Today I will share my workflow of a storytelling beach family session and discuss some commonly asked questions. As a Tampa Bay Area Family Photographer, Beaches are one of my favorites places to capture families here in Tampa Bay. Not only do we get gorgeous sunset or moody skies here in Clearwater and St. Pete, but beaches also provide kids with space to be themselves and give family space to truly connect with one another. Now lets chat.
What is your favorite beach to photograph at?
Ha, all of them! Really, in Florida we are lucky to have so many great beaches. I will list few of my favorites-these Tampa Bay beaches are making the list because they provide interesting textures, dimension and variety to the water - be it rocks, dunes, sea wall, drift wood, fields with long golden grass or gorgeous rocks. The natural elements add depth and visual interest to the image and make for some magical sun flares, letting us get creative with the golden light or adding some dramatic element to the moody sky. The texture and brown tones of the rocks looks amazing with golden sun or blue clouds. Here are my favorite spots:
- Sand Key Beach in Clearwater
- Ft. De Soto in St. Pete
- Fred Howard in Tarpon Springs,
- Honeymoon Island in Dunedin
- Cypress Point in Tampa
- Upham Beach in St Pete/Indian Rocks Beach.
- Davis Island Beach
What to Wear?
I told you how I absolutely love natural elements of texture at the beach -well the same applies for outfits. Neutral earthy colors are always a win. We don’t want the outfits to take away or distract from the most important element – your family. I also aim for a lot of sun play in my images, and create some magic with the golden light. Or on the overcast days, I love the blues of a cloudy sky – so we don’t want the clothes to completely overpower the image. Tones of browns, sage, teal, ivory, deep greens, camels, mauve - always look amazing at the beach and compliment the water well. Another element is to have fabrics that has texture to it -think lace, knit, crochet, chunky sweaters with denim, linen. Long flowy dresses that blow with the wind create movement and look fantastic. Light blue denim jeans and a lace cardigan creates a laid back, gorgeous vintage never out of style look. If you wear pattern, I suggest for other family members to wear solids to match the colors of the pattern.
Most importantly wear what makes your family you. Those are the images that will hang on your walls for years to come.
To make sessions as stress-free as possible, I offer styling consultation - all you have to do is tell me what color palettes you like, and what your vision is and I will provide you with links to shop for outfits for your entire family. In addition, I have a client closet of dresses that you are welcome to wear.
Workflow of the session, how do I prepare for one?
My sessions are stress-free and interactive. Session time with me is not an hour to pose and smile - instead we interact, cuddle, love on each other and play. The beauty lays in telling the authentic, story of your family and capturing the raw emotion of the moment. My goal for you is to document you as you are and let your family be yourselves. I want you to look back at your images and remember the exact feeling of that moment, reminisce on all the little details and have the emotions flooding back. Your human experiences and your unique story deserves to be captured and remembered.
Before the session we will chat about your vision and I will get to know the personalities of the people you love. We start the session an hour before sunset or sunrise, I will meet your family at the parking lot and chat with you and your kids. Usually little ones take a little time to warm up and love the attention, so I take the opportunity to talk with them about their favorite movies, school, interests, flavor of ice cream they love best and let them lead the way. I will show kiddos my camera and will let them press shutter button to get them interested. I will even make silly noises, dance, bark and meow to get them laughing. Than the magic begins. I observe the family and feel the vibe – are kids shy, are they playful? My shooting style is very interactive so I will prompt family to do something and then step back and snap away. For example I will ask kids to run circles around the parents, dad to give his little a piggy back ride, family to walk together, sit and watch the sunset or look for dolphins. I also love to get the emotive tender captures of mom cuddling her little(s), kiddo snuggling on mom’s chest, detailed shots of mom stroking kiddos hair. Every details matters and tells a story. The curly hair, the little feet hanging around mom, the shells kids find, the feet splashing in the water, the warm embrace of a hug – we capture it all.
My kids will not stay up late, what do you suggest?
With summer sunsets going past 8pm, I suggest a late nap. Or sugar before your session, Yes I said it. But once in a while it is a okay. Hype up your littles, make a fun event out of the session, tell them they will get to play at the beach while lady with a camera happens to be there. Promise ice cream on the way home. Sunrise sessions are also an amazing option – beaches tend to be much less crowded, kids are up early anyway and we get the magical blue light before the sun comes up.
What about the Weather – do you re-schedule sessions based on weather?
Rarely. While Florida rains are common in the summer, they usually pass very quickly. I will watch the weather and reschedule only in event of more severe storms. I think that happened only twice. Forecasts are not precise, and typically rain is gone from the beach in 5-10 minutes. If needed, we can wait it out in the car. Overcast sky is absolutely gorgeous and magical. I will pull the gorgeous blues in editing. Also, following rain the sunsets are absolutely epic. I will work my magic with the weather we are given. The most important part is to capture the people you love, convey the genuine emotion and tell an authentic story of your family, exactly of who you are at that moment. Your session will have the unique vibe and feel that is authentic to that day. I will create artistic magical images for your family in any weather elements.
Whether or not any of the beaches here in Clearwater, St. Pete or Tarpon Springs is the right setting for your family session, the first step is selecting a right photographer to tell your family's authentic story. Learn more about me and check out my Tampa Bay Lifestyle Family Photography Portfolio. Contact me to tell your authentic family story and preserve the memories for years to come.