13 Tips for Successfully Capturing Beach Portraits

When the good weather arrives, it is almost impossible not to take the opportunity to spend a few days at the beach. And as a good lover of photography, it is even more impossible to spend a few days at the beach and not go crazy taking portraits on the beach of your loved ones, friends, pets, grandparents, children or whatever your models are 🙂 Now then , surely it is not the first time that you return home and you are somewhat disappointed with the images. and you think and look, there are cool photos of the beach and they have been terrible for me, without grace, without interest, with shadows under the eyes, burned, dark or who knows. All in all, a bit of a mess. But do not be discouraged because, although it is true that the beach is not a place that is going to make it easy for you, we are going to stand up to it in this article.

But before continuing, if you are interested in this discipline, do not miss the complete guide on portrait photography where we tell you all the tricks, tips and inspiration, much more than you can imagine.

Now yes, here are some tips very simple for you to get Pictures incredible of your vacations on the beach.

  1. use a sunshade
  2. control the horizon
  3. Choose well the optics you are going to use
  4. Choose a wide aperture aperture
  5. Sunrises and sunsets, perfect for beach portraits
  6. Avoid the central hours of the day
  7. And if you can’t…
  8. The water and the portraits on the beach
  9. Experiment with different points of view
  10. take care of the composition
  11. Take advantage of cloudy days
  12. Choose the right measurement mode
  13. think before you shoot

1. Use a sun visor

First advice and the simplest 😉 Try not to leave your parasol at home. Wearing it will prevent the feared ones from slipping through your objective flare or lights that leave spots or rays of light on the sensor.

2. Control the horizon

If you have decided to include it in the frame, make sure that it is not crooked. While you can easily fix this in processing, any tweaks will mess with your framing, so as always, anything you do right from the start will improve the image quality of your photos.

control the horizon

3. Choose the lens you are going to use well

The lenses recommended for portraits are usually those with a medium-long focal length (from 70 mm onwards for FX sensors) and with large diaphragm openings (from f/1.2 to f/2.8) although, of course, if we do not have any this style, we will throw with what we have without problem 😉

4. Choose a wide aperture aperture

Since we are taking portraits and we are interested in highlighting our model, it would be interesting to play with a shallow depth of field or in-focus area in the image. This is achieved by configuring our camera according to the diaphragm opening. The more open the diaphragm is (f/1.2, f/1.4, f/2, f/2.8…), the more light will enter the image and the shallower the depth of field will be. That is, we can blur the background and isolate and stand out so to our model.

5. Sunrises and sunsets, perfect for beach portraits

If you really want to get good portraits on the beach, you will have to get up early, or wait for sunset to have the best portrait lights. In those hours the light is soft and warmemits long shades and enhance the textures.

The light of sunrises and sunsets will give you great images

6. Avoid the central hours of the day

Not only for your skin but also because the results are usually quite bad at these times. The light is hard, the shadows are very marked, the angle of light falls on the zenith (from above) terribly marking dark circles, shadows under the nose… The least photogenic thing to do a portrait.

7. And if you can’t…

look for a shadow

The shadows reduce contrast between lights and shadows thus softening and eliminating those terrible shadows under the eyes, nose, chin… Although an umbrella can limit the framing and composition quite a bit, make the most of it.

use a spotlight

Yes, you will tell me that you only needed to take it to the beach, with the amount of things you already carry, but the truth is that it will do you very well and it does not take up too much space. If, in addition, a pair of friendly hands lend you a hand to put up with it… 😉 A reflector will allow you to fill and smooth shadows in your portraits and is part of the basic photographic equipment for any photographer interested in portraits.

Use fill flash

Another system to eliminate those unwanted shadows produced by harsh overhead light is by using your camera’s fill flash. With a light touch of flash, you will maintain the ambient light and illuminate the face evenly, thus erasing the shadows.

experiment with backlighting

They say that If you can not beat them, join him. Well, this is one case where you can heed conventional wisdom. If there is no way to expose well, if the photos come out too burnt here and dark there, why not give up and take advantage of the great potential of backlit photographs?


8. Water and portraits on the beach

Various things with the water. The first and most important is that salt water it is very harmful for the cameras, so be very careful with the splashes. The second is that you can use it to add depth to the image, to play with the reflections, or to photograph your models inside it, jumping, splashing (if possible not you 😉 ), playing or whatever you think. You’re on a beach, who doesn’t enjoy splashing around in the water in summer? 😉

9. Experiment with different points of view

To add a touch of originality to your portraits, don’t forget to look for original perspectives, zoom, contrapicar, throw yourself on the ground, photograph from above, play with perspective, etc. I guess you’re going to have a good time at the beach, right? Well, take the opportunity to experiment.

Experiment with different points of view

10. Take care of the composition

  • What does not interest you that comes out in the frame, that does not come out. You may open the diaphragm, change the frame either come closer to the subject. Whatever, but remember to control the background, not doing so can completely ruin your image.
  • fill the frame: Don’t be afraid to get close.
  • If you include the horizon in the image, remember the law of the horizon
  • Use the rule of thirds (without abuse). It will save you on more than one occasion, but it can also be somewhat boring if you don’t accompany it with interesting elements.
  • Focus on the eyes. Focus on the eyes. Focus on the eyes. 😉 Unless you want to premeditatedly highlight some other element of the face.
  • Take a look at this article with no less than 15 composition tricks for portraits.

11. Take advantage of cloudy days

light is more diffuse and it does not create such accentuated contrasts on the face, so it will allow you to work with greater freedom.

12. Choose a suitable measurement mode

It will depend on how the light bathes the scene, whether it does so homogeneously or with high contrast and, above all, it will depend on what you want the result of your photograph to be. Basically you can choose between spot, matrix or center-weighted. More information here 😉

Choose a suitable measurement mode

13. Think before you shoot

This is the universal tip for any photography and by far the most important. Just stop and think, look around you and decide what you want and how you want it. From here, make all the decisions you consider appropriate to accompany your idea.

How about? Do you read me from the beach? Do you prepare for her? Or do you just know someone who needs some of these tips to get great vacation pictures? Then do not hesitate to share it on your favorite social network. Thank you very much and until next time 🙂