How to Take the Best Beach Pictures
I am not the biggest fan of crowded beach photos. But I do think that including some people in the frame is a good idea. Look for interesting people; I try to take photos where the people are not recognizable. You can take photos from behind, from a distance, of a part of the body, or silhouettes. There are a lot of possibilities! If you still want to take a recognizable portrait as part of your beach photography, go for it. Keep in mind your subject does not have to be human, a beautiful rock or a palm tree will do.
Rule of Thirds
It is also a good thing to observe the rule of thirds, break your shot up into three equal sections. It is more pleasing to the eye to keep your subject offset on a dividing line of one of the outer thirds.
Don’t forget about the golden hour. The gold tints of the golden hour fit the beach environment well. The golden hour happens right after sunrise and before sunset. You will recognize it by its typical yellow-orange light that gives it a magical appearance. You will also have long shadows that add texture to the sand. If you want to do is back-light photography, the golden hour is also an excellent time for that.
Beaches mean beautiful landscapes and wide-angle shots, but don’t forget to look under your nose. Change from wide-angle to close-ups, this perspective shift will allow you to take different photos. Look for interesting stones, shells, footprints, sand castles, and so on. You can also try to emphasize textures. Play with depth of field to get a dreamy effect.
Stabilize the Tripod
One thing that will improve, even your best beach photography is to know how to stabilize your tripod. Setting a tripod usually is quite a simple task, but setting it on a sandy ground and having it remain steady in the sea breeze, is not always easy. Tripods have a very high center of gravity and very small feet to stand on, this means that they are prone to fall over if the wind is too strong, also because the tripod’s legs have a small surface area where they touch the ground, they tend to sink in the sand, which decreases the stability. To avoid this, add some weight to it, bring an empty bag and fill it with sand, close the bag and hang it from the tripod, you just got a tripod weight! To stop the tripod from sinking in the sand, you can find stones and place them under the tripod, or you can bring old CD's from home and place them under the tips.
Something that can help you improve your beach photography is to use a polariser filter. This fits in your lens (as the UV filters) and reduces the reflected light that makes photos lose contrast and color intensity. On the beach, there is a lot of this reflected light, especially from the sea. Once this filter is attached to your lens, you adjust its position by rotating the external ring until the reflected light disappears. You can recognize this moment because watercolors become much more intense. The only problem with a polarizing filter is that, since it takes the light out, it makes the scene look darker. Take this into account and check your digital camera settings to make sure you take a well-exposed image.
If you implement some of these techniques, you are sure to improve your beach photography game. Remember each picture taken is just a learning experience to take the next one better. Good luck with your beach photography. Do not forget to keep your camera safe from the sand, surf, and the sun.