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Beach photography for Canvas Prints

July 29th, 2009

Professional and amateur photographers love going to the beach, not just to swim or relax in the sun, but enjoy the scenery and most of all take an infinite number of beautiful photos. Whether it is nature, people, or events, there will always be something going on and something to point a camera at. You can take photos of sand castles, sailboats, the romantic sunset, surfers, or even the sun (not directly though). The possibilities are endless. A photographer at a beach is like a kid in a candy store.


There are many websites available that teach a thing or two about beach photography. We at Brilliant Prints have narrowed down a few tips from all over the internet for your next trip to the beach.


Know the best time

Scheduling has often been discussed on most of the blogs featuring beach photography. It does makes sense, whether photography or not, people go to the beach for the sun and photographers want to maximize the time with the natural light source.


So, when is the best time to take photos? The best lighting is at the beginning and at the end of the day. The best photographers are often those who go very early and leave the beach late afternoon. If you do not have time to experiment with your camera, avoid shooting at noon. The shadows cast at noon are short; the result will be a loss of dimension of a shot. Also, when photographing portraits – the direct sunlight from above creates ugly shadows under the eyes. Try shooting during sunrise and sunset instead. You will produce dramatic colors and long shadows, adding depth to your photo. If you are planning to shoot a calm beach scene, then do not schedule your trip on a holiday. Pick a date when the beach is empty.



There is no other way of saying this as it is important to remember composition when we deal with any kind of photography. Lead your viewer into the scene by including some sort of foreground interest. This can be achieved by using leading lines, such as the curving shore line or footprints on the sand that will create a path for the photo. When taking beach photos always pay attention to the horizon line, it should be straight and exactly parallel to one of the sides of the frame. To get a more balanced natural look, the horizon line must be placed off center.


The Subject

Keep in mind to see the beach for what it is —a setting. What you thought were boring objects will suddenly get new life and make an interesting photograph. The first thing to do is to find something of interest and making it the main focal point. Then compose your beach photo around that object. Most of the dull beach photographs are those shot directly at the horizon with the usual trite elements. Try some of these ideas which can make for a great focal point.

Sand, rocks, and shells – Beach sand has interesting shapes and textures. Look for dunes or channels where water is flowing back to the sea. Sand castles and sculptures are interesting focal points as well. Find a way to compose the beach photo around these structures. Rocks and shells are always interesting with their array of shapes and sizes. Try taking a close-up photo of an intricate looking shell against the soft sand. 

Animals and plants – Starfishes, seaweed, crabs, dolphins, and birds, and the list goes on. The beach is teeming with flora and fauna. Building your photo around these creature focal points can be both exciting and interesting.

Water – The waves and the deep blue is quite difficult not to give notice to. Make it your focal point by playing with perspective and angles.

Boats, huts, and nautical flags – Don’t dismiss man-made structures and objects as they make interesting subjects as well. Especially those resort objects and structures that are weathered by time, they can give character to your beach setting.

Adding filters do come up often on beach photography websites. Although not a requirement or a feature in every camera, people use polarizing filters (whether it is ultraviolet, protective or skylight) to enhance colors and make the photos bright and vivid. They do not only enhance but serve as a protective layer as well to sand and salt water splashes. The sky and the water will look at its bluest with the right use of these filters.

Protect your camera
Do not get sand inside your camera. Do your best to protect it by always wearing the strap so you don’t drop it. When not in use, do not put your camera on the sand. Put your camera in a protective case and keep it away from sand and water.

These are only a few tips we have gathered from the internet. Surely, there are still a lot of other things to learn about beach photography but we will leave that up to you to discover. People go to the beach to have fun and relax, let that reflect in your photography.

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