How to Photograph Beach Life for Great Shots

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Spring break goes hand in hand with vacations at the beach. A break from winter? Head somewhere warm to the beach. Summer in the northern states? A fire and s'mores (a graham cracker, Hershey's milk chocolate and fire-toasted marshmallow sandwich) on the beach. Almost any time of year, the beach offers a relaxing, recharging destination. For photographers, pick a photography passion and the beach serves up subjects, backdrops with lot's of diversity.

From slow/long exposure, traditional, abstract, macro, wide angles, ‘street meets beach', night and telephoto photography, all have a place. Our creativity options are limitless.

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Coral and Surf

In addition to beach and waves, look for coral reefs, beach grass and flowers. The coral reef below was taken at Coral Cove in Jupiter, Florida just after sunrise. A neutral density filter was used to slow the water's movement.

Coral Face

by Sheen's Nature Photography

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Traditional Beach Chairs With Long Exposure

Pick a chair, grab your favorite beverage, book or camera, and just enjoy the view beachside. Start the blue hour with a long exposure of chairs looking out on the horizon.

A Little Abstract

Beach umbrellas are used to cover and protect us from the sun's harsh rays. They also decorate beaches with a full spectrum of colors. In this case, looking up, the edges of umbrella's colors look festive against a blue sky.

Many Macro Moments

The sand, seashells, rocks, beachglass are just a few of the many macro potentials. The lone seashell is warmed by the golden hour sun and a few sparkles in the sand.


Children on the beach always brings a smile. The young child walking at sunset recalls happy childhood memories.

Pets and Other Action

Action is always happening at the beach and our canine partners love a good frisbee toss.

Leading Lines

Leading lines don't always need to be piers and boardwalks on the beach. These two buddies paw trails are heading home after a long day of play.

Think Street Photography… On the beach

For those of us who enjoy our street photography, sand replaces pavement. Toss in a conversion of the image to black and white and a whole new feeling emerges.

Wide Angles and Big Views

As the day fades, bright sunshine starts to soften as the golden hour emerges before fading into the blue hour. Sand, rocks, and happy faces glow in the late afternoon sun.

The use of a wide angle adds that little something to an already fun, lively photo.

Taking Advantage of the Night

Rich hues, the sound of water splashing against the shoreline are combined with a relaxing stroll. Night photography along the beach is a pleasant, calm way to end the day.

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About the author

Sheen Watkins

Sheen Watkins is a bird, nature, wildlife photographer and photography writer. You can follow her photography on Facebook, Instagram and her website. A long term birder and nature enthusiast she is Vice President of Saving Birds Thru Habitat, a non-profit organization dedicated to educating others about the importance of protecting our natural habitat for migrating birds. She also has a travel and photography blog.


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