Is that summer I can see just around the corner? I do believe it is! Unless you are one of those very lucky people who live in a part of the world where beach days are an all year round thing, for the rest of us, the warm weather means we can get ourselves down to the beach without having to wear five layers of clothing! I for one can't wait to take some summer photos, so here are my 8 Tips for Shooting at the Beach.
1) Timing Is Key
There are two reasons why timing is key for beach shots - the first is so that you can get the best light. This will be later or earlier in the day, when the sun is lower and nearer the horizon. It also has the added benefit of making the beaches less crowded, so you are less likely to have people popping up behind your subjects, or walking in front of your camera.
2) Use a Wide Angle
Although in most cases I only use my wider angle lens (the 35mm) indoors or places where I need to be close to my subject, the beach is one place where I love to have a wide angle lens on - in fact I think I would love something even wider! An uncrowded beach is a great way of showing the beauty of the environment along with your portraits or lifestyle images, so bring a wide angle with you so you can fit it all in.
3) Consider a Silhouette
As at the beach you will usually have an area of unbroken sky, it's a great place to snag yourself a silhouette. To get the best colors in the sky, again, you are better to time your trip to the beach nearer sunrise or sunset, although in theory you can get one at any time. (Not sure how to photograph a silhouette? here's a step by step guide)
4) Watch Your Equipment
Be super careful with your equipment at the beach! In particular, if you feel the need to change a lens, you are going to want to be extra, extra careful that you don't get any sand into your sensor. Always turn so your back is to the wind, and try to shield the sensor as much as possible. And be quick!
5) Shoot the Details
I love to capture the details at any time - so why not the beach? Think sandy toes, hair whipping in the breeze, or patterns in the sand. Don't just shoot the obvious, look around you and see what else you can capture - usually loads if you get close enough!
6) Embrace the Haze
If you are shooting when the sun is little bit higher in the sky, then you are probably going to end up with a bit of haze in your image. In which case embrace it! I personally love me a bit of sun haze, but if you don't then you could use a lens hood to try to cut down on the amount of light sneaking into the lens so that you get less haze. You might also want to check out this guide to backlighting your subjects - it will come in handy for taking pictures at the beach :)
7) Find Beaches with more than sand
If you want to create some beach images that look a bit different, try to find an area of beach that has something more than just sand and sea - piers, groynes, lighthouses, lifeguard stations or boats can all give you extra elements to play to get more variety in your images.
8) Get Your Horizons Straight!
As with all horizons, aim to get them straight! You probably won't manage to get these bang on in camera, in which case, shoot a teensy bit wider so that you leave enough room for straightening and cropping when you are editing the image. (More to come on horizon lines soon!)