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Extended Family Portraits in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina

Kitty Hawk, North Carolina - 

Last year while on vacation, I took family portraits of my friends, Paul, Kristi, and Paige, on the beaches of the Outer Banks.

They were and still are some of the best images I’ve ever created, so like most good artists, I couldn’t wait to have another stab at family portraits on the beach.

So imagine my excitement when a dear friend from high school, Megan, asked if I’d like to take family portraits of her in-laws while they vacation in Kitty Hawk.

Girl, you had me at “Hello.”

After working out gas and lodging reimbursement for the trip I met with the family in their home in Davidsonville for our pre-session planning meeting where we go over their wants for the session; create a mood board, where they showed me examples of photographs they liked and explained what they like about them; I show them my line of prints and products, and we discuss timeline, wardrobe and any other detail related to the session we could think of.

Because I was traveling out of state and knew I’d need help during the session, I decided to bring my husband and daughter along for the ride. We also worked it out so that after the session was complete we would travel to Virginia to visit Colonial Williamsburg on our way back home. But that’s a blog post for another time.

We got into town on Monday evening for a Tuesday morning shoot and were greeted by a set of ominous looking clouds overhead. The family and I agreed that if it was supposed to rain on Tuesday morning, we’d reschedule for Monday evening instead since we were only scheduled to be there one day. Looking at the weather when we got into town it initially looked as if Monday evening would be the better of two options, though rain was likely both days. Because I didn’t want to leave it to chance I decided to mobilize the troops and suggested we shoot Monday evening instead, in my mind to ensure we got something before we had to pack up and leave on Tuesday.

But as the afternoon wore on it became clear that it wasn’t going to stop raining anytime soon. The family also included three kids under the age of 4, which meant we couldn’t shoot any later than 6 p.m., which is of course was the time it was supposed to clear up for the evening.

I spent basically the whole afternoon looking at the Weather Channel, doing my rain dances, but it was all to no avail. It was getting too late and the sky was still too wet to proceed with a Monday evening session. So, now I would have to cross my fingers and hope Tuesday morning’s expected rain remained at bay.

Sunrise photography in Outer Banks North Carolina
Sunrise photography in the Outer Banks North Carolina

When I woke up the next morning for sunrise I found to my delight that it was no longer raining outside. It was still very cloudy, windy, and choppy, but there was no rain to dampen my spirits. The chances of rain that morning had also dropped significantly according to the Weather Channel, so I got the family up and ready to go shoot.

I met Megan and her family at the beach near their vacation house at 8:30 and we got started right away. Just like with newborns, when you’re dealing with Mother Nature you’re working on borrowed time.

The family did great, and for the most part, the weather cooperated. The skies were overcast, which was helpful, although the sun kept peeking out every so often just to throw off my camera and flash settings, and causing my beautiful subjects to blink and squint more than they intended.

It took us just under two hours to get all the groupings photographed, and I can’t tell you how relieved I was when we finished after worrying so much the previous day about weather and the implications of a missed on-location portrait session.

After the session it was suggested that we stay and hang at the beach before we headed to Virginia, and after all that hard work we just did, the idea seemed like a good one. But right on cue the skies opened up again and poured rain for the next two hours. Rather than wait for things to clear up, Steve, Julia and I packed up and headed to our next destination in Virginia.