(General, Beach, Maternity, and Newborn)

Beach Portraits...
It's typical that everyone remove their shoes - sand between the toes is what you want on the beach, right? So, prepare everyone ahead of time that they will be removing their shoes. Of course, they don't have to, but bare feet look more natural on the beach. 

It's often windy on the beach, so please bring along items to help secure fly-away hair (hair clips, headbands, etc.). The wind is often blowing off the ocean, which will mean if you have long hair and the ocean is in the background of your photo, your hair if not secured will end up in your face. You will be sorely disappointed if hair is covering faces or whipping around wildly in all your portraits. It happens frequently and can ruin an entire portrait session.

The summer beach air also can include high humidity, which sometimes does a number on perfectly styled hair, which is another reason to tie back long hair if possible. Also, in humid conditions, limiting the use or hair spray often helps. I've seen it often... girls begin the session with hair I can tell they spent a lot of time styling, but as soon as the wind and humidity hits it, the hair looks nothing like they had intended.

A popular place for people to "store" hair bands is around their wrist. Please remember to remove these, as well as hotel pool bracelets. 

Sand. It's at the beach. Always. It's natural for kids to put their hands in the sand. What happens next? They rub their faces or eyes with their hands. And then there are tears and the photo shoot is delayed to comfort the child. Remind little ones before they get to their beach portrait session to try to keep their hands out of the sand. 

Some of the best shots are often when subjects are seated in the sand (I only do these poses in the soft loose dry sand - not the hard wet sand). Let everyone who is physically able know that they will most likely be seated in the sand at some point during the session. 

Our sand dunes are environmentally protected structures in which protect property and structures from storm damage, as well as provide a sancuary for bird and sea turtle nesting. Please only remain in the walkways and do not walk on our beautiful dunes. Children often find them tempting to climb but please do not allow them to do so. 

Have some bug spray on hand.  Occasionally, when there is no wind on the beach, little bugs like to make an appearance. 

Sun burns.  Many people like to get a base tan at the beach a few days before your portrait session. That often backfires because it's common people get a little too relaxed with the sunscreen and they end up getting burned.  Sunburns do not look flattering in portraits. Please take proper care of your skin in the sun leading up to your portrait session. Avoid wearing clothes which will show a tan or sunburn line. Extra fees are applied for any requested edits to remove tan/sunburn lines.  

Avoid temporary tattoos on kids. They are usually requested to be edited out, which incurs editing fees. 

Avoid using lotion on your skin before your portrait session.  For the photos while you are seated in the sand, the lotion causes sand to stick to the skin, especially on humid days.

If young children are in your group please feel free to bring non-messy snacks for them in case they get fussy. In the summer months your portrait session time may not complement the child's eating or sleeping schedule and sometimes snacks can help distract them from being off schedule. Wipes also come in handy to remove sand from faces and hands, to wipes noses, clean snacks off faces, etc. And don't be afraid to bribe the kids with a trip to get ice cream or a trip to the amusement park after your portrait session. Visit my Dine and Play page for fun kid-friendly things to do after your portrait session. I often bribe kids with Smarties candies during a session. They are not sticky or messy and can work wonders in getting a child to smile. I also sometimes bribe kids with the reward of a lollipop if they display good behavior during the session. If you as have an objection to me using these candies please let me know ahead of time. 

Change of Clothes: I typically save photos down by the water for last. It's common for children to become overly excited and immerse themselves (on accident or on purpose) in the ocean. This is perfectly fine with me and often creates some great photo ops. However, having a change of clothes on hand will likely make the children more comfortable after the photo session, especially if you have dinner or amusement plans. 

Alcohol. Yep, you guessed it. I've had past incidents with intoxicated people... and not the kind who photo bomb in the background. These were actually my beach portrait clients who showed up already well in the drink. PLEASE refrain from arriving to your session under the influence, and just as importantly, please do not bring alcoholic beverages with you to sip on during your session. 

No Smoking. I am sensitive to cigarette smoke, and nothing disappoints me more than seeing someone put their cigarette out in the sand. My beach is not your ash tray. 

Gum and Chewing Tobacco. Please remove these products from your mouth before your portrait session. Please do not toss gum in the bushes, on the ground, or in the sand. Gum is a choking hazzard to wildlife. Please properly dispose of gum in a trash can. 

Dogs. Some people want their dog(s) in their portraits, and while I don't have a problem with this, please keep the following in mind. It's often very difficult to get a dog to look at the camera the same time you are looking at the camera. Dogs often distract other people in the portrait from looking at the camera. Per city/county laws, dogs must remain on a leash at all times. You must have a means to pick and properly dispose of any pet waste. 

Please leave all valuables back at your hotel, condo, beach house, etc. We'll be moving around A LOT, you don't want your valuables, purses, bags, etc. left unattended on the beach, especially when we step down closer to the water and there is no dry place to leave the bag without it being at a distance to you. There is also the issue of ants crawling in purses when left on the sand. My portrait session locations are safe, and I've personally never had a theft incident, however, many clients are nervous being so far away from their bag. As with any public parking area, there is a risk of theft in vehicles. Please do not leave anything of value visible. If it is absolutely necessary to bring valuables with you to the beach please put everything in ONE bag. Splash Studio is not liable for the theft of any of your valuables. 

Leave a towel in your car to wipe sand off feet after your session.  Sand off of the feet makes it easier and more comfortable to put shoes back on. There are showers a few blocks away if you wish to stop there afterwards and wash off your feet. 

There are no bathroom facilities at my primary beach portrait location. Port-o-pottys are sometimes avaialble at adjacent beach access parking lots. If you are not a fan of those strucures please arrive with an empty bladder. 

Planning your day: Weather can be unpredictable. Please plan your day so you are able to begin your session an hour or two ahead of schedule in the event foul weather is in the area and we need to adjust your start time. Also, please avoid making dining/entertaiment plans to take place immediatly before your session. Those may interfere with beginning your session earlier if weather requires us to move the start time. 

Visit my Dine and Play page for suggestions on where to dine after your evening portrait session. 

*** See bottom of page for the no personal phones or camera policy.  

GENERAL PORTRAIT SESSION TIPS (Including beach portraits)


It's common to see everyone dressed in identical outfits, particularly in white/off white shirts and jeans/khaki pants for beach portraits. Those often work well with the beach scene, and it offers a timeless feel, however, I actually prefer to see pops of color, rather than all neutral colors. It's nice when the clothing is coordinated, however keep in mind that not everyone has to wear the same outfit. I think it looks better when everyone is not wearing the same outfit. You'll want your clothing to enhance your faces without being the focal point, so it's a good idea to stay away from extremely bold patterns on everyone. But don't be afraid to mix and match patterns. I encourage you to dress in your individual style.

Some prefer to avoid sleeveless shirts on adults as they often make the arms appear less flattering. But if sleeveless is your thing, or if you'd like to wear a cute sundress with no sleeves, then go for it. Avoid short skirts and short shorts, as some of the seated poses may be awkward (and not cover enough, yikes) in short clothing. 

Avoid clothing, particularly tops, which will flap around in the wind. Even a slight breeze on the beach can be an issue for clothing suseptible to taking flight. This includes anything with ruffles, which simply won't stay hanging down in the beach wind.

Also, keep in mind if everyone is wearing the exact same color, the entire photo may take on that same tone. I've noticed the most when families all wear the same blues or greens. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE blues and greens, and do not discourage those colors, but it looks better if the shirts have at least some color variations it tends to look better.

Sunburns and tan lines are common when on vacation, however, if your bathing suit will create burn/tan lines on your shoulders, chest, etc., you may not want to wear an off shoulder top or dress. Sun burn marks are often asked to be edited out, however, that comes with an editing fee. 

Avoid wearing clothing with visible logos, which can be distracting in the photo. And keep in mind I'll likely be photographing you from the front and from behind. So please do not put bulky items in your pockets, which includes wallets and phones (see mobile phone policy below). 

Whatever clothing you choose, be sure to be comfortable, and let your personality shine. For clothing ideas take a look through my beach portrait galleries in the Galleries menu and see what other families have worn.


Try to schedule your maternity photo session when the mother-to-be- is about 30-36 weeks along.

At least one hour prior to your photo session loosen all tight clothing (especially elastic waist bands) to avoid impressions on the skin that may show up in the photos. Wear clothing that can easily be adjusted to show the belly. Dads and siblings are welcome to participate in the photo shoot.


Newborn photo sessions are best if done in the first two weeks after birth, as this is when babies sleep the most. Within the first 10 days is actually preferred. These sessions are not to be rushed and may take several hours, allowing time for your baby to eat and have their diaper changed.

Newborn photo sessions are done in the comfort of your home. My newborn photo studio is portable and I prefer to set up in an area of your home close to a large window or sliding glass door which lets in lots of natural light.

If you would like included in your portrait session in-the-buff shots of your baby, about an hour before your baby's portrait session begins, set your indoor thermostat to around 74 degrees so that the baby will not be chilly. I also bring with me a small space heater to warm the air close to the baby so they don't get cold.

Dress your baby in something easy to take off without disturbing them. Clothing that doesn't have to go over the head is best so as to not disturb them while they are sleeping. Also dress them in loose clothing so there will be no elastic marks on his skin if we'll be birthday suit shots. Do this at least one hour prior to my arrival. Even loosen the diaper a bit.

I have several little beenie hats and cute outfits to choose from for your baby to wear that work great for photos.  Everything is pre-washed in perfume free environmentally safe detergent and is stored in a smoke-free environment. I also have props such as a variety of blankets, a basket, a galvanized tub, etc.

I understand pets are part of the family, however, it may take a while for a pet to become accustomed to a newborn in the house. Sometimes the pet is uneasy with the newborn or they are extremely territorial. During a newborn portrait session it may be a good idea to remove the pet (specifically dogs in this situation due to barking - waking the baby) from the home or place the pet in an area away from the baby. 

For breast-feeding mothers, please refrain from eating spicy foods two days before the photo session so the baby will not run the risk of having an upset tummy during the photo session. 

For newborn boys who are circumcised after birth, they need 4-5 days to heal after circumcision. Since many newborn photos are taken in-the-buff, we don't want him to be uncomfortable during the shoot. 

Mom, dad and siblings are welcome to participate in the photo shoot.


Please, do not use personal cameras during your portrait session. This includes cameras on phones. You've paid for a professional photographer to capture your memories, please let me do my job so you can kick back, relax, and enjoy your session. Secondary cameras distract the people being photographed (they don't know which camera to look at) and creates delays during the session you've paid for.  Phones in pockets (front and back) show up in photos and get sand in them when seated in the sand (beach portraits). And many people, especially teens, find it more important to respond to text messages than participate in a portrait session. If photos are taken by others than myself your portrait session will end immediately and you will be responsible for the session fee on the spot. It is YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to let everyone in your party know about this no phone/camera policy. Please all phones and cameras in your vehicle or back at your condo or beach house!!!
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