Bluebird Chic ambassador Kimi Coopet of Oh Hello Photo! shares her best tips for capturing lasting memories from your family’s time at the beach.
One of my favorite summer activities is going to the beach. Living in the land of 10,000 lakes you don’t have to go far to find one. However, beaches can be VERY busy in the summer so I always try to plan my beach trips at times when the beach will be quieter. It makes for better photos and gives you much more room to play.
This post will show two different times of the day that we went to the beach. The lighting is much different for both. The first beach trip we took was in the morning, 8:00-8:30am. They say the early bird gets the worm, but this early beach gets a semi-empty beach. Prepare the night before with all the things you want to bring. For a long day at the beach we bring the following:
- Sun screen
- Beach blanket
- Beach Tent
- Cooler with lunch and lots of water
- Basket of sand toys (We use a plastic one that can be submerged underwater. When you pull it out all the water and sand comes out the bottom. BEST $5 I HAVE EVER SPENT!)
With almost everything packed the night before you have less to deal with in the morning. I have 3 kids so I will do almost anything to make my life a little easier. Bringing your significant other or a friend is also super helpful if you have multiple children and plan to be there for several hours like we did.
TIP # 1 – Keep your camera out
When you get there, keep your camera out the whole time. You never know what you might capture. I love getting photos of my husband playing with the kids. The big sunny sky in the morning makes for a beautiful backdrop.
TIP # 2 – Bring on the toys
Sometimes the water can be cooler in the morning so sand toys are always my kids go to. The Dollar Store and the Dollar Spot at Target are the best places to get sand toys. I buy them every year for Easter. They rarely last a whole summer so it doesn’t hurt to have a lot. You just dump out the basket and let them go to town. I like to get a lot of the beach & sky in photos especially when it is empty. I love the scale between the big environment and my littlest boy.
Sand toys are always fun for the big kids too. No one is ever too old to have fun in the sand. So don’t forget to put your camera down and have some fun too.
TIP #3 – Big kids like toys too!
The best thing about bringing your camera to the beach is catching those goofy things kids do. I watched my youngest carry water from the shoreline back to where his big sister was building a castle. The water was far too heavy for him & it kept spilling. It was super funny. Those moments happen all the time so just watch for them.
TIP #4 – Capture the beach at night.
The second trip we took was in the evening (7pm) after it stormed all day. The evenings can be busy but after storms, they are always very quiet. This trip was just a quick one with my youngest so we didn’t need to bring everything. The basket of sand toys and a towel was all we needed.
TIP # 5 – Bring your camera out into the water for a new perspective.
When it is quiet don’t be afraid to bring your camera in the water. My DSLR obviously isn’t waterproof but I am not swimming with it and there aren’t lots of kids running around so I don’t worry. Some phones, like the Samsung Note8, are waterproof. Go Pro makes really awesome waterproof cameras if you want to go that route.
TIP # 6 – Use the evening light to your advantage.
In the evening the lighting is really dramatic and it is fun to play with it. You can use the sun to your advantage. My son loves to splash in the water. What kid doesn’t? So when I saw him goofing around I walked into the water with my back to the sun. Of course, he was going to face me and show me how he splashes. As you can see the lighting is perfect.
I made sure to pay attention to that light and when he started to pour water into his castle I stood with my back to the sun again. Kids tend to repeat themselves over and over so you if you miss the shot the first time, don’t worry, they will probably come back to do it again
Tip #7- Play with backlighting.
Evening light is also beautiful to backlight your images as well. After getting the shots I wanted with the sun to my back I moved to the other side with the sun facing me. My son kept pouring water, this time all over him, so I just snapped away. I took well over 100 images of him doing it. Picking out my favorites were almost impossible.
Tip #8- Commemorate your trip to the beach
At some point during the beach trip, I always write something in the sand. I like to make photobooks so having a photo like this is fun to add in there. Normally I have my big kids do it because I like to see their handwriting, but this time I just did it myself. You can also take this idea and use it for other trips and activities you do too.
Summer doesn’t last long. We only have a few summers with our kids before they are grown. So go adventure with them and take a million photos while you do it. You will never regret taking a lot of photos.
Kimi Coopet is a coffee addict & photographer out of St. Paul, Minnesota. Her company Oh Hello! Photo specializes in family and child photography. Outside of her passion for photography she is a wife and mother to three kids. She loves to craft but isn’t sure she is nailing or failing her Pinterest finds. If she isn’t taking photos or crafting she is indulging in her love of junk food and watching comedies, all while snuggling one of her three dogs.