Beaches present digital camera owners with a number of wonderful opportunities as they are places of natural beauty, color and interesting light. However they also present a variety of challenges including camera damage, privacy issues and making large open spaces interesting.
Here are 10 tips for when you head to the beach with your digital camera next:
1. Look for focal points
A friend of mine once told me that they donâ€™t bother taking their camera to the beach because all beach shots look the same. i thought that that was a pretty sad thing to say because when I go to the beach I see it as a place brimming with photographic opportunities if you have the ability to look beyond the cliche shots.
2. Timing is important
The start and end of days can present the best opportunities for shooting at the beach. For starters there will be less people there at that time of day but also youâ€™ll find that with the sun shining on an angle that you often get more interesting effects of shadows and colors â€“ particularly in the evening when the light becomes quite warm and golden.
3. Watch the Horizon
One of the most common problems in beach photography where there are wide open spaces with a long and often unbroken horizon is sloping horizons. Work hard at keeping your horizon square to the framing of your shot (more on this here).
4. Head to the Beach When Others Avoid it
Another timing issue is that the beach can really come to life on those days that everyone avoids it because of inclement weather. Stormy seas, threatening and dramatic clouds and wind slowing lifesaver flags and trees over call all make for atmospheric shots.
5. Exposure Bracketing
One of the challenges of shooting in the middle of summer on a beach is that it can be incredibly bright and your camera could want to under expose your shots if youâ€™re shooting in Auto mode. If your camera has a manual mode it can be well worth playing with it at the beach and experimenting with different levels of exposure. I find that I get the best results when I look at what the camera wants to expose the shot at and then over expose it by a stop or two.
6. Spot Metering
If your camera has spot metering you can overcome some of the above exposure problems. Spot metering is a feature that some cameras have whereby you tell the camera which part of the image you want to be well exposed and it will get that bit right. This is particularly useful in bright light when you want to get a shady area exposed well.
7. Black and White
One technique that Iâ€™ve been using a lot lately in beach photography (and other genres also) is to do a little post photo production and see what impact stripping a photo of color has upon it. Thereâ€™s something about a black and white shot at the beach that completely changes the mood and feel of a shot. Itâ€™s also a great way to bring to life beach shots taken on dull or overcast days which can often leave a beach scene looking a little colorless.