The beach is one of the most popular settings for portraits. However, there are a few things photographers need to know before heading out into the sand with camera in tow. First, remember that the air at the beach is full of salt, which is corrosive to the components in your camera. NEVER take your interchangeable lens off on the beach. Microscopic bits of salt and sand get trapped inside of your camera and will damage the sensor. The humidity will also damage the camera. I usually take my DSLR camera out to the beach just long enough to shoot the portrait then take it back into the air conditioning.

IMG_3170Having covered camera damage prevention, let’s move on to how to get the best shot. Most photographers know that the best time to get a portrait is during golden hour, which at the beach is intensified by the sun’s reflection on the water. The shot above was taken just before sunset on the gulf coast of Florida. The nice glow on the subject was cast more by the sun’s reflection than the sun itself.

IMG_3179When taking pictures of groups, the same principle works, unless, as with the picture above, a storm has just passed over and the sky is cloudy. Golden hour doesn’t exist when the sun is not visible. For this shot, I set the flip up fill flash to fire just enough to help illuminate our faces slightly. The shot below was taken the same way on the nearby waterway. I actually like the way it looks better than the beach shot. The trees help to frame the subjects and the buildings and docks add some texture to the background.

IMG_3180I always encourage my students to take vacation family portraits. There will be more on portraits to come in other posts.

Keep shooting 🙂