Great Photos at the Beach
The best time to be at the beach is sometimes the worst time for taking a great photograph. Direct midday light means great sun-tanning but it is a harsh and unflattering light for photography. Subjects tend to squint and the light bouncing off of sand can fool the exposure meter of your camera into under- or over-exposure. Here are the three best tips for taking better portraits at the beach:
1. Shoot on an overcast day. Cloudy conditions in the middle of the day means a softer, more flattering light and subjects who don′t squint.
2. Shoot into the afternoon or setting sun. This is only possible with SLR cameras with full manual controls, because your automatic exposure meter would underexpose the image leading to a silhouetted subject. Shooting at a proper exposure for backlit subjects will reveal even, shadowless skin tones and an blown-out, artistic background.
3. Shoot under a beach umbrella. Professional photographers prefer to shoot under open shade when they have to shoot in harsh mid-day sunlight. Your beach umbrella is a portable shadow that creates the soft, flattering light needed to take a great portrait.
© 2007 Joel Silverman, Atlanta DPA Instructor