Tips for beach shots?

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by bellacat, Aug 14, 2008.

  1. bellacat

    bellacat TPF Noob!

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    I have had several clients request beach shot but not so much the sunset type. I took a couple out to the coast at 6pm and still it was so bright and i don't like any of the photos. They are fine for snap shots but not pro quality IMO. I really could use some advice for taking nice portraits at the beach.
     
  2. Paul M

    Paul M TPF Noob!

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    2 suggestions would be a Circular Polarizer and a Neutral Density, and not to shoot directly into the sun. Other than that, just keep an eye on the suns reflection on the sand and water.
     
  3. bellacat

    bellacat TPF Noob!

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    i hadn't thought about getting a filter but that is easy enough to do. You lost me on the Neutral Density though. is that a camera setting.
     
  4. Paul M

    Paul M TPF Noob!

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    Actually it's another type of filter. There are graduated filters and solid filters. Gradual will be almost clear on one side and "tinted" on the other....Solid will be the same tint throughout. I myself have a ND+4 that I use at the beach but I am looking into gradual filters soon.

    For more info and a description on these filters, check it out HERE
     
  5. davebmck

    davebmck TPF Noob!

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    I assume you're trying to photograph the couple with the sunset as the background. If that's what you're doing, I would suggest you set your exposure for the sky in an area slightly away from the sun and then use a flash to properly expose you subjects.
     
  6. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Depending on whether geography is your friend (That is the lay of the land vs. direction of the sun) you will likely need some big reflectors (art-supply-store posterboard at a couple of dollars a sheet works well, either white or light yellow). Make sure the subjects dress appropriately, ie, if it's a beach of bright white sand, make sure they don't show up in bowls costumes. Ensure you shoot RAW and calibrate your WB beforehand, or use a white/grey card in some of your shots. Solid neutral density filters won't help much, but again, depending on the geography, graduated NDs might. I'd suggest bracketing each image (1/3 each side) and shoot from a tripod.
     
  7. bellacat

    bellacat TPF Noob!

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    I am on the west coast and in northern california. I had a test shoot last week at several beaches and i didn't like any of them. I am super picky though. The first had some pretty high cliffs but still the light was straight on. the second didn't have any cliff near by and the light was even more bright. this was at 7pm and still the sun was too high in the sky. I still have yet to try one more beach which is set inward and is surrounded by the high cliffs. I think this might be a temp fix but it doesn't do me any good if i want to get some nice beach shots with the wide open sand and no cliffs around which is why i ask for advice.

    I now have a mom to be who wants to try a beach session. she was thinking color with the sun still up but i am trying to talk her into an evening session so she can get the sunset. I would like to get some nice sun shots though while the weather is still decent because next month it starts to get cold up here and the fog is brutal.

    John: would poster board or foam core work better. its so windy up here i am afraid the poster board just would not be stiff enough. I thought about just getting reflectors from the photo supply but now that you mention the art store that would be so much cheaper.

    i really appreciate the feedback so far. thanks
     
  8. K_Pugh

    K_Pugh No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Yeah pretty much everything has been said that's useful. Only other things i'd say is shoot in RAW (you probably already do) this was you can fine tune your WB if need be.

    Oh if it's windy you might want something to block the wind? you dont want sand getting onto your lens or in your clients eyes and making her squint. just some thoughts.
     
  9. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Foam core would work just fine; basically anything that's light in colour will help, but you don't want things that are mirrored (ugly shadows). A helper would be really useful. As far as an evening shoot, good possibilities, but you may well wind up looking at more silhouettes, as you'll have only a very narrow window of opportunity with good portrait light.
     
  10. Paul M

    Paul M TPF Noob!

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    Another suggestion is to pick a day that is a little cloudy. Use the natural overcast daylight to shade the sun.
     
  11. bellacat

    bellacat TPF Noob!

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    its usually pretty overcast normally but we had an unusually bright day. the season is going to change soon so will the sky ;)

    I am going to take these tips and test them out on my girls. thanks everyone.
     
  12. Chris71

    Chris71 TPF Noob!

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    Hi Becky,

    You never mentioned, if you were going to be using a flash.
    My suggestion, is to do like davebmck said, expose for the background and use flash to illuminate the subjects.

    Here is an example using that method.
    [​IMG]
     

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