Coquina Beach : Part 1 l Outer Banks Family Beach Photographer

Many of my sessions take place at Coquina Beach in South Nags Head. Why? It’s just pretty darn awesome! The OBX is a great place to be, but if we’re being honest, not every area is that great for photography. Many of my clients are looking for a gorgeous family beach portrait – one that incorporates both “beach” and water. If you’re on the fence about if it’s worth it to make the drive to Coquina, this is the place for you!

Meet the adorable Morgan and her awesome parents! They’ll be our models for today’s blog post.


So the first great thing about this beach are the beautiful dunes! Coquina is maintained by the Park Service, and is totally unobstructed by beach houses or other structures. This means it’s just a wide stretch of beautiful dunes! This offers a great backdrop for family photos, and has many added benefits. One thing we struggle with here on the OBX is wind…it can really make or break your family session. Everyone wants a beautiful water shot, but if the wind is blowing off the water, you’ll have hair wrapped around your face!

Enter “Plan B”. By turning around you’re able to use the dune line as your backdrop – free of beach tents, large cottages, or flag poles. It also helps to minimize distractions. The water is very enticing for a lot of littles ones. Often, as soon as they get near the water they are totally uninterested in anything but looking down to stare at it. This is one of the reasons we start our sessions in the dunes, and end up at the water for casual and candid photos. With kids you get a limited amount of attention span, and the less distractions you have, the better!


These guys took my suggestion and decided to have their session at Coquina Beach, as I told them about the variety of scenery we would have to work with over where they were staying. Like many parents, Morgan’s figured out AFTER they got here and had already scheduled their session that Morgan wasn’t exactly a fan of the sand or ocean! This can certainly complicate things when it comes to a family portrait on the beach, but luckily we were already set to shoot at Coquina.

Morgan was happy as a clam to sit on mom & dad’s lap or be held for photos…..for a while. Hey, she’s 2, and really if they last more than 15-20 minutes at that age you’ve struck photographic gold! Bring on “Plan C”. Coquina offers a great weathered wooden walkway that stretches from the bath house to the beach. It became pretty clear that Morgan was haveing NO parts of getting her cute little toes in the sand so we headed up to the steps and walkway. This gave Morgan a spot where she could sit/stand/walk, which kept her happy, and in return the rest of us happy!


Now don’t worry, we know water shots are important (and not the bath house shower kind!) so we do venture down to the water’s edge for casual and candid shots!


Check out our next blog post that showcases Coquina and all that it has to offer! Be sure to become a “fan” on our FACEBOOK PAGE, and to book a session or wedding visit our WEBSITE.


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