8 Tips for Coastal Life Photography

Many people have a great desire to live near the sea, and many photographic enthusiasts enjoy documenting coastal life: the activities and the scenery of the people who live there. Going to the beach is a regular pastime for those who live at the coast, and is an annual pilgrimage for many inlanders. Beaches are a wonderful source of color, varied light patterns and natural beauty.

However, there are some challenges associated with photography at the coast, some of which are trying to make wide open spaces interesting, issues with privacy, and sand and salt water damage to expensive equipment. The following are a few tips for taking digital photos at the coast.

Tip 1 - Find a Focal Point

While many photographs at the coast are taken towards the sea; try taking a few from the sea back towards the beach. One of the problems with this idea is that often there is no focal point, or any points, of interest in the photo, which can make it boring. To remedy this, give the photo something interesting to focus on, like a sand castle, huge waves crashing on rocks, an unusual pattern in the sand, or a dog catching a Frisbee in mid-air.

Tip 2 - Plan the Time of Day

Early mornings and evenings present excellent opportunities for great photographs. There are usually fewer people, and the angle of the sun can create interesting shapes and color combinations, especially in the warm golden light of evening.

Tip 3 - Use the Horizon

Try to keep the horizon level in your shots, but avoid having the horizon cut through the centre of the scene. Rather, position it off-centre.

Tip 4 - Aim for Fewer People

Head for the beach on an overcast day when there are fewer people about. Interesting cloud patterns and the wind blowing flags, trees and the spray off the top of waves all make for dramatic photographs.

Tip 5 - Play with the Camera's Features

Using the camera in auto mode can produce unexpected results under the harsh lighting conditions often encountered at the beach. Setting the camera to manual mode and using the bracketing feature, if your camera has it, enables you to take 3 photos in quick succession. The first shot will be one stop less than the required setting, the next shot at the setting, and the last one is taken one stop over the required setting. One of the three should produce the desired result.

Tip 6 - Use a Flash

Shooting at the beach on a bright sunny day will often produce harsh shadows on faces. Use a flash unit on the camera to get rid of these shadows. Place a white handkerchief over the flash, or bounce it off a white card to soften the light.

Tip 7 - Try Filters

Use Ultra Violet filters to cut down on atmospheric haze, which causes a blueish tinge on outdoor photographs. Polarizing filters will help to cut down on reflections and enhance contrasts, especially with blue skies, making them a rich, dark blue.

Tip 8 - Experiment with Black and White

Try removing the color from the photo while experimenting in post-production. A black and white photograph has a totally different look and feel to it, giving a more dramatic effect to storm clouds or an otherwise colourless scene captured on an overcast day.

Popular Cameras for High Quality Photos: