mom and dad posing on a log with their young son and daughter

The Making of a Beach Portrait



I do a lot of family portraits on the beach. I like it there, and I’ve gotten familiar with the process of not only shooting the photos, but editing them as well. Late afternoon conditions can be a challenge when you’re shooting against a bright sky without artificial light sources to balance it out. I often consider bringing lights, reflectors, and even an assistant, as it is probably the best solution to the technical challenges I face.

But the drawback of attempting technical perfection with proper lighting is the lack of freedom and movement. I like to keep things agile so the kids don’t get bored, and the poses don’t get stiff. Moving from spot to spot, and playing chase with the preschoolers are important parts of a Lara Grauer photo session. But they can be difficult and maybe impossible to do with light stands, reflectors, and sand bags in tow. There are times when you just have to give up academic excellence in favor of living enjoyably.

Knowing the rules so that you can purposely break them: that’s the whole point of being an artist, right?

So I thought I would share a glance at some of the process that my photos go through in their transformation from the camera to the presentation. Did you know I typically spend twice as much time preparing your portraits for presentation as I spend with you shooting the photographs to begin with? Here is a sample of one picture, from the original file, to the version I’m ready to present.



When the digital editing is complete, most of my portraits are printed on matte photographic paper and textured before being mounted and/or framed.  But there are many other options. Photographs can be printed on materials like canvas, metal, wood, and glass, which really increases the impact of the piece. When you’re viewing your gallery, it seems like you’re at the end of the process. But, the work isn’t truly finished until it’s been made into a physical object that you can hold in your hand. My favorite projects are the ones that result in a true work of art, displayed with pride on someone’s wall.

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