beach photography tips

This article on Beach Photography Tips is to help you take amazing beach portraits. You can use these 5 tips on taking professional-looking photos of people on the beach without specialized photography equipment.

time your beach photography right

Example to illustrate a Beach Photograph \y Tip

The best time to photograph people on the beach is late in the day. I have taken some stunning shots right around sunset.

The light is not as bright and your subjects are less likely to be squinting.

The color tone of the light is much warmer and the quality of the light is much softer.


In this photo of these three brothers, the sun was partially below the horizon and partially diffused by thin clouds.  

If it's not quite sunset and the sky is very clear, the direct sun may still be too strong and cause squinting and harsh shadows. If this is the case I'll look for shade.


I try to look for areas where the sand dunes are high. That provides open shade. Another tip is that I've done beach photography in the shadow of tall waterfront hotels or underneath piers if I can find a suitable angle to get a good background. What is the definition of open shade?


use your telephoto for beach portraits

Using a long focal length on your camera's zoom creates a more flattering look for portraits of people. Zoom in as much as you can and then distance yourself from your subject so that they fill most of your camera's viewfinder.

This is one of the secrets to making people look their best in portrait photography. This farther distance away from you as the photographer also helps people relax.


choose your photo's background carefully

Look for a good background on the beach

In the photo of the three boys and the sailboat, I quickly dug a hole in the sand in just the right spot. The light was fading quickly, so I had to work fast.

The rock jetty behind my subjects acts as a framing device. The sun was already below the horizon, so the light was very soft.

Look back at the portrait at the top of the page. I moved my tripod to have the boardwalk and steps in just the right spot in the background.


have your subjects dress in good beach clothing

This beach photography tip applies to all kinds of portraits, not just beach photography. Neutral colors and pastels work well with the lighter subdued colors of the ocean sand.

Can you tell my favorite clothing choice for pictures on the beach is khaki and white? For more on clothing tips go to portrait clothing.


avoid crowded beaches

This is beach photography tip #5. If it's crowded, it may be difficult to take a beach portrait without distracting people included in your background. Yes, it may be possible to do some digital photo editing afterward, but it's a lot easier if you get your photo right when you take it.

Finding a beach off the beaten track may be a challenge. It will be helpful to scout out locations beforehand at the same time of day that you'll be shooting. Usually staying away from the boardwalk and business areas is a safe bet

Use the relfections in the water as part of your composition.



In this reflections beach photo, I took advantage of my Canon 5D and its 5 frames per second continuous speed shutter setting.

We were done shooting our posed portraits. The boys were running around and having a blast.


This would have cost me a fortune in film processing and proofing in the days of film. I shot over 80 frames in just a few minutes.

I set my ISO setting very high to allow me to use a high shutter speed in the fading light. Look at that beautiful sky and the reflections in the sand!



Photo Exposure. For additional digital photo tips related to your camera's ISO setting and how it effects exposure, you may have an interest in reading this article.

Blurry Pictures. Knowing how to set your camera's shutter speed will help you avoid taking blurry pictures while doing your portrait photography. Here is more on shutter speeds.


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Happy Beach Photography Shooting!
Photo TipMan