The sight of miles of stretches of beautiful sandy beaches, the scent of fresh air and the lulling sound of sea waves crashing against the rocks make an idyllic setting for both vacation and a wedding. People enjoy the scenic environment. They enjoy the ambiance with their friends and families. Their happy and gay mood naturally results in great photographs. As great as beach vacations and weddings seem to be, photographers often face challenges while capturing special moments. Getting the right amount Exposure can be tough given the bright environment. Often, at beaches, there is nothing but miles and miles of sands, so the composition might come out to be dull. Needless to say, there are components like sand and water that don’t get well with electronic devices. So, below mentioned are certain challenges and their remedies to make the beach a great place for photography.
Planning for the Beach
Planning how to shoot is a key factor. Go through a trusted weather site or app to know the tides and sunset before planning your shoot. Beaches in the tropical regions, experience fast sunsets, maybe in 15 minutes. So your shoot gets really over fast and people might not be able to pose comfortably taking the time they need. Consult with your clients if it is a sunset shoot. Make your clients practice their poses and expressions so that they don’t take much time in capturing a single photo. Also, the weather is important to check and then plan the shoot. If it’s a full moon day with high tides in the sea, you probably will not even get a chance to stand, forget about the shoot. Some of the pictures on the internet might not be achievable in reality, like pictures with rocks covered with waters. Some of the beaches become different when they experience low tides from when the tide is high.
Light and Location
Probably one of the most challenging tasks when shooting on a beach is the light. Though bright sunrays filling the blue sky and reflecting from the shore and the ocean is perfect for a day shoot at the beach, all these bright light calls for a very skilled and professional photographer to bring out the best of the photographs in this bright light. Shooting in manual mode is compulsory. Automatic modes can’t be relied on because of too much lighting. For any photographer, no other challenge is as tough as dealing with a bright harsh sun. But professionals know how to tackle it. It brings out their creativity more. Also, this allows them to experiment and create a lot of variety in one setting. In this reference, it is to be mentioned that bright lights at the seashore are great for backlit photos. A photographer’s work is obviously 10 times tougher than anyone else in the shoot, because there’s light everywhere, including the reflection of the sun rays off the sand, in case of a day shoot. As a remedy for the excessive bright light, photographers often underexpose the atmospheric light and use something that acts like a fill flash on the face. If the couples are posing facing the sun, the photographer might stand at a 30-45 degree angle to let shadow sides and definitive highlights on the face of his clients. If the light is too bright, there is nothing to block the light. On the other hand, if the sky is overcast with clouds, there are more opportunities available to photographers but then they require reflectors and extra lighting facilities. So it’s a tough job to adjust the right amount the light needed to capture a perfect photo.
It is a little easier to click good pictures during sunsets and Twilight than clicking in harsh bright days. Typically, the ideal time to conduct shoot is about 30 minutes before sunsets, when the sun starts going down. After the sunset, the light becomes really beautiful, tranquil and soft. Shooting after sunsets require video lights to illuminate the pictures. Not only lighting, but photographers also need to face creative challenges having only miles and miles of sand stretches, vast ocean and blue sky at their disposal as to compose diverse and interesting photos. Photographers have to look for other elements such as rocks or piers so that the photos Don’t seem incomplete having only the couples and sand and waters. Light comes through the piers giving the picture another backdrop other than the beach.
Sand, Sand, and saltwater – Beware of the Elements
It is a known fact that sand and water don’t get along well with electronic equipment. Sometimes, while shooting at the beach, it becomes difficult to keep your devices safe from these elements as sand can sweep into almost anything. Splashes of water from sea waves may harm your camera. Hence it becomes necessary to have waterproof cases for the camera with yourself always. These cases are quite costly and are sometimes priced more than the camera itself. But having them will benefit you when your work involves water and sand.
Normally, you can also use a rain sleeve to protect your camera, which will cost a few dollars. Otherwise, you can even buy a waterproof point-and-shoot camera. However, they should be avoided because of issues that stem from its small sensor size. Since people generally be shooting under bright light at the beach, most of the issues of point-and-shoots get resolved. Ignoring these issues, having a point and shoot camera is quite helpful and entertaining. This type of camera can help you in extending your boundaries, without worrying about water, and are cheap in comparison to most other cameras.
See more tips on how to protect your camera in this Backpacker article.
Control Your Exposure
While shooting in the automatic mode, the pictures often appear flatter and darker than you expected. This is because, due to the automatic mode, your camera tries to reduce all things to middle grey making things appear dull. Photographers should consider shooting in the aperture priority mode or the manual mode, which will provide you with additional control over your exposure. Use the options available to overexpose your click. One should Set the exposure limit in a way that the meter of one’s camera is slightly towards the right of zero. If one is using a camera that doesn’t use a scale and instead uses numbers, set the exposure meter at +1. This will capture your pictures accurately in the bright light.
Watch the Dynamic Range
People at the beach, generally gaze at the vast blue sky above in spite of the beach is well maintained and lit, the sky appears much brighter. This often results in a dynamic range problem and if any picture is not captured cautiously, the sky might get blown out or appear white. To tackle this issue, use a graduated neutral density filter. It is a kind of square filter that fits on a holder in front of any lens. The top of this filter is dark, while the bottom is clear glass.
Upon attaching this filter in front of your lens, the filter will darken the top section of your photograph while keeping the bottom of your picture at the same brightness and contrast level. Hence, by using fixing this filter in front of lenses, anyone can keep everything within the dynamic range of one’s camera. The advantage is that the sky will appear darker than its usual colour and bring it in line with the bottom portion of the picture, thus preventing the sky from appearing completely white. The beach provides ideal settings to use these filters because the horizon at a distance appears to be a straight line having nothing over it.
Seek Out Subject Matter
Often, photographers face difficulty in clicking good pictures obviously because there is nothing at the beach, except miles of sands and clear ocean water and blue skies. They often have to work on searching for a good subject to enhance their composition. If the right elements are found, they can turn beach photographs into some great unique shots! Some elements to look for and include in the shot are rocks, piers, beach chairs, fences, driftwood, sea oats, abandoned boats, and beach umbrellas and not to forget, people.
Work the Foreground
At the seashore, photographers get a ready-made backdrop for their shots, which happens to be the sea and the sky. What distinguishes a great click from a mere snapshot in the foreground. So basically, one should concentrate on making the foreground appear as great and interesting as one possibly can. Using any of the extra elements mentioned above in the frame will help one in creating a solid foreground. If none of them is again, many times interesting formations made up of sands can also help in making your foreground appear interesting. Search for a pattern. Take a trial shot if time permits. After having found a perfect subject matter, adjust your angle of view. Often, photographers tend to shoot directly out facing the ocean. But there happen to be many interesting clicks that can be shot looking down the coast. A photographer should ideally put his back towards the ocean and capture the land and sand formations in his frame. One should try capturing from all angles and then go for the final shot.
Despite these challenges, photographing at the beach is a fun occasion. If one knows how to tackle bright lights and uses the right remedies, one’s pictures will come great. Utilising e good subject matter and capturing shots from an interesting angle will make your shots appear even better and majestic. And lastly, remember to prevent your types of equipment from being damaged.