• Lisa Miyamoto

Your guide to a successful maternity session

I simply love maternity photography. As a mother of two boys, I truly believe that pregnancy is incredibly and magical ( even though you may not feel like it).

That being said, I was on bedrest with both of my pregnancies and never had a chance to have my own maternity images done, which I am still sad about, many years after the fact. Back when I was pregnant, in- home sessions weren’t a thing in our area yet and nobody local that I knew of really offered them. Otherwise, I would have totally opted for that. Being confined to the house during pregnancy due to medical reasons is no joke and I am heartbroken that I missed out on the opportunity to have beautiful images done.

( this image is an example of what your maternity boudoir session could look like. Taken in Pinehurst, NC)

That being said, here are a few tips for you to make the most out of your own maternity session:

Choosing the right photographer

There are so many photographers out there and it can easily become overwhelming. There are so many things to factor in. I recommend looking at their body of work and find the one whose work resonates the most with you. Do you like a classic, timeless style that will still look great on your wall in five, ten or fifteen years? Or do you prefer a more modern approach? Light and airy or dark, vibrant and moody? Do you like candid images or posed? A good mix of both? Are you drawn to lifestyle, in- home, outdoor or a studio setup? Or do you simply love maternity boudoir or fine art images? By choosing your photographer by style, you can be assured that you will get the images you want.

( This image was taken at Tuft's park downtown Pinehurst)

Look for quality:

When searching for the right photographer, look at their website and their portfolio. Is the quality of work consistent? Consistency is how you can often tell a beginner from a seasoned professional. With a beginner, it’s likely to get a couple of nice images from your session.

With a professional, you will get consistently beautiful images throughout your entire session. Also, when looking at a photographer’s portfolio, make sure to look at their posing. Are the moms posed in a flattering way? Do you see women of different sizes and shapes and do you feel like they are shown in the most flattering way? Do you like their expressions?

( this image is an example of a maternity boudoir/ fine art boudoir session. Taken in Vass, NC)

Is the photographer within your budget? Experience and quality of work come with time, patience, education and a lot of investment on the photographer’s side. It takes years to develop these skills. Good photography can be expensive. It is an investment and I understand why it’s easy to shy away from the cost. But you can rest assured that you know you will like your images and you won’t have to regret doing the session over with someone else, because it didn’t turn out right the first time. Also, make sure the photographer you choose is running a legal business, has a current photographer’s privilege license and that their business is insured. All these things come at an extra price, but it gives you an extra peace of mind.

( taken in my client's backyard in Whispering Pines, NC)

When to schedule your maternity session: Ideally, I like to schedule my clients between 28-34 weeks. That is when the bellies are a good size already, when you clearly look pregnant but are still comfortable and when you can still move around more freely and pose more comfortably. If you are expecting twins, your belly will grow quicker, so it is a good idea to schedule your maternity session between 24-30 weeks.

( Example of an in-home maternity session at my clients' home in Aberdeen, NC)

How to prepare for your maternity session:

Talk with your photographer about your ideas for the shoot. What type of images and session are you envisioning ( outdoor, in- home, studio, posed, lifestyle maternity)? What type of outfits do you like? Is it gonna be just you or is your husband joining you or your children?

( Example of an outdoor maternity session at the Campbell House in Southern Pines)

Hair and Make-up:

If it fits in your budget, it is a great idea to get professional hair and makeup done. When you schedule your session with me, I can recommend local hair and makeup artists to you that will make you look and feel your best. While it isn’t a must- have, it really does make a difference in pictures. It will boost your confidence, and confidence always shows. Confidence will give you this extra glow.

( Maternity boudoir session at my studio in Cameron, NC)

How to dress for your maternity session: - Nude underwear and a strapless bra

- If your children and husband are going to be in the images with you, make sure to choose outfits that are within the same color palettes yours, but avoid looking identical and too match-y. Layers are always a great idea for your loved ones, as they will add depth and interest to your images. In our hot North Carolina summers, layers might not always work though.

- avoid bold patterns and prints, solid colors are best

- try a maxi dress or maternity gown

- choose two outfits for a larger variety of looks

I have a large maternity closet with various gowns in various sizes that I provide to my clients at no additional cost. This way you can look your best without having to make the additional investment of shopping for a maternity gown. I also have maternity bodysuits for studio maternity sessions and maternity boudoir that you can wear and different fabrics to wrap you in for a unique look. In addition to maternity dresses and maternity gowns, I provide my clients with a nude maternity garment, offering sizes ranging from a XS to XL. I work with an amazing local maternity garment company ( and they provide me with an almost unlimited supply of their pettipants, which is amazing of them. ( You get to keep the pettipants after your session and trust me, you will love them.

( image taken by me for Belevation. The models are wearing pettipipants maternity shape wear)

How to schedule your session/ my booking process

Once you decide that you are ready to book with me, we can talk about the locations. If you are looking to do a studio session, fine art or maternity boudoir, we will hold the session at my my beautiful photography studio that is located right downtown historic Cameron. If you decide that you prefer an in- home- session, I will come to you. If you are located in Aberdeen, Cameron, Pinehurst, Southern Pines, Carthage, Aberdeen and Cameron, I will come to your house without an extra charge. For driving further, let’s say Fayetteville, Sanford, Raleigh etc., a small travel fee will apply. If you decide on an outdoor session, I can tell you all of my favorite location in Moore County and we can go to whichever place you like the best. Before booking, I will email you my contract and invoice and you can easily sign it online and pay the retainer fee online. I do require a 20% retainer fee to reserve your session date and time, and the balance is due the day prior to your session. Please know that your session is only confirmed once the contract is signed and the retainer fee is paid. If you have to reschedule, please let me know at least 24 hours ahead of time, so that I can make other arrangements and hopefully fill your slot. I am looking forward to working with you and to create stunning images for you that you will cherish forever.

( Example of a fine art maternity boudoir session in Aberdeen, NC)

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