Living here in Colorado, beach portraits may seem like a non-existent possibility. But even here in Denver we can use reservoirs and lakes to capture a beach-like scene.
People everywhere love the idea of hanging out on the beach. There is just something relaxing and soothing about the waves, the sand, and a family enjoying a little time together.
Here are 7 tips to help you capture the perfect beach portrait.
1. Location, Location, Location
A beach portrait doesn’t have to show miles and miles of water and sand. Choose your scenery carefully. Will you concentrate on a family enjoying a sandcastle? Or maybe a close-up overlooking the water? There are dozens of ways of showcasing your subjects, and making them connect while at the beach. Even if you’ll be using a reservoir or lake, like we do here in Colorado, its all about the experience. People love where they are from, and will love the results if you spend the time to make it an experience.
2. Timing is everything
You have the perfect location. Now choose the perfect timeframe. Early morning or late afternoon is always best for lighting. Because you will be out in direct sunlight, it’s important to have the sun down on the horizon, and use your sweet light. You’ll also find the beaches nearly deserted at this time of day, which will give you more room to play.
3. Capture close up and far away
When people think beach images, they typically want to showcase the scenery – which means they will end up being tiny objects within the photograph. Capture a variety of angles, and give people options. We love shooting location images, and because we show them, people expect to be a part of the scenery. Yet they still want close-ups too. You must always balance your imagery, and give people what you want, as well as what they want. Plus you can create samples to show your future clients.
Dig Deeper - 5 Posing Tips For The Perfect Beach Portrait
4. Photoshop is your friend
No matter what time of day you head to the beach, you are sure to get stray people running around in your background. Photoshop can be your friend to ensure a “deserted” beach scene just made for your subjects. Whenever you shoot in popular places, the easiest way to capture the image you truly want is to enhance it after the fact.
5. Arrive early and be ready to go
If your family arrives before you do, you run the risk of sandy, wet, windblown children that won’t cooperate. Instead, show up early and stake out your area. Know which photographs you want to take, and move your subjects in and out quickly. You can always progress to the water, knowing you have the images you truly want.
6. Control the props and clothing options
Mom may love her favorite pair of jeans. And think the daughters’ new bathing suits are great. But do they all work together in a portrait? Consult with the mom about clothing options, and show her how to select the best for the portrait. Make sure everyone wears similar clothing – dress up or casual – and keep colors and patterns similar in scale.
7. Fill Flash
If you are photographing people on a bright, sunny beach, you’ll probably find the harsh light playing with shadows across your subjects’ faces. When in doubt, use a fill flash to get rid of harsh shadows and lines. Also experiment with reflectors to soften the look and feel of the portrait.