We are now deep into the Orange County summer beach season. Long days and warm nights as well a sweltering heat inland means Orange County beaches are the place to be this summer. But what does that mean for your family portrait or senior portrait session at the beach?

Beach Portrait Sessions: The great news is that the best time of the day for a family beach portrait is either an hour after sunrise or an hour before sunset. This is often called the golden hour and really is magical for portraits. So for most people, starting your session around 6:30 pm means you can still have a full day of work or play before your session. This is also important because in the summertime, I highly recommend shooting on the beach early in the week. The weekends are crazy and it is tough to find parking, but early in the week things are a little quieter and this is ideal for family portraits.

So, how do you pick the very best beach for your family session?

Family beach portrait

Here is my criteria for selecting the best beaches for your portraits:

Is there a lot of variation in the background?

I love a wide open beach with lots of blue water, but it can be limiting when creating a full portfolio of images of your family. I prefer to have some rocks, plants, old steps, interesting cliffs and other variations in the landscape so all of the images look a little different, but fit nicely into a gorgeous album or wall grouping.

Is the beach deep?

If the beach all but disappears during high tide, it isn’t the ideal location for a family beach session. I like a wide beach with lots of space for your family to play in front of my camera without lots of people in the background.

Baby beach portrait

How crowded is the beach?:

Lots of people on the beach can be distracting when trying to get your family looking picture perfect in front of the camera. Not to mention, you probably don’t want unknown people in the background of your family portraits. I love to shoot at beaches that are less crowded and sometimes that means more difficult to access (such as Tablerock or Montage beach). If I do shoot at a more popular location, I always shoot early in the week to avoid peak tourist hours.

Family beach pics with dog

Does the beach hold meaning for your family?

 If you have a special beach that holds wonderful memories for your family, well that trumps all other considerations. Last year I shot a family on Crescent Beach (one that tends to disappear during high tide) because the Dad remembered coming to that beach as a kid with his Mom and Dad and he wanted to create the same experiences for his kids. His family portraits on that beach meant so much to his entire family because they were a beautiful reminder of their family history. 

For those of you who are brave enough to book an early morning session, this is actually my very favorite time of day to do a beach portrait. Often in the early morning, we are totally alone on the beach, the lighting is gorgeous and you get to start the day having fun with your family.

Here are my five favorite beaches in South Orange County to do a family portrait session: 

Table Rock Beach

South Side of Aliso Creek Beach

San Clemente Pier

Newport Fun Zone and Pier

Picnic Beach and Heisler Park

If you would like to book your portrait session, you can click here to get more information.

Hope you are having an amazing summer.

October, November and December were the busiest months for Blue Sky’s on record.  Thank you to all of my fantastic clients for trusting me with capturing your beautiful families over the holidays.  I hope to share lots of these sessions over the next few months.  I am thankful for so many things as we start 2014.  The health and happiness of my family, wonderful friends, to be active in my community, for new opportunities to stretch my creativity with a job that I adore.

One of my most recent sessions reminded me why I love photography so much!   The holiday season was wrapping up, I really felt it was time for a well earned break and I only had one session left before Christmas.  I headed down to historic San Juan Capistrano, one of my first favorite locations for a session.  I had not photographed around the train station much at all in 2013.  While I was super excited for the session, I was also thinking about how great it would be to get all my sessions completed for the year and start my Christmas shopping (yes, this was 5 days before Christmas).

Then the Frum Sisters showed up!  With bags full of clothes and accessories and lots of great ideas!  I forgot all about what I needed to do and just got excited to create some one of a kind images.  We literally laughed the whole session.  What a joy these two beauties were to work with!  And their Mom was amazing as well.

And then I realized, that this was a gift to myself!  That every day I get to do what I love and create images that bring joy to others.  How lucky can one gal get!  Enjoy! :)


Is it already September???  This year has been roaring by!  Seriously, there is only about 10 weekends left until our holiday card cut off.  Please book early this year, because we are already, almost completely booked on the weekends for October.  I want to make sure all of the families I love seeing every year have an opportunity to get the prime lighting spots.  Also… I would really, really, really appreciate it if you would vote for Blue Sky’s this year for Children’s Photographer of the Year.  We only have a few weeks to vote, so just take a moment!  I thank you so much!   To vote, click on this link: Children’s Photographer of the Year!  Have a beautiful day!

What a fun, crazy, busy summer it has been so far.  We have been photography families from all over the US on holiday, photographing lots of weddings with Bliss by Blue Sky’s, photographing Blue Sky’s seniors and enjoying time with our family and friends.

I know it has been a while since I shared!   The beaches have been challenging this summer, but we managed to slip in a few sessions.

While fog isn’t the ideal condition for family photography, in the Hardie girls case I think it added a soft, romantic quality to the session!   I love how soft and almost monochromatic these images are!  And these gals are gorgeous!  Enjoy!

The sun is back out, the sun is setting over Catalina and it is the perfect time for family beach portraits!  If you have scheduled a beach shoot in October or November, you know that the beach is a crazy place for portraits leading up to the Holiday season!  But NOT right now!  Now it is perfect on the beach with few people and gorgeous pink sunsets!

Speaking of pink, here is another very pink session, but this time on the beach.  I have been photographing these two beautiful gals since they were tiny tots!  I am not sure if there are two girls out there who like the beach better!  My biggest challenge is keeping them out of the water until we are done with their session!  Enjoy!