, and some sessions have been held in hotels or Airbnb (with permission of course). 

I’m a huge fan of studios personally because they’re usually set up for sessions with space for hair and makeup, changing areas, and all of the props, outfits, accessories, bobby pins, tape, safety pins, etc. 

I’m not going to lie though, I have heard of maternity boudoir sessions being held in the hotel where couples have gotten married or honeymooned, and I think that’s an adorable and sentimental idea!

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Including Partners and Children

Partners are an easy addition to your session as adults tend to be, it’s the children that can be a little trickier. What I always suggest to parents is to start the session with family shots before the kids get restless. Then have another adult leave with the child to allow mom to comfortably get through the rest of the session. 

I’ve seen grandparents take the kids to Mcdonald’s for ice cream, the park, or even home if they live close by which I think is an awesome way to keep the day as stress-free as possible. 

As far as dads go, I know a super glam photoshoot isn’t necessarily their idea of a great time, but a happy wife makes for a happy life! Once we get their shots, they can go grab ice cream too if it makes them feel better. If you’re the type of dad that loves a good photo shoot or just loves to make your wife happy, thank you! You make our job so much easier!

Editing and Retouching

Every photographer’s retouching process is so different, however, it’s very important that you let your photographer know if there is anything you’d like edited or left alone. If you’d like to remember your stretch marks, let them know. If you’d prefer to look like an airbrushed goddess, let them know. 

Also, keep the retouching style in mind when you hire your photographer. Some photographers are naturally more heavy-handed than others and vice versa. You don’t want to choose a more body-positive photographer and then ask them to retouch your photos beyond being recognizable. You may be surprised when they turn down your request.

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What to Expect After Your Session

Average turnaround is vastly different from most photographers depending on workload and the attention to detail with your photos. Personally, I promise photos back to clients within 2-3 weeks. I’ve seen other photographers deliver photos from 5-7 days to 5-7 weeks. Make sure you’re aware of this before you book.

Also, some photographers offer print products such as albums, folio boxes, prints, etc. that they will help you order once your images are finished. If you love seeing your photos in physical form as I do, be sure to get pricing and choose the products in advance so that you don’t get sticker shock during the ordering process.

Getting the Most Out of Your Maternity Boudoir Shoot

Ultimately, the best way to have a successful maternity boudoir shoot is (as cliche as it sounds) to have fun with it! You’ll only be pregnant with this child once and it’s so important to spoil yourself.

If all of this sounds like a good time and you’re in the Chicago area, then I’d love to make your dream photoshoot a reality! Just head over to the contact form, and together, we can start planning a session you’ll love!