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Florida Summer Family Photo Session Tips

Updated: Apr 15, 2023

Summer is the PEAK time for sessions as a family beach photographer here on the Florida's coast. While this is the case, it's a time of year where there's a lot to consider and prepare for. In this blog you will find my top 5 things to prepare for when having a summer family photo session.


Yes, you read that right. As any Florida native will tell you, there are a variety of bugs and "nature" that will rear their ugly heads this time of year. Our warm climate provides truly the most ideal environment for them to thrive. Even the beach has its own variety of flying nibbly critters. To mitigate this issue I always recommend bringing or applying your preferred bug repellent. ( I edited 30+ misquotes out of ONE image in 2021 and I would love to not do that ever again. )

Here's a short list of our most common summer bugs:

  • House Flies (They actually bite)

  • Gnats (or hot flies)

  • Yellow Flies (or Deer Flies)

  • Horse Flies

  • Mosquitoes

Use this as quick priority list for bugs your repellant should protect against.


Our six legged not-so-friends are most prevalent on less windy days, so I'd definitely say go with an updo and be THRILLED you have less bugs to deal with.

In all seriousness, wind is truly inevitable on the beach in most cases so it's best to accept the very real possibility and be prepared. The best way to do so is have a plan for your hair. Whether you schedule a stylist to come with all the Freeze IT they've got, or simply bringing an extra hair tie for a quick messy bun. (I've got a stellar list of local hair stylists I send over once you've booked.)

The next part of this preparation... embrace it. It can be easier said than done when you're looking for the perfect posed portrait to frame over the mantal. This is why I encourage you to let go of your plans and expectations when booking a beach session. (Not just with me, but anyone.) When it all comes down to it, there will always be an opportunity to have a perfect portrait in a studio where the elements have no effect on your presentation; but you will never get this time back with your family and it's important to stay as positive and lighthearted as possible. Breathe, remain calm, and trust that your photographer can still provide you with beautiful artistic and timeless photographs.


Please drink and bring plenty of water on your session day. Florida temps often range from mid-eighties upwards of one-hundred degrees during peak summer months. This can be dangerous for tiny babes, expecting mothers and our dearest grandparents. Often times you won't notice you're dehydrated until it's almost too late thanks to the humidity we experience daily here. Speaking of humidity, you'll also notice it can feel far hotter than it actually is too. I recommend bringing at *least* one bottle of water per person and encouraging everyone to drink, at minimum, half before the session starts and the rest after.

Next is sweat... you will. Odds are it could be profuse. This can make for a fair number of less-than-ideal circumstances, pouring sweat, major pitting, melting makeup and uncomfortable for everyone.

Some solutions for all these sweat cases:

  • Keep a cloth handy to blot faces... arms... necks.

  • Suggest an undershirt for your fellas, it seems counterproductive but can catch much of the sweat before it hits their outer shirt.

  • Sweat friendly or quick drying material, while this doesn't always work, it can definitely help. My personal go to is linen.

  • Hire a pro makeup artist and let them know you need your look as sweatproof as possible. Blotting sheets are great too. Number one is waterproof mascara so if you do sweat, your eyes don't end up taking the brunt of that.

  • Again, light breezy clothing is a must. For everyone. Flowing dresses, linen shirts for the guys and definitely light colors only. (Shows sweat less and keeps the heat off.)

I'm all about oils, so I typically keep Peppermint Essential Oil on hand too. A simple swipe down the back of the neck or across the forehead can be a life saver when I'm out in the heat. (Bonus, it helps keep the bugs off too!)


It's not always a reason to reschedule. Here's the thing: Florida weather is simply never accurate. Your app, the radar, and what's actually happening outside are completely different. I've literally driven from one end of St. George Island where it was a downpour, to the other where there was not a drop of rain. I can watch it rain with thunder and lightning 10 miles off in the distance from my front porch and its completely blue skies above my head.

In short, we will only make a call for weather a couple hours before. In 2021, I rescheduled two sessions for bad weather and in 2022 only one. Not a single session that went forward ended up getting rained out and one of the sessions from 2021 actually ended up having clear skies the original session date.

When rain does interrupt, it's typically only for a few minutes before it passes. We can take refuge in our vehicles and pop back out when the clouds part. I've gotten pretty good at predicting the weather here on the coast, and I've got my husband's aviation weather background to support my rationale.

On the off chance you love the rain and want to dance in it, we can bring umbrellas and have a blast. (Kind of a creative dream of mine honestly!)


The later the sun sets, the later your session time will need to be. This can be of concern in only a handful of cases, however, the biggest is bedtime. Other instances may be related to dinner, such as restaurants closing earlier around this area, or running late to reservations if we do need to dodge any rain or little ones are less than cooperative.

When it comes to approaching bedtime, I start by seeing if simply implementing a later or additional nap time could suffice. Maybe your little ones do just fine heading to bed a little later and you can consider it a special treat. If neither is the case, we can work to negotiate a slightly earlier time. Typically, sessions are set for about 1-2 hours prior to sunset, which during the summer can range from about 7-8pm. To keep my work and your final product consistent I can only budge by an hour or two, pushing the session up to 5-6pm at the very earliest. (Just be aware, the earlier your session; the hotter it will be.)


It's no surprise, we are the Sunshine state, and summer is the peak of all that sunshine. The urge to wear sunglasses every single day and all day long is warranted, BUT it's best to leave the shades in the car for your session. This one small sacrifice will spare you additional squint to your eyes the longer you allow yourself to adjust.

If you choose to wear them on and off throughout the session, you'll find your eyes never truly get the opportunity to adjust to the light. Anyone like me, who smiles even a tiny bit and barely has eyeballs to see, will understand it's just not worth the risk.

P.S. - Tell your hubby ahead of time so he's a little less put off by the request!

Whew! That's a lot of info for one blog, but I swear you can never be too informed. I hope these tips and suggestions help you feel confident in how to tackle the less-than-ideal pitfalls of booking a summer family session on the beach.

Much Love + God Bless

Kelsey Weeks

Looking to take a family vacation to Florida this upcoming summer? Pop over here: to book your summer family session now!

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