5 Beach Photography Hacks + 1

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Hey there! Today we welcome to the blog Kristen from Samba to the Sea :)
Kristen is a photographer for life lovers... those who have a passion for life and an appetite for adventure. She is fortunate to split time between the surf town of Tamarindo, Costa Rica and the Oak lined squares of Savannah, Georgia. Most days you can see her surfing beautiful Costa Rican waves, photographing a breathtaking sunset, working with her adventurous clients, or playing on the beach with her Chihuahua, Gidget.

Today she is sharing with us some photography hacks to improve our photography skills taking pictures at the beach. 
This is the post all of us beach lovers have been waiting for!!!

Have you ever wondered how photographers capture those dreamy beach photos you see on Instagram, Pinterest, and of course, Surfragette!?!? After trading my corporate suit + heels in NYC for a camera, surfboard, and beautiful waves in Costa Rica a couple of years ago, I started photographing the tropical beach town around me. What started as a fun and creative outlet has evolved into my full time passion.

Over the past couple of years I’ve received a hands-on, crash course in photographing at the beach... especially since Costa Rica is located 10 degrees North of the Equator = very intense sun. If you’re headed to the beach with your camera, check out my 5 Beach Photography Hacks to capture your very own dreamy beach images! 

1. The best time of day to photograph on the beach is in the early morning or late afternoon
The hour before the sun sets and the hour right after the sun rises is known as “golden hour” because the sunlight is golden, soft, and simply magical. It is also the most flattering light to photograph people on the beach and surfers dancing with waves. 

2. During the middle of the day when the sun is the strong and the light is intense, photograph in the shade 
Find a nice a nice shady area under a palm tree grove (or any nice and open shady area!) to photograph. Try to photograph your subject so the shade is behind them. If you need to photograph your subject with the bright sunny area behind them, the key is to make sure your subject is not standing right where the shadow line starts so there is not a huge contrast between super bright light and the shade.

3. Play with cool shadows!
Another fun way to photograph in the middle of the day is to play and use the strong shadows in your photograph. Palm tree shadows, yes please! 

4. Make sure the horizon line is straight
Either when photographing or when editing your image, make sure the horizon line in your image is not on an angle/slant. From professional editing software like Adobe Lightroom to the built in editing in the iPhone, you can easily straighten the image with one click so the horizon line is straight.

5. Backlight your subject to avoid squinting and uneven shadows falling across faces
The trick to avoid your subject squinting is to photograph them with the sun behind them, which is called backlighting. Since technically your subject’s face + front of their body will be in the shadow because the sun is behind them, the trick is to “meter” your camera for your subject and not the bright sun behind them. If you’re using your phone to photograph, you can meter for your subject by pressing the screen on your phone where your subject is - - you’ll be able to see your subject’s beautiful face and the background will be bright.  If you’re using a DSLR, to meter for your subject you will set your settings to overexpose by a couple of stops.

I know I said 5 Beach Photography Hacks, but here is one more!

6. Turn off the flash while photographing sunset or sunrise!
Do you ever wonder on how to photograph the sunset or sunrise like you actually see it? The key here is to make sure you are not using the flash! During sunrise and sunset, if your camera is in automatic mode, it will most likely turn on the flash since it is not as bright out. Turn off that flash and start playing around with different viewpoints, like taking the photo low on the ground or a cool silhouette of a surfer walking by with her surfboard!

Guys, planning a surf trip to Costa Rica? Grab Kristen's FREE Surf Guide to Northern Costa Rica!

And don't forget to check her blog Samba to the Sea, her print shop The Sunset Shop, and her Instagram page @sambatothesea (where she posts breathtaking sunset images daily!).

14 comments on "5 Beach Photography Hacks + 1"
  1. Thanks so much for sharing Marta!!! :)

  2. Great insights, can't wait to try them out!

  3. Wow your photography skills are really amazing. Thank you so much for sharing these tips I bet they are small mistakes we all make

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