Florida Family Beach Portraits with Dramatic Skies - South Dakota Family

Family Beach Portrait - Sunset Beach on Treasure Island Florida - Nikon D300 with Tamron 17-50mm @ f/6.3 ISO 400 1/60th Strobist: SB-800 @ 1/4 power above front & SB-600 @ 1/8 power directly behind family 

A few months ago Melanie contacted me from South Dakota about having family beach portraits here in Florida when her family was to come down on vacation.  I always like to photograph out of state families as they have full appreciation for the beauty of our Gulf beaches.  Locals I guess get used to spectacular sunsets over the Gulf of Mexico.  A large storm was scheduled to roll over central Florida around the time of our scheduled portrait session, but we stayed dry and were treated to dramatic stormy skies for use as backgrounds.

Sunset Family Beach Portrait - St. Petersburg Florida - Nikon D80 with Nikkor 80-200mm lens @ f/5.6 ISO 400 1/100th Strobist: SB-800 @ 1/4 power to frame left & SB-600 @ 1/4 power to frame rightThe sky kept changing from dark blue (see top image) to fiery yellow (above) to metallic purple (see below).  I had never seen it go through such a range of color before.  Often the intensity of one color will vary, but to get three distinct background colors was unprecedented.  

Family Beach Walking Portrait - Sunset Beach St. Petersburg Florida - Nikon D300 with Nikkor 80-200mm @ f/4 ISO 800 1/250th natural lightOne other good thing about the stormy weather is that it kept almost all the people away from Sunset Beach, so we had no trouble making the above shot of Melanie's family talking a long walk down the shoreline.  I was able to make the shot I wanted to in just one take.

Father tossing children in air - Nikon D300 with Nikkor 80-200mm @ f/4 ISO 640 1/250th natural lightWhat a great feeling to be tossed up into the air, especially when you never know if you will land in the ocean!  Too bad it is not common for someone to be able to toss 185 pounds into the air.  I would like to be able to touch the sky too!

Young boy candid beach portrait - St. Petersburg Florida - Nikon D300 with Nikkor 80-200mm @ f/4 ISO 640 1/250th natural light - sepia landscape filter applied in Silver Efex ProI titled the above photo, "The Fighter."  I would say he is a southpaw by the looks of things.  I am glad I was using my Nikkor AF ED 80-200mm f/2.8D lens from a distance for this shot and was at no risk of that left hook!

Purple Twilight Florida Family Beach Portrait - Treasure Island - Nikon D300 with Tamron 17-50mm @ f/5.6 ISO 800 1/50th Strobist: SB-800 @ 1/4 +2/3 power frame left & SB-600 @ 1/4 power frame rightTheir dad had all sorts of shall I say "unique" expressions to get the children to look at me, such as "Elmo is coming out of the top of his head," and the like.  I had not heard that one before but it worked so that's all that matters.  It was a fun challenge photographing this family of five and I am very pleased with the results the stormy skies provided.