Sunrise Family Session on Fripp Island Beach | Beaufort SC Photographer


Client Testimonial for Hilton Head Beach Photographer, Elle Michele Photography

This was my very first time shooting a sunrise session on Fripp Island and I’m so glad it worked out!



Booking a Sunrise Session

Katie was referred to me by another photographer who was already booked. Her initial inquiry was July 29, and by then the only thing I had available that week was a sunrise session, but she gladly took it! They weren’t able to get newborn pictures of their newest son because he was born during the lockdown, so it was really important to them that they had some new family pictures! She was officially booked on July 30, and we shot the morning of August 5! It was truly a whirlwind but I’m so glad I was able to get them in! 


Preparing for the Family Session

One thing I ask my families during the booking process is if they’ve experienced a professional photoshoot before, which Katie said they had and loved their wedding pictures, but not so much their newborn pictures, so I’m really glad I was able to give them a good experience! I think professional pictures are so important to document milestones and moments in life, especially since kids grow up so fast. They say the hours are long but the years are short and I feel that! Watching the kids I’ve known since babies grow up is such a hard thing.


Another question I ask all my families is ‘How has becoming parents shaped you into who you are today?’ I love seeing how differently parents interpret this question and how honest and humbly or funny and sarcastically they answer! Katie told me that she and David love it. They especially love experiencing their favorite things through their kids. I love that! I can totally see how that adds a whole different experience to something that’s already so special to you.


Shooting A Sunrise Session on Fripp Island

I met the Hottel family at their Fripp Island rental house and rode over to the beach on their golf cart. Even though it was a gloomy day when we shot, it also happened to be low tide so we had plenty of beach to run around on and tidal pools to play in. Lewis & Bodie were the sweetest boys. Katie told me she wanted to be able to capture Lewis and all his two-year-old energy and his big cheese smile with the nose crinkle. We had so much fun just running around and playing while we were on the beach. 


During sessions, I always make sure to get a good variety of groupings. I take some pictures of the entire family, I do some of the mom with the kids, then dad with the kids, then just the kids, then the kids solo, then just mom and dad. I usually get the ‘oh no it’s okay you don’t need to take any of us’ when I go for the parents’ shot, but I don’t let them chicken out. I joke and rhetorically ask when the last time they had a picture taken just the two of them and they usually can’t tell me. So at that point, I insist. 


If it’s just mom, dad, and baby at a session I’ll usually throw the baby on my hip and attempt to shoot mom and dad single-handedly (this is always hilarious to see, I really wish someone would get a picture of me one of these days), but if they’re old enough, or if there’s an older sibling we’ll just let the baby sit in the sand, which inevitably ends up in their mouth, but I grew up eating sand and I turned out just fine, so I tell parent’s it’ll be okay!


After the session, we hopped back in the golf cart to go home. The boys loved going on adventures in the golf cart, so we took the scenic route back and stopped to see some pretty houses, trees, and birds. I’m always amazed at the number of deer on Fripp Island and how domesticated they seem! I do get slightly annoyed when I’m trying to leave the island and they’re just taking a nap in the middle of the road. Do they not care I’m trying to get home?!

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Planning A Beach Vacation?

If you’re planning a beach vacation yourself, I highly recommend hiring a photographer to document it! Even if it’s just your crew and not the entire extended family, memories are fleeting. If you’re interested in booking a session with me, check out my services page so I can answer some of your questions!


If you’re a photographer looking to up their beach photography game, be sure to get on the email list for my signature course I’ll be releasing in late spring! Sign up here so you can get first dibs!


Want to see more? Check out my favorite portrait posts on the blog

When To Schedule A Beach Photo Session

What To Wear For Family Photos

Choosing A Location For Your Session

February 20, 2022





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