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Some do's and don'ts (only slightly tongue-in-cheek)

Your session will be more fun, and you'll get better results if you follow these tips on getting ready for your pictures at the beach. Let them know they can relax and have a good time with each other and the camera guy while we do their Outer Banks family portraits. Some may be obvious, but after 25 years they still need repeating.

Do tell everybody someone is coming by to have some fun and take their picture out on the beach.

Do let the kids know these are fun pictures, not school pictures (or mug shots for the criminally inclined).

Do feed the kids a nice LOW SUGAR snack or meal before they get dressed for the shoot.

Do offer a long term reward, if you want to offer one at all. Some kids do well with a long term reward like "if we do good at this for a while we can go to the pool later today". Sort of like the corporate Christmas bonus that keeps you working all year!

Do put on a little sunscreen and work it in well, enough in advance that you don't shine so much in your beach photos.

Do bring a little clear (or amber) cool drink, maybe a couple cool damp cloths in a baggie in case it's hot out there. And maybe a brush if there's a breeze.

Do be flexible. Yes, there's a breeze, and there are other people, but we'll do our best to minimize all of that. Remember, it's a public beach.

Do try to get everybody ready at the same time. We know it's hard, but give it a shot. We do the big group early, then when we finish each family they are off duty!

Do respect our beach, it's one of the best. We love it like it is (or was) so only take pictures, leave only footprints.

Do relax! Family pictures are all about love and enjoying the crazy, funny, unique characters we all are. If you love your family you'll love your pictures; cross-eyed, rabbit-eared and all. So relax, enjoy, and let's have a good time!

Don't let grandpa answer the door in his underwear with a shotgun because "nobody tole me!"

Don't threaten the kids. We've seen some so scared they start crying when the doorbell rings. We don't need that kind of business or people.

Don't give them cherry kool-aid after they put on their only white shirt, or give them so much sugar you see the whites of their eyes and they just sit and vibrate!

Don't use quick bribery. "One more smile and you get a face full of pixie sticks." If they don't get it, the kid goes off, if they do they will just be a mess if we need more shots. That and it usually doesn't work.

Don't put on so much sunscreen that sand sticks to you or enough that you slide down the dune and into the water when you sit down.

Don't pack for the Amazon. Your car or house is right there. No canned meats, powdered eggs, or water filtration kits will be needed, we promise.

Don't scream at strangers, rip down cabanas, or curse the weather gods. It could all come back to haunt you, and us.

Don't expect to do one family at a time and then the group. By that time the first kids have already gone to snoozerville, or fussyland, or Dad went for coffee... (and it's all happened more than once).

Don't rip up the sea oats, leave your trash, talk bad about our home, or get the life guards drunk. It might be funny, but what if we really need them?

Don't stress out, over coach, be afraid, be ashamed, nit-pick, lose sleep over, fret about, medicate, brain wash, or attempt to trade in your family. They may not be the Brady Bunch but you've gotta love'em!

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