10 Beach Family Photoshoot Ideas

Type of session: Family Portraits

I've spent plenty of time chasing the perfect light at the beach, especially with lively families in tow. If you're gearing up for a beach day and want to capture those special moments with the kids – without the stress – you're in the right place.

In this post, I'm dishing out my go-to tips for a family beach photoshoot. Think of this as your cheat sheet for getting those effortlessly gorgeous shots, whether you're wrangling toddlers or just want everyone looking at the camera at the same time. So, let's dive in and make those beach memories last a lifetime, shall we?

Tip 1: Outfits

The Classic Choice: Soft Colors and White

Going for that timeless beach look? Soft colors and white are your best friends. Perfect for catching the magical light at sunrise or sunset, these colors add a touch of serenity and dreaminess to your photos. They're the go-to for a reason – they always look incredible!

Getting Creative with Your Outfit

Feeling adventurous with your style? Embrace it! Whether it's bold patterns or themed attire, a little creativity can make your photos unique. Just remember, planning is key. Coordinate with your family to ensure the outfits complement each other. Need some inspiration? You can use tools like Dresoo for ideas and guidance on coordinating your family's look. It's a great resource to visualize and plan your outfit choices.

Backup Plan: Always Be Prepared

Always (always, always, always!) have a plan B. Ask everyone to bring an extra outfit in a soft color or white. This way, if your original idea doesn't quite work with the beach setting or lighting, you have a beautiful and safe backup option. It's all about being prepared!

Tip 2: Hair and Makeup

Natural Hair: Embrace the Breeze

Opt for natural, easy-to-manage hairstyles that can withstand the beach breeze. Loose waves, simple braids, or even a casual updo can look effortlessly beautiful. Remember, the beach is all about a relaxed vibe, so let your hair reflect that too.


Light Makeup: Enhance, Don't Overpower

When it comes to makeup, less is more at the beach. A light, natural look not only holds up better in the beach environment but also complements the natural lighting. Think tinted moisturizer, a touch of mascara, and a soft lip color. This approach highlights your features without overwhelming them.

Consistency Is Key

A cohesive look among all family members enhances the overall aesthetic of your photos. While expressing individuality is important, aim for a balanced look that brings the group together visually.


Tip 3: Rest Up for the Best Shots

A Good Night's Sleep for Great Photos

The secret to lively and vibrant photos is a well-rested family. Make sure everyone, especially the kids, gets a good sleep before the shoot day. This ensures upbeat moods and everyone looks fresh for those beautiful shots.

Timing Is Everything

Plan the photoshoot when your family is naturally at their best. Post-nap time works wonders for young children, while early mornings might suit the whole family's energy levels better.

Relaxed Family, Authentic Moments

A rested family equals genuine smiles and natural interactions. It’s not just about avoiding tired eyes, but about capturing real, joyful moments. When everyone feels good, it shows in the photos.

Tip 4: Choose the Right Time of Day

Golden Hour: Sunrise or Sunset

The golden hour, just after sunrise or before sunset, offers the most flattering natural light for photos. It provides a warm, soft glow that can really enhance the mood of your beach photos.

Avoid Harsh Midday Sun

Midday light tends to be harsh and can create unflattering shadows. If possible (unless there's not a single chance), avoid scheduling your photoshoot around noon, especially on a bright, sunny day.

Consider Your Family’s Schedule

While lighting is important, also consider your family's routine. If you have young children, a morning photoshoot might be more practical than waiting for sunset. The key is finding a balance between the ideal lighting and your family's comfort.

Tip 6: Embrace Artistic Close-Ups

Focus on Small Details

Close-up shots can be very powerful, capturing intimate details like a mother gently holding her baby’s hand, or the tiny feet of your child in the sand. These shots add depth and emotion to your photo collection.

Capture Emotion and Connection

Use close-ups to focus on expressions and emotions. A mother's smile as she looks at her baby, or the laughter of a child, can make for a beautifully poignant photo.

Experiment with Perspectives

Don't be afraid to try different angles and perspectives for these close-ups. Sometimes, an unconventional angle can turn a simple moment into an artistic shot.

Tip 7: Let the Babies Be Themselves

Embrace All Emotions

Babies and toddlers are unpredictable, and that's okay. If they cry or throw a tantrum, let them be. These moments, though challenging now, often turn into cherished memories and funny stories in the future. From giggles to tears, let them express themselves. These authentic moments can be incredibly poignant, as discussed in the Photography and Emotions article I wrote some time ago.

Capture a Range of Expressions

Your photo collection will be richer with a variety of expressions. A pouting face, a giggle, or a curious look all tell the story of your child's personality at this stage in their life.

Keep the Atmosphere Light

Remember, keeping the mood light and stress-free is key. This approach not only makes the photoshoot more enjoyable but also helps in capturing the natural essence of your child.

Tip 8: Capture the Magic of Wet Toes

Play by the Water's Edge

Encourage your family to dip their toes in the water. These moments can create fun and dynamic shots, especially with the natural interaction between the waves and your feet.

Focus on the Details

A close-up of wet toes in the sand or the gentle splash around them can be surprisingly expressive. It's a simple yet effective way to capture the essence of a beach day.

Include the Surroundings

While focusing on the feet, try to include elements of the surrounding beach – the waves, the texture of the sand, or even a beach toy nearby. This context adds depth to your photos.

Tip 9: Walking Towards the Water

A Classic Beach Shot

A family walking towards the water creates a classic and compelling image. It's a simple yet powerful way to capture the anticipation and joy of a day at the beach.

Focus on Body Language

As you walk, the natural body language and interactions within the family become the focal point. Capture the holding of hands, the playful strides of the children, or the relaxed postures.

Perspective and Background

Use the vastness of the sea and the horizon as a backdrop. This not only emphasizes the family's journey but also adds a sense of scale and beauty to the photograph.

Tip 10: Have Fun and Forget the Camera

Embrace the Joy of the Moment

The best photos often come when you're genuinely having fun and not thinking about the camera. Encourage your family to play, laugh, and enjoy the beach as if the camera isn't there.

Natural and Spontaneous Shots

When you forget about posing, your photos will capture the spontaneous moments of joy and interaction that are truly memorable.

The Photographer's Role

As the photographer, blend into the background as much as possible. This approach allows you to capture the candid and authentic expressions of your family, making for more natural and lively photographs.


Conclusion: Cherishing Your Beach Day Memories

As we come to the end of these tips, it's clear that a family beach photoshoot is about more than just pictures – it's about capturing the essence of your family's joy and togetherness. While these tips will certainly help in planning your day and taking some great shots, there's something to be said for the ease and expertise a professional photographer can bring to your experience.

Hiring a photographer allows you to fully immerse yourself in the moments with your family, without the distraction of handling the camera. It ensures that everyone is in the frame, and the spontaneous, candid moments are beautifully captured. A professional's eye for detail, lighting, and composition can turn simple moments into stunning, heartfelt memories.

So, consider the option of having a photographer join you. It frees you up to just be in the moment, enjoying the laughter, the waves, and the warmth of your family – making sure that every smile, every step towards the water, and every playful chase is artfully captured. In the end, these photos will be more than images; they'll be treasures that hold the story of your family's special day at the beach.

Written by

Hello! I’m Janel Kilnisan, living and breathing photography in the vibrant city of Miami. My camera is an extension of my heart, capturing life’s whimsical moments with a magical touch. My photography is a dance of wild, feminine grace, celebrating each unique story I encounter.

Want to capture your own extraordinary moments? Connect with me on my socials or book a session and let’s create memories together.