If your family is at all like mine, you’ll be spending a lot of time on the beach this summer. The beach makes for beautiful family photos and pictures of your kids, but it can also pose some unique challenges to photography. Here are a few tips.
1) Keep your camera safe. This means protecting it from the water, the sand, and the extreme heat. Sand and water both can wreak havoc on our cameras, and with wind blowing and waves crashing it can be hard to monitor the status of the equipment. Remember to bring your camera’s carrying case and keep it in there when you’re not shooting. Use your camera’s neck or wrist strap when shooting to avoid dropping it into the water. And when you’re not using it, try to keep your camera in the shade rather than letting it bake in the hot sun all afternoon.
2) Watch out for squinting. The beach is a sunny place – that is why we love it. But bright sun makes for heavy squinting, and squinting never looks good in pictures. To avoid squinting, move your subject into a shadier place – under an umbrella or in the shade of the lifeguard tower. Try having your subject turn their back to the sun and use the flash on your camera as “fill light” to make sure they are not cloaked in heavy shadows. Finally, for the really important pictures, simply wait for the best time of day to shoot – either early in the morning or late in the afternoon, when the sun is lower in the sky and not directly overhead. As a general rule, mid-day is the least desirable for portrait photography. Timing is everything!
3) Watch your background carefully. At crowded beaches, there’s always something in the background that has the ability to completely ruin your picture. Before you click the shutter, look around at the people, objects and animals in the background to make sure they don’t distract from the subject. Especially pay attention to beach umbrellas, trash cans, seagulls and strangers that look like they’re coming out of people’s heads or are right at the horizon line. To avoid these problems, move your camera up or down to change the angle, or just wait a moment for people and animals to move out of the frame. Most importantly, look at everything before you click!