Beach Photography and Lighting by Sally Ullman

This blog is a continuation of my information on lighting from the blog published on September 2, 2014  titled ; Beach photography, Sarasota.

Selective use of Light-Beach Photography

Lighting and Beach photography is incredibly beautiful!  Time of day plays a significant role on the outcome in your photographs but so does the use of light that you control.

Look at these 2 examples of the same subject of beach photography taken the same day.

DSC_5255-silhouette of bird smaller

They are extremely different. They were shot within minutes of each other. I choose to light them differently.

Let’s explore how this was done:

My equipment standards- Let me explain that I am using an SLR professional camera with a zoom lens and external flash that is elevated above my camera lens. I shoot  manually in the raw format.   I also use a grey card and set my white balance before I shoot anywhere and I frequently re-test my light balance as light changes frequently at sunset.

Your equipment standards– Most likely your equipment is different from mine, so take that all into consideration when interpreting my  explanation. If you are using a camera with a built in flash, experiment with the power of your flash and adjust your exposures as you learn more about your camera or shoot on automatic but learn to use the flash even in daylight situations.

Picture on the Left-

Focus on your subject for the light reading from your SLR meter. Use an external flash on your camera if you have one and test first.(Before the bird is there, use a different item to test as your subject) Experiment with different power levels on your flash unit and learn to adjust them as you  review your images. Is the flash too strong- is it too weak to make a difference. This picture was taken with the flash on as a fill flash combined with the natural sunset light.  The subject is defined by the light exposure much better than in the photo on the right. I did enhance the color slightly in Photoshop later.

Picture on the Right:

Focus on the subject -take the meter reading from the subject-  shoot /experiment with different f-stops but not different shutters because you want the picture sharp focus on the subject. Let the f/stop exposures give you different effects. This shot was taken in natural light with no flash. Use a tripod in low light situations and keep the camera steady if hand held at low light may produce unwanted movement.

Sunset- Beach photography at Turtle beach, Sarasota, Florida

Sunset- Beach photography, Turtle beach,
Sarasota, Florida


Sally Ullman is  a professional photographer located in the Sarasota, Manatee counties of Florida. She is available for hire as a portrait or business photographer.

Sally speaks to groups about the importance of using excellent photography through topics such as, “Visual Branding, Reinventing Your Career, and Following your Passion.” She recently added  the the “Impact of Vision”  to her speaking menu!

Contact Sally @ 941-301-8926 or through email @