Thursday, May 29, 2008

Photography: Beach Photography

Well everyone is well aware of that summer is COMING! YEAH!

I love summer, because it means spending time on the beach, and i ma beach person. Plus its a great place to spend time with your friends, family and a special some one. Go for BBQ on the beach, sit at a fire during night, look at the sunset. Alot of things can be done at beach apart from tanning and swimming in the ocean....

Oh yeah you can photograph it as well!

I often find myself browsing my friends picture on several website, and just a few days back a friend of mine came back from Thailand. And i must say i got bored after a few pictures. The place looked just amazing, but you had those typical cliche shot, of them standing with the ocean behind them, the plane beach shots. And i must say the "landscape" look amazing, but she just didn't capture it good enough for my liking. Now she is not a professional photographer or anything she just wanted to share her experience there so lets not get into detail there.

But i spend alot of time on the beach and use the water in my image because i find its great and because its about a 500m walk from my door.

And her are some tips on beach photography:

Try to get a good focal point, throw a person in there a chair bench, trash pretty much anything that goes beyond the normal beach shot of the still water the overexposed sky and the dull looking sand.

Beaches during the morning's and when the sun are setting are just marvelous. These are indeed golden moments. The advantages of hitting the beach in the morning is that there will be no people around (if your early enough) to get into a landscaping shot if you want a nice setting sun for example and some great silhouettes. When i m down in Spain during the summer times i go home from the beach after the sun has set, this is only because we are up late in the evenings and enjoying a good dinner. But try shooting at these times, anything looks better at sunset or sun rise i promise you that (unless you got a neat storm coming in)

Watch that horizon, what i mean by this is that shots that often have an ending (depending on the setting landscape etc) are going to work better often at the beach because people are just used to see that water and the sky ending and that is it. Get some land in that shot and change the angle a bit. This is very hard to explain but here is an example shot.

Photo By: astrocruzan

Remember those when you were of and on vacation and you noticed that the weather was garbage, it was windy you had a red flag down at the beach and you guys decide to go shopping instead of heading to the beach or check out some other areas? Well head down to the beach and check the scenario out. Those massive waves could be worthwhile to capture, maybe there is a storm breaking in which goes as a great background in my opinion. Take the shot below for example, it was very windy this day (very common to the area i live in) and i wasn't really in the mood to head out to the beach, but i did anyways, it was sunny. So i walked along this pier to take a look at the water and i noticed that the waves were breaking against some stones, so i cranked a bit longer shutter speed then i normally would and decreased my aperture (big f.-number) so i wouldn't get an overexposed shot and this is what i got:

dreamy waves
not your typical beach shot indeed

What the overexposure at the beach, specially if its sunny out! Use the rule that i been throwing out here alot, about underexposing if you can, if not try the spot metering and meter of the subject that you want correctly exposed this will help you not to get that overexposed shot as well

Fill flash, place your targets with the sun behind them and use a fill flash, this will give you some really nice photographs if your shooting people, they will have a nice glow coming on the area that the sun is hitting them and their face will be correctly exposed because of the flash!

Clean your gear when you get home from the beach, salt and sand are not the best thing for your camera, trust me on that one. I have gotten a few point and shoot cameras ruined after a summer because they haven't been taken care of. I m thinking of getting a underwater casing for my point and shoot so i don't have to worry about this but they are rather pricey. So when your not shooting with your camera, place it back down in the camera bag, and make sure to keep that one closed at all times!

With some input from Ed, i have decided to place his comment update this post.

If you can afford the luxury of a tripod, you can shoot at f22 which will give you longer shutter speeds and thus you can blur the water! Which renders some very pleasing results to the eye

There are some accessories you can get to even improve your beach photography even more and that is by getting a ND grad and a circular polarizer which will give you a more dramatic shot, and the neat thing about polarizers is that it will change the water color to a much more natural color then the color the original camera captures.

If you can bring along a reflector to "lift harsh shadows from portraiture on sunny days"

Oh yeah forgot about one of the most important things, bring water you need to say hydrated and "sun cream to prevent skin burn"

Thanks for the input Ed,

I gotta run down to the beach and think about some other pointers on this subject, i will update this post.


Ed said...

Good post. How about adding in tripod usage to use long exposures (blurring water) or for f22? Others I can easily think of are ND grad usage for landscapes, circ. polarisers, reflectors to lift harsh shadows for portraiture on sunny days, bringing water along and importantly sun cream to prevent skin burn. There are many many more...

Alexander Blacker said...

Hey Ed,

added those things you said, there is alot more you could do, but i try to keep thing simple around here :) But your input has been added to the blog, thanks alot!


user said...

Alex, great post! I am wondering if you can discuss metering in detail. Because that seems to be the important factor in having good exposure. Tnx.