Disclosure :: This post is sponsored by Jenn Ocken Photography.
Heading to a Gulf Coast beach this summer? Thinking about beach portraits while on vacation? Want to know some hidden gems for locations that might not be all sugar sands and ocean but still give you that relaxed casual feel for your portraits? And why can’t you have a little of both?! Then you are in the right place to get the details on some great gulf coast vacation photography locations spanning from Alabama to Florida’s 30A.
Hello Everyone! Jenn Ocken here. I am a local Louisiana photographer and owner of Jenn Ocken Photography. I have been traveling to the beach over 6 years capturing family photos and memories on and around several beach communities from Alabama beaches to Florida’s Emerald Coast during the spring and summer months. During this time I have discovered several amazing locations. So let’s dive in and help you find a great location close to where you will be traveling this summer!
Know I can’t go into grand detail and list them all but here are few must know places!
We hope you find this guide to Gulf Coast vacation photography locations helpful!
****If you would like to book your beach session at one of these locations with Jenn Ocken Photography click HERE. Space is limited and it is highly recommend that you book in advance. ****
Rosemary Beach, FL is known for it’s amazing boardwalks leading you through and round the community. The unique doorways and side alleys in between the houses give way to a solid variety of settings that you can utilize while you are on your way to the beach. TIP: Ask your photographer to meet you at your house so they can make the walk with you capturing the essences of the boardwalks close to where all your memories are being made.
Alys Beach, FL has that clean minimalistic feel with dominant white walls accented by green foliage. There are seriously clean lines with every building in the community. A scene like this can really compliment a family’s personality if they fall in line with a minimalist or by coordinating loud bright vibrant colors can make for a dynamic contrast creating a photo shoot full of energy. The access to beaches is mostly private so unless you’re staying in one of the rentals getting to the beach might be a little tricky.
Seaside, FL was built to be the perfect beach community … literally it was the set for the movie The Truman Show starring Jim Carey. It’s rows of white picket fences and gravel paths make for a classic portrait scene. And I have to mention it’s wide beaches and tall over grown dunes create the perfect beach photo backdrop. The huge purple wall and the grassy knoll around town center make for some alternative spots as you head down to the sugar sands!
Watercolor Beach, FL is jammed packed with options! You have the surroundings around the boathouse with a wide bridge connecting to the inlet houses. And there is the grassy knoll with the elegant tiled man made creek flowing along side of the beautiful flowerbeds accented by bending tree branches that can be used to naturally frame your portrait. And then don’t forget the emerald green waters, wide beaches with a restricted nature area off to the right gives way for less people to be in the background of your photos.
Grayton Beach, FL is usually described as a fisherman’s town. It’s eclectic down to earth feel is great vibe for a relax photo session. The variety hand painted signs and unique no rail boardwalks make for some great opportunities to capture moments walking to the beach. And the extremely wide beaches here are wonderful! They always seem to capture water from high tide to create these shallow pools, which are a dream scene for a photo session. Can you just see your littlest one running through them at the end of the session making splashes?
Dune Allen, FL is the very first beach coming from the west on 30A and it has one of my favorite places to photograph in the sugar sands. There is a small public beach there with an access for authorized emergency vehicles. And because of this clearing over the dunes there is a great place to shoot with amazing western sun hitting nicely on the subject with having to worry about a lot of people in the background. It’s a different angle of sun that is hard to get on other places on 30A.
Sandestin Bayside, FL has these pockets of great locations that people need to know about for pictures. Jolie Island is a wooded island that sits in a pocket of the Choctawhatchee Bay and has a wonderful wide wooden bridge that connects the mainland to the small island. And with the sun setting behind the island the late afternoon makes for amazing light for portraits. Also there is a small beach at the marina, which is a great hidden curve of sand that is hugged by over grown tall blades of grass making for a totally different beach scene than the ocean side of the resort. And honestly you can’t go wrong anywhere, all the grounds are extremely well manicured to complement the golf courses on the propriety.
Pensacola Beach, FL has one of my favorite places to watch the sunset and would be great scene for portraits at the end of Fort Pickens Road just before the state park entrance. It’s odd because it look like a parking lot. There the public beach accesses along Fort Pickens Road give way to some really great long boardwalks with wide-open views of beautiful dunes as a backdrop leading down to the beach. Easy parking too.
In Perdido Key, FL There is a great beach access right across the street from the Chamber of Commerce on Highway 98. It’s a public beach access but it as a great boardwalk that zig zags over the dunes which makes for some great lines and different angles for portraits. And the dunes’ edge where it meets the beach is nice because you can really utilize the dunes without hurting them in any way. I don’t think many people know about it because I have never seen it to be crowded!
Alabama Point East
Alabama Point East has some of the best backdrops on the west side of the gulf coast beaches. The extra long boardwalks take you through some wonderful towering dunes making for a clean building and people free background. And once you hit the beaches you can position yourself just perfectly to have the distance boardwalk and the open dunes as your backdrop as the soft setting sun softly lights your faces. And once you get out to the actual point there are rocks and sometimes driftwood accessible for both sitting and climbing giving a nice natural scene option, as well as, variety to the common beach photography poses in the sand.
Fort Morgan, AL is this little peninsula that extends out into the gulf just west of Gulf Shores, AL. With the Beach Club Resort as it’s only major condo complex, the 14 mile stretch gives way to some of the most natural scenes on the coast. At the end of the peninsula is an old army fort ruins open to the public and makes for a great exploring photo session. And just before the end there is a colorful authentic wharf that lends it’s self to an awesome unique setting for portraits.