5 Tips on Beach Photography

If you live near the ocean, chances are you visit the beach often. If you don’t live near the ocean, you most likely make vacation plans to stay by the beach for some well deserved relaxation. They are great places to hang out and make excellent backgrounds for your subject, and they also make inspiring subjects themselves since they are places of natural beauty.

Here are 5 tips to remember before you take your camera to the beach:

  1. Protect your gear – sand is one of the worst enemies of a camera. If even one grain of sand gets inside the camera body, it can cause havoc. Cameras have moving parts and sand can abrade or scratch these sensitive pieces. At the least, you might be paying to have it fixed and the worst case scenario is your camera will be beyond repair. It is hard to avoid sand at the beach so the best thing is to protect your camera by keeping it a good distance away from people throwing beach balls or Frisbees, or children playing in the sand. This is where your camera’s zoom feature would be beneficial, if it has one. Do not change your lenses, memory card or batteries right at the beach where there is a high risk of sand entering the camera. Instead, make all your necessary changes in the bedroom or in the resort lobby before you head out to the shore. Keep your camera in a protective case when not in use to avoid the chances of it getting wet or accumulating sand. There are a lot of waterproof pouches available right now in the market.
  2. Identify your point of interest – there are many potential subjects you can find in the beach, from the sun setting over the waters to the family walking along the shoreline, to the colorful beach stones under your bare toes. Also remember that since this is an outdoor setting, there are many variables that are beyond your control and can surprise you but which you can use to your advantage. The weather might suddenly change and you might see a storm gathering in the distance or some pretty sailboats might pass by. Be quick to take shots since the opportunity might slip by.
  3. Adjust your exposure – water and sand reflect light and there is a big possibility your shots will be underexposed if your camera’s built-in light meter overcompensates for the reflections. You can manually adjust the settings by increasing it a stop or two. A spot meter can be very useful in this case since you can choose and make sure the essential part of the scene is adequately exposed.
  4. Use filters – if you own a DSLR, UV and polarizing filters are useful accessories to enhance your beach shots. UV filters block ultraviolet rays and this can lessen atmospheric haze (those bluish tinges that is sometimes visible in the image). Polarizing filters reduce reflections and increase contrast. This is most obvious with bright skies which darken with the use of the filter. If your camera is not a DSLR or you don’t have a filter, you can place your sunglasses over your lens to act as a makeshift polarizing filter.
  5. Straighten the horizon – this might seem like a simple thing to remember but it really can affect the outcome of your shot. Tilted horizon lines make beach images less appealing. If you do end up with a crooked horizon, do not fret because it can still be straightened out in post processing.

This entry was posted on Friday, August 13th, 2010 at 9:00 am and is filed under Articles, Landscape Photography, Photography Tips. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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