So hopefully you guys have had a chance to check out the first blog in this series where I mainly focused on downtown Charleston and parks in Charleston as locations for photography sessions. This post is going to be all about the beach! Of course living in the Charleston area, I have great beaches right at my fingertips and love to incorporate them in all kinds of photography sessions….family Sessions, maternity sessions, senior sessions, couple sessions, etc…! I enjoy beach sessions and have many requests for them. The most requests I get for beach sessions come from families vacationing here from all over the country, but I’ve had a good number of locals who request beach sessions as well.
Here’s some information about beach sessions in general. I will only do sunrise and sunset beach photography sessions. Trust me when I say, you do not want a midday, afternoon, or early evening beach session. The light is too harsh with nothing to filter it through. I will not be happy with your pictures and it will not be what you want. To prevent disappointment, I only offer sunrise and sunset sessions when it comes to the beach. Currently, I am licensed to shoot on Isle of Palms and Folly Beach. Edisto is another great beach location. It’s a little further from Charleston, but quainter and more low-key. Right now, I do not go to Kiawah Island and Sullivan’s Island is off limits to all commercial photography unless you live there.
Below, I will outline the difference between the three beaches I use for sessions. You can decide your favorite. 😊
Pros: I love, love, love folly for sessions! Folly is on the west side of Charleston. My favorite area to use of this beach is on the Morris Island end by the lighthouse. There is drift wood, the light house and large rock barriers that add variety. Depending on the tide, we may be able to access this marsh area that has awesome sunset views.
Cons: Parking can be a little frustrating as it’s mainly street parking and there isn’t much. It’s also a bit of a walk to get to the area I am talking about. It takes about 10 minutes to walk down a paved path that ends with a little climb up a sandy hill to reach the beach again. In my opinion it’s worth the walk. 😊 I will use the pier area of Folly for sunrise sessions only. I will not use the pier area for sunset sessions especially anytime of the year other than the dead of winter. The pier is super busy in the afternoon/evenings and you will be photobombed. Photoshop can work magic, but sometimes not that much magic.
Isle of Palms
Pros: Locals refer to this beach as IOP. It is on the Mount Pleasant (east) side of Charleston. IOP seems to be a little whiter and wider than Folly. There’s really not much more than the sand and water so my sessions here focus on your family’s connection with each other. Depending on your taste this could be a pro or a con. There is a pier, but for the same reasons listed for Folly, I would only consider sunrise sessions near the pier. Otherwise, I like using less populated areas of IOP. Street parking is available and there is usually plenty of parking available just before sunset.
Cons: The only con I can really think of is the lack of variety. IOP does not have the driftwood and rocks that Folly has. I make up for this lack of variety in the connected authentic images of your family I create so in that way, that could be considered a pro too. 😉
From my house in Summerville, it takes about the same time to get to Edisto as it does to get to Folly and IOP. Edisto is a little quite vacation town. I’ve done one session there and loved it. The beach is not as busy. And there is a certain part of the island where the sun actually sets over the water which is hard to find on the east coast. I’d like to explore Edisto a little more especially the state park area. At one time there was a lot of driftwood there, but I heard a lot of it got washed away by a recent hurricane. Maybe I’ll add more info and pictures when I get a chance to do this!
So there you have it! A summary of the beaches around the area from a photographer’s point of view. You can’t go wrong choosing a beach location for your session. I know I enjoy them! I will often arrive a little early which lets me have a little quite time with just me and the waves while I prepare for the session. It’s one of my favorite things about beach sessions. Even though it may only be 5-10 minutes, for a busy mom, those 5-10 minutes of solitude and salty breeze is just enough to revitalize a tired soul.
Stay tuned for part 3 in this blog series about session locations around Charleston. I will cover a few locations in Summerville plus a few more random spots! Until Next time!