In this article, We share 10 easy-to-follow tricks and tips for stunning beach photography.
Specifically, I explain:
- How to create lovely beach compositions
- When to head to the particular beach for the best photos
- How to select the right beach photography settings for lots of stunning detail
- Much more!
By the time you’re finished reading, you’ll know how to capture seaside shots like a professional.
Let’s dive correct in, starting with my initial tip:
1 ) Look for focal points
If you want to capture gorgeous beach photos, you must pay out careful attention to your
Composition is a complex subject, but the basic advice is straightforward:
Include a fascinating focal point , something that draws the eye and acts as a compositional anchor.
A focal point can be anything eye-catching, from boats on the horizon to people splashing in the water to an amazing wave. I often go to the water’s edge and then switch completely around to see what’s in my frame; that way, I could see colorful umbrellas, lifeguard stands, interesting buildings, and much more. Note that a focal point does not need to be big, either; also intimate compositions can have points, such as a pattern in the fine sand, a set of footprints, or a crab on a rock.
Once you’ve found a focal point, carefully consider where to position it in the body. A central composition – where the focal point sits smack-dab in the middle of the shot – often looks boring plus static. If you can adjust your camera so that the point of interest sits off to one aspect, your photo will look much more dynamic.
2 . Head to the beach throughout the golden hours
For one, there are fewer people at the end of the day, which means you can capture plenty of seaside landscapes that don’t function distracting sunbathers and swimmers.
As well as the golden hours offer amazing light; the low sun blankets the beach with wonderful warm colors, plus it creates interesting shadows (which may act as a focal point – see the previous tip! ).
Of course , in case you go out with your camera in the late afternoon, stick around for that sunset. You might even hang around for the hour after sun when the sky turns a beautiful blue. (Be sure to provide a
3. Maintain that horizon straight
It’s a typical beach photography mistake, and something that you should avoid at all costs:
A tilted horizon.
You see, when you’re faced with wide-open space and a long, unbroken horizon, even the slightest camera point becomes immediately apparent – and it looks terrible .
Fortunately, once you know to look out for a crooked horizon, it’s pretty easy to prevent. For one, you may make sure your camera offers its gridlines turned on, after that – when out in the field – line up the horizon with a gridline.
Alternatively, you can use your camera’s in-built level (if it has one), or you can buy a bubble level that will mounts to your camera hot shoe.
And in the worst-case situation, you can level the chance in post-processing, though you’ll lose a bit of edge details that way, so it’s best to get it right in-camera whenever possible.
4. Go to the beach when the climate is bad
Beaches look great on sunlit days, sure – yet did you know that, if you head to the particular beach when the sky can be dark and stormy, you can obtain stunningly atmospheric images?
For instance, check out this particular beach photo, in which the raining sunset and choppy surf create a foreboding mood:
Of course , you’ll need to take steps to stay secure, and if rain starts to pour, be sure to protect your digital camera with a waterproof cover.
But if you’re ready to head out when everyone else minds inside, the photography opportunities are often incredible !
In addition, stormy weather isn’t the only way to capture moody pictures. You can also head out in fog or even snow, both which can look incredible when incorporated into a minimalistic beach composition .
5. Bracket your exposures
One of the biggest challenges of seaside photography is the brightness.
Sand reflects gentle all around and the sun beats down, so you’ll often end up with images that reduce detail in the highlights and the shadows (due in order to
My recommendation is to switch over to your own camera’s Guide mode or even Aperture Concern mode , both which allow you to adjust the exposure to compensate for any issues. You need to a test shot, check the image on your LCD (the histogram can be very helpful, here! ), and make any essential changes to your camera settings . (I find that I get the greatest results when I overexpose by a stop or two, but this really depends on the circumstance. )
In any case, in addition to the above advice, I actually highly recommend you bracket your exposures . Basically, take multiple shots of the same scene at slightly different exposure levels (for this, you can either adapt the shutter speed manually or you can use your camera’s exposure compensation option ).
That way, even if one of your shots doesn’t look great, you’ll have a very nice backup or even two!
6. Use spot metering
Cameras usually offer several
And when you’re struggling with under- or even overexposure, place metering is usually the way to go.
You see, a spot metering mode guides the camera to analyze only a small spot in the center of the. That way, if you’re trying to picture a distinct subject – like a person or a bird – you can position the center of the particular frame just over your subject matter and use that meter reading to set your publicity.
The setting might turn out incorrectly exposed, but the subject will look perfect, and that’s often exactly what counts!
This is particularly useful whenever you’re shooting in bright light but you want to properly uncover a person in the shade (or with their back to the sun, as with the image below). Position the center of the frame over the shaded person, lock the publicity, then recompose and hit the shutter button.
7. Consider fill flash on sunny days
In case you photograph people at the beach on the bright, sunny day, then you’ll often notice large shadows on your subjects’ people and necks (cast simply by hats, glasses, noses, plus chins). These can be fairly unflattering, plus they tend to be accompanied by harsh, unpleasant highlights.
And while it’s difficult to completely eliminate harsh shadows and highlights when doing work in direct sunlight, you can easily mitigate them:
Just activate your on-camera flash, then let it fire! (If your camera doesn’t have a pop-up flash, you can always bring a flash and mount this to your hot shoe. )
The display will add a bit of fill light to your subject, reducing the harsh highlight-shadow contrast, and you’ll get a much more pleasing result.
This is an especially important technique when shooting into sunlight; if you photograph without an expensive, you risk turning your subject into a silhouette. (And while it’s possible to handle this problem through careful direct exposure – see the previous tip – flash will give you an even more balanced photo. )
8. Use neutral density filters designed for beautiful long-exposure images
Beaches feature lots of moving water, and relocating water is great for long-exposure photography . A lengthy shutter speed will get you a water-blurring effect just like this:
Yet there’s a problem:
Beaches tend to be very vivid, and the brighter the scene, the quicker the shutter speed you need to create a well-exposed image.
So what do you do? Simple! You put a neutral density filter over your zoom lens, which blocks out the light (just like sunglasses). That way, you can slow the shutter without risking overexposure.
Now, neutral denseness filters come in different strengths, but a 10-stop ND filter will usually do the trick, specifically if you shoot early or late in the day. Bear in mind, even though, that a good ND filter might cost some money – and while there are plenty of cheap choices out there, image color and sharpness will often take a strike.
9. Use a polarizer to deepen colours and handle glare
Neutral denseness filters are great – view the previous tip! – yet there’s another type of filter We wholeheartedly recommend for beach photography:
This might not seem like an issue, but it makes a huge difference in certain situations. For instance, if you want to photograph crystal-clear water, the polarizer will let you cut through the glare to capture the ocean floor (within reason, of course! ).
A polarizer can also be very helpful when shooting blue skies; it can make them seem richer, especially when the polarizer is pointed at a correct angle to the sun.
Fortunately, polarizers aren’t super expensive – you can grab a solid-quality choice in the $60 range. And as soon as your polarizer comes, put it on your lens and go take some check shots. You’ll be astonished by the results!
10. Test out black and white
Most beach photographers shoot in color, when you’re interested in moody-looking, fine-art style images, why not consider using a black and white transformation ?
I’ve been doing a lot of monochrome beach photography as of late, as well as the effect is often very cool. The lack of color emphasizes the textures and tones of the sand, and subjects that previously seemed boring come alive.
You do not need to switch your digital camera over to its Monochrome setting, by the way; you can always convert to black and white in post-processing (and if you don’t like the effect, you are able to switch back to color with the press of a button! ).
One suggestion: Black and white works especially properly on shots taken along with dull and overcast light. If your images are looking a little drab or colorless, change over to Monochrome and see that which you think!
Beach photography: final terms
As you can see, seaside photography isn’t hard – and it’s a lot of fun!
So the next time you visit the beach, bring your camera. And test out a few of the tips I’ve shared nowadays.
Now over to you:
Do you have a favorite beach intended for photography? When is your favorite time to photograph beaches? Discuss your thoughts and photos in the comments below!