Why Matapōuri Beach is a perfect location for family photos

Large Wall Collage Frame

Not everyone comes to me with a firm idea of where they want their family photos done. Some come knowing they want beach photos, but have no real preference for which one and will ask me for advice.

Let me tell you, not all beaches are created equal in Northland when it comes to shooting family photos there!

Below are 4 key things I think about when choosing a beach for your photos to make it an awesome experience for family. And using a recent session as an example, I’ll explain why Matapōuri delivers on them all!

Matapouri Beach
Matapōuri Beach, 35 mins east of Whangārei.


Any photographer will tell you that light is always one of the top things we are thinking about when we look for photo locations. Because there are lots of rocks and shade on the northern end, Matapōuri delivers year round for options in most weather from bright & sunny to moody & overcast skies.

I also love a beach location where we can get some gorgeous backlight down onto the sand dunes which creates magical shots like these ones below. If we strike it right with the cloud cover and sunset, we can often get beautiful backlight down on the dunes here. Unfortunately it’s never something I can guarantee as you know how fickle the Northland weather can be!


The next thing I look for is texture. I can usually find this with grasses and rocks. As you can see from the shots below, Matapōuri Beach provides lots of opportunities for incorporating this into your photos. The reason I like texture is that it means I can provide you with lots of variety in your session so you have an awesome selection when we design your family album.


I also love being able to blend the coastal colours into your photos and Matapōuri gives so many options with the green & yellow grasses, darker rocks, white sand and blue seas. In the “What to Wear Guide” I provide for all my clients, I include lots of ideas for colour palettes you can think about when planning what to wear for beach photos.


Toilets – This is also one of the things I look for in a beach where we shoot family photos. There’s nothing worse than arriving dressed nicely for your photos and having nowhere to go to the loo!

Fish & Chips – Definitely not a “must have”, but I do love in the summer when the timing is right and families can finish their session with fish and chips on the way home. And that’s exactly what we did when we had our own family photos at Matapōuri just before Christmas. A perfectly timed stop at the Ngunguru Fish & Chip shop rounded our evening of very nicely!

Framed print of a couple at Matapōuri
As well as the wall collage shown in the top photo, we also framed these three prints of Mum and Dad as a 10 Year Anniversary present to themselves.