HOW TO? Take better pictures at the beach!

It is summertime! That means it is beach weather and I know there will be millions of pictures snapped at the beach this summer.  So, what better topic to cover than the beach!  If you missed my previous HOW TO? post on capturing candid moments, you can read it HERE.  

My all time favorite place to go in the summer, is the beach!  Actually, I love it anytime of year!  But I have discovered that it is also one of the most difficult locations to photograph.  The light at the beach is constantly changing, from the beautiful warm light of sunrise and sunset, to the harsh mid day sun, and ever changing cloud coverage.  It is difficult to know how to take the best photographs in these challenging conditions.  In this post I want to address what things to look for at the beach to ensure that you walk away with the best beach pictures possible.   

1.  Golden Hour

What is this "golden hour"?  This is a term photographers affectionately refer to as the hour after sunrise and before sunset.  The sun is low in the sky and casts a beautiful warm glow on everything it touches.  Therefore, beautiful skin tones and dreamy skies help make this time of day so magical for photographers.  Actually if you notice in the movies whenever there is a romantic scene filmed outside it is usually captured during the "golden hour."  

2. High Noon

When the sun moves higher in the sky it obviously is producing it's brightest light.   At high noon when the sun is directly overhead, often non flattering shadows fall on top of your subjects head. So how do you avoid these ugly shadows on your subject?  Circle around your subject, or have your subject move around to see where the most flattering light is.  Try moving under a beach umbrella to take a shot, or throw a towel over your head to allow less light into your camera.  The point is to find the most flattering light, so step into the shade or out into the full sun to see how it changes the light in your photo.  

Magic can happen at high noon also!  Color is vivid during this time, notice the contrast of color against the bright blue sky in swimsuits, beach towels, and umbrellas.  Look for orange/red up against the bright blue sky and ocean.   Blue and Orange are complimentary colors and look so vibrant and eye catching together.  Scan the beach or your family to look for colors that catch your eye, then snap away.   

3. Vary your distance

Often times we look at our beach pictures and see the same thing:  a photo of the vast ocean, a photo of my kid playing in the sand arms reach away, a photo of my kids at the edge of the water.   It's time to think outside the box!  To prevent this from happening think about changing up your perspective.  If you always shoot a picture of your child playing in the sand while you are hovering over them, try getting down on your knees and taking a picture, or take 10 steps back from where you normally would take a picture.  Also, think about snapping a picture of the "camp" you set up, this represents a season in your life, and you may look back one day and actually miss hauling all that gear to the maybe.  

4.  Waterproof camera magic

Nothing spices up your beach pictures more than having a waterproof camera!  This adds a whole new dimension to your beach photos.  Go buy a cheap disposable one too if you don't want to invest in a decent one!  Think about it, the very reason you go to the beach is because there is water right?!  So, you obviously need some photos of your loved ones in the water without having to worry about damaging your camera.  It is amazing how the beach really comes to life in photos through the eyes of a waterproof camera.  Don't be afraid to get low with that waterproof camera and let water splash all over it!  

*If you don't have a waterproof camera, be extra protective of your camera!  Tiny sand particles are blowing around and have been known to get lodged in important parts of the camera, causing it to malfunction and even fail.  So take your camera out for small increments of time and make sure when you put it away, it is in a purse or wrapped in a towel tucked away somewhere safely.  NEVER open any part of your camera on the beach!  

5.  Get in the picture! 

You heard me, hand the camera over to someone else to snap a photo of you enjoying the beach with your loved ones!  Go snuggle in a towel with your kids,  build a sand castle, or splash around in waves.  Your kids are going to want to remember you being there too!  This doesn't have to be glamour shots people...this is documenting that you were there! 

Stay tuned for more HOW TO? blogs!  If you have any questions for me, feel free to leave them in the comments and I will do my best to answer all of them!  Or, do you have a topic you want me to cover?  Leave a comment! 

For more summer photo inspiration check out my 100 days of Summer project.  Or want to book a session? click HERE