Setting the Perfect Scene for Beautiful Clearwater Beach Family Photography

We wanted to share this image created from yesterday evenings family portrait session on Clearwater Beach. These twins were so fun, and never stopped laughing the entire time. We know they keep Mom and Dad on their toes with lots of silliness, giggling, and mountains of energy.

We always start our Clearwater Beach Family Portrait sessions one hour before the sun is supposed to set and shoot straight on till it gets dark. Lots of times, we get many parents who think their kids won’t last the entire time, and perhaps think a shorter session would be better. Often this reasoning stems from past experiences with other photographers. We always insist on an hour long session at sunset. What’s really interesting is we’ve never had children not last the entire time. Actually we think it is crucial to have as much time as possible in a session and start early. This gives us time to build and earn trust with little ones and get them comfortable with the process. From the first moment we meet a new family, we make it all about the kids. Getting down to their level and engaging them with silliness. Showing them that although we may be strangers, we are silly like them, and this is going to be a fun time at the beach.


We created a wide variety of portraits from each Clearwater Beach photography session. A good mixture of beautiful journalistic images like this one, and a healthy amount of smiley faces looking at the camera. Then of course we throw in all the running images, silly images, and more. We take lots of pictures.

We keep the children moving. We keep them engaged in the process. We keep them stimulated by moving from spot to spot on the beach. That’s how we get them to last the entire session. We don’t stay in one place and make it boring. We don’t force them to do anything. We work around the children, their unique personalities, and moods which can change frequently over the course of a beach portrait.

In this beautiful Clearwater Beach portrait we are sharing here, this is a perfect example of how we set a scene, make the beach photography process stress free, and work with what is going on with the children in the moment. At the point where we set up for this scene at sunset time at the beach, we had already created a TON of portraits. We knew the boys here were starting to reach their threshold of having enough with portrait time at the beach. It was past their bedtime and they were getting hungry. uh oh…. So we did not even attempt any type of classic, looking at the camera family portrait for this scene. Instead. We first place mom and dad in a seated position up against each other at a perfect angle where we knew we would be able to see everybody and grab a beautiful landscape in the background. We wanted to make a romantic portrait interaction between mom and dad, while including the children.  But we directed mom and dad just to play with the kids for a while, pick up sea shells, give them kisses, and just focus on the kids, not the camera. Then in a moment, we saw the perfect scene taking place, and we simply suggested to Dad that he lean over and give mom a kiss. Just like that a beautiful family portrait was created.

We love this Clearwater Beach Family portrait because it has so much going on in it. It shows so much about this young, adorable family. It shows love. You can tell this is a happy family, with so much love between Mom and Dad, with two adorable, energetic, and genuinely happy kids on tow. This to us is what an ideal family portrait communicates. We teach photography every so often to newer photographers. SO many times we see photographers get hung up over gear, and technique like whether to light an image or not, or what kind of camera is best, and other useless knowledge like what f-stop is best. Etc etc. But see, none of that really matters in the grand scheme of things. Because no portrait session is ever the same, conditions are never the same, and equipment matters so little. We photograph family portraits on everything from a Nikon 7100, Nikon D810,  Leica M-E, Fuji X-m1, and Fuji X100t. Sometimes we light our portrait using profoto lighting. But most of the time we just create portraits using nothing but beautiful natural light, and nothing but a standard prime lens. We’ve found equipment matters so little. What matters most is the interaction between the photographer and the people being photographed. Direction and communication matters, and what we don’t mean is posing, we never pose, we just set up a scene and see what happens within the parameters of the scene. There’s no big secret really. It doesn’t matter if you are some Leica Portrait Photographer or a person with an entry level dslr. Equipment matters very little. It is about being a photographer that is comfortable in your own skin, being true to yourself, and being able to communicate ideas effectively.

That’s how we create Clearwater Beach Portraits every day.

That’s the Clearwater Beach Portraits difference, between our work and other work you see around town.

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