Call or Text

Joanne Barratt Photography logo.

California / Hawaii / Oregon

Casual, Modern, Fun Lifestyle Photo Sessions

5 Tips to Help You Prepare for Your Family Beach Photo Shoot

5 Tips to Help You Prepare for Your Family Beach Photo Shoot

A family beach photo shoot can be so much fun if you’re well prepared. Clients often experience the most stress during the “getting ready” stage just before their session. However, with the right planning put into place, you and your loved ones can have a stress-free family photo shoot!

As your photographer, I want every step of your family photos to be memorable, relaxed and fun. There are a few simple things you can do before your family beach photo shoot to ensure that everyone arrives comfortable and excited for the session.

Family of four play with their dog on the beach for their family beach photo shoot captured by Island Style Images, a Waikiki Family Photographer.

5 Tips to Prepare for Your Family Beach Photo Shoot

1. Get Your Family Excited Before Your Photo Shoot

A parent’s attitude about a session can set the tone for the entire family. If you are excited about your family photo shoot, that energy will be contagious! On the other hand, if you are stressed out or dreading your session, your family members will likely feel the same way.

Talk about the session in a positive light and let everyone know how much fun you’re going to have! Allow your children to be a part of the planning and preparation process so they can feel like they are contributing. This will help them feel even more excited about the photo shoot.

If you are planning on taking family pictures during your vacation, it’s best to book your family photo shoot at the beginning of the trip. Otherwise, you may feel anxious instead of excited as you anticipate the session during your trip. If you book your family pictures near the beginning of your trip, you’ll feel more able to relax during the remainder of your vacation.

Mother hugs her two daughters for their family beach pictures taken by Island Style Images, a Halewai Family Photographer.

2. Choose the “Right” Wardrobe

Choosing your family’s outfits for your family beach photoshoot doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Stick to a natural color palette that will feel timeless and coordinate well with the beach setting. Select materials that will be comfortable to wear at the beach, something lightweight, that you won’t mind getting sandy or wet.

You also want to make sure that the outfits you select will cover any tan lines you may get from time spent on the beach during your vacation. If you have young girls, make sure they wear diaper covers or bloomers under their dresses to make sure everything is covered up nicely during the more playful shots in the session.

If you want more tips for styling your family for your photo shoot, I have an entire blog post dedicated to this topic here.

Two daughters hug their dad for their family beach photo shoot captured by Island Style Images, a Honolulu Family Photographer.

3. Make Sure Everyone is Well Rested and Well Fed

If you have little ones who take regular or scheduled naps, it’s important not to disturb their schedule. You want your kiddos to show up for your family photo shoot well rested so that they feel their very best! Book a session time that will work well with their nap schedule and allow for plenty of time to get ready before their session.

It’s also important to make sure everyone is well fed before your photo shoot as well. Nothing is worse than trying to smile and have fun with a grumbling, hungry stomach! If your family is well rested and well fed before their session, you are more likely to be able to relax and enjoy yourselves during the photo shoot!

Two sisters in pink dresses play in the water on the beach captured by Island Style Images, a San Diego Family Photographer.

4. Bring Items that Will Get Your Kids Excited

If you’re already at the beach, you might as well make the most of it! Bring along beach/sand toys, bubbles or anything that will get your kiddos excited for the session.

Pack bathing suits, a change of clothes, and beach towels for after your photo shoot so that your family can stay a little longer to have fun. This also helps everyone avoid getting back into the car in cold, wet or sandy clothes.

Two sisters jumping in the water at the beach during their family photo shoot taken by Island Style Images, a Honolulu Family Photographer.

5. Be Yourselves and Have FUN

It’s important to note that family sessions with me aren’t all forced poses or stiff smiles. My job is to capture your family as you are. I want you to laugh, play, be yourselves and have fun! Allow your family’s unique personality and connection to be the star of the show. Nothing is more meaningful than those candid shots that really showcase your families’ true smiles.

If a family member is reluctant or nervous about the photo shoot because they think it will be a “modeling session”, reassure them that this photo shoot is all about having fun and spending time together.

Two sisters playing in the water at the beach for their family session by Island Style Images, a Waikiki Family Photographer.

The Key to a Great Family Photo SHoot

The key to a great family beach photo shoot is all in the preparation. With the right plan in place, your family will enjoy the session and it will become a fond memory. This will make looking at your family photos even more special each time you pull them back out to reminisce on this season of life. Family pictures don’t have to be a source of stress or overwhelm! They can turn into a family tradition that everyone looks forward to year after year.

Family of four walks along the beach holding hands with their dog for their family pictures taken by Island Style Images, an Orange County Family Photographer.

Want to book your family photo shoot with me? Contact me here to get started.

Don’t forget to follow me on Pinterest for more inspiration for your family session!

If you liked this post, you might also enjoy:

Styling Your Wardrobe for Your Session

Book a Dog Photography Session

Graduation Season: Senior Sessions


Styling Your Wardrobe for Your Session

Styling Your Wardrobe for Your Session

Styling your wardrobe for your session may seem like a daunting task. However, wardrobe has one of the biggest impacts on the way your images turn out! If choosing what to wear for your session feels overwhelming, we’ve got you covered here at Island Style Images. Whitney, my stylist, and I help our photography clients with ideas on what to wear as well and offer links for purchasing pieces for your photography session.

How does styling affect your photography session?

There is a reason we often struggle with choosing what to wear. It’s because we know that what we wear has the ability to affect the way we look. Choosing the right colors, patterns, fabrics and fits can make you feel confidently beautiful for your session. Nothing makes a photography session shine quite like confidence!

When you are wearing a piece that flatters you, works well with the session location and your photographer’s editing style and coordinates beautifully with everyone else in your photoshoot, your images get an automatic upgrade! On the other hand, choosing outfit colors that don’t match the location or your photographer’s editing style can make your images feel off. Patterns that are too distracting may take away from the images as well.

Styling your wardrobe for your session in the right way has a major impact on the final results. It can be easy to choose an outfit for yourself for your session. But styling your family’s wardrobe and coordinating your outfits can be a lot trickier.

Coordinating Your Family’s Wardrobe

One of the biggest struggles clients experience when selecting a wardrobe for their session, is how to coordinate everyone’s outfits so they feel cohesive and put together for your session. Our biggest advice is to coordinate your wardrobe, don’t “match” or put everyone in the exact same outfit! But how?

Whitney, my stylist, and I will use these three basic principles to create a mood board to help you style your wardrobe for your session:

Choose a Color Palette

Whether your family likes neutral tones or bold colors, choosing a color palette is the perfect start to styling your wardrobe for your session. A color palette with at least 3 to 5 different colors works best. You can search for color palettes that you like on Pinterest or Whitney and I are happy to suggest color palettes we think will work wonderfully for your session.

Avoid Distracting Patterns or Designs

Patterns that are too busy can sometimes make photos appear pixelated or overwhelming. On the other hand, finding the right pattern that isn’t too small or too big can help add a fun visual element to your images. You also want to avoid certain designs on children’s outfits, like character shirts, to help your photos feel professional.

Select Appropriate Fabric for the Season and Session Location

Fabric also plays a huge role in the outcome of your session. Certain fabrics like lace, fur or leather can add texture to your images, making them more visually appealing. The right fabric can also coordinate well with your session’s location. For example, if you are doing a session at the beach, we would suggest light and airy fabrics that are comfortable and tie in well with the setting.

Styling Your Wardrobe for Your Session

Styling your wardrobe is a big part in planning for your session. I want you to enjoy your session with me and feel completely confident and relaxed in front of the camera. That’s why Whitney and I prioritize helping you select the perfect wardrobe for your session. You and your family will look and feel your best and your pictures will turn out as beautiful as possible!

Below is an example of a mood board we created and the final wardrobe for Whitney’s family session in Saguaro National Park in Arizona to help give you an idea of how we plan a wardrobe to style a session. This session was so fun and loving! The style helped elevate their session to create images that will be treasured for years to come.

Mom in a cardigan and long blue dress swings her daughter in a floral jumper around at Saguaro National Park for their family photoshoot by Island Style Images.
Close up of little boy in gray sweater and mom holding her son's face for their Saguaro National Park family session by Island Style Images.
Father in neutral button up poses with sons in gray and maroon sweaters for their family photoshoot in Saguaro National Park by Island Style Images.
Family of five in coordinating outfits in Saguaro National Park for their family photos by Island Style Images.
Dad in neutral button up hugs daughter in camel colored sweater for their family pictures in Saguaro National Park by Island Style Images.
Mom in long flowing blue dress hold and snuggles her children for their family session in Saguaro National Park by Island Style Images.

Want to book your session with me? Contact me here to get started.

Don’t forget to follow me on Pinterest for more inspiration and ideas for your family session!