Glaring sun, reflective sand, and squinting subjects are just some of the obstacles you may encounter in an attempt to capture the perfect beach shot. Rather than get frustrated, why not take some simple steps to up your beach photography game? Here are tricks of the trade that guarantee that your next vacation slideshow will be one your friends actually want to see.
Timing is Everything
Some of the best beach photos are taken at times when no one else would think to be there. Tempestuous clouds, angry waves, foggy landscapes, and early light all make for beautiful pictures that will stand out. Everyone can snap a shot of a sunny day but it’s the unique ones that you’ll remember.
Choose a Subject
We’re not saying you have to set up elaborate tableaus but it does help to have something in mind before the shutter starts clicking. Landscape photographs can be lovely but unless you have something you’re focusing on (a particular rock formation, the way the light hits the water) chances are you’ll find yourself with a stack of ultra vanilla pictures that aren’t really worth keeping.
Know Thy Exposure
Exposure is everything. Well, maybe not everything but it counts for a lot. With bright sun and reflective sand and surf, you’re going to want to be sure that you know how to manipulate ISO settings and shutter speed. Basically, forget auto and learn how to operate your camera in the manual setting. Your vacation album will thank you.
Switch Up Your Lenses
If you have the luxury of being able to swap out lenses on your camera, by all means, do it! A standard pic can become a multidimensional masterpiece with only the addition of a wide-angle lens. Want to add a little quirk to your portfolio? Try a fish-eye lens to give your shots a little pop and a whole lot of fun.
Protect Your Gear
As any beach goer knows, sand is a sneaky substance. Despite the care you may take to protect your stuff from its gritty grasp, chances are it’ll breach security and mess your stuff up. Take extra care to keep sand out of the delicate inner workings of your camera and be mindful of how quickly it can scratch lenses. If you do suspect that some grains have gotten in, don’t turn on your camera. Rather, leave it be and bring it to a pro, as getting those gears going can cause permanent damage. If you’re shooting near the surf, keep an eye on incoming waves as they can splash hard and fast and take out your electronics in the process. It might be worth investing in a waterproof cover if you plan on taking lots of water shots.
These are your photographs and you’re the photographer. That means that you get to call the shots and let your creative side shine bright. Look for unique angles, interesting perspectives, or try to make a photo series of things like oddly-shaped rocks or washed up debris. When you look back on your pictures, you’ll remember the thought that you put into your work and the fun you had in the process. After all, plain old portraits are for postcards.