Part 2: Design impressive photos of the beach
Pure nature, relaxation, wide land – the embodiment of holiday and all characteristics a beach should have for most of us. Therefore those moments spent at the beach are most precious for everyone not being so lucky as to live near a coast. But it is not easy to hold on to these moments in an adequate way by taking a photo. If we are honest to ourselves, how many photos of the beach are we not satisfied with because they simply all look the same, maybe are too colourless and simply do not resemble our memories in the slightest?
By reading this article you will get some ideas from us how you can create impressive pictures pictures (for example the one below). We are always glad to receive your feedback! You are welcome to tell us per comment if you liked this article!
Photo by Wolfgang Staudt [via Flickr]
Even small things have a big effect
- The most important thing: Pay attention that the horizon is upright !
- It would be best if you did not put the horizon in the centre of your photo but in 1/3 or 2/3 of it. (Take a look at part 1: The perfect sunset, rule of thirds).
- We recommend you not always to use eye-level shots, but also to take a photo from a high-level view – this way you can create great images! Or you simply walk into the water until it reaches up to your knees and then have a look for new perspectives.
- Protect your camera – Change batteries/rechargeable batteries and memory cards before you go to the beach to make sure you do not need to open your camera while you are at the beach. Keep your camera in a special pocket, if applicable in an extra plastic bag.
Timing is everyting
If you do not only want to snap away but also value nice lighting conditions, you should avoid the hard midday sun. At this time of the day, the light is especially bright and the shadows are particularly sharp – not the best preconditions for taking a photo. You should better use this time to relax and take your photos in the morning or evening hours. They offer a light that is considerably more interesting and moreover there is a great likelihood that the beach is not so crowded.
Photo by Beadmobile [via Flickr]
Days of bad weather are another interesting feature: You might have the beach for yourself then and can catch interesting constellations of clouds over the sea, dramatic waves or deserted cottages of life-guards with your camera.
Be careful: Please, also pay attention to the tides! According to the time of day, they can change the beach completely.
Have an eye for the details
In the light of another sandy beach one might possibly loose sight of the small things. However, these can often tell the story of a day at the beach much better than the standard shots of a “white sand and blue sea”.
Photo by Minh Vo [via Flickr]
Shoes standing in front of the water, sun glasses lying on a book, a bag containing sun cream, shells, crawfish, the colour scaled off a landing stage…
Get nice pictures despite the midday sun
If you decide to take photos during midday time despite the above mentioned difficulties, you have to meet the challenge. You would like to know how you can manage to expose areas in the shadow in the same way as those in the sun?
Photo by NeilsPhotography [via Flickr]
The answer to this question is very simple: it is (almost) impossible. Instead, you should decide which part of the image is to get particular attention. Then you are able to concentrate on that area. If your camera supports this option it is helpful to use the so called spot metering (instead of the segmented metering). The focus of the camera is put on a certain point that is to be exposed correctly.
If you apply the automatic mode, your photos will unfortunately often end up unexposed, because the camera tries to compensate the immense light intensity. If your camera options allow for it, you should try to adjust approximately 2 aperture settings and experiment a little with this.
Photo by Francesco Pappalardo [via Flickr]
If you have a reflex camera, another feature that can help you to brighten up your picture is to buy a polarizing filter. A filter is screwed on a lens to keep certain light waves away from the lens. This results in the effect that contrasts are intensified and reflections are reduced.
This way, the blue of the sky above the beach gets considerably more intensive and annoying reflections on the water surface are reduced. Unfortunately, a polarizing filter is not that inexpensive; but the purchase is worthwhile if you look at photos like the one on the opposite page. You will find more comparative pictures of the topic “polarizing filter” at Wikipedia.
Of course, there are other forms of filters, for example the UV-filter. This one can also contribute to filter the atmospheric mist. Moreover it is an advisable protection for your lens when you are at the beach; it keeps splashing water and sand away from the lens.
You certainly know the effect: If you take a photo of a person at the beach against the sunlight, the person will almost completely appear as a black silhouette. But if you have the sun behind you, the person you want to take the photo of has to deal with the glaring light and needs to blink or screw the face. What now?
The solution: Nevertheless take the photo against the sun and force your camera to use the flash. This way you can lighten up your image in the foreground. If the effect gets too strong and the persons appear overexposed/ pale, you can take a step back and instead use the zoom.
Photo by Roger Green [via Flickr]
There is a way to give “boring” pictures a new atmosphere: convert them into black-and- white. One of the principles of photography can be applied here: Try, try and try again!