10 Beach Photography Tips - Digital Photography School

10 Beach Photography Tips

Image by David Kracht

Image by David Kracht


Here in Australia we love to hit the beach.

We’re one big island and most of our population is scattered along the coast line so the beach is a natural place for us to go both on day trips and longer holidays.

Beaches present digital camera owners with a number of wonderful opportunities as they are places of natural beauty, color and interesting light. However they also present a variety of challenges including camera damage, privacy issues and making large open spaces interesting.

While it’s not really beach going weather at present here in my part of the world I know that many readers of this site are getting close to Summer and beach photography will be high on the agenda of many (I’m so jealous).

Here are 10 tips for when you head to the beach with your digital camera next:

Beach-Play

1. Look for focal points

A friend of mine once told me that they don’t bother taking their camera to the beach because all beach shots look the same. i thought that that was a pretty sad thing to say because when I go to the beach I see it as a place brimming with photographic opportunities if you have the ability to look beyond the cliche shots. For example while many people take shots looking out to sea I find it interesting to go to the water’s edge and then turn completely around and see what’s in your frame from that angle. One common problem with landscape beach photographs is that while they might capture a beautiful scene they actually have no point of interest and can as a result be rather empty and boring. When taking a shot look for a point of interest or focal point that will give those looking at your photo a place for their eye to rest. Perhaps it’s a pattern in the sand, a set of footprints, the crashing of waves over a rock, a life saver’s tower etc. Also look for the little things that tell the story of going to the beach like shoes at the waters edge, sand castles, sunglasses, sunscreen lotion etc. Sometimes these can make wonderful little feature shots to break up your vacation album.

2. Timing is important

The start and end of days can present the best opportunities for shooting at the beach. For starters there will be less people there at that time of day but also you’ll find that with the sun shining on an angle that you often get more interesting effects of shadows and colors – particularly in the evening when the light becomes quite warm and golden.

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Beach-Waves

3. Watch the Horizon

One of the most common problems in beach photography where there are wide open spaces with a long and often unbroken horizon is sloping horizons. Work hard at keeping your horizon square to the framing of your shot (more on this here). Also consider placing your horizon off centre as centered horizons can leave a photo looking chopped in half (more on this in our post on the Rule of Thirds).

4. Head to the Beach When Others Avoid it

Another timing issue is that the beach can really come to life on those days that everyone avoids it because of inclement weather. Stormy seas, threatening and dramatic clouds and wind slowing lifesaver flags and trees over call all make for atmospheric shots.

5. Exposure Bracketing

One of the challenges of shooting in the middle of summer on a beach is that it can be incredibly bright and your camera could want to under expose your shots if you’re shooting in Auto mode. If your camera has a manual mode it can be well worth playing with it at the beach and experimenting with different levels of exposure. I find that I get the best results when I look at what the camera wants to expose the shot at and then over expose it by a stop or two. Of course this depends greatly from situation to situation – brightly lit landscapes are generally very tricky – especially if you have shady areas as well as bright ones. Sometimes it’s a matter of working out which area you want to be well exposed and focussing on that area as to get everything right is often impossible.

Beach

6. Spot Metering

If your camera has spot metering you can overcome some of the above exposure problems. Spot metering is a feature that some cameras have whereby you tell the camera which part of the image you want to be well exposed and it will get that bit right. This is particularly useful in bright light when you want to get a shady area exposed well. It will optimize the shady area (and the other areas will be over exposed – but at least your main subject will be ok). This can be effective especially when photographing people as it allows you to face them away from the sun and to meter on their shadowy face and therefore avoid squinting (a common problem with photographing people at the beach).

7. Fill Flash

If you’re photographing people at the beach as a portrait and it’s bright you’ll find that they will almost always have shadows on their face (often cast by hats, glasses, noses etc). Switch on your flash and force it to fire when shooting in these situations and you’ll find the shadows eliminated and your actual subject is well exposed. This is particularly important when shooting into the sun when without a flash you could end up with your subject being at some stage of becoming a silhouette). If your camera gives you some level of control over how strong a flash to fire you might want to experiment with this also as firing a full strength can leave your subjects looking washed out and artificial. If your subjects do look overexposed and you cant decrease the flash strength try moving back a little from your subject and using your zoom to get a tighter framing as this will decrease the impact of the flash. As usual – experimenting is the key.

8. UV Filters

UV filters are useful for DSLR owners a couple of reasons in beach photography. Firstly they act as a protection for your lens (see below) but also they do filter out ultraviolet light in a certain range. This can cut back on atmospheric haze (often a blueish haze/tinge). The visual impact that they have is not great but they are the first thing I buy when I get a new lens for my DSLR.

Black-And-White-Beach

9. Polarizing Filters

One of the most useful DSLR lens accessories that you can add to a digital camera is a polarizing filter. Without getting too technical, a polarizer filters out some light that is polarized. This means that it reduces reflections and boosts contrasts. The most noticeable places that this has impact is with blue skies (potentially it can make them incredibly rich and almost dark blue) and in water/ocean in which it can give a variety of effects. The way many people explain the results of a polarizer is the difference that polarizing sunglasses can make when you put them on (in fact I know quite a few photographers who shoot through their sunglasses if they don’t have a polarizer with them. Get a polarizing filter and experiment with it and you’ll quite literally be amazed by the results.

10. Black and White

One technique that I’ve been using a lot lately in beach photography (and other genres also) is to do a little post photo production and see what impact stripping a photo of color has upon it. There’s something about a black and white shot at the beach that completely changes the mood and feel of a shot. It’s also a great way to bring to life beach shots taken on dull or overcast days which can often leave a beach scene looking a little colorless.

Further Essential Reading On Beach/Coastline Photography

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Darren Rowse is the editor and founder of Digital Photography School and SnapnDeals. He lives in Melbourne Australia and is also the editor of the ProBlogger Blog Tips. Follow him on Instagram, on Twitter at @digitalPS or on Google+.

Some older comments

  • Kellie

    July 1, 2013 04:24 pm

    These are great tips and really helped improve my beach shots!

  • Emma Mercer

    June 21, 2013 12:56 am

    The beach is definitely a nice place to take pictures of people. It would be nice to take candid shots. All these tips will be noted as i am a wannabe professional photographer someday. I hope to take beautiful pictures in the near future.

  • paperboat

    June 9, 2013 06:50 pm

    These are great tips.. really gud . thank you….I hope you can give more tips to help people like me….:-)

    Read more: http://digital-photography-school.com/10-beach-photography-tips#ixzz2VhuGKVhB

  • Lake Tahoe Wedding Photographer

    April 18, 2013 08:11 am

    ok, that's a LOT of comments for this photography post - as a wedding photographer in Lake Tahoe I like your content - most importantly watching the horizon.

    let's all agree that dutch angles should be done away with.

  • Rohit

    December 2, 2012 06:02 am

    Thank you for the helpful post dear Team (digital-photography-school.com). I am a photographer from Kerala. We are daily visit the website for lean new tips. Thanks for the service

  • Leigh Ann

    November 25, 2012 01:07 pm

    I took my camera to the beach and couldn't force my flash to fire. Can you tell me how to do that? I have a Canon Rebel.

  • Scottc

    October 23, 2012 08:23 am

    or the sunset, depending on which coast you're on........

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/lendog64/4422202043/

  • Scottc

    October 23, 2012 08:22 am

    I'd also suggest catching the sunrise....

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/lendog64/8088027793/

  • Jessica Vallecorsa

    September 28, 2012 05:11 am

    Great tip with the polarized filter!

  • Kerala Professional Wedding Photographer

    September 26, 2012 08:16 pm

    Really awsome. Nice to have tips. Thank you verymuch

  • Hardy Klahold

    May 3, 2012 01:45 am

    There's nothing quite like shooting beach photography- nice tips here on how to make sure your photos turn out the way you want them to!

  • Genevieve Georget

    May 2, 2012 05:30 am

    These are great tips. I can't wait to do a beach photoshoot this summer.

  • Kimberly

    April 30, 2012 05:37 am

    I love this site, I ALWAYS learn something new and feel inspired. Reading all the comments I have to say I never thought editing a picture was "fair" until I started editing my own pictures and realized that it is an art form in and of itself! What an amazing way to express yourself as an artist and a photographer! The work after the photo is taken is seriously half the fun for me. I love it! I have to say though, I don't particularly care for the girl floating over the sand. I know she was added later for what ever reason, it just doesn't make sense to me...but that's ok, not everybody views things the same and I can truly appreciate the fact that many people love that photo.

  • Anurag

    April 25, 2012 05:13 pm

    Another Awesome post and I always like the way DPS educate the novice users (splly like me).
    Experimenting with metering modes can specially work at beaches.

    Thanks a lot

  • steve slater

    April 25, 2012 03:40 pm

    I agree with exposure bracketing. As well as bright sun the sand is a reflector too.
    Winter can be better for light:

    http://wildlifeencounters.photoshelter.com/gallery-image/Scenes-of-Marbella/G0000_XGzBB7h53I/I0000iCBUexim5PM

  • Bobby

    April 24, 2012 02:22 pm

    Wow. Great article. Exposure bracketing was probably the best advice. I'm in Ottawa, so we don't have any good beaches. But I'm headed to a wedding in Nova Scotia, and I'll definitely remember these photography tips.

  • Pokkisam

    April 24, 2012 01:37 pm

    Its a great tips to keep as a beginner. Just another inspiring collection of beach pictures

  • Nick Lance

    April 9, 2012 02:45 pm

    Great tips. There is a lot to more to taking a photo than just pressing a button. The best advice is to get it right in camera because it saves you time and headaches in editing.

  • Wedding album designer

    March 31, 2012 03:56 am

    Great tips. Looking forward to my April wedding on Sanibel Island.

  • Bruce Hirsch Beach Portrait Photographer

    March 21, 2012 01:13 pm

    With the great warm spring we are having in Indiana, I have started doing family beach portraits. I have never been able to start family beach portraits on Lake Michigan in March.
    The water temp in Lake Michigan is in the high 40's. And the beach is nice and clean and the beach sand and dune grass look wonderful.
    It looks and feels like SW florida.
    Thanks again for the great article!

  • Prophoto - Wedding Photographer Perth

    February 14, 2012 08:43 pm

    As Wedding Photographer I always take my bride & groom to a secluded beach firstly I find they are less reserved and also I don't have distractions in the background.

  • Hilary Cam

    February 7, 2012 01:56 pm

    Excellent tips! Any suggestions on protecting your gear from salt spray besides full housing?

  • Charles Williams

    January 26, 2012 03:30 am

    I agree with all these points. They are often things people forget or miss

  • Denver Photographer

    January 25, 2012 04:08 pm

    This makes me miss the beach.

  • Kathleen Mealor

    January 24, 2012 06:04 am

    These tips have been so useful. It is now 5am, the sun is thinking about rising, it is raining and I am 80 metres from Moore Park Beach Queensland. Guess you know where I am now heading. Have a great day and thank you for all the great information.

  • San Diego Wedding Photographer

    December 31, 2011 08:49 pm

    Good article and advice. Shooting at the beach is always challenging, so we always tend to go an hour before sunset.

  • Janna

    December 25, 2011 06:29 am

    Great article, very useful for us in New Zealand.
    Here's some examples of mine that fit the tips above :)
    http://flic.kr/p/aZ4J9r
    http://flic.kr/p/autcEi
    http://flic.kr/p/apRUNQ
    http://flic.kr/p/apQbCH

  • Hassan Alsaffar

    November 29, 2011 02:38 am

    Great post, great photos.
    Keep it up :-)
    All the best

  • Lorri A

    November 28, 2011 11:07 am

    Excellent timing. I'm off to the beach for a week or so shortly, these hints are great, thanks. I plan on sunrise and sunset photos (and heaps of others), both looking out to sea, and inland, I love picking up the beautiful colours at those times of day.

  • Louis Blythe

    November 18, 2011 05:42 pm

    Great tips! Dont forget to watch the surf!

  • Mark Berg

    November 17, 2011 02:15 pm

    What are the best Nikon lenses for wedding photography?

  • Pradeep

    October 24, 2011 12:28 am

    Great post, covered all the tips one could possibly look for.

    (and be very careful if you change your lenses on a beach)

  • Denver Wedding Photographers

    October 1, 2011 04:07 am

    We absolutely love natural light outdoor photography

  • jack

    September 20, 2011 06:14 am

    For most people, the best thing about summer are the beaches. The hot sun, warm waters and refreshing beverages. following a few handy tips For Photography on the Beach and how to properly capture scenes, subjects and moments.

    i have same tips here, maybe its usefull
    http://photograpyreview.blogspot.com/2011/09/tips-for-photography-on-beach.html

  • Charlotte Wedding Planners

    September 14, 2011 10:50 am

    Beach wedding photography is by far my favorite. I love planning beach weddings. Great post.

  • Michael Abela

    September 12, 2011 08:01 pm

    Weldone for this fantastic article! By far it is one of the best articles I have read lately that is compact, full of valuable info and practical guides.

    For those interested I invite you to visit http://michaelabela.weebly.com and read my Top 5 Tips for a Successful Bikini Shoot.

    Once again, keep up the good work.

    Michael

  • Orange County Wedding Photographer

    August 30, 2011 07:08 am

    I like what you can do with the polarizing filters and of course, timing is very important and how fast you are at capturing those moments.

  • Wedding Photographer Orange County

    August 20, 2011 02:59 am

    I agree with a comment above saying that a beach shooting is perfect year round, not just during the summer.

  • Doricci

    August 7, 2011 06:37 pm

    Will be heading out to the beach today..will make use of the great tips.
    :-)

  • caz

    July 22, 2011 11:21 pm

    i have a bridge camera. what should i do to protect my lense? my camera has been pointed at the sun a few times, will iyt be damaged with it not being able to have filters?

  • Photography G

    June 30, 2011 01:12 am

    Great post. I love the beach even if it rains.

  • Peter

    June 29, 2011 01:18 pm

    Nice one Darren. Some of these beach shots are sensational. Aussie beaches are the best.......perhaps I am bias.

  • Shaun David

    June 27, 2011 08:53 pm

    Great tips! I do have a separate set of cameras and lenses that I just use for beach photography. Wind and sand can be such a problem at times. If I have a destination wedding on a beach and two days later have one on dry land, I have my Main gear safe incase of any issues.

  • Michigan Wedding Photography

    June 9, 2011 08:03 am

    I am guess we are blessed with some of the most beautiful fresh water beaches in the country in Traverse City. Looking forward to shooting a beach wedding there this summer.

  • Denver wedding photography

    June 2, 2011 10:45 pm

    I like shooting at the beach too especially summertime. Love the shots with the waves.

  • edison

    May 21, 2011 08:00 pm

    I am a beginner and studying basic photography at WVSU, Iloilo, Philppines. As our course about to end, we are required to have a practicum on the beach. As I go over the article I get too many inputs that may help in taking beach photos as requirement for our culminating activity. Thank you so much.

  • Mario Caldeira Fotografo

    May 13, 2011 10:14 am

    Nice Tips!!!

  • Twitter Tools

    May 1, 2011 01:14 am

    Twitter tools - Videos, Tips, Resources and Help.

  • Proud Fijian

    April 25, 2011 06:56 pm

    Aaa. I went to the beach today. Should have read this tutorial before. I live in Fiji, so I have the whole year to try again. Summer all year round. :D I can't find any shops here selling filters. Will have to get some soon. Great tutorial by the way.

  • Stephen

    February 8, 2011 01:11 pm

    This post is relevant to me. I run a photography business in Southern California. Most of my clients come from either Huntington Beach, Laguna Beach or Newport Beach. This is relevant because my site focuses exclusively on Beach Photography in Huntington Beach.

  • Tina Smith

    January 14, 2011 06:12 pm

    Great article but one thing not addressed in the "Watch the Horizon" is make sure that the horizon does not dissect a persons head if you are doing portraits.

  • Stephen

    January 12, 2011 02:07 am

    I've been trying to fine a niche doing beach photography. I live in Newport Beach California and am surrounded by beaches. The tip about going when others are not there is one that I should really take to heart. I usually do just the opposite - try and go when the weather is perfect and of course there are a million people there.

  • Fawn

    January 3, 2011 05:47 pm

    These are great tips, I am felling better about my ability to use my new DSLR since reading the tips on this site. Thank you

  • Phil Holland (wedding photographer in Dallas)

    December 17, 2010 01:36 am

    What an awesome list. Since I loved to texas I only get to the beach a couple of times a year. I'm so jealous of those of you that are near a beach year round.

    Thanks!

  • Albuquerque wedding photographers

    December 15, 2010 03:14 pm

    I wish I was there! I would love to be shooting beach scenes all day long. Really like the b&w shot. Thanks for sharing this posting.

  • Albuquerque wedding photographers

    December 15, 2010 03:13 pm

    I wish I was there! I would love to be shooting beach scenes all day long. Really like the b&w shot. Thanks for sharing this posting.

  • Arran Edinburgh Photographer

    November 27, 2010 08:23 am

    Beaches are not only for the summer! I've shot some great scenes on the moodiest winter days. Fresh snow on a beach is amazing.

  • Erik Kerstenbeck

    November 11, 2010 06:12 am

    I like to use a 10mm lens with tripod, polarizing filter for beach, seascape shots. Using Hyperfocal points and a stopped down aperture, I get right down on a foreground subject and still keep the horizon in sight. This add intriguing details and can lead the eye towards the setting sun. Some people ask if I am taking shots of the sand and I say, no, sunsets. Example here http://tinyurl.com/2ddhycj

  • Charleston Wedding Photographer

    October 28, 2010 01:22 am

    The beach looks amazing in black and white. Any extra tips are always welcomed.

  • Bryan Grant

    October 26, 2010 02:10 pm

    careful too much polarization can make a photo look awkward

  • Mary

    August 19, 2010 03:56 am

    Great tips for taking better beach pictures!

  • Kim

    May 18, 2010 06:50 am

    The beach looks amazing in black and whtie!!! http://eye4bw.com/

  • Dennison Uy

    May 6, 2010 10:16 pm

    Very helpful article. I am often bored of beach shots and have been looking for ways to diversify. This has surely opened up my mind!

  • Richelle

    April 28, 2010 11:52 am

    Wonderful tips and tricks.
    I am a newbie at photography but i am deeply in love with taking portrait pictures at the beach, i just find the lighting amazing. Just a few questions if anyone cares to help me out..
    Firstly, what is Spot Metering? and how do i know if my Canon 1000D / Rebel XS has the function?

    Thanks, in advance.. and thanks to Darren for such a wonderful tutorial... as usual.

  • Boudoir Photography Orlando

    April 11, 2010 11:38 pm

    Great info, as always. I live not far from the beach here in Florida. Sometimes it's good to read, cause that can change your perspective of view. I will hit to the beach next weekend and make some shots. Thanks for your inspiration. Natascha

  • Loraine McCall

    April 4, 2010 12:38 pm

    Puerto Rico, be ready for my next trip!

  • Tamara Murphy

    March 30, 2010 08:20 am

    Thanks for the tips, I really enjoyed them. The photos made me crave Summer and the beach.

  • California Wedding Photographer

    March 28, 2010 11:07 am

    Great info :) Thanks!

  • Kelli Nixon

    March 20, 2010 06:21 am

    We used to shoot about 90-100 portraits annually on the beaches in SC, then the two beach towns made it illegal to shoot on the beaches. So frustrating. Great tips though, thanks for your post.

  • Bruce Hirsch Beach Portrait Photographer

    February 28, 2010 05:39 am

    Very Good article!
    I am a Beach Portrait photographer, and spend most of my time making portraits on the beach!
    You are right on when you mention photographing at sunrise or sunset, the "sweet light" is what we call it!
    Watch out for to much fill flash, it will make some images look flat!

  • Ryan Parent Photographers Ottawa

    February 25, 2010 12:07 pm

    And watch out for sand!! Sand and cameras are a dangerous combo!!!

  • Nancy

    February 16, 2010 01:02 pm

    Hi Hector,
    Thanks for the link. It certainly looks waterproof! Not sure if I'm that good at memorizing the layout of my camera controls though. : >

  • Hector Perez-Nieto

    February 15, 2010 08:55 pm

    Hi Nancy. I haven't tried this one personally but you may be interested. Seems sturdy and affordable. You will have to trade off some flexibility in using your camera's controls or reviewing images on the screen, though.

    Hope it helps!

    http://us.outex.com/?page_id=33

  • Nancy

    February 13, 2010 07:27 pm

    Hi,
    Can anyone offer advice about protecting your dslr from the elements when doing beachscapes? I'm worried about the effects of sea spray, sand and salty air getting into the works and causing havoc.
    I read of sealing it in a ziplock with just the lens+filter exposed. Does anybody recommend this from experience or have a better solution.
    I'm really busting to try my hand at some sunrise/sunset shots but don't want to sacrifice the safety of my new camera!!

  • Hector Perez-Nieto

    February 7, 2010 10:09 pm

    I would also add "Take a silver reflector" (if you'll shoot portrait, that is). Unless you pack a big BIG flash and a heavy battery, a reflector will be the only light source that can match the sun. They´re easy to carry and even fun to use. I took this one with one.. by the way I'm also in Australia. :)

    For experimentation sake, I played with a ring flash to kill some shadows and then with the reflector (not both at the same time). The reflector wins, IMHO:

    http://www.photoshelter.com/c/tremblestudio/search?I_DSC=west+beach&I_DSC_AND=t&_ACT=search[eimg url='http://c.photoshelter.com/img-get/I0000DMKYrJKjjN8/s' title='s']

  • divya

    February 7, 2010 05:52 pm

    Black and White
    One technique that I’ve been using a lot lately in beach photography (and other genres also) is to do a little post photo production and see what impact stripping a photo of color has upon it. There’s something about a black and white shot at the beach that completely changes the mood and feel of a shot. It’s also a great way to bring to life beach shots taken on dull or overcast days which can often leave a beach scene looking a little colorless.

  • Robb

    January 25, 2010 03:07 am

    "Lenses"
    please tell me which lens I need to take guys Surfing without getting wet? or being that close to the sea
    I live in Cornwall UK and there are some great waves (at times) and O would like to take pictures
    do I need a ZOOM or a TELEPHOTO or a WIDE ANGLE or a combination of the all
    I look forward to your answer

    Robb

  • jenskie

    January 5, 2010 09:20 pm

    thanks, i really love to take photos of the beautiful sunrise at the beach and the waves. its a great and helpful tips.

  • Mariana

    December 12, 2009 04:28 am

    Hi,

    I am bringing my digital S90 to teh beach but also a Canon EOS Rebel analogi, and I want tips of nice films to paly around, i will buy for sure kodak ellite chrome... what else?
    thanks

  • Aspen Wedding Photographer

    November 21, 2009 02:15 am

    Great tips. I wish I were closer to the beach. I suppose I have to settle for the Mountains.

  • San Diego wedding photographer

    November 10, 2009 01:04 pm

    I love shooting at the beach and completely agree with all the tips here.

  • Film Teacher @ G-Star

    November 2, 2009 06:20 am

    It appears I teach many of the same elements as you. I like to check often,because change is a terrible thing to waste.

  • Palm Beach Wedding Photographer

    October 23, 2009 02:45 pm

    Great Tips. It seems that timing is everything, especially whenever it comes to nature or landscapes. You can light a portrait with a couple lights, but you cannot light an entire coastline.....

  • Gino Siller Photography

    October 12, 2009 03:56 pm

    Spot metering can be a life saver. The beach is a very tough place to shoot. Very bright, and not much shade to utilize....

  • Otto Haring

    September 30, 2009 01:28 pm

    You just gave me an excellent idea with the spot metering!!!

  • Mircea Wedding photographer

    August 20, 2009 07:24 am

    Timing is extremely important, and then the various lens .

  • Dave Z.

    August 12, 2009 09:35 am

    Good pics and tips. Learning to use fill flash well is critical. -dz

  • shana

    July 24, 2009 01:04 pm

    hey! so im new to photography and i just purchased a very nice (used) Pentax K1000. I am going to hawaii in only four days (I'm super excited!!) and this article really helped me out! thank you for your great tips, I'm definitely coming back for more tips! xoxo:)

  • Landscape Photography

    July 18, 2009 11:41 am

    Good point Shane...

    Nice article, I really enjoyed the images by Sara.

    Glad you mentioned horizon lines, a crooked horizon, unless used intentionally for effect can ruin a great photo.

  • Hussey Photography

    July 14, 2009 05:48 am

    Awesome tips!
    I'll be sure to use them for my next destination wedding!
    What a great resource!

    -Tim

  • Emily

    July 9, 2009 01:23 pm

    I am spending yearly vacations near the sea and your tips are absolutely great, would try them next summer...

  • Shane

    May 1, 2009 02:38 am

    The great Ansel Adams used to spend hour after hour in the darkroom burning and dodging pictures, touching them up to be just perfect. They were never just out of the camera and quickly printed. People who say touching up pictures in photoshop is bad, think they are protecting the "traditions" of photography, but are in fact turning their backs on the history of photography. Ever since photography was invented, photographers strived to improve the quality of the final image. They invented filters, better films, and darkroom processes to get their ideas into print. Aside from possibly photojournalists, true photographers rarely used a photo straight out of a camera without some sort of help, even if it was just a polarizing filter (which is "touching up" a photo). I understand some people take a stand like this just to make an arguement, but ingorance is rarely a good stand to take.

  • joe

    April 24, 2009 10:53 pm

    Vmark Says:

    May 31st, 2007 at 4:30 pm
    said....

    "sorry but those photos are so obviously touched up what a crock"

    Well then Mark
    ummmmm then lets see your fantastic non touched up ones.
    or are you a crock too.

  • Julie Harris

    April 22, 2009 04:59 pm

    Ahhh... A photo shoot at the beach. Sounds wonderful! I'm landlocked in Denver but need to get to a beach soon!!!

  • Marko

    April 18, 2009 05:58 am

    Richard,
    I know what you mean. So did a photographer friend of mine, who recommended the book "The Digital Photography Book" by Scott Kelby. Exactly what you need and what I needed: what settings to use in various occasions - for a city, people, wedding, nature, sports... short explanations why, funny and so easy to read (several times).
    I have no affiliation to the author or the publisher, I was just impressed how much better that book was compared to any other I've seen.

  • Lucian

    April 17, 2009 02:14 pm

    great posting, love the tips and the great examples !!

    thx Ursula for the comments. I'm still on the edge, out-of-camera vs. touch (and how much can you touch)

  • Richard

    April 17, 2009 05:59 am

    I love your newsletters. I've learned so much. but sometimes it's like there's so much to do in-camera, and with PS, I kinda go blank sometimes. I want to know EXACTLY STEP BY STEP how some photos get to the final look. Something simple like the umbrella pic above: what were the camera settings? what was done post-processing? what kept it from being a blown out top with a dark bottom? I think more step-by-step walkthroughs of pictures would help a lot of us noobs. But keep up the good work! I love what you do here!

  • Stunner

    March 28, 2009 01:17 pm

    Great tips, especially since I live in the Caribbean, Jamaica to be specific, and also as I am going to the beach tomorrow.

  • charge controller

    March 25, 2009 04:31 am

    I live in Ventura, California about two blocks from the beach so these tips are wonderful for me. I also live on a channel where boats go up and down to the ocean. Talk about needing these tips. Thank you so much.

  • BloggingForProfit

    February 11, 2009 08:10 pm

    Great photo shots. Are the focal points done in photoshop cs?

  • steve

    December 29, 2008 09:17 am

    great to find a site that has helpful tips, but keep them idiot proof for hard at understanding folk like me lol.
    heading back to double island point today (north of brisbane)
    your helpful info will hopefully assist with that lighthouse shot i've been chasing for months.
    cheers.

  • Brandon Mulnix

    October 14, 2008 09:08 am

    Great article on Beach Photography. Our West Coast in Michigan has some of the most beautiful Sunsets... The fresh water makes it easy to splash and play in. Thanks for writing this article.

  • sreekanth

    September 14, 2008 05:47 pm

    i agree wit Geat tips! Don’t forget to shoot a couple shots wide open to blur the details of the beach and water which will be obvious, given their tones.

    Also, some of the best shots I’ve taken are with subjects wearing sunglasses. The polarizing filter removes the glare from most glasses, exposing the eye.
    u

  • Ursula

    August 7, 2008 01:26 am

    “sorry but those photos are so obviously touched up”

    Almost every picture one sees today in magazines are touched up. We do not need to believe that models never have a zit or that perfect skin. All those pictures have been touched up. Even the cover pages of TIMES magazine are touched up. Composition is in almost all cases the important thing to have a picture stand out. Of course f/stop and shutter speed settings are very important but one can not get a perfect picture all the time. I find it great that we can now do the after processing on a computer and have instant gratification. Before we had to wait for film to be developed and waisted roll after roll to find an almost perfect shot. Now we can take as many pictures as will fit on the memory card and can do our own after processing which was quite costly when we wanted one picture done of a roll of film. One should still try to get the best picture possible when taking it. Film photography is and was an art form often times for only a few who could afford it or were journalists out on assignment. So much more talent will be seen in the age of digital photography now. Just like when Karaoke became fashion I noticed there is a lot of great talent out there and not just the few to make it on stage and become famous.
    Besides not many pictures of us lay people will become famous or outstanding. Most are being shot for our own use and memory, but then to be able to make those pictures the best they can be for future generations in the family is gratifying. And to be able to post pictures one has taken and possibly post processed on the web gives all of us photography lovers the chance to be seen and to share the world and it's beauty and sometimes tragedy through our eyes in pictures.
    I am ever so glad that I came across DPS and have the possibility to learn so much more about this subject and at least try to become fairly good at it.

  • Debby Phillips

    July 31, 2008 02:36 am

    I love the picture of the umbrellas at the top! These are great tips and I will definitely put them to use, as I am at the beach nearly every weekend.

  • Michael Paust Photography

    July 30, 2008 04:54 am

    Great tips! Don't forget to shoot a couple shots wide open to blur the details of the beach and water which will be obvious, given their tones.

    Also, some of the best shots I've taken are with subjects wearing sunglasses. The polarizing filter removes the glare from most glasses, exposing the eye.

  • Sriniva S N

    July 5, 2008 05:43 pm

    im really enjoy tat one. im also miss lot of the things

  • Melanie

    June 20, 2008 12:43 am

    I'm jealous of the beauty of these shots. I'm just starting to learn to play with different aperture and shutter speeds. I will be there someday. As for the ones who don't respect the quality, it's called jealousy (making yourself feel better about what you can't do.) Practice, Practice, Practice.

  • Hut

    January 23, 2008 01:36 am

    Hey, these posts are very helpful. i'm still a beginner and these tips are awesome. please keep updating your website. thankyou for all your help!

  • rSekeon

    November 28, 2007 09:51 pm

    I'll practice it

    i believe it'll be very helpful for me with no experiment.

    thanx alot

  • Destin Beach Photographer

    November 23, 2007 11:29 am

    Great tips for Beach Photography, there are a lot of things that make Destin Photography diffrent than any other beach location, due to the sand being sugar white, it will mess up your white balance, you have to do your Destin Beach Photography different,when you are shooting weddings on the beach

  • Toby Brooks

    November 21, 2007 05:09 pm

    “sorry but those photos are so obviously touched up”

    if you're against post-processing, then WHY go to a website called DIGITAL photography school?! you seem to be more of a hasidic man.

  • Melchen Mae Machan

    October 11, 2007 05:29 pm

    Your tips are nice and can give a big help for my campus journalism..........thank you....I hope you can give more tips to help people like me....:-)

  • Mike

    October 1, 2007 12:06 pm

    Good pics and tips. I also agree with your advice. As to the critics of the photos being touched up, I agree that you make the image correct the first time but I also don't believe you should throw out a good image if touching up can turn it intoa money maker.

  • mojee

    July 4, 2007 10:24 pm

    Those pic are very nice and very interesting. have fun.

  • emily

    July 3, 2007 05:27 am

    Great tips! How did you make the sky look so blue in the first image and how did you make the second image fade out to black around the edges. I've been trying to figure this out with photoshop and can't. Thanks.

  • Stormie Wilfong

    June 26, 2007 01:26 am

    Im 16 and i love photography! Im getting into it alot latly and i loved your beach tips. If anyone else has any other sites i should read let me know! anyway i enjoyed your article! :] God Bless! stormluvsya@gmail.com

  • noenoe

    June 18, 2007 02:40 pm

    is there any chance i could have such a beautifull shot like that with my pocket camera Kodak Z730..?
    :)
    nice pictures

  • Beckywithasmile

    June 10, 2007 05:11 pm

    Great tips!

    Another tip for those who use a polarizer filter. If you turn it, it could make a bigger difference to your photos. I made this mistake once at the beach. I put it on and went out to shoot photos. I couldn't see it making any difference to the shots I was taking. When I went online to see why that was, I found out it was because I needed to turn the filter (it has an outside layer that can twist). Next time I tried to use the filter, I could see the difference as I turned it.

  • Kenneth

    June 10, 2007 12:28 am

    These tips are really useful for me as an amateur photographer. I'll be sure to remember them when i hit the beach next month! thank you!

  • Presitto

    June 4, 2007 11:52 pm

    The really great picture!

  • charist

    June 4, 2007 08:15 pm

    Really very usefull tips especially for me who live in Greece having all these very beautiful beaches across the Aegean. It would be very helpfull if you had some more tips refering to the use of neutral density filters in beach photographies and mainly the photometering details using graduated filters

  • subcorpus

    June 4, 2007 07:10 pm

    great tips ...
    thanks for sharing ...

  • Villa

    June 3, 2007 08:21 am

    These are some very useful tips, Thanks alot for this post. Very good

  • AC

    June 1, 2007 04:53 pm

    Amazing snaps. The tips are really good as well. I stop using automatic mode at the beach..much better to use fully manual - the snaps just turn out better.

  • Mark

    June 1, 2007 01:44 pm

    What a great article for novice photographer... Cheers :)

  • Ryan Cardone

    June 1, 2007 03:58 am

    Great article!!! Take your camera everywhere but especially the beach. There is always something to photograph!

  • Robert Jensen

    June 1, 2007 03:31 am

    I agree with your use of a UV filter when shooting in conditions where saltspray or dirt can get on your lens, they also make for a good general protector (rubber lens hoods are even better.) However, modern digital cameras are for the most part insensitive to the UV part of the spectrum so you really don't need the filter for that purpose anymore. I'll also add the warning to buy as good a quality a filter as your budget allows. Most UV filters you find in the stores are made of cheap 'green' glass, uncoated and those can lead to a color cast and loss of contrast in the picture. Some can even effect sharpness of the photos, cause more flaring when shooting towards the sun or any bright light source. Hoya and some other brands come in differing levels of quality so be aware of what you are buying. Look for 'multicoated' filters but even there quality, and durability, can vary a great deal. Even the material the ring is made out of can vary from plactic, to aluminum, to brass (the best). Be aware that using dissimilar metals can cause binding of the filter to the lens. Thickness of the filter's ring can cause vignetting when using wide angle lenses. Be especially careful of this when using more than one filter and/or with a lens hood.

  • Andrea

    June 1, 2007 02:21 am

    I love the beach and to swim, and I also love photo. Thankyou for the tips!

  • Motorcycle Guy

    June 1, 2007 02:20 am

    awesome tips!

  • Adam

    June 1, 2007 12:32 am

    Another awesome article!

  • Ian Robertson

    May 31, 2007 11:17 pm

    "sorry but those photos are so obviously touched up"

    Taking the photo is only half the job. Making the photo is the other half.

    Ian

  • Pixel Man

    May 31, 2007 10:29 pm

    Most excellent ideas and information. I am now excited to bring my camera to a beach soon! http://pixelspotlight.com/

  • santaram

    May 31, 2007 09:06 pm

    very nice tips

  • laurence1987

    May 31, 2007 08:04 pm

    Great tip I had to blog about this I still need a SLR camera I haven't had one for like 3 years now but wanted one just invested more in my PC, Car and money going to God and the work :D

    well great blog check mine out at http://ibox-security.net/laurence1987/

    Keep it metal and holy :D

  • Josiah Pugh

    May 31, 2007 06:58 pm

    Ah, now I get spot metering.

  • Paul

    May 31, 2007 05:23 pm

    Mark...What does it matter if a photo is touched-up? There are some excellent tips here and the photographs that accompany it are nice examples of beach-shots.

    I have never understood this 'out of the camera' is better than post-processed mindset. What's important is the final image, not the stages we go through to get to our final image. Yes it might be more rewarding to the photographer to know that they have exposed perfectly/got great tones/perfect crop in the shot but most just like to see nice photographs.

    Bad Post-processing can 'ruin' shots just as easily as bad exposure/composition, but we should judge a photo by what it is, not how it became.

  • mark

    May 31, 2007 04:30 pm

    sorry but those photos are so obviously touched up

    what a crock

  • Richard

    May 31, 2007 02:11 pm

    What's so, about this site is that the info is broken down so nice for people to understand and the quality of knowledge. Thanks everybody for making it so simple to understand.

  • Luis Cruz

    May 31, 2007 11:41 am

    I hate you. I haven't gone to the beach all summer, and I was fine... until I read this.

    I officially hate DPS for making me miss the beach so bad.

  • Paul @ www.photographyvoter.com

    May 31, 2007 08:45 am

    Another superb article. Bookmarked.
    Could have done with this last night!!

  • Sylvia C.

    May 31, 2007 07:39 am

    These are great tips! You really know how to break it down and that helps!

    Thanks!

    Now, all I need is...

    a beach.

    ;)

    Sylvia C.

  • Matt Brown

    May 31, 2007 01:44 am

    Great Post. I'm in Australia too and the winter months are no excuse. The heavy clouds can create some dramatic effects, especially when in Black and White as mentioned.

    Don't forget the hours before and after the sun is up/down. You can get some really great shots for half and hour or more either side of the sunset/rise.

    The beach is an awesome spot, everyone is usually relaxed so it's an opportunity for some candids too.

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