Beach Photoshoot Ideas

Beaches are reliably compelling backdrops for photo sessions, and there are a number of practical and empowering photo ideas, beach photography techniques, and specific beach photoshoot ideas to capture the best possible image by the sea. 🏖️

Wise rules for a beach photoshoot also work as guidelines for life: 

  • Wiggle your toes in the sand. 
  • Prioritize sunrises and sunsets. 
  • Be your radiant self. 
  • Embrace your favourite beach. 
  • Use colour to spark inspiration. 

They come in handy whether you’re after stunning selfies, a maternity photo, a beach engagement session, senior pictures, family vacation pics, beach family photos, beach wedding memories, or even a Tumblr montage. 

These tips and tricks work for beach sessions from Malibu to Miami, Galveston to Kingston, Cabo San Lucas to Tenerife, which just happens to be among the many places our gifted Flytographers are often found with their feet in the sand and their eyes on prized beach pictures. 👀

Photo: Rachel in Kauai for Flytographer. Christine and partner celebrate their anniversary with a couple photoshoot on the beach in Kauai.

1. What to wear for a beach photoshoot

Comfort is key! Choose an outfit that allows for movement. The last thing you want to have on is something that feels restrictive and makes you look, well, uncomfortable! 

“Look fabulous but remember to wear something that lets you move, in case you want to run, jump or have fun at the beach,” says Flytographer Fernanda in Cabo San Lucas. “Especially with kids, leave the formals for dinner.” Wrinkle-resistant fabrics and those that don’t show sweat blooms are also wise in hot tropical locations — as are breathable fabrics that help curb sweat before it starts. 😅

Another mandatory thing to wear should be applied well before the shoot. “Pro tip: Start using sunblock from the moment you get off the plane!” Flytographer Mariana in Tamarindo, says. “If you wait for the last days of your vacation for your photoshoot, you might have a terrible sunburn or worse, raccoon eyes. The sun in the Caribbean or beachside is stronger than in the cities!” 

 Photo: Fernanda in Cabo San Lucas for Flytographer. Brad and Garrett capture memories on the beach in Cabo with a couple photoshoot.

Photo: Mariana in Tamarindo for Flytographer. Katelyn and partner celebrate their trip with a couple photoshoot on the beach in Costa Rica.

2. When to plan a beach photoshoot

As with many photos, the start and end of a day — the storied “golden hours” — allow for soft light and avoid the harsh shadows of midday. 

If that’s not possible, two things to consider: 

  1. Overcast isn’t a bad thing, as it diffuses sunlight.
  2. If it is sunny, shoot with the sun behind you to prevent rendering your subject as a silhouette. 

“I always explain that it is not a good idea to shoot everything directly into the sun,” Flytographer Chema in Tenerife says. “The light is beautiful but it’s better over the skin.” ☀️

Flytographer Katie in Los Angeles, advises going early. “Shoot at sunrise!” she says. “Where I am in California, beaches are overcrowded in the evenings [and] on the weekends. Shooting at sunrise gives the client more space to move and feel comfortable, which usually translates to a better gallery.” 

Flytographer Allie in Mystic leans towards going later and even likes to go a tick past golden. “Blue hour — the moments just after the sun has gone down — can be really dreamy and romantic! I’ve always called it twilight. It’s my favourite!” 

Photo: Chema in Tenerife for Flytographer. Fendrik and their family celebrate their trip with a family photoshoot on the beach in Tenerife.

Photo: Katie in Los Angeles for Flytographer. Donato and family celebrate their anniversary with a family photoshoot on the beach in LA.

Photo: Allie in Mystic for Flytographer. Alina and family celebrate their trip with a family photoshoot on the beach in Mystic.

3. What shoes to bring for a beach photoshoot

The joy of wriggling toes in the sand of beach capitals like San Diego would seem to be enough, but there’s real value in a) being comfortable because it means looking relaxed, and b) showing your compatibility with the setting. 

“Leave the high heels in the hotel, bring comfortable shoes, and then for the photos take them off,” says Flytographer Fernanda in Cabo San Lucas. “You will enjoy the experience if you go barefoot.” 

Photo: Fernanda in Cabo San Lucas for Flytographer. Janette and partner celebrate their trip with a couple photoshoot on the beach in Cabo.

4. What colours to choose for a beach photoshoot

There’s a natural tendency to go neutral. Don’t do it! 

“Consider not wearing white or khaki. I know it’s popular but it can wash you out,” says Flytographer Dawn in Galveston. “Consider bright colours like yellow, fuchsia, red, or cobalt blue to help you pop in your photos!” 🌺

Flytographer Chema in Tenerife gets more specific still: “Red dress and black sand is always a good match.”

Caption: Dawn in Galveston for Flytographer. Cynthia and family capture memories with a family photoshoot on the beach in Galveston.

Photo: Elizabeth in Kauai for Flytographer. Crystal and partner capture memories on the beach in Kauai with a couple photoshoot.

5. What to bring for a beach photoshoot

Don’t be afraid to be playful. As photographers — and especially family photographers — will tell you, if everybody’s happy and having fun … guess what? They’re going to look like they’re happy and having fun. 😃

Flytographer Dawn in Galveston has a hack for that. “Props are under-appreciated,” she says. “Nothing warms up a family and keeps the kids happy, and therefore smiling, like beach balls! I think sometimes people think if they bring toys, they won’t get that group photo they have their heart set on, but they will and they’ll probably get more of those because they have a way to give smaller family members a break.” 

Other props to consider: Beautiful blankets or towels that aren’t too busy; items of significance to, say, the graduating senior or the marrying couple; great beach chairs. 🐚

Caption: Dawn in Galveston for Flytographer. Jennifer and family capture memories in Galveston with a family photoshoot on the beach.

6. What to consider for atypical shots

Movement can make for a captivating portrait, and/or departures from cliché engagement pictures or high school senior portraits. Possibilities include a strolling shot or even some amphibious action, albeit not completely immersed. 

“Get in the water!” says Natalie in Honolulu. “I don’t mean diving in completely … but getting deeper than just toes can make for some really fun shots at the end to finish up the shoot. Splashing is encouraged!” 🌊

Embracing nature in other ways works well too. There’s nothing like a good driftwood log to bring depth, texture, and oceanic context to a photo.

Photo: Natalie in Honolulu for Flytographer. Alex and partner celebrate their engagement with a surprise proposal photoshoot on the beach in Honolulu.

7. What to leave out

  • Busy patterns, big logos or T-shirts, and sweatshirts with images and/or text distracts from the subject of the photo, which is counterproductive. 😝
  • Another thing to avoid: black or white clothing items, as they can be difficult to photograph without losing detail in shadows or highlights.
  • One more no-no: Overly matching outfits. Complementing your children’s or your partner’s outfit is just fine, but being so coordinated can appear cheesy. The era of coordinated family photos has floated out to sea.

Photo: Chelsea in Tofino for Flytographer. Lacey and friends celebrate their trip with a birthday photoshoot in Tofino.

Capture memories at the beach

When it comes to photoshoots on the beach, our professional photographers have got you covered! They are experts in making you feel relaxed, looking great, and having FUN in front of their camera. With their help, your photo session will reflect, and even magnify, the magic of the moment. And with so many great beaches — and golden hour beach photoshoots awaiting — around the world, where will you go next? Cancun, San Juan, Tofino, Sydney? Wherever you find your toes in the sand, we are there to help capture your gorgeous beach memories. 😎  Book a Flytographer quickly and easily for your next beach vacation.