Hi, I'm Amy Gray, and I’m a family photographer in San Diego, California, specializing in beach portraits.
When I became a mom, I began to realize the importance of having good photos — not just posed pictures, but also captures of children really playing, interacting with mom and dad and each other, and in their natural surroundings. After the birth of my second child, I decided, along with my sister (Melanie Monroe), to take a photography class at a local adult school.
Our minds were blown by the freedom and artistry that we could have by "going manual," and we enjoyed it so much that we continued taking other courses with the instructor. We scoured the Internet and message boards for more information and instruction in natural light photography, and we practiced with our children constantly. We were blessed to have a few excellent local photographers as friends and mentors.
One of my first sessions was at the historic Hotel del Coronado, which stands gracefully near San Diego's most beautiful beach. I remember being really puzzled about how to have a good result with all the open sky, no shade, and none of the trees and foliage that natural light photographers gravitate toward. Beach photography was really a challenge for me at the beginning. Over the years, however, since my clientele tends to be from out of town, I have had hundreds of opportunities to practice my beach photography. As a result, it has actually become my area of expertise. I have even been known to try to talk people into beach sessions who would normally like to do another location!
I love the natural surroundings, the reflections in the water and sand, and the variations in the sky each day. You really never know what you're going to get with a beach session. There may be clear skies or any degree of cloudiness, high tide or low, and depending on the time of year, the setting sun even moves north and south in the sky, changing the best shooting locations and backgrounds. All of these variables (not to mention uniquenesses of my clients) make for a fun surprise every session. I have to think on my feet and combine all the variables to come up with the most beautiful and emotion-filled images possible, all in the 60 or 70 minutes before the sun is gone. It’s a wonderful, exciting challenge, and it never gets old. I come home from a beach session wet, sandy, and with very, very bad hair, but I love it!
The session shown here is a first birthday session for a local family I had photographed twice before - for their baby's birth and newborn sessions. It was a clear, low-tide evening, so I had fun playing with the backlight behind the rock jetty and the pretty pastel sky after sunset. Some of my favorites are the ones of the baby crawling on the glassy sand. I love his sweet expressions!