I am so fortunate to work with couples time and time again! I always feel so flattered after their wedding day when they reconnect with me for family and couple portraits. I had the honor of photographing Marlene + Michael's wedding day at Glen Ivy Golf Club in Corona, and was thrilled when they reached out for maternity photos!
We decided on UCR Botanic Gardens for their session. This is a beautiful Riverside garden with lots of plants, greenery, a small footbridge, and more! I like that there are a variety of backdrops in the garden, from large trees to cacti!
When I think of cities that have a lot to offer couples that are looking for variety in their maternity session images, Riverside is one of the first cities to spring to mind. In the entire Inland Empire area, Riverside is one of the only cities that has both a mix of historic buildings in a downtown setting and beautiful parks with lush greenery and mature trees, all within a reasonable distance. Fun fact about Riverside - it’s named as such because it’s next to the Santa Ana River!
Riverside Maternity Photography Session Locations
Many of the couples I work with prefer outdoor settings, as nature is a natural complement to parenthood. However, I always defer to the couple here! If you’re feeling more of a downtown urban vibe, then go with your gut (or baby bump, as it were)!
Location: Downtown Riverside roughly starts off 91 freeway at the University Ave exit. It is bounded on the west by the Santa Ana River.
Website: Riverside Downtown Partnership
Downtown Riverside has incredible backdrops and historic structures that make for a fun, dynamic setting for your session! Parking in downtown Riverside is plentiful. The only time of the year I don’t recommend maternity sessions is during The Mission Inn’s Festival of Lights. Parking can be a challenge and there will be significantly more people to work around during your session! For couples who want both a downtown and outdoor feel to their photos, Mt. Rubidoux Park and Fairmount Park are a short distance away.
The Mission Inn
Location: 3649 Mission Inn Avenue, Riverside, CA 92501
Website: The Mission Inn
The Mission Inn is a gorgeous Spanish-style hotel and event space in downtown Riverside. There are steep fees to photograph here ($500 for 3 hours). It’s a truly beautiful and unique building, but in my opinion, downtown Riverside is fantastic as well if you want a downtown aesthetic without paying for a permit.
UCR Botanic Gardens
Location: 1 Botanic Gardens Drive, Riverside, CA 92507
Website: UCR Botanic Gardens
UCR Botanic Gardens is one of my favorite areas to photograph in Riverside. There’s a variety of different plantlife, so your images can go from looking like you’re in a forest to a desert! UCR Botanic Gardens doesn’t assess a permit fee for small groups, but they do recommend you make a donation to the garden accordingly. Parking is also metered here.
Sycamore Canyon Wilderness Park
Location: 400 Central Ave, Riverside, CA 92507
Website: Sycamore Canyon Wilderness Park
Sycamore Canyon Wilderness Park is a 15-acre preserve with plenty of trees, paths, wild grasses and boulders. Definitely a great location for outdoor portraits in a field setting!
Location: 2601 Fairmount Blvd, Riverside, CA 92501
Tripadvisor Page: Fairmount Park
Fairmount Park has a lake, large trees, cement walking paths, and docks and bridges. All great backdrops for your images!
Mt. Rubidoux Park
Tripadvisor Page: Mt. Rubidoux Park
Mt. Rubidoux Park has one of the best views of Riverside. At the top of a 3-mile hike is the Testimonial Bridge and Peace Tower. The stone-constructed tower and bridge is a replica of a bridge in Spain, and it definitely evokes a European feel!
California Citrus State Park
Location: 9400 Dufferin Ave, Riverside, CA 92503
Website: California Citrus State Park
California Citrus State Park is classic California orange grove goodness! The citrus trees provide a rustic, sweet-smelling backdrop for maternity photos. Parking is $5 here and a permit is also required for professional photography; fees vary and the park generally does not permit weekend photography sessions.
Riverside Maternity Photography Locations Map
Access a link to all locations mentioned in this article at Riverside Maternity Photography Locations Map.
When to Have Your Maternity Session
I recommend scheduling your maternity session no later than 30 weeks. This is typically when your bump is in that cute stage and most mamas feel comfortable enough walking around or sitting.
What to Wear On Your Maternity Session
My top recommendation is a solid-colored maxi dress! This is such a classic look and I love the way the fabric can be gathered close to the belly. I also think form-fitting shorter dresses are super cute! In general, solid-colored outfits will help you stand out more and look classic over time. Don’t forget comfortable shoes! I do quite a bit of walking with my clients so you’ll want to make sure you can get around. Bringing a pair of flats if you can’t comfortable get around in your heels is an excellent idea!
Floral crowns have started to become more popular as well - feel free to bring anything to your session that makes you feel amazing!
For dads, I think being slightly dressier as well looks nice. A button-up shirt and jeans or dress pants is a flattering look. You should aim to have the same level of “dressiness” in your outfits.
If you have a long drive to your session location, you may want to hang your outfit and change once you get there to prevent wrinkles in your portraits.
How to Prepare to Feel Your Best for Your Maternity Session
Getting professional photos taken can be intimidating! I think it’s always a fantastic idea to get your hair and makeup done. You’re worth it, and it will help you feel extra confident in front of the camera!
Aside from that, I just want my couples to relax and have fun together, and know I’ll help them out through the entire session so they feel comfortable and love their photos!
What to Bring for Your Maternity Session
In the very least, I need the mama! I’ve had a few sessions where dad didn’t want to be in the entire session and that’s a-okay, it’s all up to what works for you!
Couples have also brought ultrasounds, stuffed animals, or objects special to them during their pregnancy. Feel free to bring items that have importance to you as start your journey into parenthood!
The Best Time of Day for Your Maternity Session
Sunset is the very best time of day for your photos! I schedule my sessions about an hour and half before sunset so we can maximize the gorgeous, golden evening light!