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Family Beach Portraits on Anna Maria Island: Find a Photographer Who Listens

One of the most crucial abilities a photographer needs is the ability to listen closely. There is often more to a story than simply “needing a photographer”. When considering a photographer, take note of what kind of questions they ask, and try to think from their perspective. A great family photographer will have beautiful portraits AND help alleviate any worries and stress you might have. Your family portrait session is all about you, your family, and capturing your most important connections.


Extended Family Beach Portrait at Sunset on Anna Maria Island from Southwest Florida Photographer Benjamin Horvat Photography

I recently had a family beach portrait session with a family visiting Anna Maria Island. A small family of six including Grandma, Grandpa, their son, and a young family of three who have a 17 month old daughter. This would be their granddaughters first beach trip and first portrait session! They were staying in a great spot on the sound side (bay side) of Anna Maria Island. During our portrait consultation they mentioned they normally would be in Colorado this time of year skiing. They also mentioned they were a little concerned as the weather didn’t look great for the week they would be staying. This prompted me to ask “Well, what made you choose Anna Maria Island?” and grandad let me know that he had just had knee surgery and they were taking it easy.


How I Solved families problems as a Photographer Who Listens:


Children and sand


From photographing thousands of individual families, and many with young children,  there is one thing I have learned: every child reacts to the sand differently! Some kids absolutely love getting sandy toes while others don’t want anything to do with it. So how can I solve this problem and make the shoot better? Easy! I brought a soft white blanket that matches the sand color. Blankets are perfect for young families to pose and play on. A baby who is comfortable looks much better than a baby who isn’t! Plus, if the baby likes the sand we can always remove the blanket! The young girl absolutely LOVED playing on the blanket, and we even caught some cute moments when she walked off the blanket (something to show her as a senior in highschool)! Add a little bit of silly voices, playing with the toys I keep in my bag, and a genuine care for making sure everyone has a good time, the granddaughter had the time of her life and looks so happy in all of their pictures.



For Family Beach Portraits - Less Distance = More Mileage


Due to grandad recovering from knee surgery, they had to make some changes in their plans. When people change their routine for a medical issue, it lets me know that it is serious even if the person or family might play it down. So we solved this problem two ways. First, instead of traveling across the island to the Gulf side we decided to shoot the portraits on the beach on the sound side right behind their vacation home. This cuts down on walking, tricky sand, and keeps us close to the house for anything we might need (plus it is just super convenient and easy). Second, I brought a posing stool so that grandad could sit and we could pose the family around him. This let us get a variety of family shots that we couldn’t get otherwise!


Family Beach Portrait on AMI Florida at sunset by Benjamin Horvat Photography a Southwest Florida Photographer

Best Weather for Family Beach Portraits on Anna Maria Island


Unfortunately, no one can control the weather. We can however do a few things to turn the odds of having good weather in our favor. At Benjamin Horvat Photography we want to offer an experience unlike any other. So, for each session we reserve two days for photography. In this case the Monday I had originally scheduled for this family was too cold and windy, so we moved them to Wednesday (the second day reserved for them). Second, regardless of the weather, I always bring professional lighting to the shoots. This way, even if it's cloudy, or the sun is too bright, I can create lighting to make sure that every family gets balanced, beautiful, and vibrant portraits. Third, we simply shot the session directly on the beach behind their home. From experience I knew the wind would be blocked and the sky would be gorgeous with the afterglow from the sunset. An experienced photographer will take the situation they are given, and make it into something special.




Benjamin Horvat Photography knows that “I need a family picture” means so much more. It means I need to coordinate outfits, locations, a date and time, and I need to make sure that everyone in my family’s needs are met. It means, “I want to capture memories, laughter, love, and I want everyone to have a good time!” Needing a family portrait means that you care deeply about the time you spend with your family. So when picking your photographer, find someone who listens, who helps, and ultimately makes your life easier.



To learn more about a Family Beach Portrait session with Benjamin Horvat Photography fill out the form below! I can’t wait to talk with you!


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