Three simple steps for better pictures at the beach. Seems straight forward enough but sometimes, trying to manage the light and the action and the sand and the bugs all while trying to get smiles and not mid-day grimaces because it’s so bright, well, that’s what led me to create this list.
It’s summer and I spend a lot of time at the beach (or in the boat or at the pool) with family and friends, so I’m always taking pictures of our outings. Over the years, I’d think I was getting these amazing shots and so many of them would be just okay. So I decided to get better. Not “pro” better, but at least, “Wow! That’s a great shot!” better.
Photography can be intimidating and I’m not even pretending to know a lot about it but I’ve done some homework and realize you don’t need to know everything. If you can focus on just a couple of things your pictures are going to be better. Really. So here it is, my three simple steps for better pictures at the beach:
1. Shutter Priority. I set my camera on Tv, shutter priority, and choose a fast shutter speed generally 1/400 rarely slower than 1/320. With all the action at the beach whether diving from the dock, jumping from the diving board or racing each other into the water, whatever is going on you want crisp, clear shots not blurry ones. I most often will leave my ISO on auto (I know, many disagree with this but for ease of use and keeping it simple I find it works the majority of the time.)
2. High-Speed Continuous Shooting. Set your camera to take fast, successive shots. You don’t always get the shot you think you are going to get the first time. If you can hold your shutter down and get 2-5 shots in a row chances are good you are going to love one of them, the others you can delete once you’ve chosen your favorite. Don’t choose until you’ve seen them on your computer though, it’s too hard to tell on those little screens on the back of your camera.
3. Get in close. Thisclose. Yes, there are times you want a lot of background for perspective but if your kids are swimming and you’re on the beach I guarantee you aren’t going to be happy with the “random heads in the water” shot I’ve taken so many times. See what I mean below, you can’t tell who anyone is:
Get up close, focus on their faces (or toes) and get the shots that mean something when you go back and look at your pictures.
And because I can’t help myself, here’s an extra tip: if you are shooting in bright sunlight move yourself or your subject so you can actually see their faces. If the sun is too directly behind them, you won’t see them.
If the sun is shining directly on them you are likely to get the grimace or squint shot.
Turn 90 degrees and you’ll probably get a way better shot with better lighting (and see who is sneaking into your picture!)
Making these simple changes has made a vast improvement in the quality of my pictures. So let me know, do you love to take pictures? Do you take great pictures at the beach? What have you found that works for you? I’d love to hear your comments especially since I’m always trying to get better!
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