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How to Take Great Photos at the Beach: Simple Tips for Taking Better Pictures on Summer Vacation

The beach can provide a wonderful backdrop for impromptu photo shoots because of the uncluttered backgrounds. It’s also a great place to photograph children because they will be relaxed and enjoying themselves. Here are some simple tips to get the best pictures of your summertime excursion.

Protect Your Camera Gear

You won’t have good memories of hitting the beach if your camera gets damaged! Your main enemies are sand and water. Sand can scratch your lens or get inside moving parts and grind them down. Water is obviously not meant to mix with most digital cameras, but salt water is particularly corrosive.

To protect your equipment, carry it inside a zipper-seal plastic bag. You can buy heavy-duty waterproof bags if you’ll be photographing around water often. If you get sand on your camera, gently brush it off before you activate any moving parts, like opening or closing the lens.

If you splash water on your camera, immediately blot the water with a towel or other absorbent fabric then leave it in the sun for a short period to evaporate any remaining water. Don’t leave it in the sun too long, because heat will degrade the film. If you drop your camera in the water, well, it’s time for a new camera! Consider using a camera specifically designed for underwater photography.

Try Out an Underwater Camera

If you don’t already have an underwater camera, you can buy an inexpensive disposable one to try out. This takes away all the worry about damaging expensive equipment. You can use them above water or in the surf. The exposed film can be developed like any other, and the photo developer can return the body to the manufacturer for recycling. Digital underwater cameras and waterproof housings for cameras also are available.

When shooting underwater, you’ll be working with less light because not all of the rays will penetrate into the water. Some of the light will reflect off of the surface; the lower the angle between the sun’s rays and the water surface, the more light that will be reflected. Therefore, underwater shots turn out best when you shoot around midday. Try to position yourself 1 to 1.5 m from your subject.

Use Natural Light to Your Advantage

The highly reflective character of water can play havoc even when you take photos above the surface, but you can use it to your advantage. The best time of day to take photos is early morning or later afternoon, known by photographers as the “golden hour”. This is true whether you’re photographing people or scenery. You avoid the harsh shadows caused by overhead sun.

When you shoot with the sun behind you, skin tones appear warm and colors are saturated. When you take photos into the sun, you can obtain some lovely effects with silhouettes. Sunset photos taken at the beach are doubly pleasing, because the beautiful colors in the sky also are reflected off the surface of the water.

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