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12 Beach Portrait Photography Tips From Professionals

The beach itself is one of the most special and most beautiful places when it comes to taking a picture, especially when you want to take portrait images or obviously beach photography. There you can take pictures of the most amazing colours that the earth owns!

However, there are some difficulties or challenges that a beach may bring, and in order to take the best portrait photography, you definitely need some tips or tricks.

In this article, I have chosen some tips that you may want to know before taking a portrait shot while at the beach!

Let’s see what those tips are!

Tips for the Best Beach Portrait Photography

Below you will find some decent beach photography tips that will come useful to you when taking beach images or say exactly beach portraits.

1. Choose the Place and Time

When I say the place, you should be aware that we are at the beach and trying to choose the best place while there. I would definitely suggest you take your portrait photos along the waterline. What is special about this place is that the foam of the water can reflect the light back at the subject that is being photographed, in this case, a person, since we are talking about beach shots. That reflection creates a supernatural effect on that particular photo.

At this point, almost everybody knows what is the Golden Hour, right? It is the time of sunrise and sunset, and in the world of photography, even professional photographers call it the golden hour. That term is fully related to the way the pictures look because they would definitely look golden.

Waterline and Golden Hour

2. Try to Escape Crowded Places

I know that while at the beach you will be fully surrounded by people, and to only a group, there is an enormous number of people. However, it would definitely be better if you avoid them, and try to find a place where there are no people to be seen. The portrait is fully yours! Don’t let other people be on it unless you are taking family beach portraits.

3. Take care of the Shadows

If you have any idea about cameras in general, you may already know that using a flash during the daytime in a way helps you reduce the harsh shadows that may appear. Don’t be afraid to use the flash if you notice that the shadows are destroying your photo.

4. Try to Capture the Landscape

A beach landscape is the best landscape that you can ever take a picture of! While you are taking portrait photography, link the subject with the landscape that is seen behind them, the photo that you take will be better than you even expect!

Beach Landscape

5. Use the Sand as a Foreground

The amazing color of the sand, at the beach, would be the best thing that you can use in order to make it a foreground. With foreground in photography, I mean the thing or the part of the view that is nearer to the observer, in this case, the camera.

6. Use A Particular Lens

Since the lens is a tool that is used to bring light into the camera, what could be better than using lenses during beach portraits photography? In this case, you can check out what I have chosen as the best lenses for outdoor portraits since beach photographing is an outdoor type of photography or the best lens for full-body portraits.

If headshots are your main focus, then you should get a headshot lens.

7. Use Focusing

When I take pictures at the beach, especially beach photos, I love to play with the focus! It is the best way to tell people what is the “most important” thing in the photograph that is being taken. Since we are talking about portrait photography, it is more than clear that the focus should be fully concentrated on the person that you are taking a picture of.

You can try by finding the best shutter speed possible and turning your camera into manual mode. Using a shutter speed of a minimum of 1/500th second would be a great start regarding beach photography and beach portraits.

8. Work with the Bokeh Effect

Since I mentioned some particular lenses, what would be great to use is the lenses that include the famous bokeh effect. As some of you may already know, the bokeh effect is the effect that out focuses the background, making it look a little bit blurry, and the subject that is being photographed is fully clear, and focused, in the best way possible.

Bokeh Effect

9. Use a Polarizing Filter

If you are using a particular lens, what you should do next is to use a polarizer filter that is attached to it. What is good about the polarizer filter during a beach image is that with those types of filters you can fully filter out the glare of the light, and still allow as much light as needed.

10. Use any Camera Accessory

When I have to shoot anything by the beach I like to bring my tripod with me! With a tripod, you can fully manipulate the place and you can easily move your camera to different angles, without having to move around and tire yourself.

Bet you’ve never seen dark beach images, right? Well, that’s due to there always being light on the beach, the sun rising and all that plays a role in that. 

Indeed that there is enough light that can go through your camera sensor while at the beach, still sometimes you might need an external flash for the harsh light that comes from the sun and work with the artificial light that comes from your flash. The bright sunlight is not always good for the camera, the light hitting hard can mess up the picture. Obviously, you will be using the flash for night beach photography as well.

11. Frames Matter

If you have any idea about landscape photography in general, you must have heard about natural frames. It is a very popular technique used in landscape photography in which the photographer tries to find a look-alike framing place so that the picture can look better and more balanced. What you can do regarding this, is to use those natural frames in the beach photography that you are about to take. For example, if you are at a beach in which you can find rocks, don’t be afraid to use them as a frame. It would definitely look very good!

Natural Frame

12. Get Creative

As already mentioned in the beginning, when you are at the beach, you can take the best pictures and all of them are combined with the most wonderful colors.
Trying to mix those colors with each other would be the best thing to do, but still, that is totally up to your imagination! Try to be as much creative as possible because nothing can be or look better than spontaneous creativity that may occur during any type of photography.

Closing Words

In order to conclude all of the things that I mentioned above, I would definitely advise you to have fun! Since the beach itself is a very fun place, you should definitely have a fun experience so that you can remember it always!

I think the tips that I mentioned are clear and simple to do. I really hope you will have fun with portrait beach photography!

Caleb Soppe