About my Myrtle Beach family photography

I specialize in fun, candid and creative family beach photography in the Myrtle Beach and Grand Strand area. Sessions are relaxed and fun, I’m glad to try any ideas and family groupings you desire. I work with the viewpoint that I’m there to make people happy, I do whatever I can to make sure that I do. I personally do a small number of appointments each week, typically around sunset time, and I do everything myself from the photography to the final prints.

Style as a photographer

What I do is different from a typical portrait photographer. I use a photojournalist style of photography. While I do suggest traditional poses and family groupings, I typically take around 200-400 shots in an hour or so session trying to capture the best moments and natural expressions. Sometimes my favorite shots are those that don’t look posed, that look like a family enjoying the beach together. I’ve had many clients tell me it was the nicest experience they have had with a photographer, I hope I can make you feel the same way.

Quality of finished product

I prefer clear, crisp and clean color and black and white images that can only be done with Nikon’s best lenses and an expert understanding of lighting and flash. I’m using the same equipment I use at weddings like very expensive prime lenses. This gives a different look than you get from typical family beach pictures. A reasonable amount of artistic and general touch-up Photoshop work on prints included at no charge.

Latest family portraits review

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Family potrait on a cold winter evening
Family Pictures
Monday, March 27, 2017

Ryan was really a dream to work with, and if I'm honest, he was a hero for our family! He came to the rescue when we needed a last-minute photographer for our Myrtle beach vacation, and was incredibly friendly and accommodating. He has the best spots and ideas for pictures, and we were able to enjoy quality family time while he took our shots. My husband is NOT a fan of taking pictures, and even HE had a good time and is glad we did it. I'm so happy with the beautiful memories Ryan captured, and I think this may be a new tradition for us during future visits to Myrtle beach! Two big thumbs up from the Gibson family! 👍👍

Base Package Information

Full resolution digital files and $50 print credit to use in your client gallery

Click here for an example of the client gallery system, features you will have like downloading, favorites and purchases are disabled.


May- August : $500 – Any other month : $400

What is included?

This includes the full resolution digital copies of your pictures and any print credit listed above. A beautiful website gallery is also included for a few months that can be shared with family and friends. You can make your own prints anywhere you like from the digital files or you can choose to order some through the client gallery. Typically I take about 200-400 pictures during a session, I usually narrow these down to about 100-200 pictures that I adjust and tweak to make them look really good. This might sound like a lot but I take multiple shots of each thing we do, it’s actually relaxed and fun and only takes about an hour.

Where and When?

I like to schedule the appointment about an hour before sunset if possible. I usually do the session at the Myrtle Beach State Park, and I have passes to get in two cars without the park fees. There is no set time limit for an evening session, usually it takes about an hour or sometimes more for large groups. There are also no limits on family groupings, poses, or candid shots.

Additional Costs

If you have more than 10 people in your group it’s an extra $50 per 5 people, keep in mind everyone in the group can download the pictures. I get a $200 deposit to hold the date and you can give me the rest when it’s convenient sometime after.

Satisfaction Guarantee

Please do have reasonable expectations at the beach and realize that there can be a lot of wind and various lighting conditions. I like the more natural, candid outdoor look myself and I think I do a good job working with available conditions, however I always work with a satisfaction guaranteed policy. I never want someone unhappy with my work. Please check the policies and conditions tab below for more information.

Price of Prints

Prints can be easily ordered through your client gallery using your photo credit (if included) and by credit card (Of course you can download and get prints made anywhere you like as well). These are printed at one of the best photo labs with lots of different mounting and paper type options. I try to keep the cost of the photo prints reasonable. Below are some samples of prices, for a full list of options visit the example gallery http://www.ryansmithgalleries.com/galleryexample/ and click “Buy Photo” at the top of any image.

Standard Photo Prints – 8 Wallets $6 | 4×6 $4 | 5×7 $5.50 | 8×10 $10 | 11×14 $15 | 16×20 $30 | 20×30 $50 | 24×30 $60

Canvas Gallery Wrap – 8×10 $100 | 11×14 $125 | 16×20 $150 | 20×30 $200

Many more sizes and mounting options available when ordering at similar prices.

Common Questions

What are Digital Copies and can I print from them?

The digital copies you receive as part of a package will include the majority of the pictures from your session in high resolution. These are suitable for large prints or whatever you would like to do with them. Many times I’m taking multiple shots of the same pose so I will pick the best couple from the series, or there could be a picture that just doesn’t turn out and those won’t be included. All the images provided will have been color corrected, adjusted and look very nice. If needed, you can select a few that you would like specific touchups for example removing people from a background, face touchups, etc. even if you are only getting the digital copies. If you are ordering prints, any of those can have requested touchups if I can do them. See Photoshop touchups below for more details. You are allowed to print as many images from the digital files as you like, there are no watermarks on the pictures. I will also send you a link for a copyright release that you can print out, this is required at some locations such as Wal-Mart.

How long do I have to purchase my images, how long will they be stored

I now store a photo session for a minimum of 1 year (although I try to keep backups indefinitely but I don’t guarantee it). If you wish to have copies of images after that you need to make sure you have downloaded your digital copies and you make your own backups.

What should we wear to a beach session?

A family group needs to look unified for a good group portrait. The style and color of clothing really needs to coordinate. In fact some photographers view clothing harmony as the primary element in a fine family portrait. Clothes should be coordinated for color, tone, and style. For example, it's good for everyone to wear similar length sleeves, similar color shirts and pants, similar color shoes (or no shoes at the beach), and have a similar pattern if any on the clothing. A favorite look at the beach is a white or black T-Shirt and Khaki Pants or Blue Jeans. The color and texture of your clothes can be whatever you like, but try to make them match using the above suggestions if at all possible.

What can be requested for Photoshop image touchups?

Sometimes Photoshop is thought of as something magic, that anything can be changed in a picture. Some of the tools in the latest Photoshop are pretty magical, but there are some limitations. All the images you will get have been adjusted in software called Lightroom, this allows me to adjust color and exposure and get the image looking really nice. That is all a lot of pictures need before printing. If they do need specific editing such as removing people from the background, then I have to go into Photoshop.
The important thing to keep in mind, when something is removed from an image, there is nothing behind it. For example if your hair is removed from in front of your eye, if I just remove the hair it’s like taking scissors and cutting something out of picture, there is just a hole left. Anything that is under an area removed has to be recreated. What I have to do in Photoshop is clone, or copy one part of an image to another to recreate the missing area. If the hair is going across your forehead that is pretty easy, I just copy from right next to the hair and cover it up. If a small bit of hair is even going across an eye, I can carefully clone from other parts of the eye and cover it up. However, keeping this in mind, if a large section of the face is covered by hair it may be impossible to recreate what is underneath in a realistic way. The same is true for anything you want moved or removed from an image, anything under that spot has to be recreated so I have to have a similar spot to clone from. Please keep in mind the difficulty in doing this when making requests.

Also, I can take two images and combine them by moving heads from one and moving into another. Please realize though this can only be done if the poses are almost the same. I normally take 3 or 4 shots of each pose, so faces in two of these can be combined so you can’t even tell, but not if the poses change significantly and people move too much.

What is the turn around time on a picture order?

The printing service I use has a fast turn around time, I’ve never had it take more than a week for a client to receive an order after they select their prints. It may take me a couple of weeks or so to get your pictures adjusted and uploaded to your online gallery depending on the time of the year and how backed up I am.

Why do you suggest beach photography close to sunset?

Unlike in a studio, in nature you have to use whatever light you can find. On the beach, shade is something that is very hard to find. In direct overhead sunlight, shadows on the face can be very harsh, for example there will be shadows under your eyes and nose. If you have ever seen a typical beach snapshot, you will see faces that look unattractive and eyes that are closed or squinting. This is why it’s really best to avoid the times of the day when the sun is overhead.

Later in the day, around an hour or so before sunset, the light becomes much softer and easier to deal with. I do have tricks that can help reduce the effect of harsh sunlight like good positioning and using fill flash. For larger family groups, the light becomes even more difficult to manage. Of course if we really need to do a session earlier in the day I can, but you will get the best results close to sunset.

Policies and Conditions

Note: These are just standard photography contract conditions.  I would always prefer to refund a session than have a client unhappy with me.  Hopefully you will be very happy anyway.  These conditions don’t effect the copyright release if included with your session, this allows you to print and use the pictures online. These are the conditions you agree to with a photography session.  If you have any issues with these please let me know before the session.

Copyright & Model Release: We give the Photographer and all licensees and assignees the absolute right to copyright and use the photograph(s) taken at our photography session and any other reproduction or adaptations thereof, in whole or in part, alone or in composite or altered form, or in conjunction with any wording or other photographs or drawings, for advertising, publicity, editorial or any other purpose including use on the Internet and World Wide Web or transmission by any other electronic means. We the couple understand that we do not own the copyright in the photograph(s), and that we waive any right to inspect or approve the finished use of the photograph(s) and that the copyright of the photograph(s) belongs to the above-named photographer. We hereby release and discharge the Photographer and all licensees and assignees from any liability whatsoever, by reason of any distortion or alteration or use in composite or other form, whether intentional or not, which may occur in the making or use of the photograph(s). 

Limitation of Liability and Disclaimer: The Photographer agrees that every reasonable effort will be made to provide high quality photographic services. In the unlikely event that a catastrophic mechanical failure should occur to the Photographer’s equipment or that the Photographer is unable to provide the clients with the agreed upon photography services and/or products, or if the quality of the services and/or products is deemed to be substandard by the clients, the Photographer and the clients agree that the Photographer is not responsible for any other consequential damages, emotional or otherwise and that the Photographer’s liability shall be limited to a full refund of all monies paid. The clients agree that an entire event cannot be replicated, re-enacted or repeated for the purpose of a re-shoot and limits the Photographer’s liability to the refund of all monies paid. Neither party shall be liable for indirect or consequential loss.