Landscape Photography / Photography Tips & Tutorials

Shooting Coastal Photos That Connect

costal photos

For many of us, summer means a trip to the beach. After all, nothing says ‘vacation’ like sand between our toes and saltwater in our hair. The beach is also a popular photography venue because the scenery is simply breathtaking. The ocean offers opportunities perfect for stretching your photographic skills. Whether you’re photographing East Coast lighthouse architecture or the Gulf Coast shores, we have a few tips to help you create captivating coastal photos.

Find Your Focal Point:  The shores are vast, often swallowing up the frame in such a way that their grandness is difficult to capture. In these cases, it’s often best to find a subject to contrast with the water, such as a rock wall, beach hut, or other structure. Using the rule of thirds, you can position the structure in one section while using the water in the remaining areas. Experiment with positioning and tightening the frame to discover which combination creates the greatest impact for coastal photos.

Play on the Pier:  Piers have long been a favorite shooting location for seaside photography. By experimenting from varying perspectives, piers can be powerful positions from which to shoot. Piers also attract fisherman, families and other vacationers, which can add a local interest angle to your images. Remember to include the pier as part of the imagery, shooting from the side at sunset or in landscape to showcase the reach of the woodwork. Let the pier serve multiple roles in the set – it will be well worth the effort.

Shooting in the Sand:  All it takes is just a small wind gust to blow sand into your camera lens, so make sure to keep your camera protected in its bag or covered in a gear wrap in between shooting sessions. Then it doesn’t even matter how great your coastal photo might have been because the actual camera ruined it. Here are some items that will keep your camera covered and protected when not in use.

Keeping lenses from scratches is also critical when shooting in sandy and windy conditions. Make sure to have some UV and polarizing filters on hand.

Try Backlight:  While back lighting is often a hindrance in photography, causing our subjects to be dark against a brighter background, it can also be a creative tool for shooting on the shore. For example, having children with their backs to the camera and jumping in the waves is one way to add dramatic impact to ocean images. Shooting during sunset, which happens later in summer hours, can transform an average family beach photo into an artistic photograph ready to be displayed in your home. 

Remember to stop by one of our six full-service stores so that we can help you with enlargements and framing, all at fantastic prices!

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