The Ultimate 3-Part Guide to the Best DIY Beach Family Photos.
Check out Lemons & Ants’ 3-part mini-guide (below) to the best DYI beach family photos.
It’s summertime, y’all. There is nothing greater than going to the beach with your fam jam. But let’s face it – some of the crazy is inevitable. Sunburns. Sandy hotdogs. Ants. Tantrums. Overpriced ice cream. Seagulls. Wasps. Watermelon stains. Sweat. You come home, exhausted with a smile, tuck the kids into bed, and scroll through your phone’s pics that day. You’ve seen those frame-worthy sunrise/sunset family pics, and you kind of wish you could make the beach photomagic work for your fam, too. Guess what? You can! We’ve got you covered with our best DIY beach family photo tips and strategy for your next beach day!
PREP BEFOREHAND: 6 non-negotiables to nail that epic
Prepare for sand, wet, aesthetics
Two sheets, blankets, or towels in a neutral shade. One is for your family to sit on – this minimizes the sand-in-underpants situation and the neutral colour won’t distract. The other is to lay down under the “prop”zone or tripod, to avoid the dreaded sand-in-phone (or digital camera)
situation. A tripod is nice, but hauling around extra weight and gear isn’t always ideal. You can easily prop your phone up on a rock, beach bags, stroller, cooler, stack of towels … whatever you’ve got.
If you can, buy a waterproof phone case to ease anxiety. It’ll be worth it. And if you’re on a budget, a ziplock / sealable sandwich bag will work fine. (We’ll further explain this one in part 3)
Clothing that jives together. You don’t have to go all out with matching everything, but consider the colours you pick and how they’ll look with sand, water, and sun. Some photographers suggest a palette of grey, tan, blue, pink (think sand, water, sky)… Others suggest bright and bold
(yellow, teal, tangerine). We suggest white as a classic beach wardrobe choice. (If you opt for white, wear undergarments that match your skin tone). Do whatever floats your boat! Your colour choice depends on your family’s actual wardrobe items, style, the feeling(s) you want to evoke, and the end goal for the photographs. Where you envision this memory? On your wall? In an album? On a greeting card? What is the message? Fun and laughter? Beauty and simplicity? Love and connection?
Yes, be prepared to get wet. And yes, pack a second set of clothes, just in case.
Do a practice “prop-and-shoot” session at home to ensure you’re familiar with the settings you’ll want to use on beach day, and the tripod/prop height you like best
Make a short list of the shots you’d like to capture, aside from the whole family together: splashing in the waves, building sandcastles, running along the shoreline, eating watermelon or ice cream, throwing baby in the air, footprints in the sand, sunset or sunrise backdrops ….
PICK A LOCATION: Our picks for the top three beach locations for family beach pics in Toronto (and why they’re
*pick a location that suits your desired look and your family’s accessibility needs*
The Scarborough Bluffs
If you want epic beach photos with the fam jam, look no further than The Bluffs. A Toronto classic photo hot-spot, this area will capture your imagination as well as your photo album or gallery wall. Our favourite thing about this site is that there are so many diverse elements and perspectives, feels and looks. First, even the path leading down to the water is gorgeous. You’ll have several opportunities to snap a couple beautiful “walking-down-the-path” pics before you even get to the sand. Once you hit the water, there’s a scenic landscape with overhanging clay cliffs. There’s a section that looks like an island – across from the clay cliffs. This alternative perspective is gorgeous, with boulders to sit or climb on. Next, you can walk over to a separate area that feels like you’re in a completely different place, like a deserted island. At The Bluffs, you’ll capture breathtaking photos to freeze moments in time infused with natural elements beyond the sand and waves.
Here, you’ll find the classic sand and water complimented with our two favorite rustic elements: the lifeguard station and wooden fence. If you want a beach with a bit of charm, this is most definitely the location for you! There is also a ton of greenery (trees galore) so you can snag two completely different looks from the same space while you’re at it!
Since this is one of the most popular go-to beach areas in the city, we always go as far east as possible to avoid crowds. Here, you’ll find a variety of natural elements, greenery, and shaded spots in addition to the sand and waves.
Amazing Toronto beach family photography is easy to capture here; especially when there’s a bit of shade you’ll be able to convince that family member who isn’t a fan of sun and heat to come outside and get in the frame for a quick pic that your family will remember for years to come!
TAKE ACTION: sun, angles, phone settings
Consider time of day — If you snap your pics before 10am or later in the day after 5pm you’ll avoid the squint-smile that happens in harsh sunlight. The late-day scenario will almost always guarantee some level of sunset magic during the golden hour (the last hour before the sun goes down).
Try this angle — After the family shots are done, get the kiddos to play in the water, and hold your phone/camera as close to the waterline as possible (hence the ziplock), almost touching the water. Try kids’ eye-level as well. You will be
mind-blown at the results this vantage point tip will get you!
Use a timer — Always set a timer so the photo-taker has time to jump in the frame before the “click”! This might seem like a no-brainer but some people have quite literally never made use of the timer function on their phone. Do a quick Google search and fiddle around with it the day beforehand and you’ll be glad you did. Selfie photos are legit (for real), but if you want to capture those waves, the sunlight (rise or set), the expanse of water and sandy shores, then selfie-mode won’t serve you. While you’re at it, consider shutter mode for all your running, action, splashing shots.
We hope you enjoyed our tips for better beach photography for your fam! We’d love to chat on a discovery call about taking your family beach photos for you, if the DIY route just isn’t your thing.