Ann Mangum

5 Tips for Creating Amazing Family Photos at the Beach-Pensacola Family Photographer

August 21, 2020

family at beach-pensacola family photographer

Beach Family sessions in my experience, is pretty different from a regular family session. Many times I don’t get to meet my clients before their session, since they are often visiting from out of town. A lot of my clients find me on Google, so providing them with an amazing experience is so important to me!! Building up a review base online as well as providing a wonderful experience and amazing photos is my number one goal!

Here are some basic tips that will help to create wonderful family photos at the beach:

1. Client questionnaire or Pre-booking consultation

Its always nice to chat with clients over the phone but sometimes with everyone’s crazy schedule’s that is not always easy so I like to have everyone complete a questionnaire before their session date. Since we have not ever met before, the phone consultation or questionnaire is used to get to know the personalities of everyone being photographed, if there will be any pets joining the session, and to learn more about the family dynamics I personally try to remember everyone’s name prior to our session unless its a large extended family but I still like to try, I may have to look at my cheat sheet. I feel that this is important because I am being invited into a family’s personal space and people you know personally you should know their names. Reading the questionnaires is one of my favorite things to do to prepare for the session. I love to read how people describe their families!

2. Wardrobe styling.

One of the first things I get asked about is wardrobe and what should we wear? I do provide a style guide upon booking. I have also written a blog on How should I dress for beach photos? along with a Pinterest Page for inspiration. Sometimes families have things they have created to wear and other times as people are traveling they forget about their wardrobe, however this is a very important element in how your photos will look so you will want to take some time to coordinate what to wear. For example, you will want those sunglasses to be removed, remember to take off your socks and shoes in your photos, or maybe think about wearing a flowy dress that blows in the ocean breeze instead of jeans.

3. Show up and Have Fun

During beach sessions, I have just under an hour around sunset or sunrise to build relationships with clients and capture some great photos. This is the hard part at times because you want to look perfect in your photos but you are not sure what to do, the kids are running around, you paid all this money for the session, you are not sure if your spouse is happy or even if you are happy because you are too worried to relax. Does all of this sound about right? it has been my experience that if you can just let go of all those feelings for just a bit, turn them all over to me and spend that time enjoying and loving on your family your photos will look amazing and your family will look amazing. Don’t be afraid to be silly, loving, serious, or whatever your personality is like, bring your personality into your photos. This is your family story and I am just here to tell it for you!!

4. Let It Go

A session at the beach is very different than other sessions, there is the weather, water, the sand and ohh the wind. All of these elements are out of our control so my motto has become over the years to “Let It Go” I do have a few tips I try to help with the wind, on those windy days, but we are at the beach and there is always a wind of some kind so I have learned to embrace it! The weather here changes so quickly, so be prepared for a last minute call or to wait out the rain, on those days we usually have the most amazing clouds! For some reason it does not seem to matter the age, everyone from 1 years of age to 70 years is taken by the sand, everyone touches it, picks it up, or digs in it! Some like it and others not so much but there is a lot of it for sure!

5. Don’t be afraid to get wet

Some of my favorite images have been captured when I have just gone for it and jumped in the water with the families and kids. Yes, don’t be afraid to splash and even kick water at me. Some of the biggest genuine smiles I will get will be when you just let the kids be themselves, covered in sand and soaking wet from head to toe.

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