11 Tips For a Great Family Beach Photography Session

So you have booked your photography session but what is next? There are things to consider leading up to your session that we have tried to share with customers over the year. When kids are involved, often more preparation will need to go into getting ready. So we have left some of our top tips to make sure that your family photography session is as good as it can be!

1. Choose the Right Outfits

For most people, the first thing you think of when preparing for photos, is choosing the outfits you wear. This is one of the most important aspects of family portraits. You want your outfit to look good with your surroundings, so think about where you will be photographed when choosing outfits. For us, 99% of our sessions occur on the beach, so you will see shades of blues, creams, tans, pinks and oranges during sunset and greenery in the areas leading up to the beach. You will want to avoid really bright colors and really big patterns. Stick to neutrals, pastels and small prints as a rule of thumb. Avoid being too matchy-matchy and just try to coordinate! Check out our blog post for examples of what to wear. Or our Pinterest board below.

pinterest board for what to wear for beach family portraits

2. Wear the Right Glasses

When the flash goes off on the camera it will often reflect a light burst on the lenses of your glasses. If you have anti-glare glasses that will eliminate that bright light that shows up, wear those. That way you will avoid that reflection. If you still want to wear glasses you could also consider wearing a pair of frames without the lenses.

3. Be Comfortable

We will be spending time on the beach, so wear things that you are okay with getting sandy and wet. Wear clothes that you feel comfortable and good in! Confidence always shines through in the photos.  Avoid wearing shoes you would not want to leave somewhere or get sandy. You may also be kneeling and sitting on the ground so comfort is key!

family of 6 smiling for pictures on Kiawah Island

4. Expect Wind

If you have spent much time at the beach, you are probably pretty aware that 9 times out of 10 there will be wind. And while we hope for the best, the beach can be well, unpredictable. This makes the beach so nice on a summer day, but maybe inconvenient if you had a certain hairstyle or outfit in mind.

As a rule of thumb we say do your hair the way you would want it to look in the wind.

As far as outfits go, avoid ruffles, floppy collars and other materials/styles that will look floppy in the wind.

5. Check In Day-Of The Session

We always like to check in with our guests the day of the session. We will give you directions if you are needing them, and make sure all of the details are squared away for our session in the evening. You can also reach out to us before hand to calm your nerves.

If you have any questions, let us know before hand. We will give you all the information you will need to make sure things go as smooth as possible.

family photo session posing at the beach on Kiawah Island

6. Trust Your Photographer

As a professional photographer for over 13 years, I have done my fair share of family portrait sessions on the beach. We know the right times and best places to go for photos. So trust us. Let us do the work. So that you can smile and sit pretty.

But we also love hearing your opinions! We take as many combination of photos as we can in the time allotted but if there are others you think we missed, or want some more candid/posed photos – let us know! We want this to be the best experience for everyone!

7. Get Everyone On Board

Talk up your session to the family before it happens. Try to make everyone feel like the photo session is going to be a fun experience for everyone. If dad is complaining about photos the kids might just follow suit, so make sure everyone is excited for the photos together.

family of six on the beach at sunset on Kiawah Island in South Carolina

8. Wear Bug Spray/Sunscreen

Welcome to the south, where the humidity is thick and the swarms of bugs are even thicker. That has to be my one quaff with South Carolina. You never know when you are going to walk through a swarm of bugs, then swat them away, only for onlookers to think you are completely losing your mind. Luckily bugs aren’t as much of a problem on the beach, but step away and go towards the shade and you will see more creepy critters hanging out.

If your session is in the summer, it would definitely be wise to load up the fam on some bug spray. Keep those guys at bay.

You will also want to consider applying sunscreen as the sun will still be up during your session as we roll into sunset. Most of the time we recommend doing your photography session earlier in your trip to avoid sunburns, bug bites and other bruises that can pop up as a result of being active and having a good time.

9. Get Your Kids Ready

You know what they say, happy kids happy life. Oh wait that’s not the saying? Well, in the case of family photos I definitely think that has to be true. If you are able to avoid breakdowns and conniptions, everyone will be happier when the session is over!

Take naps during the day and avoid a lot of physical activity if possible. It’s just your luck that your child will skim their knee the day of the session. So avoid it if necessary.

If your kid is sensitive to chlorine and gets blood shot eyes from swimming, you may want to consider shortening your pool time for the day. You know your kids the best, so figure out what will work best for them.

And if you plan on bribing the kids (which is usually a good idea 😉 make sure your bribe can last throughout the session that way you have their attention the whole time.

four kids on the beach at sunset during golden hour on kiawah island

10. Eat Beforehand

We’ve all been there. We have missed a meal, and we aren’t just hungry anymore we are HANGRY. Nothing will fix us other than food. That is the only solution. So eat a snack beforehand, make sure you are well rested and hydrated and your stomach is happy.

11. Be on Time

Give yourself time for travel and make sure you know where you are going. We want to make sure that we get to spend the full time together that way we are able to make the most of our session. We want all the pictures possible!

We hope these tips calm some of your nerves and prepare you for your photography session! We love our time with different families and always want to make sure that we are able to get the most out of the session as possible.


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