How to take amazing beach photos by @debodoes

Tip #1 - People & Shadows

Canon 5d Mark III - 16-35 mm 2.8L II Canon Lens at 16mm,  Exposure: 1/500 sec at f/4.5, ISO 200.

Step back, look down below your subject, and move around to try to use your subject's shadow in a unique way. For this photo, I chose to use the ball players shadows as leading lines.  The players long shadows made a perfect path that leads your eyes to the action on the court and also meets perfectly with the setting sun.  

It's important to ensure you keep an eye on your exposure as its easy to overexpose due to the harsh light from the sun directly in back of the subject.  Shooting on Manual mode provides the ability to control your exposure of the subject with the harsh light from the sun.  The histogram is a great tool to tell if your shot is over exposed.  You want to try to prevent a big spike on the right side.

Tip #2 - Reflections

Canon 5d Mark III - 24-105 mm 4.0L II Canon Lens at 24mm,  Exposure: 1/300 sec at f/4.0, ISO 300.

Lighting is the most important thing to consider when taking a reflection photo. Without good lighting, the reflection in the foreground will not give you that mirror effect.  If you do not have good lighting or the sun is setting fast, try to increase your aperture (smaller f/stop) and slow down your shutter speed (once you get slower than 1/100, you must have a really steady hand else your photo may be blurry from your hand shaking.). As a last result, you can increase your ISO, but beware the higher your ISO the more grainy your shot will turn out.

Positioning of your camera is key to getting a good composition. To get a clean level reflection shot its important to get your camera as close to the reflections source.  In my photo, I moved my camera really low almost touching the puddle on the ground. This allows you to capture as much of your subject in the reflection.  

Ensure you focal point is set to your subject and not the reflection.  This will allow your subject to be in focus in the reflection.  Depending on your aperture settings (especially high apertures), its possible that if you focus directly on the water then your subject will be blurry.

The day after a rainy day is the perfect time to get puddle reflections.  

 

Tip #3 - Colorful Sunsets

Canon 5d Mark III - 24-105 mm 4.0L II Canon Lens at 24mm,  Exposure: 1/320 sec at f/5.0, ISO 100.

Find a subject that will compliment the sunset in your photo.  For this photo, the famous graffiti palm trees in Venice Beach is the subject with the colorful sunset backdrop.  The colors from the graffiti compliment the colors created in the sky from the sunset

Adjust your camera settings based on the fast changing light during sunsets. Sunsets move quickly that cause the lighting and colors to change every minute.  Every sunset creates unique lighting, so there is no single setting that will work perfectly for all.  During golden hour when the sun has not hit the horizon, you will want to keep a higher shutter speed, lower aperture, and low ISO. As the sun sets and starts to disappear behind the horizon, you want to start to slow down your shutter speed, increase your aperture, and increase you ISO.

 

Tip #4 - Sunset Silhouettes

debodoes - Sunset Silhouettes small.jpg

Canon 5d Mark III - 24-105 mm 4.0L II Canon Lens at 70mm,  Exposure: 1/320 sec at f/8.0, ISO 160.

Focus on the sky, and not your subject.  You can do this by focusing your camera to the brightest part in your frame. This will allow your camera to turn your subject dark and the sky to be bright creating the silhouette.

Pick a subject with a shape that is recognizable when the silhouette is created.  Ensure to move around and adjust yoursubject’s position so that is not being overlapped with other items in your background.  When the silhouette is created all items will be dark and my be unrecognizable if blended with other items in your background.

Be unique, all silhouettes don’t have to have solid black subject. Try different camera settings to get a different feel to your shot. In my photo, I decided to keep a little bit of detail in the palm trees to create some additional texture.

All photos above were edited using PresetandChill's Sunset Collection 1 Adobe Lightroom presets.