We all love the beach (ok at least most of us do). I love the concept of splashing around, making sand castles with my daughter, ice-creams and burying ourselves in the sand so that only our heads stick out. I love the whole thing. In the part of the world that I am from it is peak summer, all the more reason to hit the cold waters of the beach. Each year even it is for just once we make it a point to hit the beach.

One thing that everyone likes to do on a weekend trip is to shoot images. When I look back at the pictures from the old albums, camera skills wasn’t something that the photographers could boast (whoever were the ones responsible for those images). Images of me and my sister looking straight at the sun with squinting eyes, washed out backgrounds, stark shadows, tilted horizons and bizarre compositions that a critic would find hard to explain are galore.

To be honest not many amateurs know the exact technique to make great beach photos. In this article I have tried to explain a few of the techniques that you can use.

    1. Never shoot with the sun behind you – never shoot with the sun behind you, unless of course it is very early in the morning. You will always get squinting eyes and deep shadows, none of them are good for your images. Find some shade which you can use to create a better, more uniformly exposed image.
    1. Shooting at early morning – When shooting at the crack of dawn, especially scenes where you wish to incorporate the background while your significant other poses for you, you will find that the background is bright whereas the subject is completely silhouetted. Though this is ok for silhouette photography (that is if you have done it knowingly) it isn’t for any other type of photos. Use a flash. The pop-up flash will do. Just take off the lens hood, set the flash on fill-flash mode and take the shot. In some cameras there is an ambient lighting mode. That mode takes into account the background light.
    1. The early bird catches the portrait – while shooting portraits with the sun bearing upon your subject isn’t advisable, there is only one time when you can do this with good results and that is at the golden hour. The golden hour of the day is when the sun light travels almost parallel to the surface of the earth and casts a warm hue upon everything that it touches. This light is very soft and is ideal for portraits.
    1. Try for some unusual angles – Shoot right down from the level of the sand. Take care to use a small travel tripod so that the camera does not come in contact with the sand. Shoot from high up. The lifeguard’s post is a good idea. Change the angle around so that your images don’t look clichéd.
    1. Catch the rim lighting effect – Rim lighting is the halo effect that you see when your subjects are backlit. If you meter for the background your subjects will be under-exposed. You will need to meter for the subject’s face. Zoom in tight so that face takes up most of the frame. Use spot metering to accurately meter for the subject.
  1. Master the sunny 16 rule – The sunny 16 rule was devised by film photographers before LCD screens and other tools made us a lazy bunch. The rule is very effective even today. The best thing is it is easy to use. Let’s say you are on the beach and it’s sunny. Set your ISO to 100. The aperture should be set to f/16 (thus the name sunny 16). The final cog in the wheel is the shutter speed. Set that to 1 over the ISO, i.e., 1/100.Using the sunny 16 as a starting point of reference you can use varying combinations of shutter speed and aperture value to basically keep the same exposure.
Ben Novoselsky

Ben Novoselsky

CEO and Founder at Phowd.com
Entrepreneur, geek, photo enthusiast.
Ben Novoselsky

You may also like

Ben Novoselsky May 2, 2016

How Does Hyperfocal Distance Affect Your Images?

Landscape photographers often use the terms focusing distance and hyperfocal distance in relation ...

Rajib Mukherjee April 28, 2016

How to do Breathtaking Forest Photography

“The woods are lovely, dark and deep. But I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep.” ...

Ben Novoselsky April 22, 2016

How to Photograph Birds in Five Easy Steps

Bird photography is a supremely satisfying pursuit if you do it the right way and get results to ...

Rajib Mukherjee June 15, 2016

Photographing Storms – An Introduction

Mother Nature is whimsical. She has her mood swings from time to time. When she does she can ...

Rajib Mukherjee May 22, 2015

What is Focus Stacking?

Landscape photographers are obsessed with the idea of sharp images. They use a multitude of methods ...

Meg Speak June 27, 2014

10 Tips on how to Shoot in Snowy Weather

1. Dress appropriately

Check the weather for the altitude you’ll be shooting at. The temperature ...

Rajib Mukherjee August 6, 2016

Essential Tips to Improve your Photography

If you have recently migrated from a compact point & shoot to a DSLR you no doubt will be very ...

Rajib Mukherjee January 24, 2015

Flowers photography: tips to shoot better images

One of the most fascinating subjects for photography are flowers. They are bright, vibrant, comes ...

Rajib Mukherjee January 19, 2016

Tips for Photographing in the Snow

In many parts of the world the weather changes around this time of the year. It’s the time of ...

Rajib Mukherjee July 9, 2016

The Most Incredible Thunderstorm Photo Ever Taken

We have all seen and admired thunderstorm photos. As incredible as it sounds these are nothing new ...

Popular posts

Ben Novoselsky June 25, 2015

A Review of Online Photo Printing Options

One of the things that photographers are guilty of and I am referring to both amateurs and ...

Ben Novoselsky November 6, 2014

Portrait Photography Lighting Tips

Portrait photography, especially when we talk about studio portrait photography, as a genre, is ...

Ben Novoselsky March 25, 2015

The Use of Diagonal Lines in Photography Composition

We often read about the creative uses of lines in photography. The horizon line is one such oft ...

Ben Novoselsky April 22, 2016

How to Photograph Birds in Five Easy Steps

Bird photography is a supremely satisfying pursuit if you do it the right way and get results to ...

Rajib Mukherjee August 4, 2015

AF Tricks and Tips for Wildlife Photography

When it comes to wildlife photography, choosing the right auto-focusing mode can often make the ...

Ben Novoselsky November 24, 2014

Awesome Tips for Photographing Groups

Photographing groups can be extremely difficult. Usually, the need for large groups occurs at ...

Rajib Mukherjee July 31, 2015

How to use the Panning mode in photography

Panning is the technique of going with the flow of a moving subject to make images. The movement of ...

Ben Novoselsky June 18, 2015

How to Price Yourself as a Photographer

A question often asked by entry level protogs is how much to charge for their services. Many find ...

Rajib Mukherjee January 19, 2015

Light Painting in Photography: An Introduction

Light painting is a very interesting technique in photography that predominantly uses artificial ...