What should I wear for birth photography?

Are you wondering what to wear during labor for great birth photos? Many people wonder what they should wear for birth photography. As a Seattle birth photographer, this is actually a commonly asked question during many of my birth photography consultations.

To be honest, you really just want to wear what makes you feel most comfortable. In fact, the more you labor, the less you will care. And frankly, you’ll need to wear less and less as your labor progresses. And no matter what you are wearing, if you hire a professional birth photographer, you will get amazing photos.

However, as more expectant moms have asked me this question, and as I have had more experience photographing births, I’ve noticed a few things to wear that really do make birth photos even better. So take it or leave it, here are my 6 tips on what to wear during labor for great birth photos!

A pregnant woman, wearing a black bra, is going through a contraction as she sits in a birthing tub holding her pregnant belly at a birthing center in Seattle. Her photo is an example of what to wear during labor for great birth photos, including a black bra.

1. The first tip for what to wear for birth photography is a black or dark bra/bralette.

There are a couple of reasons to wear a dark bra. One is that if you want more modest photos, and no nipples/nudity showing, wearing a bra helps. You want a dark bra, because if it gets wet as you are laboring in the shower or birthing tub, the wet spots are less visible with a darker bra. Bonus tip: Wear a nursing bra or a bra that unhooks in the back. If you have a sports bra, it may be difficult to get it off for nursing later on, especially if you need to pull it over your head for to remove it. 

2. Nice nails look amazing in birth photos.

Getting a manicure was something that I did unintentionally before I gave birth. And now I just LOVE how my birth photos look because of it! Unsurprisingly, you end up getting a lot of photos of you holding your baby, and so if you nails look good, it makes the photos even more beautiful. I mean, brides always get their nails done before their wedding, so why not get them done before your birth?!? You can’t control your hair and makeup because you don’t know when you are going in for labor, but you can control the manicure! Oh, and throw in a pedicure too, since it’s a nice treat, especially since it’s hard to touch your toes at this point in your pregnancy! Bonus tip: Speaking of makeup, don’t even try to put on mascara. Even if it’s waterproof. 😉 You will look beautiful in your birth photos, I promise. There is nothing more beautiful than a mama holding her new baby for the first time!

A mama holds her newly born baby for the first time after having a c-section at EvergreenHealth Family Maternity Center in Kirkland, WA. Her nails are beautiful and she is tenderly touching her new infant. Her nice nails are an example of what to wear during labor for good birth photos given by Becky Langseth.

3. Purchase a cute and comfortable robe.

When I gave birth, I just wore the gown that the hospital provided. Don’t get me wrong, I love the photos of me in the hospital gown because it’s obvious that I’m at the hospital and about to give birth. But man, those hospital gowns are not flattering at all. Most hospitals now allow you to bring your own gown, so why not bring something both comfortable and cute? There are so many cute and comfy ones on Amazon. Go pick out your favorite! (affiliate link) You can also wear this after the birth!

A pregnant women is leaning up against a birthing tub as she labors in a floral robe at a birth center in Seattle, Washington. Her robe is an example of what to wear during labor for great birth photos by Becky Langseth.

4. If modesty is important to you, try a wearing a loose skirt during labor for birth photography. 

When wearing a loose knit skirt, you can walk around the room or labor in different positions with modesty. And when active labor begins, you can wear nothing underneath.

5. Black Depends are much nicer than the hospital provided white disposable underwear. 

And they won’t go to waste because you can use them postpartum. You can get these at Target, your local drugstore or even Amazon (affiliate link). For some reason, black just seems classier, you know? Black Depends are also nice for laboring during home births.

6. Wear meaningful jewelry during labor. 

My final tip what pregnant people should wear for birth photography is meaningful jewelry. Now, you don’t want to be wearing giant earrings or a huge statement necklace, but smaller jewelry is acceptable. Think tiny, like pearl earrings from your grandmother, or a small golden necklace your husband gave you when you were dating. Or maybe some small stud diamond earrings your aunt gave you for your graduation. Just like a bride likes to wear, “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue,” you too, can wear something that has a special meaning (that is small and won’t get in the way, of course!) 

A pregnant woman is sitting on the shower floor as she goes through a contraction. She is wearing a small golden necklace and small hoop earrings, a cute bra and her watch as she holds the handicap bar to steady herself at a birth center in Seattle. Her jewelry is an example of what to wear for during labor for great photos by Becky Langseth.

What about Dads / partners? What should they wear during your labor for birth photography?

Don’t think I forgot about dad; he’s important too and will be in several of the photos! Two tips immediately come to mind:

1. The first tip for Dad is to wear a plain shirt.

Unless he is a really big Seahawks fan and wants photos of him holding his new baby for the first time supporting Seattle, he should probably go for something more simple and plain. In fact, it’s a good idea to throw in an extra clean and plain shirt for dad in the birth bag…just in case you both are in a hurry to get to the hospital/birthing center. If your partner truly is a big craft beer person and wants to support his local brewery with a sweet graphic t-shirt, go for it! But if you want something that is classic and timeless, I recommend a non-graphic t-shirt. These photos will be passed down from generation to generation, so remember that when choosing your outfits.

A brand new dad is holding his infant in his shirt giving the baby some skin to skin time after at birth at EvergreenHealth Family Maternity Center in Kirkland, Washington. Since Dad is wearing a plain shirt, this image is an example of what Dad's should wear to a birth by Becky Langseth Photography.

2. The second tip for Dad is to avoid baseball hats.

Baseball caps cast a shadow over dad’s eyes and face. It’s also difficult to see all of his face when he’s wearing a hat due to the bill. I might miss his facial reaction if his hat is blocking the camera. But once again, if dad’s go-to is to wear a hat, go for it! 

Overall, remember that these are only recommendations. YOU are the one giving birth, so what YOU want is what matters. Everyone is unique and has different preferences. What matters is that you feel comfortable and confidant during your labor and delivery. 

Check out my next post on why you should hire a birth photographer!

Interested in birth photography and want to book?

If you are ready to start the booking process for birth photography, fill out my contact form to see if I have availability for your upcoming due date! It never hurts to inquire…

And if you aren’t quite ready to book, that’s okay! I also photograph fresh 48 and newborn sessions!

Do you want to see some beautiful photos of a first birthday cake smash in Minneapolis? My friend Michelle recently did a session share blog post! The photos are so cute!

Finally, if you have any additional ideas or suggestions of what to wear during labor for great photos, post them in the comments below!

  1. Charis says:

    These are great practical tips that can be so easily done and help take away some of the decision fatigue for your birth.

  2. laura says:

    i love these photo tips for birth photography. i have seen lots of clothes and this is the best list and so simple. i am so happy you included a list for dads and their list is short! easy to remember. awesome and beautiful photos.

  3. Amanda says:

    These are great tips for birth photographs. Very practical and useful for expecting parents!

  4. Neyssa Lee says:

    Such great tips for what to wear! These photos bring me right back to my own deliveries, too!

  5. These are such great tips! I’m 37 weeks pregnant about to pack my bag for the hospital. I’m so glad I say your post!

  6. Ashlie says:

    These are such great tips for what to wear for birth photos. I appreciate the tip about a dark bra – hadn’t really thought about that point before. And I’m glad you included some tips for partners as well. Thanks for sharing!

  7. Ok so why did I not ever think of using Depends instead of that awful stuff the hospital provides. I mean you just blew my mind with that one!!! Great resource.

  8. This is such a wonderful resource!

  9. I’ve never thought about choosing a birthing outfit! But this totally makes sense. Love it.

  10. These are such great tips! I never thought about wearing a loose skirt for modesty!

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