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Seize the Seashore: 8 Tips for Stunning Family Beach Photos

Imagine this - your family, glowing in the soft sunset light, sand beneath your feet, and the soothing sound of the ocean as your backdrop. Capturing these enchanting moments, however, does present unique challenges. This is where Austen Hunter, a seasoned beach photographer in Pensacola, comes in. Austen has spent years mastering the art of capturing precious family moments against the mesmerizing canvas of the beach, guiding numerous families through memorable photoshoots and creating lasting images. Now, he's here to share his top tips for ensuring that your family beach photos, whether from a DIY session or a professional shoot, truly capture the magic of the moment.

Key Takeaways:

  • Planning is the cornerstone of a successful beach photoshoot; optimal timing, weather considerations, and selecting the perfect location are integral steps.

  • The choice of outfits, hair, and makeup should enhance the natural beach environment, aiming for a comfortable, breezy, and fuss-free look.

  • Creating a relaxed, fun atmosphere that encourages authentic family interactions is essential for capturing meaningful, candid moments.

  • Engaging children in the shoot and incorporating props or beach activities can add a layer of interest and dynamism to the photos.

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Top Tips for Exceptional Family Beach Photos

Whether you're a local or visiting the Emerald Coast or Pensacola area, a family beach photoshoot requires careful planning and preparation. This guide provides essential tips to help you capture those cherished family moments. From picking the perfect location and time to preparing your family and making the most out of your beach day, every tip shared here is designed to make your photoshoot smooth and enjoyable.

Tip 1: Choose Ideal Times of Day for Breathtaking Beach Shots

To capture the most stunning beach photos in Pensacola, the time of day is key. "Golden hour," the brief period just after sunrise or before sunset, offers soft, diffused light, creating the perfect ambiance. Opting for a sunrise photoshoot may save you from the summer crowds, giving a peaceful, private setting. However, an evening shoot can reward you with breathtaking sunsets, but be prepared for more visitors around. The midday sun, despite its allure, can lead to overexposed images and harsh shadows, which is not recommended. In essence, choosing the best time for beach photos depends on your preferences for lighting, ambiance, and privacy.

Optimal Times for Beach Photoshoots

Lighting Quality

Lighting Quality

Lighting Quality


Soft, Diffused

Less Crowded


Warm, Golden

More Crowded


Harsh, Bright


Tips 2: Check the Weather and Tide Predictions Often

Pensacola's weather can sometimes be unpredictable, particularly during the 'wet season', which usually spans from June through September. During these months, a clear, sunny sky can swiftly turn into a cloudy, rainy one. Hence, if you're planning a trip to Pensacola for your family beach photoshoot during this season, it's prudent to schedule your session early in your vacation. This foresight allows for a contingency plan, offering the flexibility to reschedule if the weather turns inclement. Additionally, always keep an eye on the tide information. The beach's landscape changes significantly between low and high tides, impacting not just the ambience but also the availability of your chosen photoshoot spot.

Tip 3: Choose Your Beach Photoshoot Location

The Emerald Coast is dotted with a variety of beaches, each offering unique backdrops for your family beach photos. For an iconic Pensacola touch, consider locations like the Pensacola Beach Beach Ball Water Tower or the Navarre Beach Fishing Pier in Navarre Beach for your photos. For those seeking a bit of history and a more secluded family beach photo experience, Fort Pickens located on the Gulf Islands National Seashore offers a distinctive backdrop. From tranquil waters to bustling boardwalks, these are some of the best beaches for family photos, combining natural beauty with Pensacola's distinctive landmarks.

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Getting Your Family Ready for Beach Photos

Getting your family photo-ready for a beach photoshoot requires some thought. A successful photoshoot isn't just about the location or the weather; it's also about how you and your family present yourselves. And that comes down to what you wear, how you do your hair, what to pack for a beach photo session, and even the make-up you choose. Let's delve into the specifics:

Tip 4: Outfit Tips for a Harmonious Beach Photoshoot

The key to looking great in beach photos is to select for comfortable, breezy outfits that don't restrict movement. This isn't just a style choice; comfort translates into more natural and relaxed poses. Light colors are typically a good choice for beach photos as they contrast beautifully with the blue ocean and sky. However, don't be afraid to mix and match textures and patterns to add depth to your photos. Try to coordinate your family's outfits without making everyone match exactly. If one person is wearing a pattern, others could pick a few colors from that pattern for their outfits. The term to remember here is "coordinated, not matching". When deciding what to wear for family beach photos, think about how the outfits will work together as a whole.

Tip 5: Beach-Ready Hair and Makeup Advice

Beach photoshoots call for a natural, fuss-free look. Less is definitely more in this case. A touch of waterproof mascara, a hint of blush, and a dab of lip gloss can enhance your features without making you look overly made-up. As for hair, beach photoshoots are all about embracing the natural environment, which includes the wind. Choose loose, relaxed hairstyles that won't get ruined by a gust of sea breeze. Braids, messy buns, or letting your hair down can all work well. If your hair is shorter, consider accessories like headbands or cute clips that can keep hair off your face and add a touch of style. Remember, the aim is to look naturally beautiful and at ease, as if you've just spent a joyful day at the beach.

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On the Day of your Beach Photo Session

Now comes the big day—the day of the shoot. This is when all your planning and preparation come to fruition. It's also the time to stay flexible and make the most of the moments as they unfold. Let's break down some of the key areas to focus on:

Tip 6: Creating a Relaxing Environment for Authentic Shots

The heart of a great photoshoot is authenticity, especially when it comes to family beach photos. Rather than stiff, posed images, aim for photos that capture your family's unique dynamic and genuine emotions. This is easier when everyone feels relaxed and at ease. To achieve this, keep the atmosphere light and fun. Encourage your family to joke around, play games, and let the children explore. The goal isn't just to look awesome for family beach photos, but to genuinely enjoy the experience. Your photographer will be there to capture those spontaneous, joyful moments.

"The best beach photos are born from a mix of preparation and spontaneity; plan meticulously, but also be ready to seize the unexpected." - Austen Hunter

Tip 7: Engaging Your Children for the Best Photos

We all know kids can get bored or tired quickly, which can make photoshoots challenging. The trick is to keep them engaged and entertained. Allow them to play in between shots and bring along their favorite toys. You could also encourage them to explore the beach environment—perhaps by looking for seashells or observing beach critters. When children are relaxed and engaged, their natural curiosity and joy shine through, making for great photos.

Tip 8: Incorporating Props and Scenery in Your Family Beach Photos

Using props can add an element of interest and fun to your photos. Consider bringing along a colorful beach blanket, a parasol, or even a surfboard. But don't forget to also make the most of the natural beach setting. Build a sandcastle with your kids, leave footprints in the sand, or play in the waves. Not only do these activities keep everyone engaged, but they also create dynamic, memorable images that truly encapsulate your family beach experience.

As you embark on this memorable journey, remember that a family beach photoshoot is as much about the experience as it is about the end result. The laughter, the playful interactions, and the candid moments in between — they all contribute to a story that is uniquely yours. So, plan diligently, but when the day arrives, let go and have fun because it's these authentic moments that will shine through in your family beach photos.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What's the best season to plan a beach photoshoot in Pensacola?

A: Pensacola enjoys warm, beach-friendly weather for a significant part of the year. However, for the most comfortable temperatures and the least chance of rain, planning your photoshoot in the spring (March-May) or fall (September-November) would be ideal.

Q: How to prepare my young children for a beach photoshoot?

Q: How long does a typical family beach photoshoot last?

Q: What is the best way to display my beach photoshoot pictures at home?

Q: What should we bring to a beach photoshoot?

Hire a Professional Beach Photographer

Taking memorable family beach photos can be achieved by following these eight insightful tips. They will guide you in capturing the beauty of your family's unique moments by the sea. But if you wish to truly elevate your photos, hiring a professional beach photographer like Austen Hunter could be your best decision. Austen's expertise and creative eye can help transform your special moments into stunning visual narratives. So why wait? Contact Austen today, book your session, and start your journey towards creating lasting memories that will be cherished for years to come.



Austen Hunter Photography is a photographer based in Pensacola, Florida who specializes in family beach photography, military portrait photography and professional headshot in a bold and clean style. Austen Hunter has been locally recognized and internationally published . He uses a variety of both natural light and off-camera flash to capture images. People usually book Austen for outdoor portrait sessions or sessions conducted at his home studio.

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Chelsea, Headshot Client

"Wonderful experience! Wanted an updated headshot and Austen and Sarah were amazing. The studio was clean and incredibly nice, Sarah even provided blotting pads to help with shininess I had during photo shoot. 10/10 recommend to anyone wanting to get a photo taken! Thank you again!"


Tammy, Headshot Client

"We are so glad that we found Austen. He did a wonderful job providing us with quality headshot photographs. He made us feel comfortable and gave us good suggestions for posing. We look forward to working with him again in the future!"


Daryl, Beach Client

"Austen and his team were amazing! They were able to capture exactly what we wanted for our engagement pictures and also provided us a tent to change clothes. I would highly recommend him and I would definitely use him again."

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