Beach Photography: 5 Tips for Better Beach Images

beach photography tips
With summer here and vacations underway, many of us will be spending a lot of time at the beach.  I love beach photography! I love photographing my girls at the beach and I’m so lucky that I am only a half hours drive from the sand and sea.  Today I want to share my 5 favorite tips that will help you get creative and beautifully lit images while photographing at the beach.

beach photography tips

5 Beach Photography Tips

1. Utilize the pathways and architecture
The walk up to the beach is as great an opportunity for lovely images as the beach itself.  Whether the pathway is sand over a dune or a weathered boardwalk lined with palms, you are bound to find some great leading lines.  Utilizing the pathways and architecture, such as a pier at your local beach or restaurant on the water, will bring out the uniqueness and charm of your locale.

path pier

2. Watch for reflections
Capturing the reflection of your subject adds additional interest to the frame.  Be aware of the reflection when you are composing your image and avoid chopping it unnecessarily. Similar to reflections, shadows are a great point of added interest as well.

reflect reflect3

3. Photograph with your back to the sun
The relentless sun of the beach can create harsh shadows on your subject, but if you work your way around them until they are fully lit by the sun you can avoid raccoon eyes.  Directly facing the sun can cause your subject to squint, so I find this most effective to do when they are playing in the sand and looking down, or they are lit from the side.


4. Embrace texture
The beach provides so many opportunities to incorporate wonderful textures into your images.  Sea shells, sand, terrycloth, sand dollars, smooth pebbles and of course water will add uniqueness to your images.


5. Utilize a polarizing filter
Polarizing filters cut through haze and reduce glare as well as deepen blue skies.  They are relatively inexpensive and a great addition to your beach bag camera kit.


Elicia GravesElicia Graves – Guest Post
Elicia Graves is a Texas girl living in Berkeley, CA with her husband and two little girls. Her photography style is simple and earnest and she enjoys documenting her family in her free time. She tries to make it to the beach as often as possible, and is always on a mission to find the best ice cream in the Bay Area.
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  1. Great tips for me to remember when we head to the beach this summer!
    Heather recently posted..50 Fun Things to Do This Summer

  2. Very timely advise. I have always found photography at the beach a challenge.

  3. avatar Kym Van der Stoep :

    Thanks so much for these tips – I live in Western Australia about 10 minutes away from the beach and I LOVE beach photos – I’ll definitely make use of these :)

  4. Hey Elicia!

    Thanks for sharing those great tips!
    I’m soon going on a beach vacation, so I try to remember those tips and let you know who bad or good my pictures came out!

    Luv to read more of you! Chris
    chris recently posted..Thursdays photo news | week 25

  5. avatar Andrea Leask :

    Great tips, we too are headed for a coast vacation that will involve some beaches. One thing I find important to keep in mind for beaches is the amount of “white” often in the photos and how unless you compensate with the EV setting your white sand can turn out grey ( similar problem with winter snow photos). Any comments on guidelines that you use for that? or do you find you just rely on Lightroom or other programs to balance things out?

  6. I’ve been reading up on some of your helpful tips the past few weeks after just receiving my nifty fifty :) I’m hitting the beach tomorrow and was so excited to see this post!
    Robin G. recently posted..Wordless Wednesday: Be Free.

  7. LOVE LOVE LOVE beach pictures! I just did a whole photo collage of our Hawaiian vacation of beach pictures!! Thanks for the great tips!
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  8. I am dumbfounded at how to get images like your beach photos. They are so clean and crisp. I stink at taking photos in full sun like this. Thank u for sharing.
    Kelly recently posted..LIfe is NOT…

  9. Beautiful images Elicia! :) Great article.

  10. I love taking pictures at the beach, these are great tips!
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