Beach Series Part 2: 17 Ideas for Creative Shooting

June 30, 2016

If you missed the first post in my “beach series,” click to learn my suggestions for what to pack!

As I previously mentioned, beach photography is my absolute favorite.  I always return home reinvigorated, both mentally and creatively.  The water, change of scenery, and lighthearted moods fuel my inspiration and I always return home with a memory card full of treasured images that have pushed my creative bounds. I have posted on my website here and here a few of my favorite beach trips.

Here are 17 ideas for creative shoots:

 

1.)Intentional Blur: A Lensbaby or other tilt-shift lens is an obvious choice, while free-lensing is clearly NOT a good idea (sand + unprotected camera = bad news).  Another way to get blur is to shoot through a clear ziplock baggie that has a small hole in it.

2.)Silhouettes: The water provides a perfect opportunity for a beautiful silhouette.

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4.) Include Your Children’s Toys or Interests: In a few years your child’s interests will dramatically change.  Be sure to capture their favorite toys, games, or water sports.

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5.) Try a Slow Shutter Speed: I can generally handhold at 1/30 of a second if I really steady myself and use a light lens.  The moving waves look so mysterious when caught with a slow shutter.

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6.) The Night Sky: Depending on your location, you may be away from a lot of light pollution.  Choose an evening with zero to very little moonlight and clouds, and try to capture the Milky Way!

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7.) Incorporate Nature: In Dallas, we don’t have palm trees, sea gulls, or crabs.  I usually find time to go for a walk with my camera and concentrate on capturing the beauty of the land.

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8.) YOU! About the last place on Earth I want my picture taken is at the beach.  Swimsuits, no makeup, red skin, and windblown hair just don’t make me feel pretty.  So, I get it.  But try to think outside of the box when it comes to showing YOU were at the beach too.  In this shot I had handed my husband my camera and I love that you can still see it’s me without seeing me in all of my beach glory.

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9.) Shoot from Above, Below, and Right at Eye Level.  Try every single angle you can think of.

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10.) Don’t be Afraid of FULL Sun: 90% of your beach memories will happen in full sun.  I suggest your widest angle of lens, using hats and sunglasses if needed, and using the reflection of the white sand to your advantage.

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11.) Sunrise is Your Friend: Sunrise and sunset are completely different beasts at the beach, especially because your waterfront location doesn’t change.  I have noticed that my sunrise images seem to have more clarity and “brightness” to them than my sunset images do.  I assume this may be to atmosphereic fog and dust in the air at the end of the day.

12.) Look for Reflections in the Sand:I generally find the best reflections happen after the tide has just receded across a very flat and shallow section of the beach.

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13.) Look for Leading Lines: Boardwalks and dune fencing are perfect for this!

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14.) Don’t Forget to Take Pictures of Where You Were Staying.  This picture isn’t going to win any photographic awards, but I love that it reminds me of that time we stayed in a tiny one room hotel and all shared the bed.  (never again.)

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15.) Rainstorms: There’s just something about a big storm rolling in to the beach that just gets me excited.  These images were taken just minutes apart – isn’t it incredible how much the colors of the sky changed?

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16.) Consider Alternate Lighting Sources: Fireworks (if they are allowed on the beach), bonfires, flashlights, glowsticks, etc are all fun ways to play with your lighting at night.

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17.) If you have a GoPro, underwater camera, or protective case for your phone or DSLR Then Use It! I am a HUGE fan of my GoPro.  I own the Hero4 and it is perfect for the beach.  I don’t have to worry about the sand or water and it’s small size means I can just throw it in my beach bag.  (image below taken with the Hero4)

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