Top 10 Tips for Beach Photos

10 Tips for Better Beach Photos

Take Better Family Vacation Shots

This month we’re celebrating spring with some of my best photo tips! We’ve hit the playground and the park, so, in anticipation of the upcoming summer months, let’s talk beach photos. Father and Son at the Beach - Take Better Family Vacation Shots

Last sumer we spent a long weekend in Montauk, our first and way overdue vacation since our younger son Jack was born. We had a great time, even if vacationing with two small kids is more work than not vacationing. Liam still talks about our trip on a regular basis and has been asking if we can go back this year.

We rented a little cottage right off the beach and the kids had a blast. Well, Liam did. I think Jack did too, only it turned out that he hates sand and refuses to have anything to do with it. At least he did then. Any time we tried to put him down in the sand he lifted his feet practically above his ears to avoid standing in it, even with shoes on. That made for an interesting beach vacation!

However, I did take some amazing photos so I could enjoy our vacation retroactively. I only took my DSLR out once so here are my favorite iPhone photos from our trip, along with my top 10 tips for beach (and vacation) photos.

1) Get Way Way Back
Our first day at the beach, my husband took the boys to check out the waves and I lagged behind slightly to grab this shot before putting my iPhone safely away and joining them in the water.

2) Action Can Be in the Details
I love the way this photo captured the sand flying off Liam’s hand

3) Bad Weather Isn’t Bad for Photos
We had a rainy day on Friday, but it made for a dramatic view. And then we spent most of the day at the indoor pool. And napping. (Miracle—everyone took a three-hour nap!)

4) Photograph Things as Well as People
Early Saturday morning Liam and I headed for the beach. This photo evokes that feeling of freedom as you slip off your sandals and run onto a deserted beach.

5) The Horizon Doesn’t Have to Be Straight
I like finding interesting angles, which aren’t always the straight ones. I love how tiny Liam looks here in the face of vast expanses of open sky, something we don’t get to experience much in the city. Oh yeah, Liam is still in his pjs on the beach here, something else we don’t get to experience often!

6) Capture the Moment
This was monumental—Jack actually walked on the sand for all of about 45 seconds before realizing what was going on! Of course I had to sneak a couple of photos as proof.Child walking on the beach - Capture the moment

7) Get in the Photo
The photo-obsessed parent in the family often complains that they are hardly ever in the photos. I advocate handing your camera to others when you can, but self-portraits with the forward-facing iPhone camera are a great and easy way to get into some shots.

8) Think About What You Want to Remember
I wanted to remember Liam, wet from the waves, sitting on my lap for a moment before running back into the ocean. This photo brings me back into that moment—I feel like I could reach out and touch him. Love the texture of his hair.

9) It’s Not All About the Beach
Don’t forget to capture those other “everyday” moments as well as the spectacular vacation moments. Here Jack lay down on my lap as we sat on the deck before bedtime. Even though it could have been taken anywhere, it is one of my favorite vacation memories.


10) It’s Not All About the Ocean
We were at the beach so early the beach chairs were still chained up, but I had to put Jack somewhere other than on the sand! The chairs actually made for a great photographic element and the boys had fun sharing an early morning snack.

A version of this blog post was first published on the Photosanity blog. Get photography tips for your family photos delivered directly to your Inbox.