If you live in New Jersey, you probably have spent time “down the shore.” Along with your sun tan lotion and beach chairs, bring along your camera. The beach offers unique opportunities to take inspiring pictures and memories to share with friends and family. Imagine sharing beautiful golden sunrises over the Atlantic, stunning sunsets over the bay, sharing pictures of colorful seashells and your family playing in the surf and sand.
The beach can be challenging for photography, so these quick suggestions may help you to take a great picture on your next beach vacation.
Golden Hour: Visit the beach and take pictures just before and after sunrise and sunset when the light is warm and golden in color. Notice the difference between the light at sunrise and at 9 a.m.? Professional photographers prefer this beautiful golden light for landscape and nature photographs.
Explore: Spend time walking the shore line, exploring the colors and shapes of the shells. Many people overlook the beauty at their feet. Even a broken shell, overlooked by the shell collectors, could be a beautiful picture for your wall.
Compose your photo using the rule of thirds–basically place the main object, the shell for instance in the top left or top right (or bottom left or bottom right) of your viewfinder–not dead center. You are at the beach, slow down and explore, look closely at the world around you.
Eye-level: Taking pictures of children (and birds & animals) at their eye-level will make your photographs more personal. Most people take pictures of children while standing up (admit it, you do), however, visit their world at their level to create a more inviting picture. See the beach through their young eyes. This applies to animals as well, birds on the beach or a sand crab wandering by.
Sunny-16: The bright sand and reflected light off the sand and water are challenging for the photographer, in setting the proper exposure. This bright light will fool most cameras causing your images to be under-exposed (dark). If you can set your camera to manual, try the “sunny 16 rule,” which will be a good starting point for your exposure. This rule applies during the daylight house (not during the Golden Hour).
Simply put–set ISO to 100 or 200, aperture to f16 and shutter speed to 1/125th of a second. Bracket your picture by changing the aperture and/or shutter speeds–one at a time. For instance, for softer backgrounds (less depth of field), try setting your aperture at f8 or f5.6 (leaving the ISO and shutter speed as is).
Finally, this last tip is for any photography taking situation. Bring extra batteries or an extra chargeable battery cartridge and carry an spare SD memory card. There is nothing worse than coming across the perfect picture only to have a full memory card or a dead battery.
Hopefully these simple tips will help you take beautiful and inspiring pictures on your next beach visit.