Hi! I'm really glad that we're going to have the chance to work with you for your beach portrait session! We know that you're investing your valuable vacation time and finances with us to have a great portrait experience, and I want to give you all of the information that I can to make your session a success. I've written this list with a great deal of thought and candor... Daniel says it borders on "cheeky," but being a busy mom, I have found that the most helpful suggestions are the ones that "tell it like it is" and address whatever we might "really" encounter.
I hope that this is genuinely helpful! ~ Kate
THOUGHT-FILLED CLOTHING SUGGESTIONS!
I recommend color, style, and comfort in your outfits!
Start with a color scheme.
Your portraits should be a reflection of the beautiful tapestry of personalities and styles in your group. A timeless photograph is an authentic photograph. So let everyone wear outfits that they feel comfortable and confident in.
A quick google image search for "what to wear for beach portraits" will give you a plethora of images with sample color palettes and outfit examples.
Color: Pick bright and light colors that will contrast well with the blue of the sky/ocean and the light color of the sand. Start with one color that you love, and build the scheme from there.
I strongly caution against everyone wearing white and khaki. Adding in some white and khaki looks great. You can see that in the samples from the searches above. My point (backed by 15+ year of experience) is that everyone should not be wearing white/khaki. The differences in skin tones (think pink sunburns and deep tans -- we have both skin types in our family) alone warrants that each person should wear complementary colors for their own skin type. So, my advice is: mix it up with a combination of white, lights, and brights.
Style: When you do a google or pinterest search make note of what you don't like as well as what you do like. Show off your personal style. One great idea a client gave me was to bring two outfits -- a "dressy" outfit, to start with, and then everyone changed into more relaxed beachwear for candids. This turned out GREAT!
Comfort: Comfort is REALLY important for a beach session. This is NOT a studio session. It's a walk, run, sand-in-toes, wind in hair, playful kind of session. Make sure that your clothing allows room for movement!
While our packages include complementary environmental touchups, touch ups due to clothing calamities include additional fees. (We will keep an eye out for any wardrobe issues during the session, but these tips will help you avoid the avoidable!) I want to save you $$ and me time!!... so below is a list of the most common mistakes to avoid:
WIND. IT'S CLIMATE.
While the saying goes that the weather (rain, sunshine, etc.) changes every 10 minutes on the Outer Banks one thing that doesn't change is the wind. It is always windy. The beach climate summed up in one word would be: windy. Now, some days are windier than others, but we have an average windspeed of 10-15 mph most days. So, as you're preparing for your session keep that in mind in regards to hair and clothing. We know the best dune nooks to get tucked into that will help protect you from the wind, but it will always be a little breezy by the ocean. It's one of the charms of the beach session -- just imagine that you have your own built in professional modeling fan!
CHANGE OF SCENERY
While our Lifestyle, Engagement, Maternity, and DOC sessions are held anywhere on the Outer Banks, due to beach conditions, we may have to move your session to a different beach that your originally booked location.
Tide, weather, and development can all affect the beach by your rental home. Due to the positioning of the Outer Banks, weather patterns in the summer can make one beach narrow and another wide -- the wind can be gentle on a north facing beach and strongman strong on a south facing beach.
We're very experienced in determining which beach will be best for any given day. So, we may call you to ask you to switch your session from your rental home beach to another close by beach. Also, if we are scheduled at your rental home, and once you get there you don't think that it will be accommodating for the session, let us know!
While it may take a little more effort to get everyone out of the house and to the new location, trust me, it's 100% worth it!
That being said, our favorite beaches are:
Most of these beaches are part of the undeveloped Cape Hatteras National Seashore. You have long swaths of open beach, and as a plus you have cool historic buildings (Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, Bodie Island Lighthouse, Oregon Inlet Lifesaving Station, Currituck Lighthouse, and Whalehead Club) nearby.
We highly recommend that clients choose one of these beaches for your session, but again, we're not opposed to coming to your beach home. Just know if we make a call to change location it's because we're doing all that we can to give you great photos and a great experience!
WEATHER: IT'S OUR LIFE
As mentioned previously, weather changes hourly, if not every 10 minutes on the Outer Banks. So, PLEASE save yourself some stress -- and do not check the forecast for your beach portrait 2 weeks or even the week before your session because it WILL change.
Monitoring the weather is part of our life -- it's the first thing we do when we take a sip of morning coffee. Let us monitor it for you, and in the event that we feel it is necessary to move your session due to weather related issues, we will contact you via phone either the evening before (for morning sessions) or morning of (for evening sessions) to move the session to the next available session time.
If you must look at the weather, I wanted to give you a few head's up tips:
BRING ON THE PETS
Should you and can you bring pets to the session?
Yes and Yes.
We love working with family pets. So, please bring them along!
Keep in mind that pets must be on a leash and don't forget to bring them water and treats.
Since we shoot near sunrise and sunset the heat shouldn't bother them for your session, but just as a reminder: while you're on vacation please remember that the sand heats up quickly -- take care of sensitive pet paws on your beach walks!
HAVE A PLAN. THEN RELAX!
If I were asked what is the most important tip to give a family preparing for a beach session I would say, pre-plan the day so that everyone is happy and motivated for the session! Get the cranky out well before the session.
I don't necessarily want to promote bribery, but this is one occasion where it may be essential... a nice dinner, candy, an adult beverage, ice cream, a fishing trip, go carts, putt-putt... whatever you need to do to motivate those you love!
Make sure that you have the day planned. Know where your portrait outfits are, know what and when you're feeding the troops before and after the session. If naps are needed have them early enough in the day so that sleepy heads are wide-eyed for the session and not groggy.
Don't over plan the day with tons to do and then have to scramble at the last moment to get ready. Keep it simple.
Remind everyone, even though they may not believe it until they experience it, that our sessions are fun. Seriously. We have fun! We'll get a sense of your group when we arrive, and if we think we need to start with some candid play on the beach, we'll do that. If we can start with "formal" posed portraits to start with, we'll do that, and then move to candid.
For families with little children we know that shooting close to sunset is hard on little ones with early bedtimes. But from experience we know that the good light and least heat of the day is essential for a great session. If you're really worried about the late time, we recommend a sunrise session. Sure, they are really early, but it's worth it!
Ok -- this is especially for you moms -- You and I know that you can do everything in your power to make the day go well, and then something out of your control happens that seems like it will derail the session. At that point, my best advice is just let it go. You've done all that you can to get everyone prepped and ready for the shoot. Don't worry about anything out of your control. Let the session happen and relax. Be silly, fun, and let your guard down and enjoy yourself -- the rest of your group will follow your example!
CAN I BRING PROPS?
You can definitely bring props.
Some frequent props that clients like to include are:
This is a living document, with new Q&A added frequently. If you have additional quesitons please let us know!
Where will we meet?
We'll meet at one of our favorite locations or at your beach rental. We'll determine the location at booking, and we'll email you directions to the portrait site.
Will we have to walk far for our session?
Every beach access will require a some walking in the sand. Most of the beaches where we shoot will have a board walkway as well.
If someone in your group has mobility issues, please let us know. We can help make arrangements for transportation/location adjustments.
Who will be my photographer?
We are a three photographer portrait team. Daniel, Kate, and Brooke. Your client site will list your photographer.
Should I arrive early?
There is no need to arrive too early -- we will arrive about 5 minutes prior to the session.
Should we wear shoes?
While you may want to wear shoes when walking to the beach, we recommend to not wear shoes during the session.
What will the session experience be like?
Our sessions are a blend of formal and candid photography. You'll stand and sit for formal portraits, and then we'll "break loose" for candid and playful time on the beach.
Should we have a portrait list?
You will get sandy. You will get your feet wet. Bring a towel to wipe your feet off before you get in the car!
If you still have questions that we haven't answered, feel free to contact me!