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30A Photographer

get camera ready with top 30A photographer

I am so excited to be your 30A Photographer and about your upcoming 30A photo session. With over 25 years of photographing both family photography and fashion styles, I have encountered every possible "photo emergency" you can think of. I have put together this step by step guide to help your prepare for your session and get camera ready!

From toddler tips to hair and makeup - these are the must read tips for any beach session!

planning with your 30a photographer

keep scrolling for camera ready tips by 30A photographer, MM

30a family portaits

add a garden session

only 250

Many of our clients will book both a beach and a garden session so that they can capture the beauty of both.


This is also a great way to capture a second outfit with your family. 

add a garden session for only 250 when you book your 30a photographer beach portraits

30A Engagement Photographer - Hughs 051 copy.jpg


with a beach friendly champagne toast and your 30A PHOTOGRAPHER

how can i help you

Tips for the ladies

it's always windy at the beach by 30a photographer



Seriously, it's always windy at the beach, please keep this in mind when planning hair styles. Many ladies opt for a wide swoop or pulling hair back to keep off face.



Bobby Pins

Hair Clips





Fingernails - and yes... them toenails too! Your at the beach, both your fingernails and toenails will show.


Fresh and clean nails are important. Please make sure nails do not have chipped nail polish on them. 

Tip: use a neutral color or color that harmonizes with your wardrobe (stay away from distracting nail colors).



In addition to the wind, many times it's so hot your makeup is melting off (are you excited yet-LOL).

I suggest leaving makeup to the pros, text me at 850-460-4437 for my preferred vendor list.


Be sure to use a matifying moisturizer and bring blotting powder to use during session.



We love to show skin at the beach, however, please make sure you take care of it by having a clean fresh shave on any areas that you normally shave.

Use sunblock generously when exposed to the sun as uneven skin tones and sunburns do not photograph well as the red tones will reflect more.

Got questions, ask your 30a photographer > 850-460-4437.

30A Photographer

WHERE DO WE MEET for the photo session?
as your 30a photographer, we can come right to you!

30A Golden hour Beach Sessions take place right at your 30A home
(or vacation home, away from home)
If you have beach access within walking distance, we will gladly come right to your place a few minutes before your session so we can cover the in-person posing tutorial and then head to the beach together.

If you do not have beach access, no worries, just send us the address of where you are staying in 30A and we can let you know the nearest public beach access to meet at. Any questions or concerns, please contact me at (850) 460-4437.

NOTE: please be sure you have a parking spot for my F150 truck (parking is an issue in 30A, unfortunately)

30A-Photography sessions on the beach

toddlers, dads & grumpy teens:-)

FEED THEM! Hangry people do not like to be photographed!



Be sure you, the kiddos and most importantly the grumpy guys and teens have been fed LOL.

And bring a bag of snacks that are beach friendly (nothing that will stain their outfits) along with some water to keep hydrated.



Keep them comfortable and keep the beach temps in mind when choosing wardrobe. Peak season temps can reach 90 on the beach and during winter, it can be as cool as 45.

Dress comfortably for the season. Questions, ask your 30a photographer 



Prep Talk

Prepare your kids with laid-back, low-key references to let them know what’s happening.


Tell them you will be “hanging out with our friend Melonie on Saturday!” or “going to the beach to play!” and keep things fun, lighthearted, and casual.


Families have shared that this tip is especially helpful if they have a particularly shy child.  We have a lots of tricks to help get the giggles out, and making sure everyone feels friendly and comfortable is at the top of that list.


Bribe Em... as a last resort

Please bring "bribery" items along -


but DO NOT tell them about it ...

until we need too) LOL.


I have discovered that if a child is promised a treat or toy for doing their pictures, then they will want that treat or toy after just ONE picture - they have no concept of time.


>>> This goes for the dads too... no beer till after we are done. JK

Some great items to motivate kids include:

  • favorite toy

  • blankie

  • a special treat or event like the Big Chill after session

  • Seashells (we have a supply plus conch shells)



If this is your first time here to 30A, do NOT let the rain forecast scare you away.  As 30A local and 30A Photographer, I can tell you, don't worry about the rain!

We typically have a large rain storm everyday during peak season,  however it will only last for about 30-45 minutes. The storm blows in quickly, cools off the temps a little and then leaves us with a beautiful sky full of dramatic clouds and color.

We start tracking the radar system 24 hours prior to your session in case we need to make adjustments on session time, or very rarely, move to another day in the week.

30A family photographer session prep

wardrobe tips


Dress for the Weather




Skirts & Dresses


Colors & Fabrics




Dress for the Weather with your 30a photographer

During the summer months, it is hot. Keep this in mind when choosing fabrics and textures. On the flip side, if you have a late fall, winter or early spring session, those temperatures will drop and you will be chilly on the beach if you don't have a sweater.  


Check the average temp for the time of year you will be on the beach, and remember is always windy on the beach, when planning your wardrobe fabrics.


Undergarment tips by 30A photographer

Undergarments, for both females and males, must not be visible or show through your wardrobe.  If you are wearing light colored clothing, be sure to wear nude undergarments (not white, as this will show through). Choose wardrobe pieces that fit correctly and cover bra straps, panty lines, etc.


Skirts, Shorts & Dresses tips with 30a photographer

Keep dresses and skirts medium to full length.  The beach is windy and short skirts will blow up in the wind.  Stay away from miniskirts and short shorts as they limit your posing options.

Wear clothes you can move in. You will be sitting, standing, squatting, kneeling on the beach. Wear Clothing that is comfortable for you to move in.


Color Harmony tips from 30A Photographer, Melonie

Choosing the perfect color for your family beach photo session will set the mood for the style and feel you want to portray in your family portraits.

When choosing wardrobe pieces, try to stay away from the "match-matchy" look. Choose different styles but in same color tones and don't be afraid to mix textures.

Tip: Moms, wear a flutter dress and put the girls in lace or flutter dress to create a magical image to treasure for a lifetime.


Shoes, this 30A photographer has tips for you

I love using shoes for props for your photo session, espeically if they are something stylish. But, just a reminder that bare feet look best for all individuals in family beach photos.  No shoes/socks.


But you will want a cheap pair of flops to walk in.

30A Photographer

session time with your
30A Photographer

30A Florida is located in the Emerald Coast (aka the Panhandle). We are in Central Time Zone. When booking your 30a photographer photo session please keep this in mind and do a google search to verify times.

Also note, because the computer averages the Golden hour when auto booking, your session time may vary based on the time zone set on device. For this reason, we strongly urge you to VERIFY the sunrise and sunset times for Santa Rosa Beach on your session date.

Sunrise Sessions will begin right at sunrise and sunset session are 40 minutes prior to sunset. Please plan to meet at designated location about a few minutes before session so we can introduce ourselves and I can show you the posing tutorial which will make the beach session flow very quickly.


A beach bag! As a 30a photographer, I also get asked about size.... The size depends on how many items you need to store in it. Here's a list of the most frequent items we have to throw in a bag:

  • Wallet, keys, phones, purse

  • Water (beach friendly container)

  • Snack foods (nothing that will stain)

  • Baby/toddler needs (water, diapers, etc)

  • Favorite toy/blankie

Place the following items in a clear bag and put that in your beach bag:

  • Makeup, chap stick, lip gloss

  • Makeup blotting pads & powder

  • Hairspray, bobby pins, hair ties 

Here's a list of some other items to consider:

  • Towels,  and maybe even a change of clothes for the kids.  As a 30a photographer, I love when kids (and parents) interact with their surroundings, and I’m thrilled to photograph them playing in the water, or buidling castles.  As a parent, you might not want to walk, or drive home, covered in sand (or wet). 

  • Baby Powder.  Baby powder works fabulous to take sand off of dry skin.  The sand is so fine that it will stick to dry skin. Toss a little baby power on legs at end of session to get it off.

  • A Beer!  Just kidding (kind of)  But seriously, if a beer will loosen up the hubby or the grumpy ones, I totally support it!  Just keep in mind that they must be 21 and no glass is allowed on beach or at gardens/parks.

30A Family Photographer


30a photographer


Sometimes families get nervous about how to pose or what to do with their hands.  Don't stress, before we begin our session, I will spend about 5 minutes showing both the males, and the females, how to pose and feel confident.

In my experience, children between the ages of 2-8 will sometimes try to "cheese it up" because that's what they have been conditioned to do.  If this is your child, the best way for us to capture those smiles is to let me interact and ask them questions that will make the giggle (fill it out on the Session Q so I know what to say).

Laugh, play, tickle, snuggle and love!


Don't be afraid to create memories with your family.  Share the love and connect!

When in doubt, search Pinterest for super cute pose ideas we can recreate for you and your family!

TIP: Relax, slow down, and don’t force anything. Don’t feel pressured to make everything perfect!  Just be present with your family and I’ll do the rest.


Don’t stress if any of the kids get fussy! As a family 30A photographer (and mother of 5) I am thoroughly experienced at this, I’ve seen it all before, trust me. Just snuggle your kiddos and I can still capture beautiful images :) 

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