I recently hosted a number of Mommy & Me Photography classes and had so much fun teaching tips and tricks to a group of moms who wanted to learn how to take quality photos of their kids. When setting up these classes, I stressed that no fancy equipment was necessary. The only prerequisite was an interest to learn and eagerness to apply the new skills instantly with hands-on guidance by me. Throughout the class I reinforced the process composing a great image by thinking of background, position and light. At the end of one particular class I was asked “What do I do when there is nothing around and the sun is really bright?” My first thought was the beach. With summer quickly approaching I wanted to provide my top 3 beach photography tips that will improve your images instantly.
A beach provides a variety of frame worthy photo opportunities, however it is not short in photography challenges. Depending on the time and location a beach can be crowded, which causes cluttered backgrounds and not so flattering beach goers. As you see in the images below my background is clutter free and celebrates the sand, surf and sky.
Tip #1: Get Low
When working with clients or even my own child you will find me constantly moving into various positions to capture the right angle. Being in a squat or even laying down provides a unique perspective. On a crowded beach you could also use this “low” position to your advantage by minimizing the amount of “clutter” in the background. In the image of the child throwing the rocks I actually used a waterproof go-pro camera, which is a fun creative tool to use at the beach. You can even allow your kids to participate in taking images and capture memories from their perspective.
Tip #2: Details
Detail images really enhance the story of a beach vacation or day trip. Those little things that might only happen at the certain time in life, for example, baby toes in the water, sand on a toddler’s face, a special toy car that is brought everywhere they go. A detail that when you look back marks a certain time and fond memory.
Tip #3: Light (morning, mid-day and evening)
Light is one of the most important elements of photography. As a professional photographer I am constantly looking for the best light when working on-location with a client. Capturing the light correctly will transform a good image to great. You might not have the opportunity to be on the beach at the ideal morning or evening light, but you can still take great images during the mid-day sun.
- Utilize a sun umbrella, sun tent or even a hat to soften the light on a child’s face and prevent them from squinting and/or having a harsh shadow on their face.
- Move around your subject to test where the best light is falling, start with the sun at your back.
- Always take more than one image, as soon as you stop that is when a child will crack a smile or make a cute face.
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Summer is the most popular time of the year for travelers to enjoy the sun, surf and food of Cape Cod, but I prefer the Fall. I no longer have to fight traffic, wait in long lines at restaurants or struggle to finding a spot for my chair on the beach. If you want to enjoy the cute shops, great food and walks on the beach, the fall season is for you too. I traveled to Chatham, Cape Cod, which still has the majority of their shops and restaurant opens during this time. My favorite beaches transform into a private oasis with an occasional dog walker going by. The weather can vary, but if planned well you can still enjoy a day in the 60’s, which is perfect to me.
Chatham is located at the “elbow” of the Cape Cod. If looking at any map you can see that the land actually depicts an arm and the “elbow” is exactly where Chatham falls. It was settled by the English in 1664 and became a community of fishing, whaling and shipping. Since the town is at such a critical point of navigation by sea the Chatham Lighthouse was established in 1808 by President Thomas Jefferson. You can also visit the Chatham Light and enjoy the beach that has endured many storms in its day. The historical feel of the town still exists in the architecture today. It is this historic charm that keeps me visiting several times a year and makes me appreciate its beauty all year round.
(Chatham Cape Cod Facts)
Now that the weather is warming up in New England it’s always fun to take road trips to favorite destinations like Cape Cod. The weather is always a mix of fog, bright sun, rain and windy beach breezes, so it’s important to pack warm and cool weather clothes. Seasonal stores and ice cream shops are also opening up during this time so you can enjoy these places without the summer crowds. Here are a few images of a recent road trip. We enjoyed the beach at various temperatures, downtown shops and of course ice cream. If you would like to learn more about my approach to travel photography then check out my recent photography blog on Holl and Lane Magazine: Travel Photography
Safe travels to your future road tips!
I’ve wanted to travel, via airplane, with my son for some time, but there was always something that made me hesitate and not book the tickets: his age, temperament, fear, other parents horror stories, the list could go on. Growing up my family always took a yearly vacation and I’m glad my parents made the effort to travel so we could see different parts of the world. I would like my son to experience new places as well and when the opportunity presented itself I took a huge leap and booked tickets across the country to San Francisco for a family event.
During the month leading up to our departure I often experienced stressful thoughts of the unknown and ran through my list of to-do’s over and over in my head on a daily basis. So many things are out of my control, so we both needed to be flexible once travel day arrived.
One of the first things I did was to contact other moms I knew that have flown with their small children so I could get some tips and tricks. Here are the take aways from other traveling moms.
To sum up my adventure, it was a great trip and I’m happy I took the leap of faith. Did he freak out on the plane? Yes, on the return flight. Apparently, sitting with a seatbelt while taking off wasn’t his thing which was a lesson learned. Here are some highlight images from my trip.
While snowbound this weekend, I enjoyed looking at all the coverage of the blizzard on Instagram. Images are still being posted and I could spend way too much time reviewing them all. Below are some of the images I enjoyed the most, ranging from DC, VA, NY, and MA. I also included links to all the featured IG accounts if you are interested is viewing more of their work and coverage.