Tag Archives: Family Sunset Pictures
Well, it’s been quite a year. 2013 was my busiest year to date. Between my primary responsibility as a husband/father, duties as chief photographer at the Panama City News Herald and my photography business I have been way too busy to blog. I’m going to attempt do better this year. In the coming weeks I’ll be posting some of the interesting shoots I had since we last saw each other.
Let’s start the year off with the Wisniewski family. These guys are a hoot! Our family photo session took place at St. Andrews State Park in Panama City Beach. We laughed and laughed the entire time. They are a lot of fun and it is obvious in the photos that everyone was having a blast. I try to keep my photo sessions loose and fun, but these guys really stepped up the fun factor.
Repeat clients are awesome! I photographed Cory and her family last year and got some really nice images. They must have thought so as well, because I was lucky enough to photograph them again this year.
For this year’s session we chose to go to Camp Helen State Park, which is located on the far West End of Panama City Beach. It’s actually as far west as you can go and still be in Panama City Beach. It’s hard to explain, but the vibe there is different than on other parts of the beach. If you’ve been there you know what I mean. The walk down to the beach is pretty brutal when carrying tons of camera gear, but well worth it. Thankfully summer hadn’t quite hit yet and we weren’t all dripping with sweat by the time we made it to the beach.
The session went beautifully. We roamed around the old pier and, besides a handful of joggers, pretty much had the beach to ourselves. The overcast skies made for nice, soft tones and after all was said and done, we ended up with some nice, non-typical family beach photographs that I really like.
It is really fun to see the changes in families from year to year. The kids are bigger, but the smiles are the same. I hope to photograph these guys for many years to come!
I recently had the opportunity to photograph Phil and Angie’s engagement photographs at Camp Helen State Park on the West End of Panama City Beach. I’ve known Phil for a while now and I can honestly say he is one of the most genuine people you will ever meet. There is a thoughtful, gentle kindness about him that sets him apart from the crowd. You wouldn’t expect that from a drummer (everyone knows how crazy drummers are), but it’s true. Obviously, Angie must see these traits as well because she’s decided to spend the rest of her life with him. Speaking of Angie…..what a sweetheart! She was gracious and up for doing what it took to get the photograph just right. Thanks for that, Angie.
Now to the photographs….I think we got some doozies during their beach engagement session. Phil asked if they should bring any props to the session and he mentioned bringing beach cruisers. This turned out to be an awesome idea! (I think I may have to incorporate bikes more often in upcoming sessions. Sorry…thinking out loud there.) You should have seen them as they came strolling across the beach with their matching bicycles. It was a really cute sight. I love when couples match. My wife hates when I match what she is wearing for the day. I get a big kick out of it because on one hand it’s super cheesy, but also kind of sweet at the same time. I think it shows a bond and a closeness when you’re confident enough to be seen in matching attire. Seeing Phil and Angie with their matching bikes was not cheesy, though. It was just plain cool. The bikes were as cool as the couple and putting it all together really made for some nice photographs.
We got a few photographs with the bikes and then moved down the beach a little to get some sunset photos. I was a little scared that the sunset was not going to majestic, but it turned out to be beautiful. When I showed Phil a preview of one of the photos he said it “looked like a volcano was erupting” in the background. Yeah….I planned that.
Congrats to Phil and Angie. I know you’re going to have a beautiful life together!
One of my first jobs in the photography world was as a senior portrait photographer. I had just graduated from the University of North Alabama with a degree in art/photography and was lucky enough to get a gig photographing with a local studio. We did school photos (not fun), but we also did a lot of senior portraits. I was the official outdoors studio senior portrait guy. (I also shot a ton of indoor stuff as well, but my main beat was in the outdoor realm.) Being the outdoor guy fit me pretty well. I love being outside in the Alabama heat sweating and shooting photos! I actually had a really cool setup. My boss, Danny Mitchell, put a screen over the top of the outdoor studio which made for really good diffused light. We had a bridge, swing, grassy area, fences and a really neat little waterfall. It was a nice contained environment.
Fast forward eleven years. I am still outdoors, but my locations are now a bit more spread out. This weekend I had a really cool senior to photograph. Her name is Robyn….and she doesn’t like lizards. She saw a couple lizards during our photo session and told me stories about the freakishly big lizards that live outside her home. Thankfully the lizards kept a low-profile in Panama City this weekend and we were able to survive our Panama City senior portrait photo session.
There is a really colorful green wall in an alleyway downtown Panama City. That’s where we started out for the day. I brought a freshly-bloomed, vibrant-red gerber daisy for her to hold in a few of the photos to really make the color pop. It just so happened that she was wearing a touch of red, so it worked out perfectly.
From there we moved on to Oaks by the Bay Park in the historic St. Andrews part of Panama City. I have shot here a few times and there is always a new little nook or cranny to photograph there. There was a really nice afternoon shaft of light hitting between some Spanish moss, so we had to get a few photographs there. The background was going a little dark in this setup, so I positioned a light behind a nearby tree to give a little definition to the photo. We then found some little flowers along the fountain that made for a classic senior portrait.
Robyn and her mom found a street on their journeys that they thought would make a nice place for photos….and boy were they right! We drove over there and got some more natural/less-posed photos of Robyn walking along the street. These are some of my favorite shots from our senior portrait photo session.
Now….to the beach! No Panama City Beach senior portrait photo session would be complete without a trip to the beach, right? We went over to one of my favorite spots to photograph….St. Andrews State Park. After getting a few shots of the pier, we went over to the jetty area. The light was spectacular! Robyn picked an awesome night for her session. The sunset was really incredible and we wound up with a nice set of images documenting her departure from high school.
I get to photograph a lot of things and a lot of people and it never gets old. I am one of the lucky ones who have found a career that also happens to be my passion. Contact me any time to discuss your photo session.
In photojournalism I come across many people who do not wish to have their photo taken. It is refreshing to be able to take family beach portraits for people who actually want to be photographed and that care about quality photography.
As a Panama City Photographer I am privileged to meet so many families while they are on vacation and I recently had the honor of photographing the Renfro family at St. Andrews State Park in Panama City Beach. I felt like they really place a high value on photography and I as a photographer appreciate that.
This crew was a wild one, I tell ya! They were up for just about anything. When I have photographic subjects that aren’t shy in front of the camera the photos always turn out nice. This is a prime example of that. Families that are loosened up and carefree always have great facial expressions and not as stiff of poses.
We shot photos all over the place! We photographed at the jetties, on top of the dune, by the sea oats and even managed to dodge some of the seaweed and get a few photographs by the water. (The seaweed is really thick right now thanks to a constant west wind pattern the past couple weeks. Hopefully the wind will shift around soon and get rid of all that yucky stuff)
The Renfro family was a blast to work with. Easy and fun. That’s the way a vacation should be and that’s the way I want all of my beach photo sessions to be. Maybe I’ll make that my new photographic motto. Thanks for the idea Renfro family!
It weather was touch-and-go for a few days before my Panama City Beach family beach photo session with the Spicer family. Luckily, Tropical Storm Debby scooted out of the Panama City Beach area the day before our photo session allowing the sun and blue sky to finally come out for the first time in days. The weather was just about perfect. Not too hot and just a slight Gulf of Mexico breeze. The Spicers (and accompanying crew) were a fun and photogenic group and it was really hard to not get a good photograph of them.
The majority of our beach time was spent photographing high school senior portraits of Chelsea. We started off at one of the picnic pavilions at St. Andrews State Park. I had never photographed there (or seen anyone photograph there) and thought it would be a great opportunity to get a little different kind of beach photo. From there we headed over to the pier….and boy was it crowded! There were photographers and families scattered all over the area, but we still managed to get plenty of nice, clean senior portraits.
Now to the jetties. I don’t know what it is about the jetties, but I love shooting there. The combination of natural and man-made beauty really makes for a nice area for photography. After getting several angles at the jetties, Chelsea & I headed down to the water. She got ankle deep into the water and I instantly had an idea for what I wanted the photograph to look like. Now….could I pull it off? The only problem was the sun. It was still pretty high and on full-power. That was OK, though, because I had my trusty flashes paired with remote triggers that can help overpower the sun. It took a little tinkering, but I finally got the shot that I had envisioned in my head. After that victory, it was time for some family photos.
The rest of the family had been patiently waiting in the wings for a while now and now it was their turn. I grabbed my light meter and started balancing the light. After getting my readings, I lined them up and started photographing away. We got a few “standard” photographs and then moved onto the fun stuff. Jumping!
These guys and girls had some jumping skills. They jumped into the air a couple times and then jumped off the dune a couple times more. We nailed the perfect photo and then got a few more shots as the sun turned into a fireball on the horizon.
Walking back to the car I realized how lucky I am to be a photographer in Panama City. I get to meet nice families like the Spicers and photograph in one of the most beautiful places on Earth.
When I scheduled the McGee family’s Panama City Beach photo session, little did I know there would be a tropical storm heading right for us. (hooked yet?)
We started the photo session at Gator Lake at St. Andrews State Park in Panama City Beach, Florida. I wanted to try something different with the McGee’s. There were four of them which made a perfect “Abbey Road” album cover-type photo. This family was more than gracious enough to indulge my creative whim and we wound up getting a kinda cool photo of them walking across the boardwalk. Not your typical beach portriat I know, but I try to individualize my photo sessions as much as possible.
From there we moved on to the jetties. I love the jetties and always try to get a least a handful of photographs there during my beach photo sessions. A small group is perfect for layering so I put the kids up on the rocks and Mom and Dad down front. I got a few nice photographs there and then I looked to the north to see a line of impressive-looking clouds rolling our direction.
As a photographer there are lots of things you can control. Composition and light (to an extent) fall into that category. Weather does not. When you have big skies like we do at the beach, clouds can become a welcome addition to photographs. It gives the photo an added dimension that can really make the photograph look just a little bit cooler.
I decided to put the McGee’s up on top of the dune near the jetties and take advantage of the beautiful cloud formation that was to our north. It made a great natural backdrop and gave the photos a little “mood.” We were working against the clock, though. As I looked over toward Shell Island I noticed sheets of rain drenching the other side of the pass. Everything seemed to be a go on our side, though, and we kept on shooing beach pictures and having fun.
I got a few family group photos with the Gulf of Mexico in the background and then moved on to the “walking along the shoreline” photographs. The clouds just kept looking cooler and cooler and then it took a turn for the worse. It got a little dark….then a little darker….then the bottom fell out.
What was upon us was a band from Tropical Storm Beryl which made landfall on the east coast of Florida. This thin band was producing copious amounts of rain and there was no escape. Earlier in the day I had debated on whether or not to stop bringing my camera bag on beach shoots and I decided to keep bringing it. The inner Eagle Scout in me won out and I wound up being prepared for the torrential downpour that was drenching us. I shoved my lights and my trusty Nikon into my bag and quickly pulled the rain cover over it. The camera gear was safe. The McGee’s and I, on the other hand, were about 75 yards from the nearest shelter.
We didn’t even bother running. Fortunately there was no lightning so we somewhat leisurely made it up to shelter and waited the rain out. It was a thin band of showers that only lasted about 15 minutes. The McGee’s were great sports and getting soaking wet was no big deal to them.
This is why I love my job as a photographer in Panama City Beach. Good people, good clouds and good wet fun!
Neelima & Chait make my job as a Panama City Beach photographer way too easy.
One of my favorite photographers, Jim Marshall, once said that “it’s really hard to take a bad picture” of Kris Kristofferson. The same could be said for this couple. They effortlessly fit into the environment and pose that they were placed in. They are a loving couple and very photogenic.
I have been to St. Andrews State Park hundreds of times and am therefore pretty familiar with it. While most of my photographs are taken at the actual beach area of the park, I have been known to venture into the lesser visited areas of the park as well. This photo session was one of those times.
There is an area of St. Andrews State Park called the Buttonbush Marsh. To get to the overlook you have to travel across a raised wooden bridge. At just the right time of day, the light streams through the trees and makes for a very nice spot to take portrait photos. This was the first stop of our beach photo session.
We did the shoot on Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial first day of the summer season here in Panama City Beach. Normally you can’t even find a parking spot at the park during the day. Lucky for us, sunset was approaching and most beach visitors were at their condominium getting ready to go get dinner at one of the many fine restaurants Panama City Beach has to offer. We walked right up and had 10-15 minutes of shooting time all to ourselves – just the way I like it.
From there I had the idea of shooting a vista-type photograph at Gator Lake, but it was way to crowded to even attempt. Having gotten a “different” type of Panama City Beach photograph at Buttonbush Marsh, we moseyed on down to the beach to get the more typical beach photos.
The light immediately started to get good after our hike down to the jetty area of the park. The happy couple climbed up the rocks and began doing the seemingly effortless task of posing for beach sunset photos. From there we hit the beach and just had fun. The sunset was phenomenal and a sailboat even came by and added a little flair to the background of the beach portrait photos. I had a great time photographing this couple & I hope to photograph them again someday.
See you on the beach! – Andrew
Last week I had the honor of photographing a large (in numbers) family from the Dallas/Ft. Worth area of Texas. They stayed at a beautiful beach home in Seagrove Beach which is about half an hour from Panama City Beach, Florida.
This was a great shoot I tell ya! This fun-loving family made my life very easy. They were up for about anything! They even brought along the family dog, which I referred to as “The Beast.” I probably shouldn’t have done that seeing how the kiddos started saying it, too. Sorry, guys. It was meant in a fun way.
We took a few standard photos and then goofed around and just let the photos happen. That’s when the good moments occur. When you just step back, try not to control the situation too much and wait for those magic moments. Those moments can’t be fabricated. They are real and make for wonderful photographs.
I was down in the sand at least half of the time during the beach photo session. By the time I was finished with the shoot I had sand in all of my pockets, all over my arms and sunk down deep into the padding of my camera backpack. (Normally I wouldn’t carry my photo backpack to the beach, but I had just gotten back from photographing a wedding in Tennessee a few hours before.)
I enjoy every family beach photo session I photograph, but I had an especially fun time on this one.
See you on the beach!