Well, it’s summer and the beach is calling your name! As you all know I’m, obviously, a big believer in getting portraits done by a professional photographer. But, I also know that there probably isn’t one following you and your family along to every adventure. So I have put together some of my top tips to get beautiful beach portraits every time you hit the ocean.
1. Avoid mid-day sun. Just like your skin, mid-day sun is not well tolerated for portraits. It’s a harsh, bright sun and it creates, you guessed it, harsh, bright portraits. If you happen to get an overcast day, that’s when you should grab your camera and your kids for some portraits. Or even if the sun is hiding behind a lot of clouds, that’s your time to get beautiful beach portraits.
2. During your unofficial session, focus your camera on a seashell on the beach and have your children playing off in the distance. This will capture something unique, something fun! The children won’t be in focus but it will show the whole beach and something different.
3. Don’t stop at just the beach, usually the path to get there has lush green seagrass and beautiful flowers, maybe even some unique, cool trees. Everyone’s excited and happy to be going to the beach. Maybe siblings who fight constantly will hold hands! I mean, that moment should be documented! And when you reach the beach, have the kids run towards the ocean. It will capture a beautiful portrait with the ocean in the background.
4. Bring along some fun beach props! A few beachy items can really create a beautiful experience and beautiful portraits. Pool tubes in fun shapes, an earth cruiser bike, cool shaped sunglasses or even a simple bucket and shovel can make sure everyone has a good time!
5. Professional photographers use the term “magic hours.” This term refers to sunrise and sunset and these are the BEST times to capture a beautiful portrait. The lighting is spot on! For the first time this past year, I tried sunrise portraits and wow! Now, the sunrise can be very early and if that’s not your idea of a good time, catch the sunset. Plan ahead, check the times for the sunrise and sunset at your beach. For sunrise portraits, you have an hour after the sunrise and an hour before the sunset to get that soft, magical lighting. Take advantage of what mother nature offers!
6. Speaking of sunset portraits, here’s a tip on how to pose your children. Have your children stand in front of the sand dunes and you’ll get very pretty back lit portraits. Follow that up with having your children turn around (back to the ocean) and get closer to the shore for some portraits that will showcase that golden light on their sweet faces.
7. Movement is always fun and and imperative, especially for the younger kids! Even walking along the shoreline collecting shells with the waves crashing in will provide for some very fun expressions, cute wet toes and even footprints in the sand. Have them kick their feet as the waves come in, kids LOVE this! And you’ll get that precious true smile.
8. Children are at a much lower level so it’s very helpful to get down on their level when taking their portrait. It really shows their expressions and features beautifully. And these create the sweetest portraits.
9. Here’s another pose idea! Jumping portraits are always fun and children love them! You will need a fast shutter speed for this one. If you’re more experienced and know how to set your camera on manual, set the shutter to 1/500th and aperture to around f 5.6 and then ISO around 400. The higher the shutter speed the higher the ISO will need to be to let the light in. Then see who can jump the highest!
10. On your beach vacation, if you will be there for week, plan to take your portraits on one of the first days you arrive. We all tend to get a little sun and that comes with cranky kids and tan lines. Also, the first few days of vacation everything is new and exciting and you’ll get more cooperation and less resistance those day!
I hope these tips help you capture some amazing, frame worth, beach portraits of your family. Have fun with it, play, laugh, splash! And don’t stress about getting that perfect portrait. Vacation is meant to be enjoyed! ❤️