Tips for a Photo Session at the Beach

I know your beach plans may have been canceled or moved this year, but I still want to share this for my friends who are lucky enough to live near the coast or are able to safely visit this summer. Beach photos are my absolute favorite. If you plan it right, you can’t ask for a better backdrop. So today, I’m sharing my best tips for your next photo session at the beach.

beach photo session
  • Choose your photo session time wisely. Most photographers will tell you that when on the beach, your best bet is to shoot at golden hour. Golden hour is that dreamy hour or so before sunset (or after sunrise) that bathes you in soft light and makes you swoon. While I always love shooting at golden hour, it’s especially important at the beach because there is just no shade to be found and the last thing you want is to be squinting against the harsh sunlight. I would suggest planning on starting your photos about an hour before sunset if you can work quickly. You’ll find those last 15 minutes with the sun will be your favorite. 
  • Carefully choose your outfits. I love a flowy dress, rolled up pant legs, and bare feet on the beach. Think about what makes sense and feels comfy (and beachy). If you must wear shoes, make them open toed sandals. Think soft, pastel colors that complement the blue water and brown/white sand. Pale pinks, blues, greens, soft browns, greys, and whites are perfect. Skip the matching khaki & white outfits and mix up colors that work well together instead. 
  • Be okay with the mess. Beaches can be messy business. Sand will stick to your ankles, your kids may end up wet, and your hair will definitely be wind whipped. Beach photos aren’t about perfection, but about leaning into the wild of nature…and your family. If you’re choosing to take photos on the beach, be prepared for it to be messy and so, so beautiful. 
  • Think about the beach location. Whenever possible, I would choose to shoot at a private part of the beach over a public area. Most public beaches can be full of people, even around dusk, which can make it trickier to shoot. If your family is renting a condo or hotel in a private area, this can make things a bit easier (if they allow photography on their property).
  •  Look beyond the sand. If the lighting’s right, we can always venture beyond the sandy beach to the boardwalk or near the dunes. Sometimes properties have gorgeous areas near the pool or quaint little pathways leading that way. If the property (and light) lends itself, I’ll usually start there and work our way out to the water later on in the session as the sun starts to dip closer toward the horizon.

That’s it, my 5 tips for a better photo session at the beach. If you live in South Carolina (or even NC or GA) and are looking for a photographer, reach out. I’d love to chat with you about planning your next session on the beach. 

Until Next Time,


  1. Morgan Jones June 29, 2020 Reply

    Great tips! I just love your content! All of your photos are so crisp and beautiful. I am planning to buy a new camera this week and I’ll be using your tips to get the best outcome! Ocean City, Md is a little far from me, but I may take that trip for some good beach photos!! Thanks for sharing