My top beach photo tips

Beach season is coming fast, and when you head to the ocean, chances are you’ll be taking your camera with you. Here are a few of my favorite beach photo tips to get you ready for your first 2011 seaside trip.

1) Time of day – your focal point or subject will actually influence what time of day you want to take your photos. Do you want a bunch of people in your image? One person? An object? Let’s say you want to photograph a loved one. You may want to go in the early morning or evening when the beach isn’t as busy. If you want birds or fish, you may have to research a day and see when they are feeding. Dawn or dusk shots will offer you a more golden tone. If you shoot in the middle of the day the sun will be harsh.

2) Horizon level – a big thing to watch is keeping your horizon level. You want to make sure you keep your camera in a straight line. To make it more interesting remember the rule of thirds.

3) Sun challenge – bright sun can create glare and wash out your subject. To help with this challenge, try investing in a polarizing filter to cut down the rays. (You can find them starting around 17.00 or so)

4) Focus, flash and shadows – I normally use spot focus for all of my shots (unless it’s a group shot) and a fill flash (don’t make it too bright because it can make your images look flat) and/or reflectors to make the subject pop and prevent shadows under the eyes. I also make sure my subject faces away from the sun to avoid squinting. Focus on a shadowy face for metering.

5) Test on auto – take a couple shots with your camera in Auto mode and see what your camera recommends. If you like it you’re done. If you don’t, switch to A mode (for shutter speed) and you can overexpose by a stop or two to see if that helps

6) Action shots – if you want to get a crisp shot of a wave or person running, switch to S mode and make sure you have your Shutter at least set at 1/500 of a second. Remember, when you are in A mode your camera will choose your shutter speed. And when you are in the S mode the camera chooses the Aperture. You can also choose all settings in the M mode (manual).

Do you have any beach photo tips you’d like to share? I’d love to hear them.


  1. Joey says

    Another great article and pictures, Connie. I don’t have an S mode on mine or an A mode. I have AV…Helpful tips. Thanks for sharing your knowledge!

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