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10 Tips on What to Wear for Your Beach Photo Session

Brilliant sunshine and clear blue sky. Soft, sparkling sand. Gentle waves. What a visually stunning backdrop for your family photo session on The Crystal Coast! Whether your style is sweet, fun, formal or relaxed, there’s no questioning it: The beach is the place to be.

While the beach is one of the best places to unwind, planning what your family should wear to a beach photo session can be anything but stress-free. Family photos are meant to capture a group as a whole, while at the same time allowing each person to stand out in a unique way. So where do you even begin? When in doubt, you can count on these 10 tips on what to wear for a beach photo session:

1. Think soft… like the sand. Fabrics in soft colors and textures blend best with the beach atmosphere, and look nice with every type of complexion.

family beach photos in atlantic beach, NC

2. Keep patterns to a minimum. Don’t overdo patterns. Choose one pattern for someone to wear, and coordinate solid colors on others to match.

3. Go formal. For a formal look, keep things breezy with summer dresses for women and shorts for men. If men wear button-down shirts, they can undo the first two or three buttons for a tropical feel.

4. Be bold! Bright colors can make a totally fun statement. When going bold, avoid having anyone wear lighter colors, as the eye will naturally look to lightest colors first. A good rule of thumb is to wear either all light or all dark clothing.

5. Try some sunset style. Taking photos at sundown? Match the sky by wearing hues of orange, pink and lilac.

6. Avoid these big no-no’s. Don’t wear clothing that is too trendy or that has logos or text on it. This will date your photos. Remember that you will be sitting, kneeling and standing, so don’t wear anything too short or tight.

7. Put your toes in the sand. Bare feet are best for beach photo sessions! However, if someone in your party doesn’t like this idea, they can wear sandals or flat, light-colored shoes.

children playing in the sand on the crystal coast of NC

8. About that wind... The beach can be a windy place, so leave the ruffles and floppy collars at home. Women may want to wear an updo or bring something to pull their hair back to avoid messy hair. Don’t forget to bring a change of clothing for children who may get wet while playing on the beach.

9. Cover up. Wear clothing that hides tan lines, and don’t get sunburned before your session. Better yet, consider booking a session at the start of your vacation (before you get too much sun).

10. White always works. Wearing classic white not only looks timeless, but it serves as a light reflector. If everyone is wearing white, mix up textures so that each person looks unique.

family photos in atlantic beach, nc

Need more ideas on what to wear in beach family photos? Check out the gallery or contact me today!

Favorite Clothing Brands and Boutiques for Family or Children's Portraits:


Susan Yates Photography is located on the coast of eastern North Carolina. Specializing in newborn, maternity, family and children's portraits.

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