Tips For Planning The Perfect Maternity Beach Session


Jackie and Matt already knew the location where they wanted their maternity beach session. Leo Carrillo Beach is nestled along the coastline of PCH in Malibu, Ca. Leo Carrillo beach is a favorite amongst locals with 1.5 miles of beach for swimming & surfing, iconic reefs & tide pools and breathtaking landscapes. 

Leo Carrillo has two sides: North Beach on the Ventura County side & South Beach, on the Los Angeles County side. South Beach is a known surf spot and you can count on seeing locals ‘shred the gnar‘ year round. North beach is pet friendly and a perfect location for those that want to include their fur baby in their maternity session. Leo Carrillo is my favorite beach to recommend for beach sessions plus who wouldn’t want to enjoy the coastal serenity that defines this Malibu gem. 

A couple walking with their dog during their photo session


Choosing the right beach for your session can enhance your photos by creating a beautiful scene. Leo Carrillo offers a versatile canvas with its gorgeous beaches, natural elements and amazing natural light. Beaches usually have several backdrops for plenty of diverse photos in one location. Look for beaches that aren’t as populated and try to stay clear from the busiest times of the season (weekends & holidays). The time of day is also important to your session. I prefer to photograph sessions during golden hour (about 2 hours before sunset). This allows me to capture the warm and ethereal soft light.

The view of the pacific ocean in Malibu, Ca.


This is one of the most popular questions from clients when booking their photo sessions, “What should we wear?”.

  • Pick your outfits that makes you feel comfortable (because when you feel good, you look good).  Flowing dresses are great options for maternity sessions and flatter most body types.
  • Look around your home, where are you likely to hang your photos? what are the colors of your room?  what is your style/vibe? You’ll want to coordinate like colors and style so that your photos compliment your home decor.
  • Neutrals, whites, and pastels are my favorite color palettes and compliment the lighting and backdrop of a beach photo session.
  • Look for coordinating and complementary colors along to create a cohesive look for your maternity session. Busy patterns and bright colors can be distracting and take away from the focus of the image.
  • Here are some options for maternity clothing: Hatch Collection, Pea in the Pod, Rachel Pally, ASOS, Pink Blush & MuMu.
A pregnant couple walking in the water at Leo Carrillo Beach.
Maternity session at Leo Carrillo beach.
A pregnant couple during their maternity session in Malibu, Ca.


I love when my clients bring their fur babies to their sessions! It usually creates natural, heartwarming moments between the couple and their pet. Depending on the size of your pet, you might want to bring a friend/ family member to manage them when they aren’t in the photos. Some beaches are a definite no go for animals so let us confirm that the location is indeed pet friendly. Don’t forget to bring your pet’s leash, waste bags, water and treats.

A couple during their maternity session with their dog in Malibu, Ca.


Treat yourself! Professional hair and makeup services can enhance your natural beauty and boost your overall confidence during your session. I’ve had the pleasure of working with many hair & makeup stylists and I’m happy to pass along recommendations. Also, don’t forget to pay attention to your nails as your hands will be on your belly in some of the photos. His too.

A candid moment with a pregnant couple on the beach.


Candid moments are my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE types of photos. Try out playful and creative poses. Dancing, twirling, or even a light-jog along the beach can result in the best joyful photos. Importantly, trust your photographer to direct and guide you thru poses and ideas that will give you the best photos. 

A couple walking and laughing along the beach at Leo Carrillo.
A pregnant couple having fun in the water during their maternity session in Malibu, Ca.


Bring along any special accessories that hold sentimental value, such as ultrasound images, baby shoes, or a cherished heirloom.


Keeping energy levels up is important (especially in the warmer months) so remember to eat before your session. Bring water to keep you hydrated so that you feel comfortable and focused throughout the session. If your small children are included in your maternity session, remember water and small/quick snacks to help keep their attention too.


Communicate your preferences, ideas and specific shot requests that you have in mind with your photographer. A collaborative approach ensures that the session aligns with your vision, making it a stress-free and fun experience.

It’s also OK if you prefer to have me plan the session. There are many times that my clients will say:

“We want YOU to do you!”  OR  “…whatever location you think is best!”

I’m absolutely happy to pick locations, help with styling and direct you through your session.

More maternity photo sessions:

Maternity Session at Butterfly Beach, Montecito, Ca

Ojai Valley Inn Maternity Session

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