Are you headed to the beach and want to learn how to take amazing beach pictures? Who wants to leave the beach without some great beach portraits! Learn your best beach photography settings for your camera, how to take your own beach photos and how to edit beach pictures.
Hi, I am Molly and I am a photographer in the Oahu area. I’m a military wife to my high school sweetheart and a mother to a 5 year old little girl and a 2 year old little boy. Today I’m sharing on Sixth Bloom a video and tips on How to Take Amazing Beach Pictures and showing you how I shoot on the beach and giving you all my secrets!
When I first started taking photos of my baby (who’s now 5) I was so excited to take her to the beach for the first time. I had grand visions of taking these awesome, sun drenched back-lit pictures of her on the beach. You know the ones where the sky looks like a painting and the sun is setting perfectly over the water? Yea those. Needless to say I had no idea how to achieve that look so I failed miserably. My white balance was horrible and I didn’t know where to place myself to get the angles I was going for. Now, years later I’ve finally figured out some good techniques to produce lovely beach photos, which I will share with you today.
How to Take Amazing Beach Pictures
- Try and plan to take photos during the “golden hour” for best lighting. The golden hour is 1 hour before sunset and 1 hour after sun rises. I usually try and take photos during the evening because I’m not a morning person ha! The sun will be lower on the horizon, give off a golden glow, and you get the colorful skies as the sun sets. The shadows won’t be harsh and usually the beach will also be less crowded.
- Spot meter for your subject, not the background. Your camera will meter for your subject and expose it correctly. I always shoot in RAW form also. It makes it so much easier to go back and correct any highlights that are blown out or blacks too dark, etc. You could also try bracketing if your camera will allow you to.
- Try and get children to build a sandcastle, or look for sea shells to capture moments where they are more stationary. I always try and keep my shutter speed at the least 1/200 when photographing my children because well toddlers are always moving! Since the beach is usually always bright try and keep your ISO as low as possible and shutter speed high.
- If you have a lens that is a wide angle prime lens use it! I use my 28mm or 40mm when taking pictures on the beach. I do this because it when I use a wide aperture I can still get my subject in focus while keeping the background blurred. These are two great lenses that you get a lot of bang for your buck!
- To lessen the haze from the sun when taking back-lit photos use a lens hood. Your photo will still have the hazy glow from the sun but also you’ll be able to preserve the details of your subject.
- Watch where the horizon is when framing your subjects. The horizon tends to be a lot more noticeable on the beach where it is clearly defined by the ocean meeting the sky. Try to have it as level as possible and also pay attention so it’s not going through someones head too!
- Don’t be afraid of clouds or rain on the beach. Sometimes clouds can filter the sun so it’s not harsh lighting and creates a huge soft box effect. Also you can get beautiful skies in your shots with clouds rolling in and a little fog on the water. Plus a little breeze of sea salt through the hair never hurt either.
- Water reflects the light. Remember that when positioning your subjects to be sure and watch for unflattering highlights created by the sun reflecting off the ocean or wet sand.
- Look for the details that tell a story. Maybe try photographing the footprints left in the sand by your children, the colorful beach umbrella, the leading lines of a pier, sea shells or driftwood washing up on shore. All of these can add to the feeling of your photos.
- Lastly but definitely important is protect your gear! If you have a rain sleeve for your camera use it to keep sand and salt water out. Try to stick with one lens for the whole time you’re on the beach. Don’t change lenses so you can avoid getting grits of sand in your camera/lens gear.
Molly Anna Photography
Hi, I am Molly and I am a photographer in the Oahu area. I’m a military wife to my high school sweetheart and a mother to a 5 year old little girl and a 2 year old little boy.