In Melbourne, Australia this year – by our usual standards – we really didn’t have a summer. It was damp, humid and ‘meh’. Luckily however our autumn/ fall was a truly magnificent affair. Long warm days with fabulous sunsets were de riguer.
And so it was in late autumn I decided to make the four hour return journey down to beautiful Phillip Island for some beach photography. This post contains some beach photo ideas that you might find useful if you decide to hit the coast-near-you.
Beach Photo Ideas.
Idea #1. Wind and sand are the enemy.
Choose your day wisely. If you can. Wind and DSLRs tend not to get-on. I find even on the stillest of days sand manages to find its way into even the most hidden nooks and crannies of your camera. Particularly the focal rings of your lenses.
Be careful too how long you expose your camera to the elements. Salt water isn’t particularly liked by cameras either if exposed for hours. It all adds up.
I recommend taking a backpack with you and even an additional inner bag that you can slip your camera in and out of when not is use. You’ll find that the pesky sand will easily infiltrate the inside of your backpack. A cloth to wipe down your gear after your session is a handy thing too. Get rid of that harsh salt-water before it can linger and cause damage.
Idea #2. Scout your locations in advance.
On this particular shoot I was really there for the sunset. However I arrived a few hours beforehand and recommend that you do this too if possible. Why?
To scout out your locations. Imagine what they will be like later. Where will the sun fall? What is the environment around you populated with? What colours do you envisage will stand out most in the ‘Golden Hour’ light? Which angles will you shoot from later?
Pre-planning now will enable much less stress whilst shooting later. You just want to be concentrating on your ‘Golden Hour’ shots then and not the logistics.
Idea #3. Take a step back sometimes.
Too often we spend all our day squinting through the eye piece of our camera. We are focusing (quite literally) on a moment and not in it.
- Take a step back.
- Look beyond your camera.
- Look at what you are photographing.
- Don’t just photograph it!
Idea #4. Avoid changing your lenses on the beach!
Let’s face it most of us are digital photographers these days. If you use a DSLR for your photography then you will want to ensure that the sensor of your camera is kept clean and free from dirt and grit. If this gets compromised it’s a real pain to clean. It really is the H.Q of your device and accordingly needs to be protected.
If you need to change lenses I recommend the below to try and minimise the chances of dirt, or in this case sand, getting on the sensor:
- Find a sheltered environment where you can switch lenses with as little breeze around you as possible. Is your car close by?
- Have your next lens in your lap and ready to go.
- When you make the lens switch remember that protecting the opening to the sensor should take priority over the end of the lens you have just removed. (That can be easily cleaned)
Idea #5. Use your phone camera as well.
I use the camera on my phone every day of the week practically. However trudging out with my heavy DSLR slung over my shoulder is much rarer. So when you do hit the streets, hills, pastures or beach I recommend to use your phone camera almost as if it’s a ‘second unit’ on a film shoot.
Most of these ideas also apply to an iPhone or Android. In particular – Idea #3. As you can see in the examples below using your smart phone as well gives you the scope to record your photography session in more detail and with fresh eyes.
So there you go. These are just a few personal beach photo ideas. I hope some of them may be useful for you. I’d love to hear some of yours too in the comments below.
More information and photographs about Phillip Island on Facebook.