A couple of weeks ago I was at the beach with the Duncan Family. Dad Damien’s birthday was approaching and Jen wanted to surprise him with something special.
We snuck down to the beach at 7am before school started for the day. Not an easy task with 4 children! The kids were very excited to be there and it was a perfect morning, with dramatic clouds letting the sun shine through intermittently.
With kids it’s often better to let them forget that the camera is on and just have fun, which is why the beach is one of my favourite spots for family photo sessions. I will usually prompt them with an idea to get them started and then let them go for it – making some super cool and candid family pics.
You will see from these pics that I had the children doing piggy-back races and slow-motion running. The facial expressions are fabulous! The girls cuddling was spontaneous and shows that the sister clearly adore each other.
The main shot with the boys jumping started with them running from the waves and then the kids got so excited that the leaping and cartwheeling started and I grabbed this great shot. This is now on the wall as a huge canvas in the Duncan house.
Things to consider with a beach shoot are:
Time of day – the sun is harsh and hot later in the morning and early afternoon. Head down there early in the morning or late afternoon if you can.
The direction of the sun – I wanted to have some sun flare in my shots so we went for a morning photo shoot. In the afternoon on the Gold Coast you get a window of soft, warm light coming from the west so it has a very different effect.
Tides – we have plenty of beach here to work with but if you are heading to a narrow beach be sure to check that you have some sand to work with!
Weather – we checked the weather forecast and it turned out perfectly. A totally suny day wouldn’t have been nearly as dramatic.
Use a fill flash – to even out shadows it’s very useful.
Take towels and dry clothes – often kids end up much wetter than Mum and Dad were expecting! And maybe you as well! I have been caught out by sneaky waves many times!
HAVE FUN – make sure everyone is having fun. Work quickly so that there’s time to just enjoy the location as well.