How to Take Great Beach Photos
Beach Photo Techniques to Get Rid of Dark Eyes
Photography on the Beach
Beaches present some interesting challenges. As described above in the video, strong sunlight causes unwelcome shadows. Diffuse light is much softer on faces.
At times, a filter is required for shooting toward the sun. Eye damage as well as camera damage can occur without the use of sun filters.
Anytime photographers go to the beach, the hardest part of their job is to deal with the sunshine. Non-professional photographers can use a few simple techniques for beach photography. Special equipment is not needed.
Techniques for Shooting Into the Sun
This shot requires a sun filter, but the technique here is to use the sun to silhouette a person, place or thing. Always be aware of the subject of your photo and where the sun is. Look for little things like a child picking up a shell in a shallow wave. Trying to shoot the whole horizon makes a dull photo.
A really cute filter is to use a beach blow up raft. Have your subject hold the raft behind them while facing the sun. From the back all the camera will see is the shadow of the subject in front of the raft.
Other techniques include shooting everything under an umbrella. It's best to use a fill flash on skin tones while shooting under an umbrella or the skin tones will take on the color cast of the umbrella.
There are a few hours in the day when beach sun is ideal for shooting photos. Early in the morning, the sun makes a lovely backdrop for people walking on the beach. Try to keep the sun at an angle rather than point the camera straight at the sun.
Shooting with the sun at your left or right arm, a 90 degree angle, makes for some incredible shots at sunrise and sunset.
In the evening around sunset, the sun surrounds scenery to give it a natural looking glow. Again, shoot from an angle. Do not point your camera straight into the sun.
Depth of Field Technique for Beach Photos
Portrait Photography on the Beach
A boardwalk is the perfect background for shooting portraits. A photograph of someone just standing around on the beach is very boring. The background is too wide and usually flat. Look for a background that includes texture and depth as well as the water and sand.
This boardwalk background could be used to pose people or animals any number of ways. Stagger their stance along both sides of the rails. Have people looking at each other, not the camera. Experiment with lighting and other props.
This technique is called showing depth of field. The narrowing of a walkway or trail will provide a focal point for the viewer's eye. The front of the photo narrows into a distant point which gives the illusion of distance.
The technique also works with a wall. Have the subject stand at the near point of the wall and shoot at an angle that shows the wall appearing to narrow at the end. Look for a wall with a good bit of texture like weather beaten wood.
Use Color in Beach Photography
Color Beach Photography
While black and white photographs are very dramatic, the beach is always so colorful. Bright colors really pop with all that sun. The water often has a special color that is hard to duplicate anywhere. Even sand beaches have different colors to them.
For this technique, you will shoot away from the sun. Put the sun behind you, make sure your shadow isn't in the shot and get close. Everything is so bright that you won't need a flash (unless shadows are showing where you don't want them). Exposure times are very short, so action shots are possible.
Color photos can easily be converted to black and white, but the same is not true for black and white photos to be converted to color. The latter is nearly impossible so always use color film.
Use Props at the Beach
Exposure Techniques for Beach Photography
Digital cameras of today come equipped to deal with different 'scenes'. Consult your camera's manual to find the settings for beaches. These scene settings allow the camera to adjust for bright direct lighting and you don't have to worry about it.
Another technique is to 'bracket' your exposures. Cameras should definitely come with a button or switch or setting that allows the photographer to under expose or overexpose a shot. Don't be afraid to use these settings.
Cameras are fairly good these days for judging the light values, but they can be subtly incorrect. So start with an under exposure, an auto exposure and an over exposure of the same scene and then determine which setting is best.
Some photographers do this for all their shots. However, if you run your photographs through a photo editing software before saving them, you can correct for over and under exposure at that time.
© 2012 Lela