Tips: Summer Family Portraits

San Diego Family Photographer

After relocating from 5 plus years in the Desert, I’m always prepared for Summer, but are you? Here are ten tips to help make sure your Summer Portrait Session goes off without a hitch.

1. Dress appropriately. Summer means hot and humid weather, which can lead to sticky hair, sticky clothes, and sticky bodies. Choose breathable, lightweight fabrics that don't weigh you down. Breezy dresses work well for any location. As for shoes, sandals are a great option.

2. Think about head to toe details. If you are planning to be on the beach, you will be barefoot most of the time. When showing your toes, you’ll want to have manicured feet. They don’t have to be perfect, but a little attention to your toes, goes a long way. If it's a windy day, a hat or scarf can really keep things under control.

3. Extra consideration for your hair. If you or a family member's hair reacts to humidity in a negative way, go for a hairstyle that doesn’t leave you feeling insecure throughout the shoot. A simple braid can help keep your curls intact until we begin shooting. You can wear a headscarf as well to help keep frizz away as well. As the Session progresses, hair will eventually become the last of your worries, and we will get great shots even if it’s super windy or your hair goes fro.

4. Pack necessities. When packing for your Session, I recommend bringing the following: Plenty of water (more water than you think you need), a healthy snack such as almonds, a scarf to cover your shoulders and face, an umbrella or hat if needed for shade, face powder and lipstick for touch up. Please avoid sunscreen and any SPF products as they reflect light and will affect your photos. You won’t want to burn during your Session either, so your scarf or umbrella will help with this and we will take as many breaks as we can in the shade.

5. Be creative. Summer has so many seasonal activities that lend themselves to create fun and interesting photo sessions. For example, there's the San Diego County Fair, Summer markets, San Diego Zoo, festivals, outdoor events, farmers markets, San Diego Night Market, and plenty more. I’m more than excited to create your photos in front of the ferris wheel, riding a carousel, or browsing the farmers market.

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6. I don’t want you to overheat. If this year is anything like last year, we are in for a heat wave. Sometimes it's hard to move a muscle when the sun is scorching outside, but no matter what mother nature throws our way, we're going to have an amazing shoot. We'll spend all the time we can in the shade, dash into some A/C when possible, and I will never push it. A hand spray bottle that has a fan can work miracles on a hot day. Throw some ice in it and it is truly amazing.

I once had a two hour Session near Palm Springs in 124 degree weather and that didn’t include humidity which was extremely high. We took breaks every two minutes and ice water was our best friend. I’ve been through extreme weather and will help you prepare for any condition.

7. Incorporate props. The outdoors during the Summer is not only the time to soak up that Vitamin D, it also works for enjoying a few Summertime props into your shoot. Visually striking treats and goodies such as lollipops, ice cream cones, cotton candy, hot dogs, funnel cakes, ice pops, sparklers, and, well you get the picture. These delicious treats can be used towards the end of the shoot, so that are more free to mess up your makeup and wardrobe a little bit.

8. Consider the Crowds. Summertime, especially in San Diego, lends to large Summer crowds at the beach and around town. More remote beaches work wonderfully to avoid a huge crowd. Also some neighborhoods and parks have markets and festivals, that draw in huge crowds. Don’t worry too much though because your photographer will be able to help you navigate and find your best options to consider.

9. Book Early. Personally, I get many families who book their Summer Sessions 3-6 or even 12 months in advance. Weekends go first and so do Sunset Sessions. If you plan early enough, you can get your ideal location and time and even have time to plan out more fun and adventurous sessions. More and more National Parks are requiring permit lotteries and longer wait times. So, with proper planning, you won’t be let down when a permit can no longer be attained.

And last but not least…


10. Try to avoid Weekends. Weekends are the busiest. It usually isn’t as fun doing a Session on the weekend because parking can be a pain in the you know what and the crowds are at their peak. Even inland, people are out and about everywhere. Last year, the lines never seemed to let up! Now, while Summer is great for Mojitos on the rooftop patio, it isn’t ideal for carrying a heavy child on your hip and keeping your eyeliner in place while fighting the crowds. Weekdays are ideal for your Session and more areas will be accessible as opposed to special events on the weekends. What if it can’t be avoided? That’s okay, we’ll make it work!

Now that you know what to consider, let’s look at coordinating suggestions here.