This summer I had the chance to go on a trip at the seaside, the Black See Romanian Coast. I had all the needed gear with me: camera, extra memory cards, extra rechargeable batteries, tripod and a laptop. Every experienced photographer developed a certain shooting style of his own (for example photographers who shoot the sea only at long exposure times), but the below examples are kind of a mixture of what one can do in order to give you the chance to see that you like most.
-I- The Shooting
Sunrise is at around 5:30 am. No matter of the weather, a sunrise shot is always impressive. Between 5 and 6 am I was up sad because the fog completely covered the sun, however, some lonely people were walking on the beach inside the fog and that made a great shot. Later on, the fog and the few clouds at the horizon rise and below you have my see-sunrise picture with the sun rays in the above side and the sun reflexion in the watter at the bottom side of the shot. Don’t forget to use a tripod or otherwise you risk having a blurred sunrise.
During the day, it’s important to think “what is there interesting to shoot?” – finding a subject. Just shooting around where plenty of people lie down will result into busy images with no precise subject. A girl playing with a ball, a boy running under a natural umbrella, a surfer behind an umbrella, a lady trying to teach her dog how to swim, and so on. Now that you saw something you want to shoot, let’s see how to get the best out of it:
Being somewhere in a nice place, most people tend to take pictures to distant subject in order to capture the so called environment. This is wrong. Fill your frame, don’t worry about the environment: landscape / seascape can make the subject of another picture, but now don’t miss your chance. As an example for this look at the picture with the lady and the dog: there is nothing else, no other people, no horizon line – your attention can only be at the given situation.
Use a telephoto lens (like 200mm) if you want to better capture situations and people on the beach. In this situation, it’s like you are a photojournalist and the subject will pop out from the busy background as a result of the narrow DOF. As an example look again at the pictures of the girls with the ball. The are many people far from the girl but in the same area, and, if I didn’t have used the right lens, the group of people would have been disturbing the attention on her.
In some other tutorials I once told you about perspective. There are several images here that I toked by standing at the see level: I wanted to capture the girl with the ball and the beauty of the waves. By combing the two elements in different parts of the picture in order to balance the composition, I managed to give the viewer the unique feeling about how great is to feel that ball moved by the waves, splashing and floating. Also, this is a way of avoiding to capture the horizon at the middle of the picture.
Look down. You may see footprints, seashells, sea crabs, jellyfish… really, I did! Take a macro shot of these creatures if you can. And speaking of creatures and macro shots: you can order sea fruits at lunch 😀
Like I said at the beginning, some photographers do the long exposure trick. At sunrise or sunset, put your camera on the tripod, get into Aperture Priority mode and set the aperture so that in the camera will enter only the lowest amount of light (the camera will automatically increase the exposure time). In the Shutter Priority mode, put a longer exposure setting, as longer as better, and don’t forget to adjust the exposure compensation to the lowest number (underexpose), otherwise your picture will be a white rectangle and nothing more.
Night shots also requires long exposure time, but, besides from that, you also need to increase the ISO number (sensitivity). The picture will result grainy but at least you won’t be worrying about it being too dark. Even at night the beach can still be interesting in matter of objects enlighten by a soft back light like those umbrellas.
-II- The Post-Edit
Add contrast and saturate the colors by using curves on each channel (R – G – B) in different adjustment layers.
Sharpen the images that were taken with fast shutter speed: the watter droplets will pop out even more.
If there are objects in the frame that ruin the composition but at the shooting point you could not avoid them, you can still use clone tool and healing brush to remove them. I did so at the picture with the running boy: behind him, there were other people laying down on the beach.
Black&White or Duo-tone will make your images look even more expressive and artistic.
Is there a need for cropping? If yes, now it’s the moment. Maybe after you toked the shot, when you saw the image on the computer you realized that by cropping vertically you can obtain a better composition.
Resize the image for web and/or printing. Why not making a photo album of the great photo vacation and show them to others? Make a good selection from the hundred of pictures.
For a better presentation, before pressing the print button or submit picture button, add a simple border to each of them. This way your images will pop out from the plenty of other see images around the world.
In the end, I hope these tips will help you get better creative vacation pictures next summer… unless you live on the oceans shore and the sea is always at your feet.
[tags]seaside photos, seaside, photo tips, summer photography[/tags]