Family Beach Portraits for the Holidays

This past month my parents came out to visit us for about 10 days. They live on the East Coast so it’s always VERY special to have them spend time with us, my sister’s family, and most importantly all the little grandkids. I mentioned to my Dad that I would love to organize some family photos when they were in town since it’s not often we are all together and he instantly said he was excited. My dear friend Felicia who shoots all of our special family moments came to meet us in Laguna Beach at sunset. It’s great because my sister, husband, and their 2 kids know Felicia as well so there is a nice comfort level there.

I joked with my Sister before the shoot that I had to plan all the kids outfits because her kids are older and independent and love to dress themselves. I figured if it was left up to them, they might show up in a Spiderman hoodie which is normally adorable but I wanted to try to curate the photos a bit so thankfully she indulged me and let me dress them. Well, I should say thankfully Jacob and Xander (my nephews) let me dress them! (these are the sweaters they wore) Everyone pretty much wore blues or neutrals. This way we would blend together without being super matchy matchy and blend in well with the beach scenery.

This golden hour was spend playing in the sand and following the kids around. I just love seeing Otis with his cousins. They all love to play together and I could just cry (happy tears) watching them hold hands on the sand together. Was particularly special getting these photos of all the grandkids and my parents. The last photo of Otis and my parents and his big smile!!! But seriously, who is having more fun? My Dad or Otis? I can’t even decide what photo of frame because I love them all. Also, how much do you love the photo of Lola jumping up to kiss Otis. HEART MELT.



I know you matched your outfit perfectly with your shoes, but trust me, leave your shoes in your car. Don’t risk getting them wet in the water. My whole families shoes got soaked. Except for Blake, Otis and I because we weren’t wearing any.


I know it might not be possible to take photos on a weekday depending on your families work schedules, but if you can, PLEASE schedule your photoshoot on a weekend. When we took our photos, we went on a Saturday not thinking how crowded it would be. There was literally at least 5 other (probably more) photoshoots going on at the same beach we were at. Basically everyone was taking their family portraits for their holiday cards this weekend. If a weekday isn’t an option, try for a Sunday night. Hopefully everyone will be prepping for the new week and not on the beach for a photoshoot.


Make sure you google Sunset times before you schedule your shoot and be mindful if you are in a cove and might lose the sun sooner. To be on the safe side, we showed up 1 hour before Sunset. Nothing is worse than losing the light when you get your whole family out the door to take photos.


Hey, maybe your vibe is a princess dress on the beach. Do you. Live it up. But remember that as the sun goes down, it usually ends up getting colder. This is why I opted for sweaters and long sleeves for everyone (my dad chose his own adventure and doesn’t easily get cold) to make sure no one would get chilly in the middle of photos.


I talked about this in my post sharing tips and tricks for Pumpkin patch photos. It’s great for the colors to seamless blend together when it comes to your outfits in family photos. It’s also nice when things match but aren’t too perfect. I decided to go with a blue and neutral palette since it would blend really well with the Ocean and sky. What is also nice is that I knew all the boy would have blue or gray jeans in their closets all ready so it would be very easy to match those colors to the pants they already had. I sent Blake to Old Navy to find all 3 of the cousins tops that would blend together. The last thing you want is everyone wearing neutrals and one person showing up in a bright red sweater. Not the cutest to have 1 person really sticking out color wise. Trust me, blend those colors baby and keep it simple by picking one main color and balancing it with other neutrals.


Not everyone has the luxury of hiring a photographer for their family photos. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get the most beautiful memories and equally amazing photos. If you know you want to do someone, ask a close friend to join you for some sunset photos. Pay them in wine, beer, restaurant gift cards to make it worth their time? Do what you have to do to get someone there that is dedicated to snapping shots of you. The trouble with asking someone on the fly is you never know what you will get. Also not for nothing, my iphoneXS max takes the most epic photos so even having a close friend that is great with their iphone can capture such a sweet memory for your family.


As always, family photos are sometimes so seamless and easy and other times lots of tears can be shed… adults included. HA! Manage your expectations with kids, bring some snacks to keep them happy, and never underestimate throwing a song on your smart phone as a mood lifter!!

Kim’s outfit // sweater: aritzia / jeans: jbrand

Otis’ outfit // top: old navy / jeans: h&m kids / hat: h&m kids

Cousin’s outfits // sweaters from old navy


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