7 Tips To Make Your Beach Wedding Photos Look Better
So I've been shooting a lot of beach weddings lately... but being a photographer in sunny South Florida, that shouldn't come as much of a surprise really. There's a few things I've learned along the way, and I believe these seven tips can make your beach wedding look just that much more Instagram-worthy.
1. Find a not-so-busy beach.
This was actually one of the first weddings I ever shot! With my first camera (a Canon t3i) back in 2012.
Your photographer is going to have a hard time getting the best angles when trying to avoid random onlookers and beach-goers. That's not to say it's impossible... But rather than focusing on your best side, the photographer will have to constantly worry about framing-out people in the background. So do some location scouting and see if the beach you want isn't too crowded.
2. Do some sea turtle research!
There were so many nests on this beach that it was impossible to avoid completely.
My wife worked at Loggerhead Marinelife Center for a while, so I feel uniquely qualified to talk about this often overlooked aspect of planning your beach wedding. Sea turtle nesting season in South Florida spans from March 1st to October 31st. That's quite a long time, but it's important to know that some months are dominated by certain species of sea turtles and some beaches get way more nests than others!
In the Palm Beaches, either Loggerhead in Juno Beach or Gumbo Limbo in Boca Raton will have a good knowledge of which beaches and months that you should maybe avoid, so it would definitely be worth giving them a quick call in advance.
3. Get ready to get wet and sandy.
This one shouldn't come as too much of a surprise, but the important part is to embrace it! I'm not saying you need to #trashthedress or anything, but have fun and be willing to get a little closer to the water than you might want to. You probably won't look back at the photos years from now and think "Wow, I sure am glad we didn't actually go in the water at our beach wedding." Unless you're Anakin Skywalker.
4. Get those "Thank You" card shots while you have a photographer handy.
Make sure you have good handwriting, and a long stick to minimize footprints.
This was a great idea that a few of my clients had recently. Make your "Thank You" card writing easier and let the photo do the work! Let your photographer know about wanting to get this kind of shot ahead of time so they can plan it out and take it at the best time during your wedding day.
5. Get creative and beat the sun at its own game.
The TOUGHEST thing about shooting a beach wedding is lighting. Because ceremonies tend to be in the afternoon or mid-morning, the harsh, direct sunlight can make for some not-so-pleasing images and a whole lot of squinting. Moving the ceremony to a place and/or time where the sun will be blocked by one of the many South Florida high-rises is your best bet. But there are a few things you can do to guarantee better lighting in your photos if the former is not possible.
An excellent example from a recent wedding I shot to use a big umbrella as your arch! Diffusing the harsh afternoon sun like this produces much more natural looking skin tones and it can even just add the the aesthetic of your big beachy day. The results will speak for themselves.
6. Give the gift of hydration.
If you do go the plastic bottle route, don't forget to offer recycling :)
Though my aforementioned relationship to sea turtles prevents me from specifically recommending single-use plastics, I do highly suggest providing some water for your guests. Even if you're getting married in the "winter" time, it's South Florida; and Florida be hot as heck. Everybody will look and feel much happier with something cool to sip on during the ceremony - and happy people make for better pictures!
7. You knew it was coming... have fun!
What blog post wouldn't be complete without the sincere, but super obvious and not very helpful last point? You're getting married on the beach. No matter how many photos that your photographer takes, there's going to be some shots with imperfections. Hair is going to fly, sweat will drip, and there's definitely going to be some goofiness.
Live into it and trust your photographer capture the day just as it is. You're getting married, come hurricane or come shine.