How to Take Great Pictures at the Beach


We all love updating our social media profiles with great pictures, and vacation is one of the best times to take great photos. With the advent of the smart phone (and all of their incredible features), taking awesome pictures has never been easier. This week we have some great tips and tricks on how to take amazing photos that you'll be thrilled to post on any of your social media accounts. Don't forget to share your Topsail Island vacation pictures!

Choose the right lighting.

"The Golden Hour" is a photographer's favorite time because the colors are soft and dreamy. The golden hour happens right after sunrise and a bit before sunset—but when you shoot at the beach, often times it seems as though the days are longer. This is because there typically is not much blocking the rays from the sun, so the golden hours actually seem to start earlier and end later. Read more about how to make the most of the Golden Hour and lighting tips here.

Remember that water reflects light.

Since light is easily bounced and reflected off water, remember that harsh, bright midday sun will also be reflected in the water and can sometimes create unflattering highlights (on your subject and the surroundings). Keep in mind that if you attempt beach photography during midday hours, you’ll have to deal with hard light and undesirable shadows (especially on people’s faces)—not to mention being out in the heat.

Get creative with your location.

The beach is beautiful in and of itself, but get creative by using locations that tell a story and draw the eye toward your subject. Beach paths, sand dunes, piers, fun colored beach houses, jetties, lifeguard stands, and so on draw the viewer into the photo. 

On Topsail Island you'll have plenty of photo ops wherever you go. Location won't be a problem for you at all! 

Careful of relying on auto settings

If you're shooting in auto mode at the beach in the bright sun, your camera will probably default to under-expose your images. If you're having problems with the auto setting, try switching to manual and experiment with your exposure settings.

Three tips when using your smartphone

It seems like everyone these days has a smartphone. In fact, these days most kids have smartphones. We all love taking selfies and updating our Facebook status. However, few of us are getting the most out of our smartphone’s camera. Here are three things you can do to get the most out of your cell phone photos: 

Use the HHDR functions on your phone

HDR (High Dynamic Range), is a standard feature on most smartphone camera apps. The HDR function allows the camera to bring out the details of the darkest and lightest parts of your photograph. Think of it as a tool that balances the light. The only negative to the HDR function is it takes longer for the photo to be processed by the smartphone, but the results are worth it.  Avoid using the HDR function with fast moving objects or if the phone is moving.

Use Natural Light

Professional photographers have long known the importance of good light. The flash on your phone is a good tool, however whenever possible you’ll want to use as much natural light as possible.  The best practice is to have the light on the front of your subject. Try to avoid having light behind your subject, which will cause a silhouette.

Keep A Steady Hand

It probably sounds obvious, but so often we're in a rush or want to snap a quick picture and we forget the basics. One of those basics is keeping the camera steady. Even with the best technology in your hand, it is still vital to hold the camera steady to get the best picture. This is even more important in low light situations. Tripods are your best tool, but it you don’t have one or don't  want to use one, take advantage of a solitary object like a wall, a friend's shoulder, or even your other arm.

Protect your equipment 

The beach is a harsh environment for camera equipment. Not only do you have the sand to contend with, but the corrosive salt air can play havoc on your equipment. Make sure to buy a good bag to protect your camera and always inspect and clean your equipment at the end of the day. Good pictures start with good equipment.

Are you ready to take some incredible pictures at the best location on the North Carolina coast? If you need help planning your beach vacation, give us a call at 800-497-5463 to speak with one of our reservationists or click the button below to see our current inventory of homes. 

Plan your next topsail island vacation

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