Do you want to learn how to photograph kids on the beach even when the weather is horrible? Like when it’s raining for example? In this tutorial, I will show you how to get some great images of kids on the beach, even when it’s raining, windy, cold and yuck!
Highlights from this video:
0:25 Bad Weather
1.23: Images of Kids Playing in the Rain
3:17 Photography Props for Bad Weather
3:54 Keep the Shoot Dynamic
7:20 What We Learned
Bad Weather – Beach Shoot Goes Ahead
Let me give you a little background about what happened on this photo shoot. The Meyers – Cheri, Matthew, and the kids – had scheduled a shoot and it was the only day that Matthew could get off work. We couldn’t really re-schedule it. The weather was horrible, a southerly change came through and it was raining and cold. Anyway, I told them to come down and we went to a beach where it’s a little bit protected from the wind. When we got there, it was drizzling, but it wasn’t raining too badly.
Kids Playing in the Rain
The first thing I did was, I got the kids to run around the beach. We played races and we had a few games, which helped warm them up. It made the shoot a little bit more fun and they weren’t thinking about the bad weather anymore.
I had them racing together and then I also had them running individually.
When it did rain harder, we went under cover, but I still tried to keep the photo shoot going. Don’t stop shooting just cause the weather is bad – “maybe now is a great time for close-ups”.
Open Eyes – No Squinting in Sun
This is one of the images that they really like because of the darker background; there’s a little bit of water even though it’s a little bit grey caused by the rainy day. Everyone’s looking at the same direction and they have their eyes open – not squinting, which normally happens on the beach when it’s really sunny. These images would make for great black and white prints, too.
Photography Props for Bad Weather
Another great thing that you can do is use props when you’re shooting in bad weather. Luckily, they had an umbrella in the car. Everyone was playing around, running, and chasing with the umbrella. It was fun!
That’s the wind catching the umbrella. You probably see that there’s some major rain in the background. We’d run into the trees to get away from it and then we’d come out again and play on the beach.
Keep the Shoot Dynamic
I tried to keep the shoot dynamic; full of action and fun, running , playing games, and being close to each other. This family is very beautiful and they are a really close family. When it started to rain a little harder, I took everyone under the trees and we tried to get some more close ups.
Closeup Photos Under the Trees (Away from the rain)
I got the kids to sit on a log and then asked the parents to go behind me and jump around and be clowns – get the kids to laugh at them (or with them). It’s a beautiful shot and as you can see, I’m shooting with a wide open aperture so that I can get that beautiful, shallow depth-of-field.
We also got the whole family portrait and this time I was the clown jumping around and being funny.
I got them looking at each other, so we can get some nice family shots. This image shows interaction between family members.
Trying Out Different Angles
After the closeups, I got them on the beach and tried to get some different angle shots mainly because I noticed that Matthew and Harry were starting to squint. The dark clouds were starting to clear and the water was looking much better.
When it started to get a little bit brighter, I got the family to do the family walk again. I asked them to walk up the beach. Here we were starting to get a little bit of a better background.
Action Photography Helps with the Flow
Chelsea wanted to skip for me; she brought a skipping rope along and we had her skip around a little bit. I got a couple of shots with very fast shutter speed at 1/1000 of a sec with an F4 aperture.
Then I brought out the tug-of-war rope. We started with the kids against the parents, which I think is always an interesting idea. I was shooting in the same direction and looked around the beach for the part where the light was the best and I had dark background behind my subjects. Kids always give the tug-o-war game everything they have – especially when they are up against their parents.
So what did I do to make this a successful shoot?
- I kept the shoot very dynamic – lots of action and movement.
- No sitting around too much and think about the bad weather.
- We used props in the rain.
- We got under-cover when it rained a little harder, and captured some great closeups.
- Basically – just have fun and ignore the weather, and soon everyone will want to play along too.
This family loved their images. They’ve got some large canvasses and they’ve also got a collage of the rest of the images to hang on their walls.
As you can see, we did get some great images even though the weather was not so good. It just shows that when people really appreciate what you can do as a photographer, they will come and get those amazing, magical shots that the family hasn’t really had in the past – action shots and real un-posed interaction between family members. They really loved these shots. It shows the love between the family, their togetherness; how they’re close and how they’re full of action and full of fun.
Something to Try – When it Rains
Here’s something you can try when it’s about to rain on your scheduled photo shoot:
- Get some kids from the neighborhood and do a test drive,
- See if you can actually photograph them when it’s raining,
- Test your images out and see if it works for you.
Photo Business – Weather Dependent?
When you’re running a photography business, you can’t always worry about the weather. If it’s bad weather, you should still go ahead with the shoot because if you don’t, then possibly you may never get this family on the beach, together again. Life happens and everyone is busy.
What do you think about this video tutorial? Did you like it? Please leave me comments below and I will reply to your comments.
This is Brent, have a great day!
great work Brent. i make myself stop & watch all the free videos you put up. i have purchased your work & enjoy watching what you do.
Hi Brent, another great video with some top tips for capturing awesome images – many thanks. We’re not blessed with a beach near to our home base here in the UK (but we have no shortage of rain…….) and I have a multiple family shoot coming up in a week’s time, could be 8 or so people. I’m planning on using a local park with swings and slides etc for the event (weather permitting!) and I’d be really grateful for any tips you may have for capturing great images with larger groups like this.
Having purchased your “how to photograph kids…” course – which I found a great investment – I’m really enjoying your weekly blogs and posts. Keep up the good work!
Hi Brent, as usual thanks for the great tips. When I started looking at the metadata of your photos I noticed that for eg. Chelsea skipping, you were shooting in AV with a ss of 1/1000. How did you get the speed that high on AV? And any reason why you chose to shoot that action shot in AV instead of TV? Or doesn’t it really matter? But what I really wanted to know was how you got your shutter speed so high on AV.
Also: when you talk multi segment focus is that just the middle 9 AF points activated or the whole lot (however many the particular camera would have)? I have a 7D and am struggling to use the AF points correctly. I went from 450D to 7D and big learning curve for me
Thanks very much
Hi Sharon. Yes, if you have a look at my kids course, I explain my camera setting and my F4 rule in detail. The shutter speed is so high because, even though it was raining, at this stage it was getting pretty bright, and at F4 aperture priority mode, the shutter speed goes pretty fast. I like by the KISS rule, (Keep It Simple) and shoot everything at F4. I always shoot with the middle focus point too, my camera is better at autofocus on this point, then all I need to think about is keeping the middle focus point on the kids body when they are running or jumping.
Hope this helps – If you want a more in-depth description plus many examples of the setting I use, then I would highly suggest you invest in my “How to Photograph Kids – Naturally” course, it’s worth it!
Hi Brent, I have been thinking about what you said and even trying it on my own camera. By the way I invested in both the basic course and kids course a while back. I went back to both and had a look at your videos to see if I missed something. Still not sure.
To test your settings I set my camera on AV, f4 and the most I got on speed was around 1/250. I thought that shooting in AV the camera will automatically set the speed and v v for TV. You have no control over the second factor. I did however put my camera on M mode and dialled in f4 and 1/2500. That worked. No problem.
In order for me to understand things, I get a bit hung up on the technical stuff. Maybe I shouldn’t but I’m just not getting how you got such a high speed on AV.
As I said in a previous comment I’m very much a hands on person. Your videos are great and easy to follow but I learn best with hands on. If ever you’re in the Gold Coast region doing any courses, please let me know. My interest is portrait but am happy to attend anything where I can learn hands on.
Hi Sharon. Do this:
1. Use Av at f4 to start with. Shoot the kids running. Check your shutter speed, if it’s less than 1/500sec then:
2. Change to Tv (shutter priority mode) and shoot at 1/1000sec at auto ISO and the aperture will remain pretty much close to f4 anyway.
If your shutter speed is faster than 1/500sec (1/800th or 1/1000th) then leave your camera on Av and keep shooting..
Oh yes, I would love to run a workshop on the Gold Coast, how many would be interested?
Thanks, Brent. Pretty much thought this might be the case. I guess this is where your expertise comes into play. I would’ve gone straight to TV anyway with any action shot. I find that unless my subject (also mostly kids) is sitting still, my images are blurred even on a higher shutter speed and AI Servo. I must be doing something wrong that’s why I need some hands on. Very frustrating.
As for a course on the Gold Coast, I would have to check the numbers. I unfortunately don’t belong to any clubs (3 Kids + time = non existent at this stage) but I have met the local guy who runs a camera club under the Canon name and could email him. I also have 3 friends who might be interested. How many do you need?
Wonderful photography tips and photos. Love the way they all look so natural, not posed or stiff. Your interaction with your client and the way you seem to be able to get them to relax is awesome.
Great shots, heart warming, natural, and that family will have them to treasure more and more as time passes
and the children grow and change. Congratulations Brent
Great tips thanks. How do you photograph an adult family? ie Parents and 2 adult children
Normally adults are a little more stiff – so I do the same thing, get them walking, chatting, being themselves – but keep them moving! Normally we have had a meeting before hand and I have found out all about this family, what they are in to, what is important in their lives, whether they are a “huggie” type or not. Then we go to work creating activities that show what is important to them. It varies from family to family, because these are custom photo shoots, every shoot is different. Just remember to start with them moving along, that way they relax and start having fun. Hope this helps. Brent
Great little tutorial. I really like how you went with the flow and kept the photo shoot dynamic and fun. It certainly looked like the family were enjoying themselves and there are a lot of wonderful images highlighting their relationship and closeness.
Thanks Ruth, yes we all enjoyed ourselves. It was a blast. Cheers, Brent
Really enjoyed this presentation .. Proving once again to not allow the weather ruining a good shoot .. Again : Thank you !!!!
Yeah John, my business relies on capturing great images in all kinds of weather. Cheers, Brent
Brent, you are changing the way i take photos – for the better, thank you mate!
Thats my goal Ivan, to show you some new ways of doing things, and hopefully your photography improves – I’m sure it has already. Brent
Great tips – cant wait to try them out…so much to learn…thank you!! :-))
Thanks Kate, just take one tip at a time and they will all stick. It’s really not that difficult – just focus on having fun! Brent
Excellent shoot! Next week my wife and I are going on a cruise to the Bahamas, I plan to capture some nice shots on the beach when we arrive in port. I will remember your advice and style.Thanks for sharing. You are the best in teaching photography.
Lets hope it doesnt rain on your holiday – but if it does, you now know what to do. Brent
Nicely done Brent!
Some lovely shots.
What interests me is how you judged your exposure to perfection – given the changing light and particularly where the sky, although cloudy, was light and bright.
Thanks Alan, I let the camera take care of exposure for the most part, unless I’m shooting into the light (I’ll over-expose by 1 stop). You also have the option of a little exposure compensation when you edit them afterwards. My main concern is making sure the kids and parents are having fun, that is what I focus on throughout the shoot – and make sure that I capture these images with a pretty good (not excellent) exposure. Hope this helps. Brent
Brent there are a lot of tips here. Thank you.
For me, you effectively demonstrated how boring ‘posed’ shots are and the interest in good photos comes with movement. I’m now going to refine my action shots instead of waiting for people to stop moving. Would you recommend using the TV mode for similar shots?
Action shots are the best – for capturing kids. No fake smiles etc. I recommend shooting at a fast shutter-speed in Tv (shutter priority mode) when it’s not super-bright outside, otherwise just stick with my f4 rule. Cheers, Brent
Fabulous natural family photos. have my family coming to visit from Switzerland, so looking forward to trying beach shots like these
I notice the photos were all jpeg. (out of the camera or have they been edited post shoot)
ALSO: How did you protect your equipment from the elements?
Thanks Jenny. If you checkout my kids photography course I explain exactly how I shoot these kids photos – equipment ,techniques and tips. In summary I always shoot jpg large, portrait picture style and auto white balance. No need to shoot RAW.
When it comes to protecting my equipment I use a good camera bag. Checkout my blog on what’s in my camera bag.
Enjoy shooting your family from Switzerland. Thanks for commenting. Brent