Even though it is still winter (brr!) some of you may be destined soon to a sunny shore – Hawaii, the Bahamas, perhaps even an exotic shore across a far ocean. So regardless of the time of year it’s a good idea to have some beach photography tips under your belt.
Focus on Focal Points
The difference between a great beach photo and an ordinary one is your focal point (or more specifically, actually having one). Open expansive spaces are dull and drab – but if you can find an interesting focal point. Fortunately, you have at least one neat focal point on hand – your kids. Feature your kids in a beach photo (preferably using the rule of thirds) and you’ll have a fun focal point with an amazing backdrop.
Try for Sunset/Sunrise
While it may not sound fun to get up at the crack of dawn if you’re on the East Coast of your destination, you’ll reap the reward in stunning photos. Aim to arrive and be set up at least 30 minutes before sunrise/sunset, so you can get all the subtle colors. As an added benefit, you can enjoy the beach at a less busy time.
Watch the Weather
A cloudless day may be a great time to enjoy the beach, but it’s not the best for photos (cloudless skies are a bit boring, you see). Stormy weather can create interesting effects, but it might not be the best time for kids photography. Aim for puffy clouds, or any clouds at all. More clouds make for good black and white photos too.
Experiment with Exposure
Beach photography can be tricky, you might end up with exposure issues if you let your camera do all the work. Learn to adjust exposure so you can try for a bit darker, or a bit brighter images until you find the right settings.
Try Fill Flash
If you’re working with close up portraits with bright sky in the background, you might find it difficult to find a balance between a good exposure for the portrait, without an overexposure in the background. A bit of fill flash can sometimes help, just keep it minimal. A reflector can help here, too.
Consider a Polarizing Filter
If you’re going to take one extra piece of equipment with you on your trip to the beach, it should be a polarizing filter. They don’t cost much and will cut down on reflections and give you richer colors.
Remember that not all kid’s portrait photography has to be about faces – it can be hands, feet, kids running away, or something they’ve created as the waves gently lap against them. Have fun with it.