Outer Banks Family Beach Portraits {Now Booking} ⎮ Info & FAQ

outer banks family portraits

It’s hard to believe it’s that time of year again….beach portrait time. I’ve been photographing Outer Banks Family Beach Portraits for over 10 years now, the time just keeps flying by! I love getting to work with so many amazing return clients, seeing their kids grow from year to year, and enjoy working with new clients and referrals. In honor of the start to the 2017 OBX Beach Portrait Session I thought I’d share some of our favorite photos from past sessions, as well as a few bullet points of frequently asked questions and what to expect!

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When should be book our Outer Banks Family Beach Portrait session?

  • Portrait Sessions tend to book up about 3 weeks in advance, and I only take a limited number of sessions each week. It’s best to email us with the dates you’ll be on the OBX as soon as you’d like to schedule a session.

Where will we take our photos?

  • Sessions take place at our favorite beach in South Nags Head. While all of the OBX is beautiful, not every spot is great for photos. Luckily we the inside scoop and 30+ years of local knowledge, and know just the right spot! If your family is not staying within a reasonable driving distance, we are happy to come to you (travel fees apply).

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How much will our session cost?

  • We offer a couple of different session types, and all pricing is based on the number of participants. Basic Sessions (session only) start at $175, and Digital Session (session + digital files) start at $450. We offer a wide range of print sizes and finishes, there’s something to fit every family! Please email us via the Contact Form for complete pricing.

What should we expect at our session?

  • You should expect to have FUN! In all seriousness, your portrait session shouldn’t be a chore you have to complete on vacation. Sessions are tailored to each specific family, and are structured based on the session participants. A single family session will obviously focus more on a large variety of different groupings, while a large multi-family session will cover a few shots of the entire group as well as some of each individual family. With every session we try to incorporate both posed and candid photos – although we like to feel we put a more fresh spin on the traditional “family beach portrait”.

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What kind of sessions do you offer?

  • Everything! We offer family portraits for groups of all sizes as well as children, high school seniors, maternity, engagement, or even just couples who want updated photos!

When will we take our photos? How long will it last?

  • Sessions take place an hour before sunset, so most of the time we start our sessions around 7pm (depending on the time of year). Sessions typically last around an hour, regardless of group size, as we’re at the mercy of the sunset! This is why it is imperative that you be on time for your session. There are no discounts or refunds, nor can we extend the session time, for a late arrival.

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What should we bring to our session?

  • On the beach you should only bring yourselves! Please leave your cameras, phones, purse, etc in the car. Remember we will be walking all over the beach, so whatever you bring you’ll have to carry around and leave in the sand while you’re picture is being taken. Some families will opt to bring a small bag with a hairbrush,  to leave their car keys in, and even a small towel for little kids. We ask that you save your own photo-taking for after our session has ended. We’re working with a limited amount of time, and most often end up having to wait on people to finish their selfie and put away the phone. Plus, each camera that’s out is one less face that’s looking at me!
  • I always suggest bringing a change of clothes for each person (especially kids!) as well as a few beach towels. Leave them in the car, but having them just in case is always a good idea. You never know when someone will get wet, and while we save the water photos for the very end, it might not be that comfortable riding home in wet and sandy clothing!

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What should we wear?

  • This is without a doubt, the million dollar question! You’ll notice by looking through our galleries that our families really do a wide mixture of clothing! Some families opt for the traditional white, while others incorporate colors.
    • Individual Families have a bit more flexibility. I usually suggest one person pick their outfit, and coordinate everyone around that. For example, if mom has a favorite dress plan everyone around that. If dad has ONE shirt he’ll wear for photos, plan around him. Don’t be afraid to mix it up a bit, but I would avoid too many contrasting patterns.
    • Large Family Groups might want to stick to a color pallet and let everyone choose from there. Having each person dress in whatever they want can be very distracting and makes it hard to focus on the overall group.
  • Don’t be afraid to put a modern spin on a traditional choice. Choosing white doesn’t mean everyone has to be in khaki pants and a white button down! Instead mix dresses, skirts, a pair of white shorts and khaki linen shirt for the guys! If you want to incorporate colors, try to keep it cohesive, and not let any one person overpower the group. Having someone in a navy dress while everyone else is wearing light shades of blue would most definitely stand out.
  • No matter what you wear, it should COMFORTABLE. Everyone should do the sit, stand, kneel test. At various times throughout the session you might be asked sit on on the sand, or kneel, or walk around. Choosing clothing that only looks good when standing up with definitely hinder your session experience, and limit you to very few poses. Please don’t wear anything you would not want to get sandy or wet. Remember, these photos are on the beach – and even though we’d love to, we’ve yet to find a way to produce beach photos without the sand. 😉

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Ok! We’re ready to book a session, how do we do that?

  • Simple! Visit the Contact Form on our website to send us an inquiry! Make sure to be detailed and complete all open fields. We’ll get back to you ASAP with our availability and exact pricing based on your family size and desired session type. From there we’ll confirm a date, and email you the link to complete your session contract and pay your invoice. Once they’ve been submitted you’re on the books and all set!

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Courtney Hathaway is a Destination Wedding & Portrait Photographer based on the Outer Banks of NC and available for travel Worldwide.

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  1. so much great information!! I know that OBX is a popular beach destination and lots of families will be looking to book a photographer while vacationing!

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