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Photography On The Beach – Improve Your Beach Photography Techniques

By on March 6, 2013

The beach is one of my top vacation destinations where I can really relax and unwind, but my real passion is photography on the beach .

My friends and I make sure that we drive to the beach 3-4 times a year especially if the weather is perfect for surfing. There is just something so enticing about a beach vacation… relaxing, fun, and romantic all at the same time.

Almost everybody loves going to the beach. Who doesn’t love swimming in turquoise colored waters, walking on white powdery sand, or having a drink or a picnic near the seashore. The morning offers the sunrise, the late afternoon presents the sunset, and the night provides the perfect opportunity for a bonfire or BBQ to share with your friends and family.

Other than all the activities that the sand and sea can provide, the beach is a haven for photographers. I will discuss in today’s article how to take better images, the different styles and techniques that we can use, and the photography equipment and camera add-ons we can use to further enhance our pictures.

So let’s start with our photography kit. I never leave my house without my camera body, my favorite walkabout lens, and a sturdy but lightweight tripod. The best lens to bring to the beach is a wide angle lens for group photos and excellent beach landscapes. But you can also bring a macro lens and a telephoto just in case the need to use them arises.

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Polarizing filters further enhances the color of the sky and the sea plus it minimizes distracting reflections from other shiny objects. Trust me on this one, if you haven’t tried a polarizing filter yet, you should get one now. If you have been wondering why professional pictures look so good on magazines, well it’s because of the polarizing filter.

If you feel that you aren’t ready for a polarizing filter then at least buy a UV filter. UV filters don’t add much to the quality of the pictures except for removing the bluish tint but they do protect your lenses from potential damage. Another good add-on to have is an external flash to eliminate pesky shadows when you shoot in the midday hours. As an alternative, you can use reflectors or a white towel to bounce off natural light. The last tip with regards to beach photography equipment is to always protect and make sure you clean everything afterwards.

It’s no mystery that water can do a number on your electronic gadgets so make sure your strap is secure and consider buying a plastic casing to keep the water and sand off. Make sure that your tripod is clean before retracting or extending the legs because the sand can scratch your photography equipment. I would also avoid changing my lenses on the beach if it’s windy or there are lots of kids running around and kicking sand all over the place. Instead, you can go to nearest enclosed room and do your lens changing there.

Now that we have talked about the things we need to bring, let us now discuss the photography techniques we can use upon arrival. It is tempting to whip out your camera and start taking pictures the moment we hit the beach but let’s take into consideration first the different factors that will surely affect our images. What I do first after securing my equipment is to take a walk and check out all the popular spots on the beach. I explore different vantage points, look for interesting subjects, foregrounds, backgrounds, and then I create a mini photography check list in my head for the best point in the day to take different kinds of photos.

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For example, the very early and the late afternoons give out soft light, which is best for taking landscape photos. The hour before the sun fully sets is the perfect time for silhouettes. The midday is best for action shots, portraits, and group photos. You just need to effectively manage your time to fully maximize your day at the beach. There are also a lot of other interesting things to shoot on the beach. You can look for different wildlife like hermit crabs, birds, and starfish. Dig for different sea shells and pieces of coral on the shallow part of the beach and arrange them for great macro shots. Photograph people on boats or jet skis, kids building sand castles, or the interesting patterns you see on the sand.

If the weather suddenly turns cloudy and gloomy, don’t worry. This is the best time to shoot some classic black and white photographs because the light becomes diffused and soft while the reflections from the water are minimized. Look for interesting patterns and subjects with plenty of detail. If you are looking for ways to create unique beach pictures then shooting in B&W might just do the trick. Some people don’t even bring their cameras to the beach because according to them, all beach pictures look the same. This wouldn’t be the case if we just use our creativity and our imagination.

Instead of being on the beach and taking pictures of the sea, why not stand in the water and turn your camera the other way around. Sometimes, all we need is a change in perspective and we’ll soon realize that there is always something more to capture. So if you have the time and you fancy a change of scenery, why not head for the beach and try some of the tips you have just read on this article, just remember to apply sunscreen and you’re all set to go for a bit of photography on the beach:)

About Mike Chase

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