Photography Tips at the beach, by Sally Ullman
My favorite place is the beach; it always has been and I think it always will be! Our move to Sarasota was a deliberate one and living on the Gulf of Mexico is a dream come true! Taking pictures on the beach has become part of my life and business.
The beach is all inspiring for a lot of people; it asks to be photographed and wants to be experienced! There is so much to appreciate about the natural beauty; the shells, tides, birds, ocean life, wind, the smell of the salt water, the horizon line, to name a few. Capturing all of this is a journey to experiment and have fun exploring with our cameras . There are many factors to consider when photographing on the beach so I will try to cover a few of the most important in this blog and future blogs. The metering I address is for SLR cameras. If you have a point and shoot camera, the details of my metering suggestions may not apply. Always check your camera modes and be familiar with beach mode on a point and shoot. Lets talk specifically about some of the challenges with lighting.
The Challenges of photographing at the beach on Siesta Key
To capture the 3 dimensional feeling we see when we are there we have to make sure we incorporate the sense of depth in our photographs.
To do this: Place the horizon line in your focus and put your subjects in front of it with the light behind them. Do not put your subjects facing directly into the sun. It will just make them uncomfortable and they will squint. With the sun behind them, the sun is now facing your camera lens. Now its you that may be uncomfortable. Your challenge as the photographer is to learn how to balance the light in the foreground and the background. Whether this is a sunrise or sunset, and IF you have a person in the photo TAKE the meter reading off the persons face and then learn to bracket your exposures. This means use different apertures to learn which is best for the accurate exposure. Any camera if pointed at the light source will over expose the picture so you have to find the subject balanced light first and learn to adjust your aperture settings accordingly for the background exposure. This is called balancing the light and this may require experimentation with your camera.
I use a grey card that helps me balance the exposure as well as color balance from scene to scene and as light conditions change.
Some of the problems that really are part of the beauty!
The Sand Reflections:
Sand is white (mostly) so the sun is reflecting off it and its shining right back into your lens. This can make your exposures over exposed if you don’t know what to meter off. So pick your subject , move your camera close to it to take the meter reading and then keep that exposure as you step back to incorporate more of the scene.
The water reflections play the same trick with the camera meter so be selective in your metering and focus points.Part of the fun is experimenting. The results vary and you may like some of the “mistakes ” you make even more than the perfect balanced shot.
Look for my next blog on the Selective use of Light at the Beach.
Sally Ullman is a Sarasota/Bradenton/Lakewood Ranch photographer for hire for families, children, business and pet photography.
Call 941-301-8926 and schedule your free consultation for a photography session!