1. Hire a professional photographer with experience
First and foremost, hiring a professional photographer with tons of experience is my most important tip for successful photos! While always absolutely beautiful, the weather on Anna Maria Island can be all over the place. Cloudy, overcast, rainy, windy, bright and sunny, hot. Beach lighting can be tricky too! I have photographed over 150 family sessions on Anna Maria Island up to this point.
2. What to wear
This is a question I get asked over and over again and I always love to help and make suggestions. I love suggesting to wear a combination of ‘complimentary’ colors, but not matchy matchy. Neutrals and lighter, pastel colors look beautiful on the beach with the white sand. Don’t be afraid to dress up a little bit! All of these photos in this blog post are great examples. I also have a Pinterest board that I am updating regularly with outfit inspiration.
3. Include the Grandparents
These are what most photographers call “Extended Family Sessions”. While more expensive and more involved, they are always 100% worth it! Not only can grandparents make silly noises and sings songs while trying to get the little ones attention – the photographs of your kids with their grandparents are worth their weight in gold. So many special moments and memories – such a beautiful background. Just do it! Also the photos make for great Christmas and birthday gifts too.
4. Let the kids play
It is a vacation after all! Let the kids play! Get sandy, wet, sweaty and definitely run all over the beautiful beaches of Anna Maria Island chasing your kiddos. Don’t stress or take yourself too seriously. If you are stressed, your kids will feel stressed. Have some fun and I will capture all the candid moments that I guarantee will be some of your favorites.
5. Location and Timing
While everywhere is beautiful on Anna Maria Island, I do think location and timing is crucial to the success of your family photos. All of my sessions start 40 minutes before the sunset, in order to get the best and most flattering light. I have two beautiful locations I recommend for family sessions. The first is Bean Point. Wide open beaches, beautiful sand dunes and grass, and I love this green alleyway covered with mangroves (pictured below) as a contrast to all the beach photos. The second location is a little hidden gem called Beer Can Island. The photos with all the driftwood and trees on the beach in this blog post are that location. It is about a 7 minute walk down to the beautiful scenery, but its such a unique location that you will not regret.