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PHOTOGRAPHY

Beach photography tips to make your seaside pictures shine.

Take beach pictures like a professional landscape photographer.

How to photograph a beach scene.

  • Use a tripod, a wide-angle lens, and camera settings optimizedfor landscape photography.
  • Take your pictures just after sunrise or just before sunset totake advantage of the best natural lighting.
  • Touch up and enhance your pictures using photo editingsoftware to make each shot look spectacular.

High tides make great vibes.

Sand, surf, and crashing waves are a recipe for relaxation—and an opportunity to take some great beach photos. Whether you’re shooting tasteful black-and-white beach portraits or just trying to get some memorable pictures from your vacation, a few simple photography strategies can help you effectively capture the beauty where landscape meets seascape.

 

 

A black - and - white photo of people holding hands on the beach.
A picture of a family sitting on a log at the beach.

How do you take a good beach picture?

You don’t need to be a professional beach photographer to make the seashore look stunning. All it takes to get incredible shots is some simple preparation and planning.

1. Get the right equipment.

If you’re shooting on a DSLR camera, a wide-angle lens can help you create a sense of depth and capture the vast, open spaces of the beach and the ocean. A focal length of 16mm to 35mm is perfect for landscape shots like these.

 

You may also want to bring a lens hood, which helps to control lens flare and glare by blocking harsh sunlight. It can also protect your lens from getting scratched by blowing sand if you’re taking pictures on a blustery day.

2. Optimize your settings.

To get the highest-quality beach landscape photos, open your camera’s settings menu and change the quality from JPEG to RAW. RAW images are much larger than other file formats, because they capture much more tonal and color data. These extra-detailed images give you more editing opportunities when you import them into a photo editing app for post-processing.

 

It’s also a good idea to set your camera to manual mode. In auto mode, DSLRs automatically adjust shutter speed and aperture settings through a process called metering, in which alight meter inside the camera determines how much light there is and adjusts the camera settings accordingly. In manual mode, you can control these settings yourself based on light conditions on the beach.

 

A higher aperture setting extends your picture’s depth of field for a sharper background, while a faster shutter speed can help you photograph objects in motion without any blur. For example, if you want to get a crisp, clear photo of a wave, you’ll need to set your shutter speed to at least 1/250th of a second to capture the image sharply.

A photo of a moving wave with one side sharper and more clear than the other side.

3. Carefully compose your shots.

All the equipment and camera settings in the world can’t make up for a poorly composed picture. When you’re setting up your shots, always look for a compelling subject: something in the frame to draw the viewer’s attention and provide  context forthe rest of the image.

 

You should also be mindful of the rule of thirds. For example, if the focal point of your picture is a surfer, don’t place the surfer at the dead center of the frame. Instead, adjust your perspective so that they’re at the left third or the right third ofthe image. Balancing the surfer on one side of the frame against empty, negative space on the other makes for a more visually interesting picture.

4. Shoot at the right time.

The time of day you choose for your photoshoot can make all the difference for your pictures. If you can, try to take your photographs just after sunrise or just before sunset. This period is known as the golden hour, when natural light is soft, evenly distributed, and perfect for photography. Beaches are more likely to be empty just after sunrise, while the rich, vibrant colors of a sunset make the perfect backdrop for a romantic picture.

 

You can still take great pictures in the middle of the day, so long as you take precautions to make sure the lighting isn’t too harsh. In addition to adjusting your aperture settings to compensate for the midday sun, try to schedule your shoot for an overcast day. The cloud cover helps to soften the light and distribute it evenly on your subjects—and if you want blue skies in your pictures, it’s easy to replace them with the Sky Replacement feature in Adobe Photoshop.

How to edit your beach photography.

When you’re back from the beach and have finally emptied all the sand out of your shoes, it’s time to review your photos. Photo editing apps like Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom make it easy to review all your shots, find your favorites, and touch them up to look even better.

Use Lightroom to enhance your imagery.

Lightroom was designed to be the perfect starting point for your photo editing process. With Lightroom, you can import your photos directly from your camera’s memory card into an easy-to-view catalog where you can rank and rate images with flags and stars to identify the best shots.

 

Once your beach photos are imported, it’s quick and simple to retouch them with the versatile editing tools in Lightroom. Move the Exposure slider to the left or right to correct overexposed or underexposed pictures, use the color Temperature slider to adjust the warmth and coolness of the colors, or apply a mask to enhance a sunset or the color of the waves.

 

If you need to make the same adjustments to all your photos, you can copy the edits from one processed image and paste those settings onto the rest of your images.

Transform your pictures with Photoshop.

When you want to add entirely new elements to your images, it’s time to use Photoshop. With the wide-ranging and versatile toolset from Photoshop, you can apply almost any creative vision to your beach photography. For example, use the Neural Filters › Sky Replacement option to create an attention-getting sky. Or use Filter › Render › Lens Flare to add a hint of light.

A photo of a beach with one side showing an overcast sky and the other side showing blue sky.

With the right equipment, composition, and editing, beach pictures can be the source of sentimental family photos, gorgeous wall art, or stunning portrait photography.

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