Photography by Stephanie Kay Blog

Thank you so much for visiting my little corner of the web! Photography by Stephanie Kay specializes in child and family portraits, high school seniors, engagement and maternity portraits in Raleigh, Cary, Morrisville, Apex, Holly Springs, Atlantic Beach, Pine Knolls Shores and Emerald Isle, North Carolina. I shoot on location all over the Triangle and the Crystal Coast. I focus on natural outdoor photography sessions.

Archive for 'Beach Photographer'

This crew! They are like family to me!

They have a condo across the hall from us and we all just HANG OUT till the wee hours of the morning. So I was more than happy to do this photoshoot with them.


See more of my work here:

Photography By Stephanie Kay



Family photoshoot Atlantic Beach NC

Family photoshoot Atlantic Beach NC

Family photoshoot Atlantic Beach NC

Mermaids exist in Atlantic Beach, North Carolina!

These three mermaids had a blast during their mermaid photoshoot. These photos are treasures for the girls and their families and an experience they will never forget! If you want to add a mermaid tail to your shoot, make sure you talk about it to me before so I can bring the right tails and that we allow plenty of time to get your daughter changed. It takes a while to get into the tails and it is really hard to move around in them. But it is worth the effort as these works of art will be gorgeous on your living room wall.

Photography By Stephanie Kay

Mermaids telling “tails” in Atlantic Beach NC

Mermaids telling secrets in Atlantic Beach, NC

A giant wave knocked down these three mermaids in Atlantic Beach, NC but they loved it.

If you’re looking for mermaids, look in Atlantic Beach, NC

If you are looking for mermaids, they live in Atlantic Beach, NC

If you are looking for mermaids, look in Atlantic Beach, NC


Content mermaid in the ocean at Atlantic Beach NC

Red-head mermaid by the sea Atlantic Beach NC

Red-head mermaid content to be in her element in Atlantic Beach NC

Beautiful red-head mermaid in Atlantic Beach NC

Mermaid in her element in Atlantic Beach NC

Every other year, Grandma and Grandpa rent the same beach house in Emerald Isle to get their kids and grandkids under one roof for a week. For the past two years, they have hired me as their photographer.

The photos are priceless.

I even broke out the mermaid tails for the girls for this one.


See more of my work here:

Photography By Stephanie Kay


Beach house in Emerald Isle NC

Beach house in Emerald Isle NC

Emerald Isle Family Photoshoot

Emerald Isle Photoshoot

Emerald Isle family photoshoot

Emerald Isle photoshoot

Emerald Isle Photoshoot

Emerald Isle photoshoot

Emerald Isle Photoshoot

Emerald Isle Photoshoot

Mermaid Photoshoot Emerald Isle NC

Emerald Isle photoshoot

Emerald Isle photoshoot

Emerald Isle Photoshoot


You’re going to get a chance at some point to make your life they way you want it to be. Every day, week and year  you make choices that continuously lead to the shaping of your life.

For me, the past 7 months have been life-forming. My dad was diagnosed with a horrible and deadly cancer on November 1st. My DAD. My dad was never sick, tough as they come. Unrelated to this, the days before his diagnosis were heart-wrenching due to a major fall-out with people who I thought were my friends. I spent the 3 days leading up to my dad’s diagnosis talking to him non-stop about how I had been done wrong by these women, and how they hurt my children (their hearts, not their bodies) and I lost sleep over it. I thought what these women did was the absolute worst thing. I was so wrong. The absolute worst thing was that my dad was diagnosed with a horrible and deadly cancer and my time with him was coming to an end.

I woke up early on November 2, after barely sleeping at all. It was pitch black. I went downstairs and watched the sun come up. The sun was bright that day, the sky was bluest blue. I noticed it because my dad was in the hospital getting treated for low hemoglobin due to internal bleeding from his esophageal tumor, and he would not feel the sun that day. I realized how important it was to be able to stand in the sun and appreciate the beauty of the day. Because that could get taken away at any time.
My dad and I talked so much during the last six months of his life. We talked a lot about his declining health and all of the complications he faced along the way. But he also gave me life lessons. He talked to me about things that were important to him. Things he wanted me to take with me through my life.

Now I am VERY IMPERFECT. Very. I have said and done things in my life that I am not proud of. But lucky for me, and for all of us, life is filled with second chances. And third chances. It is never to late to start making choices to start shaping your life the way you want it. My dad told me how to do it: value your heart and soul enough today to say this bold statement: I actually deserve to be happy and have a good life.

For once, I shut up and listened.

I want you to know, whoever you are, that your life is valuable. Your happiness is important and should be the biggest priority. Don’t waste your time, time is limited. Make the most of your life. It is something you will never regret. Buy the beach house. Spend time with your kids. Let go of people who do not fill your life with good. If someone doesn’t understand you, doesn’t “get” you, treats you badly, makes you feel “less”, then move on.

Be happy. You owe that to yourself.

Last weekend we went to the beach. We have a little condo in Atlantic Beach, NC. The weather was amazing. The sun was bright, the sky was the bluest blue. My husband was listening to Jack Johnson and watching the ocean. My son was skim boarding into the waves. My daughter was playing in the sand with her friend. I was with a true friend, talking about our kids and our schools and dinner and Disney. We were doing simple things and all of us were so happy. My dad would have been really proud. Because we are living the life he wants for us.

A life that’s good.

See more of my work here:

Photography By Stephanie Kay

Our beach season is in fast approaching! I am so blown away by all the beautiful families that we have met, and the beautiful beach sessions that we have had. I get so many emails from clients asking about what are the best ways to prepare their kids and family for this type of session.
So with that being said, there are a few things that I have found that really help prepare your family for our time together.
  1. Talk with your family about the session before hand: It’s always a great idea to chat up the fact that you are having family pictures taken while on vacation. That this is really important to capture memories for your family while at a favorite spot. I recently had a amazing session with a family with two young children and it went so well. Mom said that she had been telling the kids for a while about the session and they were well prepared and even looking forward to it
  2. Show them my website so that they are prepared for the types of things we will do. We will do some posed shots, they will be close together, we will be on the ground, in the sand, we might be in the water at the end. So many things, and if they have an idea of what’s coming, it will help them look forward to it.
  3. Make sure everyone is rested: I can not stress this enough! I know you are on vacation, but we shoot late in the day, and that’s often a hard time for little ones, so please make sure they get a good nap in. Even for parents, take a rest so that you are not stressed. It really helps.
  4. Well fed kiddos (and adults) make for happy ones: Again, we are shooting late in the day, and often my family’s go out to eat after the session because they are dressed up, but make sure snacks have been eaten so that we are not grumpy because we are hungry! You can even bring a snack (not messy one) to your session.
  5. Don’t Stress: The beach is supposed to be relaxing and fun…and that is what I will aim to capture. It helps tremendously if you are relaxed and see it as fun. I will get the shots…I promise, so concentrate on having fun with your family.
  6. Connection: I have said this over and over, but connection is what it’s all about for me. So, please talk to dad and your kids….I will have you close, hugging, connecting, touching etc. It helps if they know this ahead of time.
  7. Bring something for long hair: if you don’t you will regret it and so will I. I have had so many “great shots” that I can not use due to hair across the face. I can edit some of this, but when it’s blowing huge strands of hair, it’s nearly impossible to edit. Remember we are on the beach…it’s windy, sometimes really windy and so having headbands, clips or something that we can use to pull hair back really helps! I would plan for it to be windy….and if it’s not then yeah! But most of the time it is!
  8. Please put the phones away: It makes it very hard, if you are trying to take a picture with your phone, and I am doing the same …the kids will look at you because that is what they are use to, and I won’t get them to look at me. So if I see them out, I will ask you to put them away. I want to get the best shots possible, with the least amount of distractions.
  9. The flow: I use the same flow with most of my sessions. I shoot everyone sitting, standing; I will do individuals of kids, of families etc.  I will have you on the ground, in the sand, so just be prepared.
  10. Have Fun! The more fun you have the better your images will be! I promise, if you look at this as a “fun thing” your images will reflect it! So there are my tips for helping your family prepare for our time together. Please at anytime, if you have any questions…ask me! I’m always here for you to help you! I want this to be as successful as possible!

Photography by Stephanie Kay photographs on the Crystal Coast of North Carolina in Atlantic Beach, Emerald Isle, Pine Knolls Shores, Morehead City, Beaufort and Newport.

You can view my website by clicking on this link:

Photography by Stephanie Kay

  1. Start with hydrated skin. Use a non-greasy lightweight moisturizer. Don’t use a moisturizer with SPF, SPF sits on the skin surface and can cause an unwanted shine. Your makeup will go on better if your skin is well moisturized. Use your favorite moisturizer without SPF that works for your skin type.
  2. Make sure your skin is matte. What this means is you don’t want your skin to look reflective or shiny. Shiny skin is not desirable in photography. It can make you look like you have oily skin, and it can reflect light creating hot spots on the face, which is very distracting. If you have oily skin you can use mattifiers or primers to absorb oil and prevent shine. Benefit’s Porefessional is a great product to try.
  3. No shimmer, glitter or shiny makeup products. Again, we do not want shine.
  4. Give yourself flawless skin. Use a fuller coverage foundation, with concealer and powder. You want to try and cover any redness or discoloration on the skin. Conceal dark circles if you have them, and apply concealer around your nose and on your laugh lines. Use a minimal amount of concealer and blend well. Of course, go for a matte finish. If you have great, even skin you can use a lighter product like Make Up For Ever’s Water Blend Face and Body Foundation. It evens out the skin and looks and feels natural. If you need more coverage, try Make Up Forever’s Ultra HD Foundation. Use powder on your forehead, nose and chin.
  5. You’re going to need more color in your face than you think. You don’t want to look washed out. Apply more blush and mascara than usual. Enhance your brows. Eyebrows add structure to the eye. A fuller brow makes your face look younger and fresher, but don’t overdo it. Take a selfie so you can check your makeup before the shoot to make sure your features stand out.
  6. Define your eyes. You will be connecting with my lens and your eyes will be the main focus of your photos. Use eyeliner on your top and bottom lash line. Use 3 eyeshadow colors. Use a neutral shadow over the lid, a darker shadow in the crease and a highlighter at the inner corner and on the brow bone.
  7. Sweep bronzer over the jawline, temples, sides of the nose and just under the cheekbones. Use a natural looking blush to add tone and dimension to the face. Blend blend blend.
  8. It is important to have a lip that is balanced, saturated and symmetrical.

Here are some links to my favorite makeup products for photoshoots.

Benefit Porefessional

Makeup Forever Water Blend Face and Body Foundation

Makeup Forever Ultra HD Foundation

Mac Pro Longwear Nourishing Waterproof Foundation

Mac Prep + Prime CC Colour Correcting Compact

Mac Select Cover-Up

Mac Blot Powder

Benefit ka-Brow Eyebrow Cream Gel

Urban Decay Naked Ultimate Basics

Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil

Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara

Urban Decay Beached Bronzer

Mac Powder Blush

Urban Decay Matte Revolution Lipstick


To view my website, click the link below
Photography by Stephanie Kay



I am very excited about my new logo! Everyone thinks it is “SO ME” and I guess I can see how they would say that. It is never too early to book your summer photoshoot in Atlantic Beach, Pine Knolls Shores or Emerald Isle!

Her hair is to die for. But so his her face. I shot this by the pool in my subdivision in Cary, NC. The background was a nasty pond and overgrown woods, but the light here is perfect and I knew that with the right camera settings I could make the shot look magical.

I photograph in Cary, Apex, Holly Springs, Morrisville and Raleigh in the Triangle area. I also photograph at the beach on the Crystal Coast/Carteret County.

Click this link to see more of my work and learn more about Photography by Stephanie Kay.

Cary, NC High School Senior Photo

I love lights in the background of my photos. And I love this high school senior’s highlights and the outfit she chose for her senior pictures.

I shot this in Lafayette Village in Raleigh, NC.

I am a professional photographer who photographs in the Triangle area and the Crystal Coast. I photograph in Raleigh, Durham, Cary, Apex, Morrisville, and Holly Springs in the Triangle area. On the Crystal Coast, I photograph in Atlantic Beach, Pine Knolls Shores, Emerald Isle, Morehead City, Beaufort and Newport.

Photography by Stephanie Kay is a licensed and professional photography business and provides digital images as well as print packages to her customers.


Lafayette Village Photoshoot, High School Senior, Raleigh, NC

This is my best friend and her family at the Oceanana Pier in Atlantic Beach, NC. The Pier is a popular spot for photos because it adds an architectural element and cool colors to contrast with the ocean. This was a windy day and the ocean was really kicking up. This made for a really great background.

I photograph in Atlantic Beach, Pine Knolls Shores and Emerald Isle on the beaches of the glorious Crystal Coast. I also photograph in Morehead City, Newport and Beaufort along the Intracoastal Waterway.

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