Beach Family Photos at Shelly Beach Manly


I’m very fortunate that I get to shoot beach family photos for a lot of my clients. I feel most at home, most myself, when I am on the beach – working or not. For my clients, it seems that if they choose to have beach family photos then we’ll instantly have lots in common, and the shoot will be lots of fun for all of us. (Not that shoots aren’t fun in other locations, but I just especially love being by the beach!)

I went to high school with Kelly, and so when her husband Sam asked me to capture some family portraits for them at Shelly Beach Manly, I was thrilled. I hadn’t shot at Shelly Beach Manly for a while, so I was looking forward to heading North-side and looking at Manly beach from across the water.

It’s been a while since I posted a long-form blog of a family portrait session, so I want to share a lot more of this shoot than I usually do. It shows how we move around on a shoot, using different backgrounds within the location, and getting a deeper story than just one or two “hero shots”.

When I arrived, the kids were already playing in the sand, so I got straight to it and shot a couple of beautiful “eyelash” moments… where the kids are so absorbed in what they are doing, that all I can see is their eyelashes and their serene expressions. I LOVE this angle on kids, and so do most parents!




Sam and Kelly’s whole family ticks the three magic boxes: energetic, connected, loving. It’s my favourite type of family to photograph, because they are always full of fun, laughs and action. When I shoot families like this, the shots simply bleed happiness and energy, and we are able to get a great mix of candid moments in the mix. Here’s Kelly having a running race with her two kids…



Sam and Kelly’s daughter is FULL of personality, energy, and expression! She was active for almost the entire shoot, and really vocal! Their son, by contrast, is a bit of a quieter soul, although just as happy.





After a while we relocated to the rock platform and the kids went exploring with Mum and Dad, seeing what they could find in the rock pools. This kind of moment will always be a beautiful, timeless moment of curiosity and wonder for the kids, and love and connection for the parents. I love the subtle background of pine trees along the beach from Manly to South Steyne too.




I’ve said it before, but I always love to capture a few fun moments between Mum and Dad – the family only exists because of the relationship that began with the parents! In this case, Kelly and Sam have some fond memories at Shelly Beach; it is a location that they spent many lazy afternoons when they were a couple, and in the background is an apartment block that Kelly used to live in when she and Sam were first dating.

Much kudos to Kelly’s form in this shot – perfectly pointed dancers toes! – and to Sam for the gun-show…  :)



When they came to view their portraits, Kelly and Sam fell in love with this final image as a perfect summation of their active lifestyle, where they live, and the energy of them and their kids. They chose to have it as a large wall artwork – one metre wide – framed for their living room wall. They were so pleased with their beach family photos, and chose to upgrade their package to include all the digital negatives of the shoot, along with some smaller mounted portraits.



Something I really loved about working with Kelly and Sam was the fact that after picking up their frame and other smaller portraits (including a bit of engineering to get the frame into their car!) we all wandered down to Coogee Beach for fish and chips for dinner! It was really a lovely afternoon, and I’m so grateful to be able to work with loving, energetic, connected families like Kelly and Sam’s.

Thanks guys, and I can’t wait to pop over one day and see your frame on the living room wall!

UPDATE: Sam wrote to me after seeing this post, with these words:

Thanks Israel, we are extremely happy with the photos and your professionalism! The picture looks incredible on our wall! Thanks again mate!


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