How to Survive a Summer Photoshoot in Florida

2020 has been a weird year. Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, we basically skipped past spring and straight into the deep, buggy, frizz-inducing inferno that is Florida summer.

You've likely been cooped up for months with your partner, pets, kids, various family members -- whoever your quarantine tribe is and I'm sure your best-laid plans have been thrown straight out the window. Whether it is senior photos, engagement photos, a wedding, 1st birthdays -- it feels like a lot of important milestones have been put on hold.

Now restrictions are lifting and it's pretty safe to have an outdoor, socially distant photoshoot, it's basically the least pleasant time imaginable to be outside, let alone trying to look fresh and awesome for the camera. But don't let that stop you!

Maybe you're accustomed to the swampy heat that is Florida summers, or maybe you're just visiting and have no idea what to expect -- there are tips to help you survive a photoshoot in the Florida heat and as a born-and-raised Floridian photographer, I'm here to share them with you.

Quick list for surviving a summer photoshoot in Florida:

  1. Keep your session short

  2. Pick a location near water

  3. Opt for mornings, not evening shoots

  4. Bring a (reusable) water bottle

  5. Wear fewer clothes

  6. Humidity-resistant hair products

  7. Keep makeup light and bring your bag for touch-ups

  8. Facial spray

  9. Bug spray

1. Keep your session short

I promise that you're not going to want to endure the summer Florida heat for a two-hour photo shoot that includes changing your outfit a few times in the heat of your car.

It's simple: the longer you're out there, the less you and your party are going to look and feel the way you wanted to in front of the camera. I can't tell you how many times I've had grumpy kids and partners that just couldn't muster up a genuine smile or playfulness because the heat zapped it straight out of them and typically it shows.

That's why opting for a mini session of 15 - 20 minutes is a really smart idea to result in better photos and a more pleasant experience all the way around! For more experienced photographers that amount of time is plenty to capture 10 - 15 great shots of you or your group.

As a bonus, mini sessions are usually a pretty good deal. Photographers can stack clients back to back quickly and you pay less than you would if they were going to do a session for just you.

2. Pick a location near water

If you're from Florida, you already know that it's generally cooler where the water is, even if it's just a few degrees. You're also more likely to have a decent breeze to keep you cool. (Keep that in mind for what you're wearing and your hair, though!)

Most people from out of town choose to do photos on the beach because that's the whole reason they're here! But it's also a smart choice because they can stay a little cooler and potentially move the session into the water towards the end to cool off even more.

3. Opt for Mornings, not evening shoots

Sunset and dusk are really popular times for photoshoots because the light is softer and the sky is doing more interesting things, but if you're looking to keep cooler, consider early morning. Since the sun hasn't been warming the air and water all day, mornings are usually the coolest time of day in Florida. Sure, it may be tougher if you or your family are not morning people, but sunrises are really spectacular, too. Plus, it's just a one-time thing!

Opting for a morning shoot means that you also have the bonus of having fewer people around, which is better for social distancing, as well as better if you're a little shy in front of the camera. Beaches are usually crowded at sunset on Anna Maria Island, and you want the look and feel of having the whole place to yourself, no matter where you are. Mornings are always best for that.

4. Bring a Reusable Water Bottle

This is a crucial step. So, crucial that it should be #1. You need to stay hydrated any time you're outside in the Florida summer heat, but sipping cold water is also going to help you withstand the heat for longer. Make sure everyone in your party brings their own.

I would never go to a photo session in Florida without my water bottle, even if it's just a single 15-minute or 30-minute session. My favorite is this reusable one from HydraPeak. Not only is it better for the environment than plastic bottles, it doesn't leak and it--no exaggeration--has ice for hours after I fill it up, even on the steamiest days.

5. Wear Fewer Clothes

I'd lean away from jeans and anything too fussy or stiff. Wearing fewer clothes is a great option, especially if you're going for that runaway love affair kind of look for your engagement photos. A flowy, beachy dress that could get wrinkled and still look hot is ideal! Suzanne (above) is killing it!

And for dudes, light linen pants or short shorts are good. You're in Florida in the summer. Formal wear just doesn't look quite appropriate anyways and it will probably come across in your photos how hot and uncomfortable you are.

6. Humidity resistant products

No matter what hair issue you have, humidity tends to bring out the worst in all hair. Mine refuses to hold any shape, straight or curly and just puffs up like a lion's mane.

It's important to be intentional about how you're prepping your hair before the shoot. An anti-humidity spray is KEY. I've used this before straightening or curling and it makes a BIG difference in how puffy my hair gets. Also, if you want to start when your hair is wet, an oil like this one is great before blow-drying.

Another good tip is to embrace the natural texture. There's something innately sexy about a no-fuss, natural look. I promise it's going to make you look more like the goddess you already are. #naturalhottie

When in doubt, bring some bobby pins, hair spray, or a cute hat for last-minute fixes.

7. Keep makeup light and bring your bag for touch-ups

If you're going for a timeless look with your photos, you should stay away from anything too trendy. Sticking to the basics is a great idea. And unless you're a beauty blogger, it's best to keep your eye makeup and contouring to a minimum. More make up means more that can melt off and look unnatural.

Using water-proof mascara or eyeliner is a good idea, especially if you're someone who sweats a lot around your face and eyes. You definitely don't want to have mascara and liner streaking down your face 10 minutes in.

If your session is on the longer side, it's not a bad idea to bring your make up bag with you in case you need touch-ups. This is true for a photo shoot at any time. Get a small bag with the essentials, like powder and lip color, and bring it along with you. You won't regret it.

8. Facial Spray

One key to making your make up last and to refresh it is to bring a facial spray. They actually work wonders and I know a lot of the professionals who work in weddings swear by them. They help set your make up and can refresh your look as time wears on. Plus, it'll help cool you down a bit. Try this one or this one.

9. Bug Spray

If you're on the beach or anywhere with a good, steady breeze, you don't have to worry as much about mosquitoes. But step into an area with trees or an open-field, you're going to get swarmed! Not only do you need to be aware of different diseases those suckers may be carrying, getting eaten alive by mosquitoes while trying to smile for pictures is pure misery.

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