One of the best locations to capture interesting photographs of color and natural beauty is at the beach.
By following these beach photography tips and ideas you’ll learn how to capture some impressive images.
Finding focal points
There are plenty of opportunities to capture excellent images wherever the sea meets the sand, especially if you think outside of the box or avoid cliché photos.
For instance, you can take shots from the beach looking out to the sea and vice versa. But while the scenery may be gorgeous, there’s often no focal point to concentrate on and this can make the scene quite empty.
It’s always a good idea in photography to try and locate a point of interest for viewers to focus on. This could actually be anything that interests you such as footprints or patterns in the sand, a lifeguard tower, or the waves crashing into the rocks.
Of course, there are also numerous other things that can be found at beaches including seashells, sunscreen lotion, and sand castles, and let’s not forget the beachgoers.
Like most other locations, the best time to take photos is often early and/or late in the day due to the natural lighting. This is also known as the golden hour in photography. This will often result in more interesting colors and shadows.
Also, if you’re just interested in taking landscape shots without people, the beach will generally be less busy at those times of the day.
Keeping your eye on the horizon
A sloping horizon can often leave too much open space.
It’s a good idea to try and keep the horizon square when framing your photographs. You may also want to place the horizon slightly off center as many images look like they’ve been cut in half when the horizon is centered.
Photo by Tim J Keegan
Bad weather equals good shots
One of the best times to head to the beach to get dramatic shots is during bad weather.
When the sea is stormy and the clouds are thick the scene becomes much more exciting at atmospheric. This is especially true when the sun’s going down as the clouds will usually turn into a kaleidoscope of colors.
Bracket your shots
You may have problems getting the proper exposure when the sun’s shining on the beach.
When using the camera’s auto mode the photos could tend to be underexposed.
It’s usually better to switch to the manual mode where you can experiment with your exposure. You could try overexposing the shots slightly and see how they look. This could be tough in scenes include bright and shaded areas though. If this is the case you may have to decide which specific area you’d rather have properly exposed.
You can sometimes solve the exposure problems if you have a spot metering option on your camera.
This will allow you to let the camera know which section of the image to properly expose.
This is ideal if you want to expose a shady spot in bright sunshine. The other areas may be overexposed, but the focal point will be fine. This is ideal when taking photos of people as you can meter on their face while they’re facing away from the bright sun.
Using fill flash
The bright sun can create shadows, so if you’re taking photos of people at the beach and their faces are shadowed, you can use fill flash to eliminate them.
This is ideal when you have to shoot into the sun so the person doesn’t appear to be a silhouette. It’s always a good idea to experiment with the strength of the flash first if possible. If you can’t control the strength of the flash and the person is overexposed you can move backward and try to zoom in.
If you use a DSLR camera, UV filters can protect your lens from sand and water and they’ll also filter the strong ultraviolet light out up to a certain range.
This will be able to reduce any haze if you use a polarizing filter it will reduce polarized light, which will boost the contrast and cut down on reflections.
These filters are great at making the sky appear dark blue and rich and they can also produce some creative effects with the water. Some people actually use their polarized sunglasses as a filter by taking their shots through the lens of the glasses.
Experiment in black and white
There are a lot of colors in beach shots, but if you shoot in black and white you’ll be able to really alter the atmosphere and mood of the image. You can have a lot of fun taking some shots in black and white, especially on overcast days when they colors are often dulled.
We hope you enjoyed these beach photography tips and ideas and look forward to seeing the photos your come back with. Leave a comment below telling us your favorite tip or share one of your own.