10 Tips for Beach Photography

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Relaxing on the beach with family

Summer is upon us, and there are sure to be throngs of people descending onto the beaches of the world. You may want to photograph priceless moments in the sun, which can be tricky if you’re worried about ruining your camera. Here are some tips for capturing those special moments while keeping your camera safe.

1. Stick with one lens. A big worry with cameras at the beach is sand getting into the crevices. Because of windy conditions and even salt in the air, it’s best to not change your lenses while at the beach. Sand could fly inside the camera while you’re switching lenses and you definitely don’t want that. If you think you need two different lenses for your shoot, use a back up camera with one lens on it and your main camera with another lens.

2. Protect the camera. When the camera is not in use, it is best to make sure it is perfectly protected. It isn’t enough to just put it in a bag. Sand always manages to find itself all over your belongings at the beach, including the inside of beach bags. I recommend wrapping your camera in a towel inside of the bag, providing an extra layer of protection to keep your camera out of harm’s way.

3. Be on watch. While some beaches may be safer than others, theft is always a possibility. I don’t mean to induce fear; but if someone sees you taking pictures with a fancy camera, then sees you in the water without it, they’ll know your camera is open for the taking. I always ensure someone is watching our belongings at all times. If you are close to your vehicle, you can also hide your camera safely inside once you’ve finished taking picture.

4. Use a waterproof camera. I love taking fun pictures in the water. I’ve been way too afraid to buy waterproof DSLR camera covers, so I use small waterproof pocket cameras like this one. Though I prefer beautiful images that come from my SLR, I’m happy to just capture underwater images that would not otherwise be captured.

Using a waterproof camera at the beach{more of this beach trip HERE}

5. Watch your lighting. Shooting in full sun is tricky. When you’re at the beach, unless there is a cloud overhead you’ll likely be shooting in full sun in the middle of the day. Keep your eye out for harsh shadows across the subject’s face. If you are shooting with the sun behind you, the light may fall directly on the subject’s face, causing them to squint. If the sun is behind your subject, you’ll get backlit images, which is a whole new beast to tame, but worth practicing.

6. De-humidify. Throw a silica gel packet into your camera bag to absorb moisture. I just recently heard this trick and I love it! Anything helps to protect your camera, so give it a try!

7. Get creative with your landscape. Look around for something other than sand for great lines or angles to take pictures.  You’ll often find piers, wooden sidewalks, rock like structures, and tall flowing grass with pathways at the beach.

On the boardwalk at the beach taking family pictures{More images like this HERE}

8. Capture candid Moments. The candid moments, such as playtime laughter in the water or the concentration while building a sand castle, are fun to remember and important to photograph. Don’t just take the posed shots where you ask the family to look up and say “cheese.”

Playing in the sand at the beach in Cozumel Mexico

{more of this beach trip HERE}

9. Use a lens hood. Using a lens hood will help with the harsh sun glares so they won’t shoot straight into your glass.

10. Try silhouettes. With no obstruction of other objects, the beach is a GREAT spot for silhouettes. Sunrise and sunset are the best times; but you can take them in the middle of the day as well if you get the sunlight behind your subject. Silhouette photography can be tricky, but I shared my tips here.

A family silhouette picture on the beach

{More of this session HERE}

Hopefully these 10 tips will help you achieve unique shots while keeping your camera safe at the beach. I’ve also created a list of Fun & Creative Ideas for Beach Pictures. The kids will LOVE how silly they are!

Photo credit: Kristen Duke

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