beach family photo ideas

Beach Family Photo Ideas & Tips To Get Pictures You’ll Love

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Beach family photos make great keepsakes. Usually taken on family vacations, these pictures capture a time in your life when you’re making wonderful memories as an entire family! Not only that, but beach photoshoots are some of the most fun pictures to take. After all, who doesn’t love being on the beach digging toes in the sand and splashing in the water? Use the beach family photo ideas & tips in this post to get pictures you’ll love and treasure forever!

boys’ sweater | boys’ shorts | my jeans

Keep it casual

Formal dresses, suits, and ties, though these clothing items make for nice family portraits, don’t exactly belong on the beach. It’s a good idea for family members to keep it casual! This doesn’t mean that moms and little girls can’t wear dresses, of course. Just opt for loose and flowy pieces.

As a former professional photographer, normally I would say no to all matching, but as you can see in these photos, matching with my boys has become a weakness of mine ever since becoming a mom. But it shows off our family’s personality (well mine anyway haha) so it’s still special. After all, these are your photos, so what things could you wear that would make these photos precious keepsakes?

Though usually, the best family outfits for a timeless look coordinate well together. Gone are the days of matching white shirts and khaki shorts! Check out this post for tips on how to put together family photo outfits.

And of course, a white t-shirt isn’t wrong to wear, but the best way to achieve an aesthetically pleasing photograph is to mix and match colors, patterns, and textures with the other members of your family. Different textures can really pull an outfit together too! A knit sweater with cotton shorts is a good example.

Wondering what patterns you should incorporate? When it comes to family beach pictures, you can never go wrong with stripes! It’s very nautical and perfect for the scene, though florals and dots are good ideas too. Anything classic would work, really.

Keep your color palette pretty natural for the whole family. Keep in mind that bright colors, though fun, don’t always translate to a classic family photo. A color scheme of simple colors that you can find in nature makes for some beautiful photos! Think along the lines of blues, whites, grays, and greens.

If you’ve been on the beach all week, be mindful of distracting tan lines and dress accordingly. Bold tan lines and crazy sunburnt faces are not exactly how you want your family to be photographed!

Keep it moving

For beautiful, natural photos, keep it moving! A fun way to capture your family in a natural setting is to stay active. Walk, climb, or run. Do whatever it is your family likes to do.

If possible, it’s a great idea to try to stay connected (holding hands while walking for example) so it still looks like family pictures and not just some random strangers on the beach.

Most kids are going to have a great time on the beach, if they’re allowed to roam, that is. Though it may sound counterintuitive that in order to get great photos you need to let your kids run wild (within reason), you’re usually going to get better results if your kids don’t feel trapped. This brings me to the next point.

Keep it fun

A wonderful way to get family beach photos that you’ll always remember? Keep it fun! Bring a beach ball or a sand shovel and bucket so you can keep the kid’s moods up while also capturing some real family fun along the way.

Yes, more formal family beach portraits are important, but your kids won’t have much fun if they’re just told to stand there and smile for hours on end. You could even get in the water and splash a little bit!

Keep the timing right

The best time for beach family pictures is the time that your kids are going to be the happiest. Let’s be real, family photo sessions are a success when small children are in a good mood. But the second-best time? Golden hour. The soft glow of the sun will bask your photo in warmth!

But sometimes you don’t really get to choose the time and an important thing to remember if you’re taking the photos yourself and if you’re shooting during the day is to try to keep your head up towards the sun so you don’t get ghastly undereye shadows.

When shooting on our “professional camera”, I like to underexpose (make it look darker than what it really is), so I don’t lose any details in the sky or water. Then I turn the brightness up when I’m editing later. I also try to keep our backs to the sun. Usually, this is better than having kids face the bright sun because you’re just going to get squinty faces!

Though if you’re getting professional pictures done, then family photographers should know what to do!

Use these beach family photo ideas on your next family vacation to get the best pictures that you’ll always remember!

These beach pictures were taken on our California adventure. For more posts on our trip, check out the links below!
The Best Carmel By The Sea Photo Spots
Carmel By The Sea Outfits (& Fashion Tips!)
Things To Do in Napa Valley With Kids
What To Wear in Napa Valley In The Summer
Napa Valley Photography That Will Make You Think You’re In Europe

Beach Family Photo Ideas
Carolyn Arentson
Carolyn is the founder and creator behind My Chic Obsession. When she's not dreaming up new content, you can find her watching a funny tv show with her husband, raising her two boys, or planning her next trip to Paris.