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7 Beach Photography Tips

1. Watch the Horizon

A slanting horizon is one of the most common reasons for a poorly executed beach shot. So keep this in mind and spare no efforts to keep your horizons level. It is also a good idea not to position your horizon in the centre of the frame so that it appears as if the horizon divides the photo into two equal parts. It is better to keep your horizon somewhere in the top 1/3 portion or the bottom 1/3 portion of the frame.

Photo By Bob Aubuchon

2. Filters

When it comes to beach photography you are actually dealing with a high contrast scene, it means there are some very bright areas and some very dark areas in your frame. Your subjects almost definitely cast some sharp shadows and on top of it you have reflections to take care of. So there in comes the importance of using filters. You can use polarizing filters on your lens to cut out the glare, improve contrast and saturate your colours. Neutral density filters will help you reduce the amount of light that enters your sensor. UV filter prevents ultra violet radiation and also protects your lens.

Photo By  Juan Diego Jimenez

3. Fill Flash

Photographing people at the beach is a tricky business. During sunset and sunrise for a brief period of time you have the perfect light for both your subjects in the foreground and to properly expose the background. And photographs taken during that period looks awesome it’s like you have used one huge soft box to diffuse the light falling on the entire scene and also have gelled it to a warmer tone.

But during other times it’s hard to achieve decent results. Your subjects will cast shadows on their face and the high contrast in the scene between the light and dark areas really make it difficult to achieve a decent exposure. This is when a fill flash comes in handy. You could use your flash to fill in those dark areas with just enough light so as to achieve correct exposure. It can be achieved either by varying the power output of the flash or by moving the flash closer or farther to the subject.

Photo By Peter Morgan

4. Mind Your Exposure Settings

Keep a close watch on your exposure settings while shooting at the beach in really bright light. The camera will generally have a tendency to underexpose the whole scene. You may also run into problems if you wish to play with short depth of field to blur out the backgrounds. A Neutral Density filter could come in handy during such occasions.

Photo By Yiping Lim

5. Find an Interesting Subject

Wide open spaces alone do not make great frames; find something of interest in your scene which could act as the centre of your composition. Sand dunes with their ever changing shapes and textures, structures made in sand such as sand castles and structures etc, Rocks, pebbles, cliffs, driftwood, sea shells, crabs, birds , huts, fishing boats, nets etc could all serve you well.

Photo By Zach Frailey

6. Get Right To The Water’s Edge

Don’t plan a photo shoot at the beach if you are hesitant to get your feet wet. Right at the water’s edge is where the fun of beach photography really begins, out here you have magnificent reflections, richer colours, crashing waves, retreating water forming patterns on sand, spray of water from the waves etc. which all add an element of action and character to your photos.

Photo By Vinod Kumar

7. Right Time of Day For Beach Photography

You may be tired hearing veteran photographers speaking of the golden hours of photography. But it is all the more important in case of beach photography. Early in the morning and late in the afternoon are the best times for taking beach photos. At these times the natural light is tinged with warm colour, and the contrast is low for a much more attractive effect. As sun is shining from a much lower angle, the sunlight illuminates most subjects softly and evenly like a giant soft box which covers your entire landscape. On the other hand if you try shooting the beach during midday and there is this white sand al over your scene; the glare from the sand and the white water will result in stark, high-contrast photos that will not do justice to the beauty of the location.

Photo By Aaron Rosales

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