Beach photography can be a beautiful and fulfilling genre of photography and a lot of people either live not too far from a beach or enjoy regular holidays to the coast. If your camera is gathering dust just because you feel that there are no interesting subjects around to photograph, go to a nearby beach and you can come back home with some winning photographs. Shooting beach photography is very similar to shooting any other landscape, but with one fundamental difference – the water. If you pay attention to the moving water you can incorporate the magic of the sea in your composition, and definitely, you can create extraordinary photographs. Here are some important tips, settings, requirements, and facts to take into account when getting into beach photography.
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Any camera can be used for beach photography, but if you are looking for longer exposures, go for one that can shoot in manual mode
A wide angle lens if you are shooting a wider perspective or a mid focal length lens or tele lens if you are looking to capture water features in detail.
Tripod if you are shooting long exposures. For normal exposures as well, tripods help with getting better compositions.
If there is too much variation in light intensity between the sky and the waterbody, you can make use of a graduated neutral density filter.
Circular polarising filters if you are looking to avoid reflections off water, flora and looking to bring some colour and details in a bright sky.
Lens hood to remove unwanted flare or other artifacts.
A remote shutter release or cable release to avoid blur due to camera shake.
As with any genre of photography, it is good to shoot using manual mode. Knowledge of the exposure triangle will be of great help.
Use the lowest iso possible to avoid noise in photographs
Aperture value can be between f/5.6 to f/11, depending on your lens’ sweet spot.
If your lens performs well at narrow apertures, do not hesitate to go up to f/16 for longer exposures and for shooting under bright light conditions.
It is best to use matrix metering when shooting waterscapes as this is very similar to shooting landscapes.
Choose your shutter speed depending on what you intend to shoot. If you are looking to freeze actions like a crashing wave or water splashing, go for faster shutter speed. If you are looking to record movements, you will need to go for longer exposures, in other words, slow shutter speed of 1 to 10 seconds or longer depending on what you wish to photograph.
Focus on one-third of the scene to get the entire scene in focus or use the hyperfocal distance to get the scene in focus. Manual focus is recommended
Using the camera on a tripod with live view turned on, can help with easy but interesting compositions.
Slow shutter speed can be achieved by using very low iso, narrow aperture. If you want even longer exposures, make use of ND filters.
Choose auto white balance. By shooting raw, you can always change the white balance during post-processing
Best Time Of The Day For Beach Photography:
The best time to photograph waterscapes will be the blue hour and golden hours. These are the times before and after sunrise and sunsets.
If you are looking to avoid people in the frame, an hour before sunrise to an hour after sunrise would be the best time for getting some beautiful colors in the sky and for amazing soft light
If you wish to include people in the frame to enhance composition or to show scale and balance in the composition, then evenings would be the best time when there are people around. Shoot from an hour before sunset to an hour after sunset.
The time before sunrise and after sunset is the best time for beautiful soft long exposure images.
If you are shooting during the daytime when the sun is very bright up in the sky, make use of ND filters to compensate for the harsh light.
If you want to eliminate unwanted weird reflections off water or from other elements like trees, and want to bring some colours and details to the skies, make use of the circular polarising filter. The circular polarising filter works well only when the sun is at 90 degrees to the frame.