When we shoot, we all have places that make our hearts sing.
The beach is that setting for me.
It’s where I’m happiest, most creative, and most connected. Unfortunately, I don’t get to photograph at the beach very frequently, so I have to make the most of my time and surroundings when I do.
And well…who can say no to a trip to the beach? It’s something that everyone enjoys. Walking the beach is a unique experience, even if you aren’t a sunbather or a surfer. The waves constantly clean and churn the sand as the tide rises and falls, and there’s something about that sensation of regeneration that never fades. Visiting the beach re-establishes our connection to nature and re-energizes our city-weary spirits.
If you enjoy going to the beach, it’s only natural that you’ll want to share images of your adventures with your friends or reminisce about your best moments long after you’ve returned home.
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However, beach photography is not always easy. Although you may adore the sun, ocean, and sand, your camera may not perform well in these situations. Here are some beach photography tips and tricks that can ensure that your next photoshoot is a success.
6 Beach Photography Tips and Tricks
When photographing landscapes, you’ll notice that different locations necessitate different camera settings. You can boost your next beach photography with the appropriate strategies, whether you’re using a DSLR camera or a smartphone.
To create beautiful images, you don’t always need to use post-processing. Today, I’ve compiled a list of beach photography tips and methods to assist you in getting the most incredible images.
Always have a focal point while shooting:
The first tip may appear to be self-evident. However, how many exciting beach photos have you seen? The most common problem is a lack of a focal point. It doesn’t have to be a visible object, such as a person or an animal. Shells, dunes, fences, or even a worn path through the sea oats can be used.
Something should catch the viewer’s attention to the image. It also contributes to the photo’s depth. Always include a foreground, middle, and background in your composition. This is elemental composition, but it’s easy to forget when you’re at a lovely location like the beach. Beach landscape photography is similar to other landscape photography; however, adding depth requires a little more effort.
Keep the rule of thirds in mind:
The rule of thirds is a compositional approach that divides your frame into a three-by-three grid with two horizontal and two vertical lines crossing at four locations.
Consider where you want to set your horizon line when shooting images at the beach using the rule of thirds: Put the horizon line along the bottom third of the grid to draw the viewer’s eye to the sky above; alternatively, position it along the upper third to bring the viewer’s eye to the foreground to create a sense of intimacy with the scene.
Each intersection point on the grid represents a potential point of interest; align your main topic with one of these points to create a balanced image. Many digital cameras, including smartphone cameras, have settings that allow you to see the rule of thirds grid on the screen.
Change the Shutter Speeds to see what you can come up with:
When combined with a robust tripod, slow shutter speeds can elevate your beach photography to new heights. The motion of the waves will be blurred at slow speeds. Even at slower speeds, the movement of the clouds will be blurred.
The benefit is that your photographs will have an ethereal, glassy aspect as if they were taken from a fantasy realm. Combine this method with a golden hour to create photographs that are truly extraordinary. More on golden hour photography and determining when the day provides the optimum lighting for photos can be found here.
Combine what you know about the exposure triangle with low ISO (100 is a great place to start) and high f-stops (f/18 or f/22) to get the shutter speed as slow as feasible.
Even yet, beaches are brightly lighted environments, making it difficult to get your camera to move slowly enough. Therefore, a neutral density (ND) filter is quite beneficial. These filters decrease the amount of light available to the camera, making it appear much darker than it actually is. That means you can shoot at incredibly slow shutter rates throughout the day.
Avoid Beach Photography in the Middle of the Day:
If you’re going to the beach for portraits, don’t go in the middle of the day. When the sun is directly overhead, it is too harsh, and the light bouncing off the sand exacerbates your troubles. In addition, face shadows and blown highlights arise from shooting in these settings.
When the sun is low and close to the horizon, it is a better option. The light will be of higher quality and will be directed. If it’s late afternoon, a fill flash, or better yet, a reflector, may be used to balance out the light falling on your objects.
However, midday photography does not have to be completely ruled out. Many photographers take advantage of the highly harsh light. It works nicely with the appropriate composition when you’re looking for a scorching summer in the sun vibe. To light your subject, you can use fill flashes, shades, or reflectors. Give it a go if the theme involves swimsuits, sunbathing, or water activities.
Midday is also a great time to experiment with black and white beach photography. When contrast is high, black and whites are often the best choices, and the midday sun provides stark differences.
The Hours of Gold and Blue:
The golden hour occurs after sunset or before daybreak. This is the time of day when, like a sunset, the light is soft, beautiful, and warm. Because the light is indirect, no harsh shadows are cast on people. The best time to work on beach landscape photography is around golden hour. The sky is dramatic, the sea’s reflections are spectacular, and the light is ideal for capturing people and subjects in the best light possible.
But now isn’t the time to depart if you’ve stayed this long. The blue hour follows the golden hour. The light dims and turns bluer as the sun sinks lower in the sky. Long exposure photography is ideal at this time of day. The first stars will appear, but there will still be enough light bouncing around in the atmosphere to allow for excellent beach photography.
Photos taken at night:
If you have a robust tripod and clear skies, you can stay for some astrophotography. A Beginner’s Guide to Astrophotography is available to help you get started. For a variety of reasons, seaside locations are ideal for taking celebrity portraits. For one reason, they’re usually located away from light pollution or at least aimed away from.
Second, the setting is ideal for stars. You might even see some star reflections if the water is quiet. Try photographing the Milky Way with a super-wide lens if your camera allows it. Keep the aperture as wide as possible while experimenting with the ISO and shutter speed until you get it right. The majority of contemporary DSLR and mirrorless cameras are capable of shooting at night.
When it comes to getting a good sunset photo, beaches aren’t typically the first place to mind. When the weather is beautiful, though, make sure to select a picture-worthy area and set up your tripod.
Then you should practice and learn the skills that will help you get the most incredible shot possible. In no time, your buddies will believe you’re a pro. You’ll become a master at beach photography if you keep learning.
And with that, this beach photography blog comes to a close.