The Beach: Teenagers And Heroes!

The beach is so fun, but it is one hard place to get good shots especially if there is full sun….which is generally all the time!  Teenagers are fun, but it is hard to get good shots especially if they are acting like teenagers and are a bit moody…which is generally all the time!  So when you combine the two, getting good shots can be a challenge…but not impossible for the confident camera moms out there!!

Here are some dos and don’ts and a few things I have learned about photographing teens and the beach and teens on the beach.

Do bring your camera. I know it sounds stilly to even say this but a lot of people don’t want to get sand in or on their camera so they don’t even bring them down to the ocean. I say go for it!  It is better to get some good shots with a little sand than no shots at all. Wrap your camera in a small towel and put it in a bag for protection. I use a quilted bag with a zipper. After I use it, I zip it back up and pull it in and out during the day. Don’t forget to always put the strap around your neck when you are using it to keep it from falling in the sand.

Do avoid the middle of the day sun… if possible. This is not a deal breaker but the light is much easier to deal with early in the morning and late in the afternoon. Believe it or not, this shot was taken in the morning, if it was much brighter she would not have have been able to open her eyes.


Do look for action shots. These ‘in the ocean’ shots are hard to get because the light is bright in the background and the subject tends to be too dark. Some advanced photo/camera techniques can help with this but for now I just did a quick edit to brighten it up a bit. The time of day can make these water shots easier. This was at high noon but very hazy making it difficult to shoot.




The photo below was from another trip, you can see that it was brighter and not so hazy for this shot. The shutter speed was also very fast to get the drops of water. Try your sports setting for these shots and a good zoom lens. I don’t recommend taking your camera in the water!


Don’t be afraid to request a few action shots. Melissa has been doing handstands since she was little so I like to get these shots when I can.


The YMCA shot always gives them something silly to do for the shot– which is a good thing. As a camera mom it is good to have some suggestions for what to do in your bag of tricks when the camera comes out.  It can mean the difference in having them run from the camera and staying for the shot.


Do get the funny stuff. Get your camera out when they start doing something funny, but be quick, these shots come and go fast!


When the brother starts picking on the sister it is generally worth a shot!


Don’t leave out the big picture. Look around at your surroundings and get the ‘other stuff‘ on your beach for your photo story. There is always more to the beach than sand and water.

The pier for example.


The inside  shot of the pier.

Simply unbelievable!


Don’t give up. If  your kids are not cooperating, look  for other interesting things all around you and practice!

a cute toddler:


a black dog and his Frisbee:.




Oliver North….

did I say Oliver North!!??!!

Yes! We met him on the beach walking his dog! So glad that I wasn’t worried about taking my good camera down to the beach!


Don’t use a flash. A standard rule of mine. Even though the photos may be grainer, I think they look better without the harsh light of a flash. This shot below was taken when it was really dark (9 pm), but a little moon light, high ISO, low 4 stop and some lightening up in post editing helped get enough light to keep the flash off.

Yes, she is kissing the fish!! The fishermen next to us said that she had to kiss the first fish! So she did. If only I had that kind of influence on my kids!


This shot is grainy but I love the look on her face and our friend in the background. I would not have liked this shot with the flash.


Don’t give up on he sunset shots. They can be are difficult to get the true color. Try setting your shutter speed high and see if you can get the color to look more natural.


To sum it up, When you are at the beach don’t be afraid to take your good camera. The morning and evening is usually the best light and if you have teens just try to get them in their world.  A few posed shots are Ok but you will tell a much better story with the candid shots that come along….oh, and don’t be afraid to get the the famous people walking by too!

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