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Beach Photography

Vast stretches of sand, water and skies coupled with the the lazy drone of the wind is all you can think of when you say the word ‘beach’. What do you do when you go to a beach with your family or say, a couple of friends who want to lie around on the sand and soak up some sun? You absorb the beauty around you and pray that you will be the only group around so you can click some great pictures. You select the spots that show the water, the sand and the sun as you try to get the entire stretch of the beach within your frame. And being a digital person, you do not have to worry about limiting the number of shots you take. These are the tips you have been waiting for!


1. Make the ordinary look extraordinary

Completely wipe out the images of all those beach shots you might have seen or clicked before. With the right eye, one can add extra beauty by clicking pictures even from the same old spots you have snapped before! Be aware though, that they differ in the surroundings. The weather determines the hues rendered by the sun to the shore, and the present populace have their effects, too. Walk to the edge of the water, turn around and capture whatever is in your frame; it might be composed of a scene on a typical beach with the general public along with the vendors. Make sure the shots are not empty and boring without any point of interest. Make people stop and look at your photo for a longer time by focussing on a point of interest, making your photo revolve around a particular theme. Center on a pair of slippers on the sand or perhaps a pair of lasting footprints -maybe even a pair of sunglasses. A tower, sand castles and water crashing on a rock by the beach go a long way in giving you the ideal feature shots to your vacation album.


2. When should you shoot?

The sun during its rising and setting cycles emits a set of hues that are not produced by it at any other time of the day. Visit the beach with the camera early in the morning when the sun just about to rise and capture its first few rays dancing around on the water. Also, this is the time when there aren’t too many people strolling around. The evening rays are golden and warm and can give you a very interesting combination of shadows and color.

3. Exposure issues

Summer time on a beach is incredibly sunny, and when you are shooting on auto mode, you will want to under-expose those shots. Play around and experiment with different levels of exposure with a manual mode. You may even want to try over-exposing by a step or two after checking how much exposure is achieved in the auto shot, as this will give you rare phenomenon of mixing lights of different intensity depending upon which part of the beach you are shooting at. Under-expose or over-expose subjects selectively depending upon the foliage and the brightness.


4. Flash impromptu

Avoiding the formation of shadows in your snap is simple. When you are out shooting people on a bright day, you will end up creating shadows cast by the hat or glasses they might be wearing. Fire the flash right at the moment you are shooting and completely eliminate the shadows. If you do not apply this, you will end up filling your photos with merely silhouettes of the people you are shooting. Don’t use the flash in its full force. Experiment with various levels of brightness and choose the optimum. If the flash is too bright for the frame, you are shooting, move back from the subject and flash only on getting to the appropriate level of zoom. This will decrease the impact of the flash although the frame is small.


6. Weather shouldn’t bother you!

Get those rare moments when the weather is really rough, the sky looks scary and the entire beach takes a darker tone. This is the time when no one comes near the shoreline because the sea is stormy and the clouds are dark, grey and dramatic. Shots framing the wind blowing lifeguard flags, trees and everything around can really capture the scene giving you those stormy, atmospheric shots. Catch a bolt of lightning striking the sea or the sand and make it even more beautiful.


7. Break out of shooting only color!

Strip colour off your favourite photo and see how it looks. The very feel of the photo will change. On some pictures, it might change for the better; it may also make others look worse. Once you are done with clicking a snap, try changing the color to black and white. When you have taken a shot of a dull and overcast day by the beach, turning it into black and white might make it look calmer and livelier!


~Zahid Javali