- Arts and Design
Beach Photography Ideas and Tips
Who does not love a trip to the beach?
Even though I spent most of my life within a few miles of the beach in South Florida, the thrill never waned. It was always a treat to go there.
Once I developed an interest in photography, my interest in the beach increased exponentially. Beach photography has unlimited possibilities, no matter what your photographic style or interests are. Whether you favor nature photography, street photography, or just vacation photography with your family as the stars of your images, you will not be disappointed when you visit the beach.
Never leave home without your camera! And this is doubly true if you are heading for the beach. The south Florida beach is far different than that of Oregon or Norway, but the opportunities will be there, no matter which beach you find yourself at. You want to be ready for any photo op that presents itself.
Photos in this article are all by the author unless otherwise noted. Feature photo is sunrise at Lake Worth, FL.
Photography Ideas ~ The List
It is a rare time when I go to the beach that I do not return with a storage card packed with images. If you think there is nothing to take pictures of except sand and water, this list is for you.
- Kids and family at the beach
- Portraits (great backgrounds available)
- Shore birds
- Seaweed (yes, this stuff can be very interesting)
- Sea shells
- Sea glass
- Skim boarders
- Body surfers
- Random People - the beach is a fantastic place for finding people in interesting situations and garb
- Write messages in the sand and take pictures of them
- Boats and ships
- Sunrise and sunset
- Yourself (no, this is not a joke - see the self portrait below)
- Trees and plants
- Rock formations
- Wildlife - whether it is the seals on the Oregon coast or the people on the Florida coast at South Beach in Miami.
The list can be endless. It just depends on your imagination.
Above All Else... Have Fun
The Camera - The #1 Asset For Beach Photography - Don't leave home without it!
Here is a short list of cameras that can serve well for your beach photography needs.
Perfect travel camera, large zoom range, excellent picture quality, fits in any container, including a pocket or purse.
Little known fact: "Panasonic makes some of the best point and shoot cameras on the market."
If you want to take pictures of objects far away, like birds in flight, this camera is for you. What a vacation camera!
Dream Big - Don't limit yourself to medocre photos.
Drama At The Beach
Clouds and surf change drastically throughout the day. If you hit the beach at the same time every day, you will miss out. Try getting there early or staying late for beach images that turn out much different than the ones taken in the middle of the day.
Go early to see the dramatic light as evidenced in this photo taken just after sunrise.
Try all kinds of positions - getting down low will change everything. But be careful not to let the salt water splash on your camera or lens.
While you are packing for your beach trip, make sure you bring the things needed for making your picture taking easier.
A tripod is an excellent way to secure your camera for a series of shots. This is one of the most handy photography tools you can have in your bag.
Why do you need a chair with an umbrella? Because the sun can get pretty hot. Protect yourself so you can stay longer and get more pictures.
Use reflectors and diffusers to help change the light. A diffuser will be invaluable when you do beach portrait photography when the sun is high in the sky. Use it like an umbrella to eliminate harsh shadows and squinting eyes.
Props make beach photography more fun. Bright colors add to the interest of the photos as well.
Shore Birds Offer New Photography Opportunities
Capturing a bird in flight is fairly easy at the beach. There are lots of them, especially sea gulls. And you can coax them with the promise of food. If you even look like you want to share your sandwich with a sea gull, there seems to be some kind of instant communication system that alerts all the gulls that there is free food.
The birds will actually float in front of you waiting for you to toss the next morsel to them. Excellent conditions for quick bird photos.
Get someone to help you toss the bread, and the job will be much easier.
Portraits Made Better With Digital SLR Cameras and Portrait Lenses
This bundle will cover your needs for beach photography ~ actually good for travel photography any place, any time.
The Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 is the BEST deal on the planet for a portrait lens.
Sea Shells Make Great Subjects For Beach Photos
Gathering sea shells is a way many people enjoy their time at the sea shore.
This photo was put together by my wife. She has a terrific eye for arranging things in a creative and attractive way.
Take a look at the photo below.. this shell is part of the arrangement, but it's not quite as good looking as the composition above.
Macro photography at the beach is yet another way to make the most of your photo opportunities. Here is a sand dollar we found. I cleaned it up and set it on the sand for this picture.
Use Your Beach Images For Cards And Messages
Want to send a message to friends? Or make them just a bit jealous of your beach vacation?
Why not use your photos instead of buying one of those cheesy overpriced postcards?
Simply write your message in the sand, photograph it and either print it on card stock, or, better yet, use Facebook or Instagram to send your message.
For these two messages, I used OnOne software, but Lightroom is an excellent alternative, and Lightroom has some really cool OnOne presets that come with it.
Adobe Lightroom 4
I use several programs for getting beach photos ready to print or post online. Adobe Lightroom 4 is undoubtedly the quickest and easiest program I use. With just a few clicks of the mouse, you can change an otherwise ordinary photo into an eye-popping image that will wow your friends and family.
Lightroom was developed by Adobe with the help of photographers. The result is that you have the benefit of a "PhotoShop-like" program for a fraction of the cost.
You can try it out for 30 days.. at no cost to you.
Adobe Lightroom is a very sophisticated software program that is surprisingly cheap when you think about all it can do. It makes your pictures look AMAZING!
I sometimes find myself alone early in the morning, but that does not stop me from taking pictures.
I love the golden light just as the sun starts its morning run up into the sky.
In this beach portrait, I placed my Canon Rebel camera on a tripod and used the 10-second timer.
Beach Portrait Photography Is Special
Lots of interest.. lots of special scenery that you won't find anywhere else.