It’s no secret; engagement sessions are hands down one of my favorite things to photograph! Having the opportunity to help visually capture a couples love story is a great honor for me. Living in California I am fortunate to have so many great locations to choose from. Do you really live in SoCal if you don’t know the ins and outs of shooting at the beach?! Over the years I have picked up some beach engagement tips that I will share with you today!
When I suggest a beach engagement session to my clients it’s because I know it’ll be a low traffic area and that alone will settle any nerves the couple may have. Scheduling a beach engagement shoot you need to pay attention to the time of day you’ll be there. The best time is always going to be right at sunrise or right before the sunset, otherwise known as Golden Hour. The sun is low enough on the horizon that the light will be soft and make your couple glow! In the chance your client is set on shooting during the day when the light isn’t ideal, try adding a ND filter to your lens. It will allow you to still hold a shallow depth of field and not blow out your image!
Beach shoots can be a hassle for a photographer, especially if you’re bringing equipment with you. This is why I try and be as minimal as possible! If I happen to have an assistant with me this is the time I will take the opportunity to use a bounce card or my new Profoto A1. (Not an ad for them, this has just really helped in my weddings and portrait sessions! See here why I love it so much!) This way I can add just a touch of fill light to help reduce any shadows that may be falling on the face. When you’re choosing your lens there’s a few things to consider. I generally will shoot with a Canon 50mm 1.2 for a few different reasons. Living in Los Angeles, we have some breath taking sunsets! Using a wider lens helps me capture the setting sun on the water and the glowing mountains as the couple is looking into each other’s eyes! We think of beaches being quiet and peaceful; wrong. Well, the quiet part anyway! Shooting with a 50mm allows me to still be close enough to the couple and not risk loosing my voice as I direct them.
Before the day of the shoot, talk to your client and get a feel for their personality. If they are a fun and love (or are fond of) the outdoors see if your couple has a cool beach cruiser they use on weekends or cute beach blankets to add another element to the shot. If they’re more of a reserved couple, may rent a vintage convertible or find a cool outdoor patio to snap a few photos in. If your beach has a pier, use it! Whether you’re underneath with the waves crashing on the pillars or walking to the end with the fishers and capturing the couple take in the beauty of the ocean. Either way, get your couple interacting with each other however they normally would if you weren’t there with them!
Having the chance to shoot at the beach so often is an amazing feeling. Not only do I know some exceptionally great photos will come from it; being at the beach allows everyone to relax and reflect on the beauty before them! Being prepared before you head to the shoot will let you fully take in the peacefulness of the crashing waves! What is your favorite locations for engagement sessions?