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How to Take Good Photos at the Beach

How to Solve 3 Common Beach Photography Problems

A day at the beach is the perfect chance to capture carefree memories, but the brightness of the sun reflecting off the sand and water doesn't often yield the best photographic results. Before you start snapping away, take a look at three common beach photography problems and simple ways you can avoid them.

  1. The photos are overexposed: Auto mode can overexpose photos, making them appear washed out. Experiment with the camera's manual setting. First set the camera's ISO (the setting that controls the camera's sensitivity to light) to a low number, like 100. A low ISO setting is best for bright lighting. Set it to a higher number, like 400, when shooting moving objects. Next, change the white balance, and set it to daylight, shade, or cloudy-twilight-sunset, depending on the weather.
  2. The pics are boring: Transform a shot of the sea by finding a point of interest to focus on, whether it's a rock, crashing wave, setting sun, or flying bird. The object breaks up an otherwise basic-looking landscape. Frame the pic using the rule of thirds, and include the horizon of the beach in the background to give the photo depth.
  3. The pics have a weird bluish lighting: Try attaching a few filters to the camera. A UV filter will remove the fog effect that is caused from UV rays, and it helps protect the lens from sun damage. Experiment with a polarizing filter to reduce the glare from water and to darken the bright blue hues of the sky. It can be used occasionally, depending on the effect you are hoping to achieve.
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Join The Conversation
mom2andy mom2andy 3 years
I don't know who told you that a UV filter would protect a lens from "sun damage" but they were obviously trying to sell you a filter you didn't need. It's practically unheard of for the sun to damage a lens. It can damage your camera body in a myriad of ways, but not the lens.   And if your photos are consistently coming out overexposed, which is indeed common in beach and snow scenes, the quickest fix is to dial down the exposure compensation until you get a proper exposure. If your automatic mode won't let you do this, switch to aperture or shutter priority mode, based on what your needs are, and then adjust the exposure compensation. It's best to keep your ISO as low as possible to eliminate noise - go for the quicker fixes first, if those don't work, then fuss with the ISO.   For the record, changing the white balance has absolutely nothing to do with correcting overexposure.
jpmcculloch jpmcculloch 3 years
I've never heard of a uv filter being used for anything but physical protection of the front lens in non-film cameras.  AFAIK the debate about uv filters is over the likelihood of impact damge or scratches to your expensive lens vs degradation of image quality because of the extra (and usually inferior) glass in front of the lens.  Pick your poison.  But since the advent of digital there is no need to use a filter except for physical protection of the lens.  I can't really quite fathom what this business about Canon lenses is about.  Are you saying that Canon uses lens coatings that are are photodegradable in uv light? It's possible, I suppose, but that would be a very odd thing for a lens manufacturer to do.
Anna-Monette-Roberts Anna-Monette-Roberts 3 years
 @BrianIreland For SLR cameras like a Canon rebel with detachable lenses, it is recommended to purchase UV filters to protect the lens from sun damage. I know I have one for mine!
Nancy-Einhart Nancy-Einhart 3 years
The ISO tip is great. I am never quite sure when to adjust that.
BrianIreland BrianIreland 3 years
I don't understand the uv filter reference? This has no effect on uv rays with digital cameras it only works on film cameras. Digital cameras have a built in uv filter. Where did you do your research for this? And are you a photographer ?
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