Have you ever been on a beach holiday and thought it would be a good idea to take thousands of photographs to remember how beautiful it was, only to be disappointed with the final result? I’ll bet you took a portrait of your loved one only for the shot to turn them into a dark shadow or it left them with harsh black shadows on their faces. Please don’t worry, you are not the worst photographer in the world, this problem is quite common.
Photography can be tricky in the bright light of day, especially in a hot, reflective place like the beach but it is not impossible. If you adhere to a few of the following tips, you will find that your photography on the beach will most definitely improve.
1.USE YOUR FLASH! I know it sounds odd to recommend flash photography in broad daylight but this is a technique of all professional photographers. It’s called “fill in flash”. And it does just that: it fills in all those dark shadows! Fill in flash really only works if you are close to you subject as a flash does not illuminate too far from the light source. So, a perfect time to use fill in flash is if you are taking a portrait and you have the bright sky in the background, for example. Turn the flash on. Focus as normal. Take the photo as per normal. It is that simple. If you find that your subject is a little “washed out”, try turning the flash down (if you have an external flash) or if not, simply just take a step or two back from your subject and try again. The photo should turn out with a well exposed background and your subject’s face should be well lit with no harsh shadows. Fill in flash is also perfect to use when your subject has a hat on, to stop the hat covering their face with a dark shadow.
2. CHOOSE YOUR TIME OF DAY WELL! Obviously, the brightest and hottest part of the day gives the most problems with photography exposure. Therefore I would recommend taking photos in the early morning and the late afternoon. The light at this time of day is somewhat filtered, is therefore not as harsh and gives lovely tones. It also creates a moodier feeling in the photo. And once again, it prevents to some degree those dark shadows (do you get the feeling that I don’t like shadows?).
3. TAKE A PHOTO OF ONE SPECIAL THING! When you’re at the beach the temptation is to just snap away and take photos of just the beach. That’s great if you want to end up with 548 holiday snaps of the same thing! Make your holiday photos something interesting. Focus on one subject. Don’t take a photo of your kids off in the distance playing on the sand. How about taking an up close shot of them, building a sandcastle, their little faces deep in concentration as they build it higher and higher? Or what about some foot prints in the sand? A feather? A crab peaking out from it’s home in the dunes? All these might sound like silly things to take a photo of, but when you have your photo album of your holiday made up, it creates a story of your time there, instead of just bland old images.
4. COMPOSE YOUR SHOT WELL! A well composed photograph draws the viewer in to a resting spot and makes them think. Plonking everything in the smack bang middle of your photo looks kind of drab and dull after a while. Okay, here’s a little secret: you don’t have to have a great camera to take great shots, it’s all to do with composition. Example? Okay, to keep it simple, imagine you are taking a photo of the ocean. Instead of putting the horizon light right across the middle, imagine your viewfinder is divided by three equal parts. Now, put the horizon either on the bottom third or the top third line and suddenly the photo is all the more interesting. It draws the viewer.
Practice using the above mentioned tips and you will find that your photography will improve immensely. But most of all, enjoy taking photos!