Doing photo shoots at the beach is tricky business (which is why one might need a few tips for beach photography). To be honest, when a client books, I tell them unless you LOVE the beach, don’t do your photo session there. It’s sandy and windy and not a static location. Meaning, if you like perfect hair, it won’t happen here. BUT, if your kids love the sand and the water and you feel at home hearing the crashing waves, this is your place.
So, how does a photographer make the beach work for them instead of struggling against it? Well, this list is by no means exhaustive, just a few helpful things I’ve learned in the five years that I’ve lived next to the beach and done countless photo sessions there.
1. Find a beach that has more than sand and water. If it’s possible, look for a pier and maybe even some grassy areas or a cove. One of my favorite beaches has an old wood pier and I never get tired of its rustic beauty. PLUS shooting under the pier is the best light you’ll find.
2. Bring some shells. I wish I could say that you can actually find shells on Southern California beaches, but I think you’re more likely to find a candy bar wrapper. I bring a bag full of shells and hide them before the family arrives. It helps create those natural moments where kids are just exploring.
3. Use the horizon. The beach is about more than just the water. When the sky is impossibly blue, incorporate it! For these photos, I found a little dune and laid down on the ground so when I’m shooting up it makes the jumps look even higher.
4. Timing is everything. Not only the time of the photo session (I like 9am and about 2 hours before sunset), but the time you let the kids near the water. Don’t let an outfit be ruined by a rogue wave. I’ve made that mistake before and if they don’t have a back-up outfit, the session is over. No one likes to be sandy and wet for long. So, at the end of the session, we make our way down to the water and play in the waves. If someone gets wet, it’s okay!
5. Close-ups are important! I think every mom wants to see a close-up of their child’s face and for these shots, I find indirect light. Sometimes it’s under the pier or for these ones I used a close-by grassy area. While sun flare is awesome in wide angle shots, for close-ups I want to see the color of their eyes and every detail on their face. So, I make sure to get at least one close-up out of the direct sun.
Another great idea is to shoot at the bay instead of the beach. In Long Beach we have so many and I love the lack of wind and waves for little ones. It’s such a serene location. Click here to see more photos session and the bay in Long Beach.
This past weekend, I was scouting around Long Beach and Huntington Beach for some new locations for photo sessions. We stumbled on this little spot in Huntington Beach and I love it. It feels like the country to me. Jillian’s dress and her mocs fit perfectly in the location. The dress is from Blue Pony Vintage. I got to meet the owner a few weeks ago when I was photographing her line of clothing. She has such great style– I love photographing her clothes!
//child photography in Huntington Beach
Today, I wanted to share a photoshop tip with you that I learned years ago. People sometimes comment about the way the eyes pop in my photos. So, I’d like to share how to get eyes that ‘pop in a photo.’ But, first, I want to start off by saying a few things…
A. I’m not a photoshop guru. My philosophy in editing is that there’s more than one way to skin a cat. I am self-taught, so just because I do it this way, doesn’t mean it’s the RIGHT way.
B. There’s no substitute for good light. You want to light your subject’s face with clean indirect light. If it looks great to start, it’ll look amazing with a few tweaks. But, you never want to try to ‘fix’ a photo.
Here’s the secret…the dodge tool. The tool can be found in your tool palette and it looks like a lollipop! At the top of your toolbar, select the midtones in the range option and set the opacity to 30%. I dodge once or twice right in the middle of the eye. Don’t over-do it, you can get an ‘alien look’ very quickly. Play around with the settings for different eye colors.
Pssst. Can I let you in on a little secret? I love scouting for photo shoot locations/the best spots in Long Beach. I’ll be driving around pretty much anywhere in Los Angeles, see something awesome, and slam on the brakes (slash) quickly pull over to document the details.
This park in Long Beach (technically it’s Lakewood) has been a favorite for awhile. And in the past, I’ve been a little secretive about my locations because I work really hard to find some of them. But, honestly, I’m not the child photographer that keeps going back to the same spot over and over. I get bored. I like to switch things up! So, while I’ll still hold some locations as ‘new’ for my clients (because I believe that’s part of why you hire me), I wanted to start sharing a few spots that I think would be fun for those of you that are looking for new photo shoot locations.
We started off this week with a full table and ended up with an even fuller table! Monday night was a big pot of white bean chili with some family and friends…
Later in the week, I was working on a dip-dyed project for the blog. So, my sink was filled with pink dye! It turned out really cute, I can’t wait to share with you guys.
I did some location scouting last week and found this little gem. If I like the iPhone capture, I know it’s going to be off-the-hook-awesome with my real camera!
Brent had Friday morning off, so we started off the morning at Starling (LOVE this Long Beach breakfast spot), and then looked for an outfit for him to wear Easter morning. Of course I have no photos of what he actually wore, but he told me he liked this mannequin look, so I snapped it for future reference. Mixed prints for the win!
Speaking of Brent, have you notice how many skating pictures we’ve been posting!? Our friends put a ramp in their backyard and Brent has been teaching the boys to skate. It’s been fun and I’m secretly hoping this new hobby doesn’t end with any broken bones!
Saturday. I was a little stressed to start the day. I had a LOT to do. Then, my friend asked me to go to boot camp on the beach. I decided the to-do list could wait and I got my work out on instead. Everything got accomplished and my legs felt like jello the next day!
We open Easter baskets on Saturday, because Sundays tend to be crazy busy around here. My kids still get excited and the contents are super simple! Usually everyone gets shoes, a new Easter outfit, a bathing suit, a movie and a TINY bit of candy. This year I could find the big sand buckets, so everything got scrunched inside the small ones.
Saturday also involved making cinnamon rolls for the morning and arranging flowers for the tables. So, here’s my dough hanging out with all those flowers.
Brent had to leave at 7:30am on Sunday and doesn’t get home until almost 1:00, so I had to enlist these three helpers to get me set up for all 21 (!!!) of us for lunch. They were awesome and did everything from set the table to making lemonade for our guests. And they’re exceptionally cute!!
I ended the week with a full heart. I love my family and friends and it means a lot when we can all celebrate our risen Savior together! Oh and if you want to hear Brent’s message from Sunday, it’s on the church website- click here.
Hey y’all! With Easter coming up this Sunday, I wanted to share the mini photo sessions that happened a few weeks ago at Rascals to Rebels. If you haven’t been to this children’s boutique (in Rossmoor) yet, you need to go check it out! They have a great selection of clothes and toys…plus their staff is some of the nicest people you’ll meet!
On to the photos! Check out all these cuties…
Do you recognize these twins on the right below? They play the baby Christine Angela Booth on the show, Bones. They’re adorable!