Me llamo Kristen – that’s Español for
“My name is Kristen.”

10+ ago I retired from the hustle and bustle of the NYC corporate banking world, trading in my heels for a surfboard and camera in Costa Rica. My photography work has been featured & published internationally in Harper’s Bazaar, Coastal Living, American Express, and Real Simple, to name a few (eek!).

I love dancing with waves, chasing sunsets, beach strolls with my sassy pants Chihuahua named Gidget, laughing my butt off, and giving you one heck of a fun photo session experience. I’m beyond grateful to call two beautiful places home, Tamarindo, Costa Rica and Savannah, Georgia.

But enough about me, let’s talk about you + what you’re looking for…photos that are 100% you! Because this isn’t gonna be like picture day at school, pinky promise! Keep on scrolling to learn more about my photo style + how I can help capture those images you’ve been dreaming about hanging in your home!

Tamarindo Costa Rica photographer Kristen M. Brown of Samba to the Sea running on the beach to the ocean with her surfboard.

photographic style


You’ve been searching for something more.

You’re dreaming of one-of-a-kind imagery and a photo session experience that is effortless. You want images that have depth & are even more beautiful than you could have imagined.

You’ve landed in the right place.   

I’m not about awkward or forced poses, but rather those perfectly-imperfect, REAL moments. The little things and those big feelings, like that look of pure joy on your face because you’re laughing so hard.

The big moments, the loud ones and the quiet ones, the in-betweens, the ones you don’t think anyone else is watching.

I’m about capturing who you really are and making this experience fun from beginning to end. Even if your significant other dislikes taking photos, they’ll soon be saying how much fun they’re having — promise (and 100% vetted by over 140 5 star Google Reviews).

And if you think you don’t look good in photos or don’t know what to do with your hands, I got ya! After our session you’re gonna want to have your photo taken with me again because your photos are beautifully you! Yes, my clients say this too…and they come back to Costa Rica year after year for photos with me.

Lifestyle photography in Costa Rica photographed by Kristen M. Brown of Samba to the Sea Photography.

I’m a photographer
for the
adventure loVing
suNset dreamers
wild at heaRt.

Costa Rica photographer Kristen M. Brown.

So if you’re fueled by sandy toes and salt air,
down to getting a ‘lil wet playing in the waves
and wanna see my little Chihuahua Gidget do tricks for ya,
obsessed with breathtaking sunsets,
value your experience over perfectly posed photographs,
and cherish photography with substance, depth, and story
we’re gonna have one heck of a good time!

Are you ready for photography that is as unique as you?

Five Star Client Reviews
& Counting

Kristen really has, what they call “the whole package” – –  not only does she instantly feel like a friend, she’s also extremely helpful loosening up a newbie in front of the camera. She gives the best advice when it comes to posture and posing. If you’re looking for exceptional quality and just a plain ole’ good time, Kristen is definitely your match made in Heaven.

Sarah + Ian

I don’t even know where to begin with Kristen + Samba to the Sea. I found her while searching blogs on weddings in Costa Rica, and immediately knew I had to have her. I didn’t care about the venue, the music, the decor- only that we HAD to use Samba to the Sea for our photographs! Kristen has a unique, creative style and knows how to capture each and every perfect moment. My husband (I can say that, now!) and I were not the traditional bride and groom and Kristen fit our ‘off the beaten path’ needs, to the fullest. And I must add, she genuinely had fun photographing our wedding, and brought such a positive, energetic energy that was contagious. She is definitely someone you want to have around on your wedding day! I am beyond grateful to have these beautiful photos of our wedding to look back on forever! Thank you Kristen, we love you!

Rhiannon + Calvin

We had such a wonderful experience with Kristen. She made our session so relaxed. She is fun, energetic and easy to be with. The photos were incredible and we have used other professional photographers before with the kids. Kristen has the talent to catch truly genuine moments – nothing is super “posed” about the portraits….you will bring home the type of creative, beautiful photos you see on Pinterest and wish you could have in your home! Highly recommend!

– Casey Family

Working with Kristen was one of the best choices we made in planning our wedding. She was able to really capture the love surrounding our wedding, and we were so happy to have found her. She was very communicative and her turnaround time was AMAZING! We had the photos to look at while on our honeymoon right after the wedding which was a big plus!! We felt like Kristen was a guest at our wedding rather than hired, she felt like a friend immediately and knew exactly how to capture our day. She knew of specific places to take us on the beach during our portraits which was so nice, and made us feel at ease the entire time. If there is one thing you do, book Kristen now, as you will not be disappointed! Gracias Kristen!!

Gina + Mark

Samba to the Sea Photography was exactly what my husband and I were looking for to capture our wedding day in Costa Rica. From the emails leading up, I could tell that Kristen genuinely cared about what we wanted. She was quick to respond with questions, and on the wedding day, she was professional, friendly and intuitive. This is huge when you have so many things going on, so many little decisions to make. We needed our photographer to take the reigns, creatively guiding us, effortlessly. Kristen did just that, creating some of the most beautiful photos of us. We couldn’t be happier with how they turned out, and will cherish them for the rest of our lives.

– Keeley + Steve

published work

Real Simple logo.
Coastal Living logo.
Harper's Bazaar logo.
American Express logo.

P.S. Did you know that your photos will give back to help keep Mother Nature magical?

As a proud member of 1% for the Planet, every client of Samba to the Sea helps support this amazing environmental non-profit organization — 1% of gross revenues are donated yearly to 1%FTP.  Click here to learn more!

Some of my favorite things


aerial images





Nikon Film Camera

palm trees


old photographs


dreamy live oak trees

water views



the sunset shop

Oh, you want to know more?

From a very early age I can remember staring at pictures that my parents took on their worldwide travels and being mesmerized. I could not wait to get my hands on one of my parents’ SLRs. When my mom finally let me use her Nikon, I was ecstatic loading the film for the first time and even more elated seeing my first photographs come to life in front of my eyes in the dark room.

That Nikon SLR instantly became one of my best friends, coming along on every jaunt and worldwide adventure. Gone are the film days, and a digital Nikon DSLR is a welcomed addition to best friend status, but my viewpoint when I look through the camera lens is still the same. The world around me is transformed when I look through the viewfinder. I feel beyond blessed to be doing what I love and living my passions.

How to dance Samba footsteps GIF.


Why Costa Rica?

I took my first surf lesson in 2011 and it was love at first wipeout. After two trips to Tamarindo, Costa Rica within a couple of months of that first surf lesson, I was sitting on my surfboard in the Pacific Ocean when my heart whispered I needed to be in Tamarindo. I hadn’t felt that alive in years. A year after my first trip to Costa Rica, in September of 2012, I took a leap of faith and left my job at a big bank in New York City. I hopped on a plane to surf in Pura-Vida-dise and to help Mr. Endless Summer, Robert August, with social media and blogging.


Soon after landing in Costa Rica, I started chasing and photographing the oh-so-magical Costa Rican sunsets every night. After seeing one-too-many ugly postcards for sale in Tamarindo, I decided to take matters into my own hands and started selling my own of 100% recycled postcards, notecards, mini cards using my sunset photographs. Selling my photographs via my cards inspired me to finally pursue my passion for photography full-time. Sunset chasing with my oh-so-adorable Chihuahua Gidget is now a daily ritual – – every afternoon no matter where I am in the world, I close my laptop and head out with Gidget to chase sunsets. Costa Rica and Savannah so far are our two favorite spots to watch Mother Nature’s magic!

P.S. You can bring paradise home with you with my sunset and beach prints from my online print shop, The Sunset Shop!

Costa Rica photographer Kristen M. Brown.
Costa Rica photo prints by Kristen M. Brown at The Sunset Shop.

the suNset shop

Your Getaway to Paradise at Home.

That feeling of freedom, sun soaked beach days, and magical sunset strolls.

It’s the feeling you live for, but there’s one minor detail. You don’t live in paradise.

Thankfully, you’ve finally landed in the right place…

A place that was made for you, fellow sunset chaser, beach lover, and wanderluster! A place full of breathtaking photo prints of paradise.

Welcome & bienvenidos to The Sunset Shop, a place where you can bring that magical feeling of paradise home with you, wherever your home may be.

Costa Rica photo prints by Kristen M. Brown at The Sunset Shop.


The little things and those big feelings, like the look of pure happiness as you’re exchanging vows. Or the laughter shared while celebrating a special birthday with your loved ones in paradise. I’m all about capturing those real moments and y’all having one heck of a good time.

Fill out the contact form or email me at hola@sambatothesea.com and let’s get to know each other (you can count on me to get back to you within a day). If the fit is right, I can’t wait to welcome you and your loved ones to the Samba to the Sea familia!

*Photo session investment starts at $675.*

P.S. my clients love working with me as much as I love working with them; be sure to read their beautiful words of praise.

(I'm based in Tamarindo in the Guanacaste region.)

Samba to the Sea waves logo
Samba to the Sea photography logo.

Samba to the Sea Photography is an internationally published photographer for the adventure loving sunset dreamers & wild at heart.

Based in Tamarindo, Costa Rica & Savannah, Georgia.

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