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7 Rockin Beach Posing Tips

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7 Rockin Beach Posing Tips

One question I get asked a lot about shooting at the beach is how to pose people. I think a huge part of my style is casual posing where I direct people/kids into a position, but don’t do any formal posing. My goal is to get natural, emotive, fun images. Soooooooooooo. . .here are some of my tips for posing kids and families during beach sessions.

  • Put a child or group of children on their tummies! It’s a casual pose that I love because I can get on my stomach right at their level and get some great expressions.

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  • Have everyone in a family stand together and connect with each other in some way. . .holding hands, touching a shoulder, arms wrapped around each other, etc. Think triangle when you’re arranging a family. This creates a warm feeling of connection in a family portrait by bringing everyone in close together.

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  • Have family members bring their heads close together. . .I always have to remind people to get in close or bring their heads close together. This also helps create a feeling of connection.

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  • Angle your subjects. Try not to have people stand straight on to the camera. . .turning their bodies at a slight angle creates a slimmer profile and creates a more interesting portrait.

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  • Another unique way of making it fun is capturing what is special to your clients. One of my favorite and recent portraits is of a father and son doing something they LOVE to do together at the beach. I feel the image evokes a ton of happy emotions in it while also capturing something really special they share together.

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  • Think outside the box. I had a large family session and wanted to get some different than the norm pictures of them together so I had them all sit on different rocks that were at the beach I was shooting at. It made for a fun, unique family portrait.
  • Make it fun! Have them race, dance, or jump. This always creates a lot of giggles and makes for a fun family portrait.

I hope you find these tips helpful when photographing families and children at the beach!!!! Happy shooting!

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Thank you to MCP Guest Blogger Kristin of Kristin Rachelle Photography for these amazing beach photography tips. Kristin Rachelle is a photographer in the San Diego, California area. And is a guide and mentor to many photographers at ClickinMoms (a photography forum).

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  1. Christina on March 12, 2012 at 9:05 am

    I fully agree! I know my D90 takes great photos but I feel restricted! I cannot wait to get my hands on a D700 and let my powers flow 🙂

    • Nicole Garcia on March 12, 2012 at 9:24 am

      I completely agree! I have a D40 and I am looking into a D7000 (Not full frame, not ready for all that just yet). I know the D40 is a great camera, but i need MORE. Especially if I want to make this my business. 🙂

    • Alexis on May 31, 2012 at 8:52 pm

      Same here, D90 and looking to upgrade. I rent amazing lenses when I know I will have a heavy shooting week. But, I need to see the difference!

  2. Rebekah on March 12, 2012 at 9:08 am

    I so agree with Christina! I, too, shoot with a D90, but have been feeling so limited lately. I can’t wait to upgrade!

  3. Kara on March 12, 2012 at 9:10 am

    Awesome post! Great equipment can’t make someone a great photographer, but great equipment CAN make a great photographer even better 🙂

  4. Quentin on March 12, 2012 at 9:21 am

    It would be the same as someone saying, “This is such a awesome meal, you must own some really expensive pots & pans”. Expensive gear will never replace an artistic eye and the ability to frame up & compose a shot.

    • Faith Dawson on March 12, 2012 at 10:18 am

      I agree!

    • Kara on March 12, 2012 at 10:56 am

      True, but there’s a point where the photographer is better than the gear he or she is using. If the camera really has nothing to do with it, we’d all be shooting with a $59 compact. And while I know I can manhandle a Rebel, it would be irresponsible for me to show up at a wedding with a camera that can’t handle low ISO…and without a low-light lens….and without a flash. At some point, you do need gear that can keep up with you, and I think that’s the point of this post.

    • MCP Guest Writer on March 13, 2012 at 12:03 am

      I agree, but I bet top of the line chefs use top of the line pots and pans for various reasons.

  5. RussFrisinger on March 12, 2012 at 9:29 am

    Do folks ask Steven Spielberg what kind of word processor he uses?

  6. Katherine on March 12, 2012 at 9:37 am

    Thanks for this post! Very timely as I’d been holding out for announcements from Nikon and am looking to finally upgrade. I’ve been shooting with a D80 (yes, that old!) but the questions you posed reinforce why I’d want to shell out all that cash. Totally agree that equipment does play a big role.

  7. Molly @ mixedmolly on March 12, 2012 at 9:38 am

    I have an entry level Canon Revel T3 and I know that I could do more with a more expensive camera and lens. However, until I fully learn to shoot manual and I can consistently use this camera fully manual all the time, it seems unwise to spend thousands of dollars to upgrade the camera body and get professional lenses. P.S. I would love to see an article on suggested equipment for intermediate users (more advanced at photography, but not ready for professional level. Is there a middle ground?)

  8. Danielle on March 12, 2012 at 9:58 am

    I am in the exact same boat as Molly. Any suggestions for intermediate users that would like to upgrade but may not be able to afford the top of the line gear?

  9. Faith Dawson on March 12, 2012 at 10:18 am

    Thank you so much for this post!!! I agree 100%. Knowing how to take pictures (actually take control of your camera) and the artistic side of photography IS VERY important, but it’s also VERY important to have good equipment. Plus, I definitely drool over the new stuff that comes out and I can’t get mad at people for thinking my camera is awesome… because it really IS! 🙂

  10. O Schrock on March 12, 2012 at 10:19 am

    Exactly right! I used to say that the equipment doesn’t matter, until I bought my wife a smaller point-n-shoot so she didn’t have to get out my DSLR every time she wanted to take a picture. The smaller camera is awful! Poorer quality, shutter-lag, high-noise, etc… Equipment isn’t everything, but it does help to take consistently better shots. And agreed, never buy better equipment until you feel limited by what you currently haveGreat post, thanks!

  11. Stephanie Sullins on March 12, 2012 at 10:32 am

    I TOTALLY agree!! Not everyone who owns a great camera is going to get professional quality photographs, but if you know how to use that camera, and you have intent and vision, along with the camera(which is one of our many TOOLS!) you will! I have had this debate numerous times, and I just feel I am banging my head against the wall! One person who told me they don’t think the camera matters, and it is ALL about intent and vision, just bought the new Canon 5D Mark III… um… why would you need to upgrade if it is not about the camera!?? lol Great post! You hit the nail right on the head!

  12. Stacey on March 12, 2012 at 10:46 am

    I’ve been saying this ever since I upgraded from my Rebel to my 5DM2. It absolutely makes a difference! I was certainly able to do more of what I wanted when using my nifty fifty than my kit lens. I don’t think anyone begrudges Lance Armstrong wanting to have the best biking equipment. Could he still win with a basic bike from Walmart? Maybe. But could he get his best times possible? Surely not. So often, photographers get so grumpy and say a good photographer can take a great image with any camera. And this is true. But they could take BETTER pictures with better equipment. Doesn’t mean great. Better than terrible doesn’t mean award winning images. Let’s just admit that the equipment DOES matter and move on.

  13. Matt E. on March 12, 2012 at 12:11 pm

    There is a certain nuance to asking this question so that it is not an insult (not that people intend it that way). The distinction is this: the lens you use matters in several areas and the body matters in a few areas. If I’m asking, I typically only ask what lens people used and why. I really only ever care what camera they used when I see giant prints or maybe really clean low-light photos, but I always point out why I am asking. My question is nearly always centered on some kind of technical aspect (e.g., lack of distortion on a portrait shot close-range with a wide angle) that comes through in a photo. The point being, you reach a point in your photography where you know how gear effects your photos and you see those effects in other’s photos. The other way is saying “your skills are insignificant, this was obviously all camera.” The truth is, a great photographer can make great images with any equipment and here’s the key, they make photos. They are keenly aware of the limitations of the gear and they make decisions that will maximize their results from that gear. To borrow an example from another commenter, it wouldn’t necessarily be irresponsible to show up at a wedding with a Rebel and a kit lens. Knowing its limits, it is a poor match for a balcony in a dark church to shoot close-ups of a ceremony, but I’d bet you could shoot an intimate beach wedding with it and deliver great work.

    • Kara on March 12, 2012 at 2:38 pm

      That was my example, and you’re absolutely right that you could shoot with just a Rebel and a kit lens in sunlight! (And I definitely didn’t mean to imply that you can’t shoot weddings with a Rebel — especially if you have the right lenses and flash.) Just meant that there are circumstances (like a dark church or dark reception venue) where showing up without the right gear would be a really bad idea, no matter how good the photographer is 🙂

  14. Yolanda on March 12, 2012 at 12:15 pm

    Yes. Equipment matters. Sometimes it matters a lot. It doesn’t matter what you know about the exposure triangle or how much your rock at composition, certain shots are only possible because technology makes it so. You are not going to replicate the look of 85mm f/1.2 shot on a full-frame camera by using a kit lens on a crop-sensor. Even buying the same lens won’t matter, if you are working with a camera that doesn’t support an ISO lower than 1600. You won’t be able to get the same crisp images in ambient or low light because you can’t get a high enough shutter speed even when shooting wide open. The key, perhaps, is having enough skill and photography knowledge to truly understand when your vision is being limited by the tools you’re holding in your hand.

  15. Heidi Doroghazi on March 12, 2012 at 2:13 pm

    I agree! I started with a D60 and was so annoyed being limited, especially when it came to ISO and how quickly it would focus. I love love love my D700 and it has made such a difference in the quality of my photographs.

  16. Sarah C on March 12, 2012 at 2:24 pm

    Equipment definitely makes a difference (or at least makes it that much easier). There’s a huge difference in a kit lens v. a prime f/1.2 lens! Having the right lens is important, but having the right camera body is also important. Full frame is awesome, and the ISO is amazing! There’s no going back! Knowing your camera and having artistic ability is important, but the right equipment can enhance it that much more!

  17. Tim on March 12, 2012 at 3:18 pm

    I’m passing on this post by David Ziserhttp://digitalprotalk.blogspot.com/2012/03/is-decisive-moment-dead-or-at-least.htmlI think it an interesting addendum to this discussion.

  18. RHH on March 12, 2012 at 3:39 pm

    Other considerations are maintaining the value and serviceability of my current hardware. Warranty and the amount of use on my current camera are giving me good reason to trade up. My upgrade will have 1080 video and better low light . Can’t wait

  19. Ryan Jaime on March 12, 2012 at 6:39 pm

    Agreed. The debate will continue forever on this, both sides have points and neither side is 100% correct.

  20. JodyM on March 12, 2012 at 6:55 pm

    I agree that the equipment can make a big difference in your potential (I can’t wait for my 5DMIII!) but I don’t think many non-photographers realize that that is only one part of the picture. The best

  21. Alice C. on March 12, 2012 at 9:57 pm

    I agree! I hate when people say, oh you have a really nice camera, but I also know that I could not take the same photos with a point and shoot.

  22. Tim Bradley on March 13, 2012 at 2:05 am

    There is always something better, the manufacturers would go bust if there wasn’t. But I agree with the overall sentiment. Can we please have a Pentax image in the banner? There is life beyond Canonikon!d

  23. oread on March 13, 2012 at 5:41 am

    haha

  24. Jesse on March 13, 2012 at 8:37 am

    I too agree with this. I went from a D60 to a D7000. Where I see a huge difference in most featues I still need to buy some good glass. But dam its expensive! Ha….

  25. Traci on March 13, 2012 at 12:03 pm

    @Katherine I’m glad I’m not the only one in the dark (literally) ages with the D80. I’ve been wanting to get the D700 for over a year now, but with money and it always being on backorder have kept me from it. I feel very limited being in low light especially as a newborn photographer going into people’s homes. I never know what I’m walking into. There is a time when your talent isn’t enough, your equipment is very important to get that shot you see in your head.

  26. guest on March 13, 2012 at 3:35 pm

    😀

  27. Jean Smith on March 13, 2012 at 10:22 pm

    Love Kristin W 🙂

  28. Professional Camera Equipment on March 14, 2012 at 9:45 am

    Great article! Professional camera equipment is important! It’s all about the color management, camera tripods and Sigma lenses.

  29. Olga Rook (Rotterdam portrait photographer) on March 15, 2012 at 10:57 am

    You are right: equipment certainly matters, especially if you offer professional services. Naturally, one needs to undestand the manual mode well when stepping over from a consumer to a full frame camera (and before you start calling yourself a pro). If you want semi-candid images of children playing indoors – you will be happy and feel free with a full frame and strong lens at high ISO speed. If you do fashion shoots you will normally want ISO 100 just because of some printing quality issues. And then you must have the lighting equipment as well. There is a lot of useful equipment and it can be very tempting to upgrade all the time. I guess you should ask yourself a question: what equipment will be necessary for the type of photography that I do?

  30. Megan on March 21, 2012 at 10:49 am

    “If you feel like you are capable of more but your camera’s ISO capabilities are too low, or your autofocus is too slow investing in a full frame camera might be a good decision.”This is me. I’ve outgrown my Rebel and need to step up. I’m saving up!

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