Family Pictures On The Beach Ideas

By | 07/08/2022

On the long list of popular things to do at the beach, taking family embankment pictures sits correct up well-nigh the top, probably just below surfing, swimming, and snapping selfies. Few locations offering a better backdrop for bright and airy photos, and from gilded hour through sunset, the lighting tin’t be beat.

Of class, shooting at the beach includes its ain inherent prepare of challenges. Beaches tin can get (very) crowded, open shade is scarce, and depending on the particular beach, the views in whatever direction may not offer much variety. If you frequent the beach for family portraits, you may as well struggle to notice new and creative ways to feature information technology in your pictures, which is why we’re hither.

Whether you’re planning a trip to the coast with your ain group or photographing someone else’s family on the beach, the following family beach pictures, ideas, and tips will help boost your creativity and make the nigh of your time out in the sun. Let’s get started!

What Gear Do I Need to Take Family unit Embankment Pictures?

To start, you might wonder which gear volition serve you lot best for capturing family beach pictures. Well, another pop thing to practice at the beach is walking, and y’all’ll likely do plenty of walking for your shoot as well. For this reason, I recommend going as lite as y’all can on gear while still packing what yous need to get the job done. Here’south a brief overview of gear you should take in addition to your camera and lenses for capturing family unit beach pictures.

Camera Accessories

  • Camera Purse: Look for a small to medium-size bag that volition fit your camera, a couple lenses, ND filters, batteries, retention cards, and a flash if necessary. It helps to have easy access to your gear and straps for a tripod or calorie-free stand, if possible.
  • Tripod: Qualities to expect for in a tripod include light weight, compact size, and a sturdy build. Knowing this, become the best you tin find to fit your budget.
  • ND Filters: Bringing an ND filter to an outdoor shoot will open up upwardly a number of possibilities, including shutter drags with a shallow depth of field (one of the featured tips below). I prefer using a 4×four square nd filter (roughly 4-stops of light reduction) so that I can concur it in front of the lens without having to attach information technology.


  • Wink: Despite the abundance of available light at beaches, you may want to have forth a wink to allow greater control over your exposure. With a flash, you can lower your ambience exposure to preserve more colors in the heaven while adding a bear on of light to brighten upwards your subjects, for instance. While they come in all shapes, sizes, and power levels, something in the range of 100-200 watt seconds of ability should suffice, depending on how vivid it is.
  • Light Stand up: If yous plan to utilize flash at all, don’t forget a light stand. Look for something compact and lightweight.
  • Umbrella: Frequently underrated and underused, but ever effective, information technology’south hard to crush umbrellas for quick & piece of cake-to-use lite modifiers.
  • 5-in-1 Reflector: It’s always a good idea to bring i of these light modifiers along for a shoot, no affair the genre or location. They’re very affordable and like shooting fish in a barrel to utilize to bang-up event.
  • An Assistant: Whenever possible, have an assistant join you to aid carry and look after the gear, secure your flashes (when in use), and do whatever else it is y’all might need assist with while capturing family embankment pictures.

Family Beach Pictures, Ideas, and Tips for Photographers

Use the following ideas and tips to enhance your experience of taking family unit beach pictures.

  1. Check Tide & Other Conditions
  2. Make up one’s mind on Sunrise or Sunset
  3. Apparel for the Occasion
  4. Shutter Drag
  5. Find Reflections
  6. Await for Natural Frames
  7. Effort a Silhouette
  8. Watch Out for Heads on the Horizon
  9. Direct for Action
  10. Incorporate Storytelling

Tip 1. Check Tide & Other Conditions

family beach pictures safety tips for high tide and waves
Photo by SLR Lounge

As per usual, it’s important to showtime with safe in mind. During the planning phase of your session for family beach pictures, check expected surf and weather weather online or via an app for the time and location of your shoot. I recommend making this a addiction anytime y’all program to shoot on or near the beach. You lot don’t want to unexpectedly become caught at loftier tide and subject your clients to potentially dangerous loftier surf, surprise waves, and riptides.

One time y’all’re on the beach, always proceed an eye on the ocean. Stay warning enough to notice larger waves coming in so that yous have fourth dimension to get out of harm’south way if the waves await big. Sadly, rogue waves and riptides claim a number of lives each year. You don’t want to end up a statistic.

Tip 2. Decide on Sunrise or Dusk for Family Embankment Pictures

It goes without saying, lighting tin can make all the difference in your photos. If you program to shoot with natural light on the beach, you’ll most likely want to avoid midday sun and instead opt for either sunrise or sunset. When the dominicus hangs directly overhead, you’ll find yourself battling unflattering shadows on your subjects’ faces. Of course, you can use a reflector, but you’ll also take to battle squinty expressions whenever you direct your subjects to wait at the camera.

pier at sunset
Photograph past SLR Lounge

You’re no dubiety familiar with golden 60 minutes, simply most people but associate it with the belatedly afternoon. In reality, y’all tin can take advantage of golden hr twice daily, during the first hour subsequently sunrise and the final hour or and then before sunset. During this stretch of time, the sun hangs lower and the light hits softer and warmer, oftentimes resulting in more flattering portraits for your subjects. In addition, you’ll find the sky offers bolder colors, which looks great for more dramatic imagery, whether captured with natural low-cal (ofttimes in silhouettes) or flash.

Pros & Cons of Each

The beach is often less crowded closer to sunrise, simply in my experience capturing family unit embankment pictures, rallying the troops for a photoshoot early in the forenoon has proven more challenging than having them show up closer to the finish of the twenty-four hour period. This gives a slight edge to scheduling your family embankment portraits closer to sunset. Plus, if you tin can stay 30 minutes or so afterwards sunset, y’all tin work the beautiful colors of blueish 60 minutes into your session.

Tip 3. Dress for the Occasion

Because you’re shooting on the beach, I get-go recommend that anybody wear sunscreen. The trick, nonetheless, is using either quick-dry sunscreen or applying it long plenty before the shoot that some of the sheen wears off, unless of course your subjects want to glisten on the sand.

family beach pictures color coordination
Photo past Lin & Jirsa Photography

I also recommend that families clothing comfortable clothing (y’all’re at the beach, afterall) and make an effort to color coordinate. This doesn’t hateful everyone should clothing matching colors, but they might try using complementary colors or utilize a monochromatic theme with dissimilar shades of a particular color. Every bit an added tip, between solid colors and patterns, solid colors tend to be less distracting.

maternity session on the beach
Photo by Line & Roots Photography

Finally, wind and beaches go hand in hand. Endeavour to avoid wearable that might take to the air current like an open up canvas and flap and fly all over the place. The only time this actually works in your favor is for capturing motherhood embankment pictures. Then, by all means, flap and fly abroad.

Tip four. Drag the Shutter for Family Beach Pictures

shutter drag
Photo by SLR Lounge

One quick and like shooting fish in a barrel manner to make your family beach pictures more than dynamic involves dragging the shutter and capturing the movement of the body of water. To practice this, you may need to apply an ND filter so that you can slow your shutter speed and yet maintain a wider depth of field. But position your family in or near the h2o’s border, and capture the shot as the waves wash ashore. You’ll see this effect used often in date and wedding photography, but shutter drags work well for family beach photos, too. Simply direct your family unit into position and let them know to stand still once they’ve struck their pose.

If you’re creating an HDR portrait and have to use dissimilar exposures for the h2o and sky, effort to go along them beneath the horizon line. You can e’er add a mask in Lightroom or swap out the sky with specialized editing software if needed, merely this tip can notwithstanding come in handy, fifty-fifty in those instances.

Tip 5. Find Reflections

The beach can exist a great location for working reflections into your photos. You tin can often detect existing puddles, specially at low tide, or else add your own reflective surface with a phone or mirror, and so double the bear on of the epic landscape.

reflection of family beach pictures
Photo by Line & Roots Photography

When capturing a reflection for family unit beach pictures, tedious your shutter speed to capture a smoother reflection. This works similarly to the shutter drag discussed above, merely it doesn’t require as slow a shutter speed. You don’t want to irksome information technology so much that you introduce besides much camera milk shake. If this happens, y’all’ll need to increase the shutter speed or utilize a tripod. Also, if the water is not perfectly still and your shutter speed goes too low, your subjects volition appear less sharp in the last image. But proceed an middle out for this as you dial in your exposure settings. If you desire to capture more detail in the reflection, utilise a faster shutter speed and narrow discontinuity (f/eight-f/22).

At the end of the twenty-four hour period, we want to utilise reflections to lead the viewers to our subject. To achieve that goal, nosotros need to make certain that our subjects are in focus.

Tip 6. Look for Natural Frames for Family Beach Pictures

Every bit grand and epic equally beaches are, they can also look plain when ever captured equally wide open up spaces. Attempt to detect natural elements on the beach, like stone formations if y’all’ve got them, to assistance create interesting frames around your subjects. Check out the video above to see how I used a stone formation at a local beach as a frame, foreground element, and source of shade to capture a multifariousness of compelling images of my bailiwick. While the video features a unmarried subject, the aforementioned concepts can be practical to taking family beach pictures.

Tip 7. Endeavour a Silhouette (or Moody Lighting)

Silhouettes stand up out as ane of the coolest images to capture when the low-cal begins to fade and the colors in the sky grow more brilliant. Depending on when you’re shooting and how dark information technology is, yous should be able to use the shadows to create a compelling (and perhaps dramatic) family unit beach portrait!

moody lighting for family beach pictures
Photo by Line & Roots Photography

Nosotros don’t need a perfect exposure to capture a solid silhouette. All we really need to practice is place the family unit against the colorful heaven (typically looking out toward the sunset) and lower our exposure. We only want to retain the outline of the family unit against the sky.

When posing the family for a silhouette portrait, remember that composition takes center stage. Viewers should exist able to easily identify each family unit fellow member, despite the lack of particular due to the lower exposure. Many families will hold hands, simply you can too mix things up and get a variety of shots, such as a side-angle shot of dad tossing his young son upward into the air, and and so on.

You can discover more tips on
photographing silhouettes here.

Tip 8. Watch Out for Heads on the Horizon

This tip rings true through all genres of photography, really, but it’southward worth mentioning in a list of tips for family beach pictures, too. Just put, brand sure the horizon doesn’t intersect with your subjects’ heads. Information technology serves to practise piffling more than distract your viewer. In family unit photos, some shorter subjects may current of air up with their heads at the horizon line, but that’s okay. In those instances, I’ll position the taller subjects’ heads clear above the line and get lower to do what I can for the shorter subjects.

Tip 9. Direct for Activity for Family Embankment Pictures

action shots for family beach pictures
Photos by Line & Roots Photography

Like with any family portrait session, you’ll want to capture safety, mantle-prepare, formal family poses for family beach pictures. Even so, yous should as well spend plenty of time playing, walking, and doing other activities that families might practise at the beach.

family beach pictures of action
Photo past Line & Roots Photography

This process tin begin immediately post-obit the formal shots. While the family is withal in position, use cues to encourage the family unit to strike different poses, like squeezing into the person in the centre or making funny faces for the photographic camera. From there, y’all tin can mix up the group variations, removing or calculation family members along the mode.

Come across our article on grouping photo poses for more posing and directing ideas.

Tip 10. Contain Storytelling

Similarly to the tip above, incorporating storytelling into your session will allow you to capture a wider variety of shots inside a single scene. We often spend a fair amount of fourth dimension setting up for particular portraits. Unfortunately, many photographers snap a couple shots after putting in all of that work and so they movement on. Instead, I recommend capturing a range of angles, poses, expressions, and groupings without moving anyone out of position.

kite flying at the beach

close ups of kite action
Photos by Line & Roots Photography

To do this, showtime with a wider bending to establish the scene, capturing the whole group. While I’ve demonstrated this with action shots in a higher place, the same concept applies to formal group poses. You lot can begin with the standard formal pose and and so direct the group for different expressions. Side by side, motion into a medium angle and capture a tighter shot of the whole group or just a portion of the group. Finally, motion in close for tighter shots that capture even more detail, maybe of a unmarried individual as he or she laughs at any prompts you’re giving. You can so move to the side of the group and shoot beyond, using one side of the group as a foreground element while you focus on someone standing on the other side.

Mixing upwards your angles (broad, medium, and tight) while capturing a single scene volition let you to deliver more images and also design more cohesive spreads for your blogs or photograph albums.


I hope you plant these family beach pictures, ideas, and tips for photographers useful. While they should definitely add to your toolbox for photographing families on the beach, you lot tin can apply many of the tips to family photography in other locations too, which should come up in handy when it’s not necessarily beach season (or if you don’t live anywhere near a beach). If yous happen to read this during the summer and you are embankment adjacent, nevertheless, you can find additional beach photography tips designed specifically for summertime shooting. Happy shooting!

Pye Jirsa

Pye Jirsa is the founder and partner of SLR Lounge, Visual Catamenia Presets, and Lin and Jirsa Photography. Pye has taught and inspired thousands of photographers effectually the earth with frameworks that make seemingly circuitous and intimidating topics simple and approachable. His frameworks have besides helped create and scale Lin and Jirsa Photography, a boutique Socal nuptials and portrait photography studio that shoots over 1,000 wedding, portrait, newborn and commercial clients each year.