Sunrise Family Photo Session at Gray Whale Cove

Saturday mornings at the beach don’t get much better than this! I photographed this sweet family – Rachel, Nick, Nico, and little baby Dre at Gray Whale Cove in Half Moon Bay, California, south of San Francisco. I love Gray Whale Cove not only for its beauty, but because it is protected from the wind. I was also super excited to show them the epic tree swing above the beach because I knew the kids would love it!

I had scouted this location less than a month before and swung on the tree swing myself. It reminded me of the tree swings we had at my house growing up. But to my dismay, when we arrived, I could not, for the life of me, find the darn swing! That’s when I noticed some fresh chainsaw marks on the various trees along the cliffside view. The swing had been cut down!! *Insert dismayed emoji face* I was SO bummed! Here I had promised an epic tree swing for the kids, and then apologetically had to explain to them that it was no longer there. We decided it must have been the Atmospheric River that hit California the week prior. Maybe it damaged the tree that made the swing unsafe? As my family would say, “Oh well, mom. Oh well.”

Anyway, did the lack of a tree swing stop us from having an epic session? It did not! Gray Whale Cove is an incredible beach location. It’s surrounded by cliff sides that make it a warmer than normal beach. It’s less crowded than San Francisco beaches and has that classic, golden sand. (That does wonders for skin tones!)

We spent our time meandering up and down the beach. Nico was running back and forth with Rachel chasing him; it was the cutest thing ever! We only had one err, that was when Rachel and Nico unintentionally got caught in a large lapping wave! It came in so fast, they hardly had time to run away. Thankfully Nico took it like a champ! Just look at the images that came as a result and you’ll agree it was a happy accident.

Can I just say, too, that the color coordination for their outfits went perfectly with the setting. Rachel’s dress was prime for this beach session. The images of her running where her dress is flowing in the wind are some of my absolute favorites! I had so much fun going through these photos. This gallery has me swooning. Thank you so much, Rachel, Nick, Nico, and Dre, for trusting me to capture these special memories of your family! I hope you love these images as much as I do!

You’ll notice how the beach is protected by the wind on 3 sides!
I can’t get enough of these epic overlooks!
Morning beach sessions outside of SF means you’re likely to have the beach all to yourself, except for the birds of course. But they only make the experience and imagery more epic. 🙂
Can’t get enough of those birds! This photo is just so sweet. I love how Rachel is cuddling into Nick while Nico and Dre play in the sand.
Plenty of space to run and play with so many treasures to find!
I love the above image on the right where Rachel is running with Nico. Her dress paired perfectly in this beach setting.
Bringing a blanket to a family photo session is always a good idea!
These photos are the result of that big wave coming in and soaking their feet and ankles, how sweet!

Be sure to leave this sweet family some love in the comments! Also, what do you think of this location? Would you want to have a photoshoot here?

Thanks for reading! 🙂

With love and gratitude,


If you liked this post, you may also enjoy:

Devol Family Sunrise Session on the West Coast

Sunset Family Session at Rodeo Beach

Sunset Family Session at Rockaway Beach

June 15, 2022

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