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*Guest post from Club Seaside Partner Brook Mayo Photographers!

We are Brooke Mayo Photographers and have been photographing families on the beach since 2001. Brooke Mayo Photographers consists of two photographers, Brooke Mayo and Candace Owens, who LOVE, LOVE, LOVE what we do!

We will have everyone play, build sandcastles, run through the ocean, pick up shells and make memories! Our style is more photo journalistic, meaning we value candid shots and unposed actions as much as posing. (Plus, we think you will appreciate the subtle emotions of a family when nobody has to say "cheese.") Got a big family? Great! We will take shots of the larger group and then break into individual families and the combinations of your choice, to make sure everybody gets that picture with great-uncle Bob. 

We want to capture you and your family as you are, as each relationship is dynamic and we want to show all the expressions you know and some you may not! Here are some fun family portrait tips for your next family gathering.


While most people want to capture family memories on the beach, try breaking away from the traditional beachside portrait and get creative. We recommend sand dunes, old oak forests, quaint harbors, vineyards, farms and more for some fun and unique settings.

We can come to frolic with you and your family at your rental home or any other location you'd like. Some of our favorite locations, such as local parks and vineyards, are clearly marked with ample parking. 

On the Outer Banks, the backdrops are endless!


We know you have seen the beach portraits of everyone in khaki and white or jeans and white. In everyday life, you don’t all dress the same and you shouldn’t do that for your family portraits either.  The white tends to wash most people out and it, along with the khaki, blends into the sand. 

When dressing for your family portrait, show your personality! Have everyone coordinate but don’t “match.”  We want to show who you are as a family. Try having one or two people in patterns and the others in solid colors. Some of our favorite clothing options include sundresses, polka dots, and pastels. (Note: pastels are gorgeous on the beach.) You should try to avoid solid blacks, reds, hot pink/green, bright orange and short skirts (as we often have you jumping in the air or lying in the sand). We are happy to help you decide on outfits.

Time of Day

Most often the best times for photos aren’t usually the best times for kiddos. During the summer, on the beach, 6:30-7:00 a.m. or 7:00 p.m. are optimal times because the light is at its best.  If the photos are done much earlier or later (unless it’s overcast) your faces will be shiny and your eyes squinty. Plus, in the early morning and evening hours, the beaches are much less crowded. If it is overcast, we can schedule throughout the day. And don't worry that it's not sunny - direct light is great for sunbathing, but not for pictures!


Bring props! If your kids like playing in the sand and using a shovel and bucket, go for it! We want them to have fun and be comfortable. The photo shoot should feel more like a play date rather than a stiff family portrait where they don’t get to enjoy themselves. You can even bring ice cream for the end of the shoot... make sundaes on the beach or just eat a cone…it doesn’t get much more summery than that!

Modern family photography simply means capturing your family as they are - having fun and letting personalities shine. No frills or special tricks needed.

Brooke Mayo Photographers is part of the Club Seaside program. Seaside Vacations guests can receive an hour-long portrait session at your rental home showing your family's unique style for a special discounted rate! Click here for more details on this great offer!