Coming from a Mediterranean country, the beach has always been a part of my life. Sea, sand, sun and sky – all these make for great beach photography.
Being alone at the beach is a dream that many share (not just beach photographers). However, having the beach all to yourself is not so common. Here’s what to do to avoid the crowds.
The first thing is to find out what the busiest hours at the beach are and avoid them. In the area where I live, people usually go to the beach mid-morning. Sunrise and midday are less crowded. I prefer the sunrise, because of the golden light.
Keep in mind that if you take beach photography during midday hours, you’ll have hard light and undesirable shadows. Especially on people’s faces. Not to mention being out in the heat.
You could also avoid crowds by going to less-visited beaches. This means you might need to travel a bit farther away. You’ll want to get away from parking areas and other facilities that attract people.
One of the best beach photography tips is to shoot during the off-season. In winter, beaches have a different beauty and vibe than in the summer.
Heavy clouds, storms, and currents can paint both the sea and sky in beautiful colours.
Include People in Beach Photography
I am not the biggest fan of crowded pictures of the beach. But I do think that including some people in the frame is a good idea.
Look for interesting people. I try to take photos where the people aren’t recognised, to respect their privacy.
Most of them will be in bathing suits (or even nude). And they won’t like the idea of having their photo taken, let alone shared on social media.
You can take photos from behind, from a distance, of a part of the body, or of silhouettes. There are a lot of possibilities!
If you still want to take a recognisable portrait of a beautiful stranger as part of your beach photography, go for it. But first, ask them if they’re okay with being photographed.
In terms of beach photography tips, this is very important. You don’t want a problem with photographing people who could become upset.
Use Golden Hour for Beach Photography
The gold tints of the golden hour fit the beach environment well. The golden hour happens right after sunrise and a bit before sunset.
You will recognise it by its typical yellow-orange light that gives it a magical appearance.
You will also have long shadows that add texture to the sand. If you want to do backlight photography, the golden hour is also a great time for that.
Take Photos of Details for Unique Beach Images
Beaches mean beautiful landscapes and wide-angle shots, but don’t forget to look under your nose. Change from wide-angle to close-ups.
This perspective shift will allow you to take totally different photos. Make sure to look for interesting stones, shells, footprints, sandcastles and so on.
You can also try to emphasise textures. Play with depth of field to get a dreamy effect (blurry background).
Try Family Beach Photography
The beach is a perfect background for any type of portrait. We usually associate the beach with summer and good times.
I find that the beach is a great location for family photography. Kids can run and play in the sand, and usually, they love it! You will have the chance to take a lot of photos of happy kids!
The adults also get more playful at the beach than, for example, in a more urban environment or a photography studio.
It’s much more likely to get them run and play in the shoreline. If the weather is good, you can take photos playing or walking in the water.
If you stay in the shallow waters, you can also go in a little (protect your camera from water splashes!!) and take photos from this perspective. This is one of the best family beach photography tips possible.