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Tips for Photographing at the Beach

Yes, it’s the middle of winter, but this post is for all of us who are either a) dreaming about the beach or b) taking off for a brief beach interlude. 🌴🏖️

We love photographing at the beach – there is a particular beach in Hong Kong that is my father-in-laws favourite beach from his childhood. It’s generally nice and quiet when we visit, but winter in Hong Kong is a lot like most of summer in Calgary, so we revel in the 20 degree sunny weather.

This is where we manage to capture beautiful photos like this one:

So here are a few tips for taking photos at the beach – please try them out and let us know how it goes!!


Tip 1: Use your Exposure Compensation

This is key. Beaches are very bright. Very, very bright. This means that when you are photographing at the beach, you will often find that your subjects are dark and your background is bright. The way to combat this is by using your exposure compensation to increase your exposure. This adds light to your subject and helps to bring your viewers attention to where it belongs.

Now this also adds light to your background, so you may find your beach scene in the background becomes too bright. You can adjust this by using your highlights and whites sliders in Lightroom to take off the really harsh light in the background.


Tip 2: Work with the direction of light

Backlighting is a very pretty way to create light, airy and whimsical photos. So pay attention to where the sun is, and make sure that you are photographing INTO the sun (so your subject is facing you away from the sun). This may mean that you’re photographing towards the beach, or away from it.


Tip 3: Work with the time of day

Sunset and sunrise are still the prettiest times of day to be at the beach. It’s quiet, and the light is soft. You will experience less issues with harsh, overexposed light which means you need to play with your exposure compensation less.


Tip 4: Try working some different angles

Shoot low, shoot high, zoom in, zoom out – think about mixing up your angles to give you different perspectives on the beach.


Tip 5: Watch your shutter speed

When you’re photographing waves, make sure you’re paying attention to your shutter speed. If you’re looking to capture waves breaking, you will need to make sure you have great timing, and also shutter speeds that are fast enough to freeze motion. This may take a little experimentation, so be sure that you’re looking at your photographs as you go along and checking to see that they are ok. There is nothing worse than coming home, loading your images and realizing that they are all blurry.

If you’re looking to capture smooth silky water (this happens when your shutter speeds are very long), make sure you’re using a tripod.


Now get out there and have some fun!! And of course, make sure you’re sharing your beautiful beach shots with us too!

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