4 Reasons You Still Don’t Have a Family Beach Portrait

Ramsey Portrait Art Beach Portrait

The beach is your family’s home away from home. It’s your annual pilgrimage for suntans, sand, and your favorite seafood. Especially during the winter doldrums your kids say, “Man! I wish we were at the beach right now!” Exactly what YOU were thinking! Your kids really are smarter than the neighbors’ kids!

Every year you see the same scene as the sun silently sets into the surf–families trudging out for the family photo. You’ve done it, too. And while you love the memories you capture, you think to yourself, “I’d love to have a professional beach portrait in my home.”

Wouldn’t it be nice to hang a piece that takes you back to your favorite place with your favorite people?

If this describes you, and you’ve never scheduled your session with a professional photographer, I know why. After 18 years creating beach portraits, I’ve heard several reasons why moms don’t schedule the session they want. Here are the top 4 most-cited reasons, and the responses I share.


You’ve spent months dreaming about your family’s awesome beach Christmas card. You envision the Facebook envy of your friends when they see your delighted family’s faces. You plan. You stalk Pinterest. You buy coordinating clothing. As the sun sets, you drag your family onto the sand. And then . . . (cue the ominous music) . . ..

Husband is not helpful. Kids run like escaped convicts covered in fire ants. The next 30 minutes (0r was it 39 hours?) shift between hostage negotiation, to bribery, then threats-on-your-life. It’s an angrier version of the Griswold family beach vacation.

I know!

I’ve been the unhelpful husband, the frustrated photographer, and the arch-nemesis of my own kids. How did I finally snag my favorite family beach portraits?

I hired a photographer friend to shoot them for me. [Photo below]

Your session will be smoother when you drop the extra hats and just be Mom-With-Her-Family. And don’t kids behave better with some other adult in charge? Mine, too.

mr. bill & his family, 2007



Your family dreams of the beach vacation all year . . . sandcastles, endless shrimp, fishing, sunbathing, nighttime crab hunting. It’s safe to guess that none of them ever says, “I can’t wait for the photo session!!!!” [Unless you have teen daughters.] Two thoughts here:

A) Schedule the session early in the week. NOT the first day you arrive, but the second or third. For the unwilling participant, this gets the session out of the way/clears the mental weight. [Sidenote: This also minimizes the chance of late-in-the-week sunburns.]

B) Experience breeds efficiency. In 16 years we’ve photographed well over 100 sessions. I schedule sessions for ideal light (sunrise or sunset). This is a narrow window that doesn’t allow me to piddle, dilly-dally, or hem-haw! You won’t feel that I’m in a hurry (I’m not), but know that I’m keenly aware that our time is quickly dwindling. I move with purpose. When we’ve composed a shot, I’ll click 5-8 frames and then move on to the next. The session rolls quickly.


I know a guy who owns a $1,500 fountain pen, yet he complains when restaurants charge for extra Ranch dressing (which is honestly a crime). I’ll spend $300 for a pair of work boots, then wear them with $18 work jeans. Something that is “too” expensive or “too” cheap is being compared to something else (your 7th-grade purse vs. a Louis Vuitton).

Price is always a question of CONTEXT.

I’m not one to argue what is “too” expensive for someone else–that’s a priority/value decision that only they can make.

Some of my favorite photos of my kids are snapshots from my phone, but none of those decorate my home. The heirloom portraits that adorn my walls will be passed down to our kids. These are different than snapshots I grab on the fly. One isn’t necessarily better or worse than the other, they’re just different. If you’re considering an heirloom portrait for your home, and it seems “too” expensive, consider these two points of context:

A) Time. Is this a piece that will hang in your home forever, then pass to your kid(s)? If so, this will emotionally appreciate in value over the years. What’s expensive today is invaluable tomorrow.

[Not convinced? CLICK HERE to listen to a photographer who has photographed 6 US Presidents–none of which is the highlight of his career! Grab a tissue and tune in to the 1:26 mark where I ask him about his career highlight.]


B) Your furniture. Yes, your furniture. How much did you spend on the furniture in your living room? How many times will you replace that in the next 30 years? Two times? Three? Four? The portrait you want will outlast all of these pieces.

And finally . . . .


You’re not creating a family portrait for YOU, you’re creating it for your children, and their children.

When we’ve passed from this world, our kids won’t look back at our photos and think, “Geez! My parents were chubby!” No, those photos will be the most prized possessions they own.

I beg you: Don’t omit years of your kids’ history because you’re not happy with yourself right now.

I’ve said it myself, so I really do understand this reason. Just remember: this portrait is ultimately not for you, it’s for your kids.


If you’re considering your own heirloom beach portrait, we’d love to create one for you and your next few generations. As of this writing, we’ll be on the

Beaches of Destin & 30A June, July, & August 2021

Let’s talk about your trip to the beach. Send an email to ramseyportraitart@gmail.com.

If you’d like to see more of our beach work, SEE IT HERE.

Finally–more details about our beach sessions HERE.

. . . and if there are other reasons you haven’t gotten your beach portrait, leave them in the comments below! I’d love to learn more.

Hope to see you and yours on the sand–

mr. bill

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