How can you get into beach photography and snap the most breathtaking pictures? Prick your eyes, we’ve got some tips.

Capturing the liveliness of the beach needs the right equipment and adjustments. Everyone loves the beach and its wonders.

It’s all about seeing and observing the perfect light to take breathtaking beach pictures. Beach photography isn’t as easy as it seems. But it is as wonderful as it looks.


This article will help you find out information about:

  • the perfect time to shoot beach photography;
  • best adjustments for this genre of photography;
  • camera tools to capture the perfect moment;
  • a few other tips that will help you take stunning beach pictures.

beach photography
Beach photography

“To photograph is to hold one’s breath, when all faculties converge to capture fleeting reality. It’s at that precise moment that mastering an image becomes a great physical and intellectual joy.”

Henri Cartier-Bresson

Table of contents


When is the perfect time for beach photography?

We have all heard of the famous golden hour. It is that time of the day when the sun gives that yellow-orange sparkle and a diffused light.

The golden hour happens immediately after sunrise and shortly before sunset. During this time of the day, you will be able to create shadows in the dunes.

Using more limited sunlight will give you a magical shade to the pictures, and they will not be overexposed.

Amazing beach photograph during golden hour
Amazing beach photograph during golden hour

Light and time are two essential pieces of beach photography. If you want to take pictures at noon, the sun will give you hard light for taking amazing beach photographs, and the beach will be too crowded.

During the golden hour, you will be able to enjoy the beauty of the sun, sea, sand, and sky and there will be fewer people on the beach.

Having the beach just for you is like a dream come true. Your attention will be focused on every detail that the beach can offer you, and you will be able to take incredible pictures at your own pace. 

beach photography - include people in your pictures
Include people in your pictures

However, don’t be afraid to include people in your pictures. Shoot from a distance or shoot people in motion. If you are worried that someone will notice you, you’d better ask them. Maybe they will feel uncomfortable, so ask if they allow you to take photos of them, and then show them your masterpieces.

Capturing people in your pictures will always help you create a great story, but don’t overdo it. Once you have too many people in your photos, the landscapes and backgrounds will stop being in the center of attention.


What are the best adjustments for beach photography?

As a photographer, you need to know every feature of your camera because that digital object will be your comrade from now on.

Juggling with different techniques, beach photography becomes a fun-loving genre. Go to the beach and play with shutter speed to get different effects.

You can simply freeze the action or the waves by using short shutter speed.

beach photography - freeze the waves
Freezing the waves

One important thing to know is that you shouldn’t use a high ISO. The beaches are already too bright and receive the necessary light from the sun, so keep the ISO low.

Higher ISO will create “noise” in your beach images, and you will brighten them up more than necessary.

Take multiple test shots and find out how to adjust ISO in such a way that you will get astonishing beach photos.

beach photography - sunset on the beach
Sunset on the beach

Being on the beach and seeing the sunrise or the sunset, will make you want to snap some good-looking landscapes. Well, a wide-angle lens will make the foreground look more prominent, and you will create the ideal depth of field.

Focus on a clear focal point to shoot the most captivating beach photos. Even if it is a person, a shell, the sun, or a turtle focus your camera on it and let the background to shine behind the scenes.

Beach picture of a turtle
Beach picture of a turtle

As easy as it may seem, even if you benefit from the perfect natural light, beach photography can be tricky sometimes. Why is that? Because you have to adjust exposure and juggle with it.

From time to time, brightness can affect your pictures. That’s why I advise you to shoot in RAW so you can highlight some of the details that were in the shadow during post-processing.


Do I need camera tools for beach photography?

Speaking of the camera, I would like to add that a waterproof camera would be the most suitable for beach photography. You never know when the rain will surprise you.

Also, I’m pretty sure that you will want to venture into the sea or to get close to it. Sometimes the waves are quite big and may surround you and your camera. It doesn’t hurt to be shrewd.

equipment for beach photography
Beach photography

Taking stunning shots needs a piece of professional equipment. Beach means sand, sun, and water. So, you have to protect your camera from getting damaged.

I recommend you to bring an air blower and lens cloths to save your camera from dust and heating. Moreover, some wipes will be good too. You will need to keep your lens clean, not to damage your pictures.

Another item that you should have with you on the beach is the tripod. Well, this piece of gear always has its place in photography due to the stability it offers to the camera.

You can play with different shutter speeds and capture quality beach pictures. Though I know it can be hard to carry, and the sand doesn’t help it much to be fixed. Don’t worry; solutions exist.

You can place stones under the tripod or bring some boards with you. Beach photography means dedication and a large amount of involvement.

beach photography - tripod on a beach
Tripod on a beach

If you want to improve your beach photography skills, take advantage of polarised filters. You can fit filters in your lens, and they will intensify colors and contrast. Also, they will reduce the reflected light, and the color of the water will become more intense.

Practicing in this genre of photography needs investment, so go and choose the perfect filters for beach photography. You will need something that will emphasize the blue, the shadows, and remove the shine from reflective surfaces.


What are the most lovely beach picture ideas?

Taking shots on the beach can seem quite complicated when it comes to perspectives and picture ideas. But don’t forget that beaches are limitless and you can find something to shoot at every step you make.

You can search for shells, stones in the sand, thicket, maybe flowers, and so on. As a photographer, you must like to explore and find new places to photograph.

Moreover, get inspired by other photographers. Look for beach perspectives and find out new ones. You can take a look at Gray Malin. He is a skilled photographer that enjoys travel and adventure.

Get into details

beach photography - sand castle
Sand castle on the beach

For many photographers, beach photography means landscapes and capturing the sea at its best moment. Well, don’t limit yourself just to landscapes and wide-angle shots.

Take close-ups of shells or sandcastles and so on. You can play with the texture of the sand, maybe with some little stones in it.

Portraits

beach photography - portrait
Portrait

If you want to end your day with some mysterious pictures, take some portraits of people and try not to get noticed.

Look for interesting people and capture them in their moment of glory.

There are a lot of perspectives to take amazing portraits, so get your camera, go to the beach and take shots of people from different angles.

Sun stars

beach photography - sun stars
Sun stars

Now I’m going to give you a piece of advice that undoubtedly will improve your shooting techniques.

To get sun stars pictures, use a small aperture. Look at the sun and adjust your aperture until you get the sunshines split in light particles.

Sun stars can be a great addition to landscapes and beach photography.

Enjoy vegetation

beach photography - vegetation
Vegetation on the beach

You won’t always see vegetation on a beach, but if you are lucky, take advantage and take as many shots as you can.

Capture it from below, from above, from one side, and play with angles. Capturing vegetation with the beach in the background will offer a different perspective to your beach images.

Also, use a small depth of field to get the background a little blurry.

Silhouettes

beach photography - silhouettes
Silhouette on beach

One technique you can practice on the beach is to take backlight photos. With this procedure, you can capture amazing silhouettes of people.

You have to place your model between your camera and the sun. Then, set the exposure according to the background and get your subject into the dark.

You will create perfect silhouettes and a bit of mystery.


What about post-processing beach pictures?

Post-processing pictures is a part of your job as well. Some of your images won’t have the result you wanted so that you can edit them according to your preferences.

Photography post-processing allows you to improve the quality of the photos and to add different filters, shades, and so on.

If you are just starting in photography, I recommend you to watch tutorials on how to edit pictures in Lightroom and start learning this process.

Post-processing beach photos
Post-processing beach photos

The colors in beach photography play a significant role in creating a story with your images. That’s why you should learn how to edit pictures and have skills in post-processing softwares.

Get creative with white balance, temperature, contrast, remove the imperfections, and change the colors of your pictures.

Sometimes you will want to express calmness and peacefulness through your photos. Other times you will need colors that make people feel happy, joyful, and cheerful.

Emphasize the emotions that people will experience when they see your masterpieces by editing the colors and making them more intense.


What’s next?

Once you have experimented with beach photography and followed these tips, you are ready to show people your vision and create an online portfolio.

You have to make yourself known, promote your work, and make money as a photographer. You can even sell your photos on stock photography websites and start making a living out of this.

beach photography - portfolio
Create your photography website

So, are you ready to take your photography skills to another level?


Key takeaways

  • Capturing the beach needs practice and research.
  • Time in beach photography is essential, so get creative during the golden hour.
  • Shoot during the off-season to avoid crowds.
  • Add people in your pictures, but not too many.
  • Play with shutter speed and use a short one to freeze the waves.
  • Low ISO will get away the “noise” in the pictures.
  • Use small aperture to create sun stars.
  • Have fun with depth of field.
  • Wide angle lens is perfect for beach photography, especially for landscapes.
  • Adjust the exposure and shot in RAW.
  • Bring a tripod with you.
  • The beach is the perfect place for backlight photography.
  • If you are lucky to find vegetation, add it in your pictures.
  • Create silhouettes by adjusting the exposure.
  • Observe the little things and get into details.
  • Go to a shop and buy polarised filers to improve beach photography.
  • Post-processing pictures is a must in photography.
  • Adjust the white balance to get dreamy pictures.
  • Explore many locations and have no limits.
  • Promote your masterpieces and create an online portfolio.

Do anything but let it produce joy.

– Walt Whitman

Final thoughts

The most important factor in photography is practice. Get crazy with genres, styles, angles, places, objects, and never limit yourself.

Let your vision be your best friends and exploit photography to the fullest. Do this and show people perspectives that they have never seen.

Don’t forget to have fun. Shooting at the beach can be relaxing and entertaining as well.

Get into conversations with random people and take pictures of them. Have fun with landscapes, portraits, silhouettes, and shoot from different angles.

The more you practice, the better your chances of becoming a professional photographer will be. Get out there and show us what you got!