Beach photography: how to get close for portraits and macro images

Beach photography: how to get close for portraits and macro images

In the second part of our Shoot Like A Pro series on beach photography we explain some of the best techniques photographers can use to shoot stunning family portraits, pets and even macro photography on the beach.

Beach photography: how to get close for portraits and macro images

Image by Erik van Hannen / Getty

It’s easy to get fixated on the wider views, but the shore is also a great place to find macro subjects among the rock pools and flotsam washed in by the sea, while the unique flora of the coast is perfect for plant and flower photos.

Shooting macro photography in rock pools

The pools exposed at low tide can bring out the child in all of us, with the thrill of finding all sorts of subjects.

Rock pools are full of brightly coloured seaweed and underwater plants that you rarely get a chance to get close to, and there’s also the possibility of finding crabs, fish and other creatures stranded by the out-going tide.

The pools can often make interesting subjects in their entirety, or you can get in close to shoot details of the flora, fauna and rocks using a telephoto or macro lens.

Shooting these subjects is much easier if you have a polarising filter to cut through the glare from the surface of the water, allowing you to get a clear view of this underwater world.

Shooting coastal flowers

There are two approaches to shooting coastal flowers. You can use traditional macro techniques to get in close, or you can try putting the flowers into context by shooting wide.

There are pitfalls to avoid when trying to shoot flowers in a coastal location, and subject movement caused by the wind is one of the most difficult to overcome.

You could try to choose a still, windless day, but unless you’re really lucky you’ll have to find a way of minimising this movement.

The easiest way is to form some sort of windbreak using your camera bag or a reflector, or you could get a helper to hold a coat on the side the wind is blowing from.

PAGE 1: How to shoot beach macro photography
PAGE 2: How to shoot portraits of family and pets on the beach
PAGE 3: Creating an outdoor studio


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