The holiday season starts soon and you are already looking forward to sand between your toes, sunsets and cool cocktails by the sea?
Your camera can be just as happy, because today you get 13 ideas for creative beach photos served on a silver platter. The photo tips in this article will give you some variety under your parasol – don’t get bored!
If you’re still planning your holiday, take a look at my photographic travel preparations and the 5 things that are often neglected in travel photography. Have fun with the ideas for creative beach photos and my pictures from El Salvador, Nicaragua and Costa Rica.
1. sunrises and sunsets
The sunsets on the beach are awesome!
Here it is especially worth taking pictures at the right times. While it is too bright during the day and the contrasts become very strong, the light is soft in the evening or morning. It is also worthwhile to watch the sunrise or sunset several times in the same place. On the next day the clouds can be completely different and cause different colors. If you want to know something about planning the golden hour, have a look at this article.
2. beach photos deluxe: Levitation – photography
Levitation photography is pretty simple: you just need a raise, for example a chair or a tree stump.
- Then you place your camera on a tripod so that you have the same view in every shot.
- Now take a picture with the person standing on the chair.
- You keep all the settings and take a second picture without any chair or people.
- Use either a remote shutter release or ask a friend to take the two shots.
At the end you superimpose the photos in Photoshop and mask the chair to make it look like you’re floating. A detailed step-by-step guide is described in this article: 3 Techniques of Levitation Photography – Make your friends float.
3. forced perspective
These pictures are an absolute beach classic! By overlaying a close person with a distant person, a whole new meaning emerges from the perspective. To get a better understanding, take a look at these pictures in museums or galleries. Suddenly people become miniature people or coke bottles as big as houses. Creating the pictures is a lot of fun, because they require a lot of creativity and make you laugh while taking pictures! What you should keep in mind: The photo appears more realistic if both foreground and background are sharp. Even smaller sensors have an advantage here.
The tiny sensor of a smartphone camera is particularly suitable because it benefits from a very high depth of field. Cameras with larger sensors should be strongly dimmed to get the entire image in focus.
4. traces in the sand
Traces in the sand are perfect for composing a successful picture. The traces tell a little story in the picture. One follows in thought the path of the unknown person through the wet sand.
5. underwater photos
In crystal clear water you can also take impressive underwater photos. Of course you need a waterproof camera. Most Actioncams* are waterproof without any additional equipment or come with a housing. Compared to professional cameras, most Actioncams are quite inexpensive with about 200 – 400 Euro.
6. sun stars with the hand catch
- Also with this idea we take ourselves again a special perspective, in order to create a new meaning.
- Form a small hole with your hand, hold it over the rising morning sun over the sea and catch a sun star! To make the sun star stronger, you have to use a very small aperture. Take several photos with aperture values between 16 and 22.
- But beware: Depending on the lens, an aperture of 22 can cause the image to lose a lot of detail due to diffraction blur!
- The strength of the solar star varies from lens to lens. Test your “fleet” of lenses in the next sunset. Surely you already have a lens that conjures up great sun stars.
7. dive into the world of macro photography
Driftwood, coconuts, corals, shells, coloured stones … as you can see there are many things to explore in the sand. Especially with a macro lens you can find countless motifs on the sandy beach. Dive with your camera into the miniature worlds. So you can see the marine world from a different point of view.
If you don’t want to carry a macro lens with you on holiday, I can recommend a distance ring or macro ring*. The ring is placed between the camera and the lens and changes the close-up limit. So you can focus from a few centimeters on a shell. The advantage: The rings are with approx. 20 Euro very cheap and easy to take along. You don’t need an additional macro lens and can use the spacer ring in rare cases
8. aerial photographs
If you own a drone, then beaches are a gold mine for your Instagram feed! From a bird’s eye view, the whitecaps of the waves draw natural patterns on the sea surface. Together with the sandy beach you get a great picture composition.
9. Time’s running out!
When sand runs through your fingers, memories of hourglasses and elapsed time are immediately awakened. Short shutter speeds allow you to freeze the grains of sand in the air and stop time for a moment.
10. go on a hunt for crustaceans!
Before you carve a spear and light the campfire: It’s still about photography! Crayfish are usually plentiful on the beach. You just have to be patient and lie in wait until the animals crawl out of their holes. So lay with your camera in front of a hole in the sand and observe it.
11. use the time at the sea for a time lapse
Hours and hours and hours you lie in the sun on the beach and let it sizzle. If you’ve already taken root, you can also set up the camera to start a time-lapse. Over several hours you can get a really cool result!
The timelapse below was created in Costa Rica. It’s not very impressive, but I personally associate a great beach day with the video. If you want to know with which program I got the beautiful color gradient from blue to orange in the video, have a look at this article about starry sky time lapse.
12. reflections in the sunglasses
Your sunglasses can do more than just sit on your nose. You can use the mirrored lenses to reflect palms, shells or the beach inside. With glasses you can make some nice gimmicks.
13. create creamy soft long time exposures
For long exposures you need movement and the waves offer us more than enough of that! An exposure time of several seconds creates a mystical fog along the beach. Straight foamy waves breaking on rocks make great pictures. But at the beach we have a problem: We have too much sun to use long exposure times.
In order not to overexpose the image we need an ND filter. During the day it should be an ND1000*, which increases the exposure time a thousand times. A weaker ND64* can also work at sunset – try it out! Of course you need a tripod for longer exposure times. Use a remote shutter release or a shutter release delay of 2 seconds to avoid camera shake.