For me it’s all about the light…and the expressions and the emotions…but did I mention, the light? Well, it starts with the light. I am a fanatic about getting it right. Every January I write the sunset times on my calendar for each day of the year and I schedule every beach session for that magic hour just prior to sunset. But even on the day of the session, I check the hourly forecast about a zillion times to see what lighting we can expect for our session…will it be light cloud cover (perfect for portraits) or overcast skies (still really good) or blazing sun (ouch!)? I get the feeling sometimes that my clients think I’m a little nutty, calling them to change the time 15 minutes here or there depending on the forecast, but it’s a beautiful thing when that light is perfect.
Photographing during harsh light is not only un-flattering, but makes it hard for you to keep your eyes open and squinting is not a good look. (I made some samples of good light/bad light portraits here to give everyone the idea).
As the summer days are long, the timing of our session during “sweet light” is not always ideal for our littlest clients. I am often asked if we could start earlier due to early bedtimes and, while I understand, the light is just too harsh if we are on the beach too early. With the sun reflecting up from the sand and water, little people – and big people alike – are not be able to hold their eyes open. I found over 25 years photographing children’s portraits, that it helps to give kids something to eat right before the session and a late nap on the session day. We find that most kids love to go to the beach and it all works out perfectly!
Timing is everything in life and for the perfect beach session!