8 Tips for your Family Photo Session at the Beach - Cape Cod Family Photographer

Summer is almost here, and I am so excited to welcome so many families to Cape Cod for their family portrait session on the beach!

I have been spending my summers on the Cape for more than 20 years, and I have so many favorite beaches, bike paths, ice cream shops, and more that I love sharing with my clients when they schedule their Cape Cod photo shoot. I love that I know this area inside and out and can give them an inside scoop on where to go, what to do, and what to pack!

So with that in mind, today’s blog post is filled with tips for your family photo session at the beach. Read on for lots of great ideas, plus plenty of beautiful outfit inspiration for your family!


Plan accordingly for traffic.

If you’re coming to the Cape, Saturday and Sunday are typically the heaviest traffic days coming over both bridges. Plan to come early in the morning and make a day of it!

Nicole Starr Photography | Cape Cod Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer | Family Photographer | Beach Family Photographer | Massachusetts Family Photographer, client wardrobe, what to wear for milestone session, milestone photography, outfits for babies, client outfits, photoshoot outfits, beach family portraits, beach family portrait outfit inspiration

Baby’s first trip to the beach?

The beach can be a sensory overload for some babies.  Get them used to the sand by letting them play with and sit in sand a few times before your session.  Make sure they have bare legs and feet so that they get used to the feeling of the sand on their skin.  Bring a blanket (neutral colors look best!) if they might need a layer to sit on.

Nicole Starr Photography | Cape Cod Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer | Family Photographer | Beach Family Photographer | Massachusetts Family Photographer, client wardrobe, what to wear for milestone session, milestone photography, outfits for babies, client outfits, photoshoot outfits, beach family portraits, beach family portrait outfit inspiration

What to wear

Colors that you would find at the beach look incredible in portraits — shades of blue, khaki, linen, white, cream, blush pink, lavender, teal, mint, aqua, and gray are my favorites.  We have many helpful blog posts with outfit ideas — check them out here! 

Nicole Starr Photography | Cape Cod Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer | Family Photographer | Beach Family Photographer | Massachusetts Family Photographer, client wardrobe, what to wear for milestone session, milestone photography, outfits for babies, client outfits, photoshoot outfits, beach family portraits, beach family portrait outfit inspiration

Keep these in the car…

Sunglasses, hair elastics, cell phone, wallet (bulky things that show in your pockets), stroller, diaper bag, baseball caps or visors.

Nicole Starr Photography | Cape Cod Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer | Family Photographer | Beach Family Photographer | Massachusetts Family Photographer, client wardrobe, what to wear for milestone session, milestone photography, outfits for babies, client outfits, photoshoot outfits, beach family portraits, beach family portrait outfit inspiration

Always have a rain date.

I will let you know 4 hours in advance if we’ll have to reschedule due to the weather, but even on cloudy days we can get some great portraits!  This session actually wrapped up minutes before the sky opened up in a thunderstorm!

Nicole Starr Photography | Cape Cod Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer | Family Photographer | Beach Family Photographer | Massachusetts Family Photographer, client wardrobe, what to wear for milestone session, milestone photography, outfits for babies, client outfits, photoshoot outfits, beach family portraits, beach family portrait outfit inspiration

Protect your skin.

Try to avoid a sunburn the week of your session.  Especially on your face and nose!

Barefoot is best! 

We’ll leave our sandals at the entrance to the beach so we can walk in the sand easily.

Nicole Starr Photography | Cape Cod Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer | Family Photographer | Beach Family Photographer | Massachusetts Family Photographer, client wardrobe, what to wear for milestone session, milestone photography, outfits for babies, client outfits, photoshoot outfits, beach family portraits, beach family portrait outfit inspiration

Embrace the sand & the water, and don’t be afraid to get wet!

I love finishing the session in the water.  Let’s be adventurous and walk in the waves or let the kids splash around a bit.  Bring a towel or a change of clothes for the kids just in case they get a little too excited at the opportunity to splash!  

Nicole Starr Photography | Cape Cod Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer | Family Photographer | Beach Family Photographer | Massachusetts Family Photographer, client wardrobe, what to wear for milestone session, milestone photography, outfits for babies, client outfits, photoshoot outfits, beach family portraits, beach family portrait outfit inspiration

Want to save these tips? Pin this image or any from the post above!

Nicole Starr Photography | Cape Cod Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer | Family Photographer | Beach Family Photographer | Massachusetts Family Photographer, client wardrobe, what to wear for milestone session, milestone photography, outfits for babies, client outfits, photoshoot outfits, beach family portraits, beach family portrait outfit inspiration

About Nicole Starr Photography 

Nicole Starr specializes in newborn, baby & family photography and has been serving families in New York and Massachusetts since 2012.  She has a portrait studio in Saratoga Springs, NY for families in the Capital Region, and she also works with families at her Attleboro, MA studio and on location in Boston and on Cape Cod. 

Our Cape Cod sessions occur from June through September at beaches all over the Cape. Be sure to reach out early to plan your family’s portrait session as these always fill up early in the season!

What to Wear in Fall Family Portraits | Saratoga Springs NY Family Photographer

While I'm not the biggest fan of pumpkin spice (but only because I don't drink coffee!!), I do love fall soooooooo much.  Apples, crisp leaves, bonfires, lots of pumpkin baked goods, and it's finally time to bust out sweaters, scarves, and my favorite brown boots.

Plus, fall is one of my favorite seasons to plan outfits for photo shoots!  We get to layer so many cozy textures and colors together to really give your family's portraits some personality.  You've been following our "What to Wear" series, you've seen our wardrobe tips for SPRING FAMILY PORTRAITS and BEACH FAMILY PORTRAITS.  Naturally, tis the season to talk about fall wardrobe options for your next photo shoot!  


Choose 2-3 colors plus a neutral, and use a little bit of it in everybody's outfit!  

Here we have gray, plum, and navy, plus neutral cream & khaki.  I love how we're mixing plaids and solids, and how the mom's scarf and daughter's tights add a little bit of texture, too!

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Accessorize and don't shy away from texture!  

Earrings, a statement necklace, scarves, boots, a belt, or even a second layer with a sweater or cardigan all add more interest to your portraits.  Plus, they help to showcase your unique style and personality!  Different knits and fabrics also give your layers more interest and they look AMAZING on camera.  Don't be afraid to have a little fun when choosing your outfits for your family's portrait session.

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer | Upstate NY Family Photographer | Family Photographer
Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer | Upstate NY Family Photographer | Family Photographer

Think of the location we'll be shooting in, and also of your wall decor.  

You want your colors to complement both.  If your home has mostly neutral colors on the walls, then you may not want bright red or orange in your portraits.  If we're shooting in a grassy area with lots of evergreens, avoid wearing green and instead choose a color that will pop against the trees like purple, cream, or mustard yellow.  

Nicole Starr Photography | Saratoga Springs Family Photographer | Boston Family Photographer | Upstate NY Family Photographer | Family Photographer

Fall colors to consider for your family's portrait session:
Plum
Gray
Navy
Cream
Mustard Yellow
Burgundy
Beige
Brown
Chambray
Khaki


Fun accessories for a little pop of personality:
Boots
Scarves
Statement necklace
Bracelet
Layers: sweaters/cardigans

 

What to Wear for Your Family Portrait Session this Spring

Do you have a portrait session coming up this spring or summer, and you're wondering what to wear?  OR, have you been putting off a portrait session because you're worried you'll never find matching outfits for everybody?  

Stop worrying, and let me help you!

Long gone are the days of matchy-matchy outfits -- come on, you know what I'm talking about!  White button down shirts and blue jeans on every member of the family, or black tops and khaki pants on every single person.  That style is incredibly dated, and it's no fun at all!  That's not how you normally dress in real life, so why should that be how you dress in your portraits?

When we plan a custom portrait session together, I want to create images for you that reflect who you truly are.  I want to show your personality, your unique style, and to give you artwork that will complement your home decor so that you can proudly hang your favorite memories over the sofa or in your hallway.  I want your portraits will blend in seamlessly and complement your space & your decor.  

This post is filled with ideas on what to wear, and you can find many more looks including easy ways to shop what you see in the images over on our Pinterest board.     Looking for even more ideas, along with some photo inspiration?  Check out this blog post from 2015 to see perfectly styled sessions with some of my favorite clients!


Choose 2-3 colors, including a neutral color, and use a little bit of it in everybody's outfit!  Here we're selecting from shades of blue and gray to coordinate everyone's clothing.

what to wear in family portraits, shades of blue outfits

Keep your fabrics similar!  If mom is wearing a linen sundress, then you don't want dad to be in a sweater and heavy jeans!  Actually, have you noticed that none of these inspiration boards include jeans?  Fitted dress pants look great on dads, and they definitely give your portraits a much dressier, classier look!  Try shaking things up with a look that's a little bit different from your everyday jeans, and you might just love it!  Layers also look amazing in portraits -- a vest on your son will be so adorable over a button down or a T-shirt!

wardrobe ideas for spring family portraits

While I don't recommend everyone wearing solid white, it's a nice addition to any wardrobe compilation!  Here the texture on the dress keeps it interesting, as does the pattern on the little sister's leggings.  Play with patterns and texture to give your wardrobe more personality -- the more you have, the more you will love your images!

what to wear in family portrait session, saratoga springs family photographer

Think of the location we're going to be shooting in, and also think of your complexion & hair color.  Choose a color palette that flatters you and that you feel comfortable and confident in.  Blush and cream doesn't suit everyone, and some women look stunning in vibrant jewel tone colors!  Go with what works for you, and let me know how I can help you pull all of the outfits together!

outfit ideas for spring family portraits, saratoga springs family photographer

Be daring!  Have a little fun with patterns.  Spring is the perfect time to incorporate floral patterns into your outfits for a family portrait session, and there's nothing I love more than seeing a mom completely rocking it in her floral print dress.  If you love it, wear it!  Then choose a few colors from that design and base the other family members' outfits on those colors to coordinate.  Below, we chose the coral, gray, and white from the dress to use in everyone else's outfits.

wardrobe ideas for mom, dad, and kids in family portrait session, saratoga springs family photographer

Last but not least, if we're going to be shooting outside anywhere other than the beach, don't forget the shoes!  Your perfectly styled outfit will look just a little bit "off" when your son's everyday-wear fluorescent green light-up sneakers are paired with his gray & blue vested outfit.  Simple, neutral shoes are best to protect your feet during the session, but be sure everyone tries their shoes on and wears them around for at least 1-2 hours before the day of your session to ensure that they fit comfortably.

After all of that beautiful inspiration, are you ready to book your family portrait session?  We're now booking for the spring and summer, and I would love to capture some gorgeous memories for your family -- perfectly styled, of course!