Love is in the air, and so is the sweet smell of Pina Coladas because it’s time for a beach engagement shoot!
Do you live near the beach? Or are you currently watching it snow outside of your living room window and wishing you lived near some sand?
Whether you’re living that salt life in reality or your (frequent) daydreams, it’s time to get clear on your engagement session priorities before you commit to a beach engagement shoot.
The ocean is gorgeous, yes. But she’s also fickle and doesn’t mind causing drama, so let’s make sure that’s what you want before you jump all in.
Why Choose the Beach for Your Engagement Session?
Well… because you love it, right?
If you don’t love the beach, what are we even doing? If you do love the beach, let’s continue.
Never-ending coastlines and waves crashing at your feet? What’s not to love?
If you’re thinking about booking your engagement session along the ocean, then it likely has some significant ties to your relationship.
Perhaps, you two met surfing, or your first date was strolling along the sand. The beach can hold powerfully important memories, and that’s a beautiful reason to get your photos done there.
It can also be hella romantic. So, if you’re looking to get a bit saucy and playful in your bathing suits, then a beach shoot makes sense as well.
Often beach engagement sessions will come off more laid back and casual, so if that’s your vibe, then I think you’re making the right choice.
Why Avoid a Beach Engagement Shoot?
As magical as the beach is, sometimes it’s just not the best option.
Are you okay with weirdly wind-blown hair? How about hell-fire heat? And let’s not forget sand. Are you cool with it getting in everything? And I definitely mean everything.
I’m not trying to be a killjoy, and not all beaches are scorching (hello, PNW), but it is helpful to keep in mind the realities of trying to get pretty photos on the beach.
You may also want to remember that there’s often not a ton of variety on a beach setting. What you get is beautiful, yes, but that’s about all you get.
So you may have to work hard not to have all of your photos look the same. But really, that’s where a great photographer comes in.
If your photographer has handled beach engagement photos before, you’re likely in good hands.
Top Tips for the Best Beach Engagement Photos
Okay, still going for it? Great. Let’s dig in and make sure you get the best beach photos your #saltlife heart could desire.
Hire the Right Photographer
You’re going to want to get a bonafide beach photographer. Someone who specializes in this type of stuff.
The beach and the ocean bring a whole host of specific difficulties that a general photographer might not understand. So if you want photos that leave you feeling like the beach queen goddess that you are, you want to hire someone who knows what they’re doing.
If you’re local to the ocean, then many of the photographers around you probably have a handle on the beach. Check their portfolios just in case, and if you meet with them, ask them if they feel comfortable at the beach.
If you want to travel to the beach, you may want to consider hiring a photographer in the area you’re headed to.
It’s certainly ideal to have your wedding photographer shoot your engagement session. That way you can get to know one another and figure out your groove.
You may still choose to go this route and simply fly your photographer out with you.
However, a photographer who routinely works on the beach will be a pro in that environment, and that’s something to consider.
What to Wear?
You also want to think about attire.
This will be based on your climate and what season you’re getting your photos taken in.
Not all beach engagement sessions are done in the summertime. Spring is a fabulous time for beach photos because it’s not quite as hot or crowded!
So, obviously, consider the general weather and go from there.
However, it’s likely to be hot, so I would highly recommend comfortable breathable clothes.
Go for lightweight, natural fibers like linen and leave your pleather pants at home.
Also, think about contrasting your natural surrounding with a bit of color. The tones of a beach scene tend to be very neutral and light.
You could match that with light, neutral tones of your own, but it could be easy to get lost in the photo or for the pictures to feel a bit bland.
Work in some pops of color to keep things interesting.
Pick the Best Time of Day
Hit the beach either in the early morning or the early evening.
Anything around midday is going to leave you sweltering hot and with horrible shadows on your face. Noon might be a fabulous time to hit the beach and take a dip, but it’s not ideal for photos.
Choose Your Location Carefully
Not only will you want to choose your time of day carefully, but you’ll also want to think about where exactly you want your photos to be.
Think about crowds and any points of significance when choosing which beach you’d like to visit. Try to choose somewhere that means something to you.
Also, pick a location with a bit of variety. Maybe there’s a pier or some interesting rock formations. Perhaps the cliffs are particularly remarkable, or your favorite boardwalk is nearby.
Palm trees, ferns, boardwalks, rocks, and woods will all help your photographer shake up the background a bit.
Be Prepared to Get Wet (or Sandy)
Please don’t tell me you’re going to go through all of this trouble to get photos on the beach, and you’re not going to get a bit wet.
Embrace your surroundings and at least kick off your shoes!
If you and your partner get loose and allow your clothes to get a little wet or sandy, I bet it’ll look like you’re having fun.
And if you’re having fun, you’re going to get beautiful photos. You just will.
That being said, please be safe.
Heavy dresses or any dense clothing can be extremely dangerous in the water, so always keep your wits about you.
If you’ve gone glam, and you’re wearing something that might be a bit too much for a dip in the water, be safe and stay in the shallow end.
What to Bring to Your Beach Engagement Session?
You’ll want to talk to your photographer about this one because they’ll be able to offer more specific suggestions, but in general:
- a towel
- some sandals to wear or to switch to from your fancier footwear
- a brush (if you’re not going for an updo, you’ll definitely want something to help tame your locks)
Beach Engagement Photo Inspiration
Grab a Canoe
Why am I imagining the “Kiss the Girl” scene in Little Mermaid? I don’t know, but I don’t hate it.
Bring the Boat
If you have a boat, you should absolutely include it in your engagement photos. What’s more romantic than a little bit of sailing on the open ocean?
Side note: is anyone else impressed by how easy this woman makes walking on a boat in heels look?
Go For A Dip
Who goes to the beach but doesn’t get in the water? Not you, friend.
Take a Hike
Not every beach is just endless sand and palm trees. If your kind of beach includes jagged cliffs and gorgeous overlooks, then please, take a hike.
Pick a Watersport
Break out your paddleboard or wax up the surfboard, and have fun with your favorite watersport. Who says an engagement session has to be all fancy clothes?
Don’t Forget Your Furry Friends
Who loves the beach more than you? Your dog, that’s who.
Avoid the guilt trip your dog will give you if you go to the beach without them, and just let them come along for your engagement shoot.
Make sure the beach you’re going to is dog-friendly, and then go for it!
A pupper is always a good addition. Plus, they’re part of the fam, too, right?
Don’t get so caught up in getting the right photo that you miss the whole experience.
Find a way to stay present with your partner and just have fun!