Beach and Sunset Photography FAQ

Please see our General FAQ Page for general Portrait Session information.

What should we wear?

Clothing Matters!  Blues, Greens and Earth tones looks great on everyone against the gorgeous white sand of our West Coast Florida beaches!  Be original and choose your own favorite color!  Show your  personality!  You can also go with White Color's, but try not to have everyone in it.  Also, We do not prefer Red's, Orange's, Yellow or Black colors as they interfere with skin tones against the sunset.

It is very important to:  Coordinate your families clothing, Stay with SOLIDS, Feel comfortable in what you are wearing!

It is best to:  Wear tops with sleeves, khaki shorts or pants.  Please no bathing suits. 

Ladies look great in:   Flowing beach skirts and tops, or dresses, solid tops and Capri's.  NO LOTION! (The powdery Florida sand will stick to you!).  DO wear jewelry that you love!

Gentlemen:  A solid dress shirt or polo (Please no T- shirts with logos and or screen printing) and nice jeans or ironed khakis pants or shorts. 

Hair:  Don’t worry when the gulf wind blows, everyone’s hair looks fabulous in the natural setting!

Note: It is your responsibility is to keep hair OUT of you and your children’s faces!

Retouching:  Slight retouching of your portraits is included in your session price.  Your final portraits will represent THE BEST of you and your family.  Small details such as blemishes are not even an issue.  If you require additional editing after we have presented the finished product to you, or require more than slight editing then you will need to contact us as there are additional fees for these services as they surpass what is included in the session fee. 

About shoes: We normally shoot beach portraits barefoot, however, during certain times of the year, there are always terrible sand spurs (little spiky seed pods) all over the beach near the dune grass! Ouch! It might be a good idea to coordinate a shoe color (i.e. brown or black sandals on everyone) just in case we decide it is better to keep everyone's shoes on their feet!

General Information:

We generally set aside around an hour for a beach/sunset portrait session.  We will arrange the time with you based on the sunset time on the day of your session as it changes daily.  

We are asked if we can shoot their photos at a different time. Our answer to this question is usually no because of several factors. First, we both work during the day so it is difficult for us to schedule daytime shoots on weekdays although we can do them on the weekends.  But more importantly, the light in the middle of the day is simply terrible for photographing people. There will be hard shadows on everybody's faces, people will squint, and most of all everyone will be hot.  The photos just won't look right.  Please trust us, an hour before sunset up to sunset is the perfect time for your photos!  

If you have small children with early bedtimes, we recommend a long nap, a nice meal or snack before your session, or even a bribe if needed (candy or popsicle?) for kids old enough to appreciate bribes!  Thanks for your help and understanding!

Where will you take our beach portraits?

We have a few beautiful spots that we like to use for our beach portrait sessions, but we know it is easier for many people (especially large groups) if we come to you. If you are vacationing somewhere nearby on the water and you would like us to meet you there for your beach portraits, we are happy to accommodate you. However, keep in mind that we cannot control what is in the background (i.e. other buildings, lack of sea oats/grass, etc.) if you choose to have us come to your location.

If you are not staying on the water or if you prefer a different location, we can recommend a great spot nearby. We have many great locations on Boca Grande and Manasota Key that we use all the time!

We would like portraits while we are on vacation, but not necessarily at the beach, are there other locations?

Yes, we will be happy to plan your portrait session anywhere you would like--a park, historic area, even your boat!  Please contact us and we will be more than happy to help you find the perfect location!

Weather and Rain:

Unfortunately, we can't control the weather!  We are asked this question very often when we are scheduling a beach portrait or consulting with couples who are planning their wedding outdoors or on the beach.  Mid May to late September is the "Rainy" season here in Southwest Florida not to mention June 1st to November 30th is also hurricane season!  

For beach weddings:  Please try to have a plan “B” and maybe even a plan “C”!  Talk to your wedding planner and your venue coordinator.

For beach and sunset portraits:  There are several options.  If you live in the area we can book another day.  For visitors, here are some thoughts:  Book your session as early in your vacation as possible so we will have time to reschedule to another day if needed.  

Remember that if we are having “some rainy weather,” it will often clear up by late evening in time for our session.  Often the most beautiful sunsets are after some rain!  If it is overcast and not “pretty,” that can be a blessing.  Soft light is great for portraiture and we bring professional lighting equipment to give the images a little extra punch.  

Wind is something to also consider.  The Gulf breezes can give a beautiful, dramatic feel to your portraits.  The main thing is to keep hair out of your and your children’s faces!  

We do have pretty amazing weather here!  Any time of year is great for your Family Beach Portrait!  

Note: We do not consider the following conditions to be "bad weather":  too cloudy, too hot, too cold (yes it even gets cold in Florida!), or bad weather earlier in the day.

We are sorry, but we don't "save" rain dates.  We will make every possible attempt to reschedule your session.  We will happily move your session to another date if you like as long as the date is still open for up to one year from the original session date.

Important:  If the weather changes mid-way through your session and we need to cut it short, we will make a decision to reschedule or leave things as-is based on whether we feel we've taken enough photos to give you a good selection or not. We absolutely will not stay on the beach if there is lightning approaching - we don't want to put you or ourselves at risk!

What if we need to reschedule? 

We understand things come up and sometimes a date no longer works especially if you book far in advance, so we’re happy to change the date or time for you as long as your new date/time is available.  We do request that you contact us as soon as you know that you need a change of date as we book weeks and sometimes even months in advance, especially around the holidays, so we need to also make sure we have your new date available.

Do I need to sign a contract?   

Yes, We do request that all clients sign a contract with Abigayle Ray Photography. This is not only to protect us, but also you the client. If you are under the age of 18 then a parent or legal guardian will be required to sign the contract as by law a minor can not enter into a contract.