3 Tips for Beach Engagement Photoshoot Success

Feature beach engagement photoshoot photo by White House Wedding Photography

Are you considering having a beach engagement photoshoot here in Miami? That is so awesome! Doing an engagement photo session at the beach can be a lot of fun, and I love creating beautiful, unforgettable beach pictures. However, there are a few things that brides should know to get the most out of their beach engagement photo session. This post gives you 5 tips that will help you get the most out of your beach engagement photos. 

Let’s get to it!

1. Consider Picking a Beautiful Location 

First things first, consider picking a beautiful location! I know you are probably asking yourself, “aren’t all beaches beautiful?” The answer is no! Some beaches may have very little sand because of erosion. You want to choose a beach with lots of sand. The sand will act as a reflector, reflecting light onto you, making for some beautiful beach photos. Most beaches in the Keys have very little sand but make up for it with pristine turquoise water.

Another thing to consider when looking for a beautiful location for your beach engagement photoshoot is general appearance. You want a beach that has some palm trees and maybe some vegetation such as sea oats grass. Also, try to avoid famous tourist beaches, especially during the peak tourist season (October to March). 

Most of the beaches in South Florida are public beaches. This means that the public will wander into your photo frame, and there are very little you or your photographer can do about it. Of course, you can politely ask beachgoers to avoid photobombing, but this can become tiring and kill the mood. Whatever you decide, pick a beach location that you love and will enjoy!

2. Timing For Beach Engagement Photoshoot

The time of day and the day of the week will affect your engagement photos’ overall aesthetic and experience. First, let’s take a look at the effect that the time of day will have on your photos. Most photographers will tell you that you should have your photos done early morning or late evening (during the golden hour). 

The golden hour is the first hour after sunrise and the last hour before sunset. Golden hour lighting is generally warm and soft. It makes for creating beautiful portraits with beautiful skin tones and warm color pallets.  

Pictures created during the golden hour have very soft shadow edges (low contrast – shadows and lights), whereas images made when the sun is high in the sky have sharp shadow edges (high contrast – shadows and lights). On the other hand, high contrast lighting is the least preferred type of lighting but not necessarily bad. Working in high contrast lighting requires careful attention to where the shadows are falling and may require artificial lighting to soften some of the shadows. 

I prefer creating beach pictures in the golden hour. Still, I am fully capable of making images at any time of the day. After all, I’m a professional wedding photographer with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography plus over eight years of experience photographing real couples in many different conditions. Not bragging, Yea! 🤣🤣

Another thing to keep in mind when picking a beach location for your engagement photo shoot is the day of the week. The day of the week can affect your overall experience and the esthetic of your engagement photos. We are fortunate to have so many beautiful beaches here in South Florida. The only hiccups are that they can often time be crowded with tourists and locals. Based on my experience, the best days of the week for beach engagement photos are Mondays through Thursdays. Avoid the weekends and holidays, if at all possible. 

One last thing before moving on! Don’t forget that the summer months in South Florida is the rainy season. The afternoons are pretty much guaranteed to have thunderstorms forecasts. It can be pouring buckets of rain on Hollywood beach but blue sky and gentle breeze on Miami Beach. So, you and your photographer just have to plan ahead. The good news is that these afternoon thunderstorms generally don’t last long. 

3. What Role Does Color Play in Your Beach Photoshoot?

Color is an essential aspect of any photographs. It helps to tell the story and to give a sense of being there. For a beach engagement photoshoot, you will have rich hues of blues from the sky and the ocean, light tan from the sand, maybe a little greenery from palm trees and other beach plants, and various colors from buildings. You may also have some clouds in the sky. If you are lucky to get just the right amount of puffy white cloud in the sky, it will make for an exciting backdrop. 

The thing to remember here is that most of these colors you will not have control over. Furthermore, as the sun moves across the sky, you will get a color shift with the most significant change occurring in the early morning sunrise and late evening sunset. In the morning and in the evening, you will have a tint of orange color cast on everything. This orange color cast is what is referred to as the warm lights or warm glow. 

Now, while you may not have control over these colors, your photographer does and may use filters and lights to either create, enhance, and or control these colors. What you do have control over are the colors you wear. 

Wear complementary colors so that you will not blend in with your background. It is quite popular to wear white or beige color to a beach engagement photo session, but I would recommend wearing soft, warm pastel colors such as reds, yellows, oranges. These colors will provide some separation from the background. Wear bold colors such as reds and yellows if you really want to stand out and make a statement. 

4. Bonus – Preparing For Your Engagement Photo Session

Whether your session is in the morning or the evening, you will need to ensure that you prepare for the shoot—plan to arrive at the beach at least 15 minutes early. The last thing you want to do is be over 15-minutes late due to traffic or your makeup taking longer than estimated. 

I recommend that you wear light and lose clothing that will allow air to flow through and help to keep you cool. By the same token, please don’t wear clothes that will leave you feeling exposed in a windy situation. You will spend your time trying to cover up, and you will miss out on enjoying your photoshoot. Most importantly, it will reflect in your photos, and you will not like them.

Ensure you are adequately hydrated and take plenty of water to the shoot for you and your significant other. Keep the makeup to a minimum – remember that a beach environment will provide hot, humid, and windy conditions, which can be hard on your makeup and hairstyle. If possible, wear your hair up and consider pining in place to avoid having it blown all over your face and making your experience a miserable one. 

If you generally wear sunglasses, we recommend that you ditch them a couple of days before your session or at least a couple hours before the shoot. This will allow your eyes to adjust to the bright sunlight and stop you from squinting on the day of the shoot. Leave the stilettos and platforms at home – wear comfortable slippers of flats. Don’t forget to apply good quality sunscreen, keep an open mind, and be flexible. Conditions can change with minimal warning or time to prepare.

In summary, to rock your beach engagement photoshoot, do the following:

  1. Pick a beautiful beach that you love and will enjoy visiting
  2. Consider scheduling your shoot at the optimal time for best results
  3. Be aware of the impact color will have on your photos and ensure you wear colors that will not blend into the background
  4. Prepare for your shoot by properly planning adequate travel time, wearing clothing that you love and that are appropriate for the shoot

I hope I have given you enough tips to help you get the most out of your beach engagement photoshoot. Hydrate, dress light, smile often, relax, and enjoy! 

Have questions? Let’s connect here.

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