Summer is almost here – and that means spending time at the beach. Or as they say where I grew up in New Jersey, “let’s go down the shore”.
In Southern California we are so lucky because we can be at the beach any day of the year. You want to surf on Christmas Day? Why not!
For those of us who love to take photos, we know that the beach can be a challenging place to take great photographs of people. The sun, the sand, the wind… these can all present challenges when it comes to taking portraits at the beach.
Whether you’re using your smart phone, or the latest and greatest photo gear, here are some tricks that can help you get a great beach portrait.
1) Timing is important
To avoid unflattering harsh sun and shadows on the face, the best time to photograph people the beach is during “golden hour”. It’s that window of time – usually 60-90 minutes – before the sun sets. The sun is low enough on the horizon that the angle of light isn’t harsh.
If you do shoot during the middle of the day, refer to tip #2 …
2) On bright sunny days, seek open shade
If the sun is directly overhead, it might be too bright to get a great photo. So in this case, put your subject in the shade – such as under the Oceanside Pier, or in the shadow of a lifeguard stand, or even use a beach umbrella to create shade.
3) Shoot during low tide
I love shooting during low tide. The sand is smooth, easy to walk on, and free of a day’s worth of other people’s footprints. The wet sand creates a natural reflector that can add a kick of light into your subject’s face.
Since many of Oceanside’s beaches are narrow, low tide is especially important to ensure that there is actually a beach to stand on during your photo shoot. Nothing worse than getting to the location and seeing the water splashing up against the rocks with no sand in sight.
I always check the tide before scheduling a photoshoot at the beach. A low tide during “golden hour”? Perfect photo taking conditions!!
You can check the tide using this website.
4) Have Fun
If you’re photographing kids, you probably already know that their attention span and tolerance for adult’s suggestion for where to stand and how to smile is fleeting. So get the posed shots first. Then, let ‘em loose!
I love photographing kids running on the beach. I tell them to race each other or to skip towards me, and this always leads to fun candid shots.
5) Schedule some post beach fun in Oceanside
Since you’re at the beach, schedule some time after your photoshoot to visit some of my personal favorite spots in Oceanside:
Enjoy your time “down the shore” and happy photo taking!!