Picture Perfect Beach Portraits, with Tamara Lackey

Join Tamara Lackey on the beach to learn how to create dynamic family portraits in a variety of situations.

The beach environment, while beautiful, can present a range of challenges; from harsh light to blowing sand, that can easily take a toll on your subjects, your gear, and yourself. In this class, you’ll learn how to work with families, small children, and couples in ways that make the most of wonderful photography situations. Tamara Lackey will give you tips to help keep your subjects engaged and your gear safe so you can get the perfect shots!

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Course Lessons:

Lesson 1: Introduction (Duration 02:20)

Join Tamara on the beach as she goes over all of the concepts that will be covered in this class.

Lesson 2: Family (Duration 09:13)

The first shoot involves a family of four on the beach, where Tamara has to manage children while posing the family and working with the environment.

Lesson 3: Using Fill Flash (Duration 08:06)

With the family in shade the challenge is to add some light to the subjects to be able to use an exposure that prevents the background from blowing out.

Lesson 4: Working with Smaller Groupings (Duration 08:38)

To help manage the energy level of the kids over the course of a shoot it helps to work in smaller groups, so that the family members not in the scene can take a break.

Lesson 5: Backlit (Duration 08:11)

Another way to work with the sun is to use it to backlight your subjects.

Lesson 6: Getting Down in the Sand (Duration 06:30)

Some posing positions may seem unusual to your subjects, but the results on camera can look fantastic.

Lesson 7: Take Advantage of What is Around You (Duration 06:56)

Some beaches may have tents or cabanas available for use, which make for a great way to escape the harsh sun and wind.

Lesson 8: Atmospheric Shots (Duration 09:23)

A new family brings a new location and a new time of day. As we move into the later afternoon the light will improve. Seeking out shaded locations for atmospheric shots is a good way to warm up the subjects.

Lesson 9: On the Dunes (Duration 06:58)

The shady side of a dune can make for a great backlit location while waiting for the sun to sink lower.

Lesson 10: On the Way to the Beach (Duration 08:01)

The path to the beach can provide lot's of opportunities for fun family interaction.

Lesson 11: Get Wet (Duration 08:05)

You've got to be prepared to get wet and covered in sand to get the shot.

Meet Your Instructor: Tamara Lackey

Tamara Lackey is a renowned portrait photographer and Nikon USA Ambassador whose lifestyle photography, from children’s portraits to celebrity portraits, has appeared in dozens of media outlets, including O -…


  1. Wow Tamara is flexible for sure. Being 74 I don't think I could get some of those shots. It was a fun course with many things I can use. Shooting into the sun, getting into the water and having the subjects get into some fun poses. Thanks, Tamara.

  2. Wonderful class! Thank you, Tamara. It would be interesting to know how you have your AF points set up, especially for those shots where you were shooting without looking through the view finder. All-points auto, zone, single point?

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