Do you have a family beach vacation coming up? Wondering how to take the right pictures to capture the memories, without ruining your camera? I recently spent 12 days at a lakefront cabin with my family, and I was going shutter happy capturing it all. Now I’m really excited to share with you my beach vacation photography tips for capturing your next beach vacation.
Make sure your camera is beach safe.
A) If you want to take pictures close to (or in) the water, buy a waterproof camera or waterproof case for your camera.
When I looked at waterproof cases for my DSLR, I found they were as expensive as buying a brand new waterproof point and shoot, if not more.
So for a beach vacation or two, you might be happy with a waterproof point and shoot to avoid stressing about ruining your DSLR.
On the other hand if you plan to take plenty of water pictures and want the quality and control of your DSLR, definitely invest in a waterproof case.
I was wanting to get a new video camera for home videos, so when I realized I could get a POV action camera with a waterproof case that takes HD video and photos, I knew I had to get one.
B) If you’re bringing your DSLR where there’s sand and dirt, I recommend sticking with your kit lens. If you have an expensive lens, you don’t want to worry about ruining it on your beach vacation, so dust off your kit lens or a cheaper lens if you have one to bring along.
Since most of your photos will be outside in the daylight, your kit lens should work just fine.
Change your perspective.
Don’t just sit on the beach and take pictures of your kids in the water. Walk around, find new angles, get high, get low.
Here’s an example of how I changed my perspective to get a great photo of my family on the dock:
First, I snapped this picture from where I was sitting on the beach.
Later I walked over to the dock and took a picture from there.
Finally, I laid down on the dock for a picture, and BAM that was it, the show stopping angle!
The perspective of the dock receding into the distance, the leading lines of the dock angling in towards the subject (my family)… these elements make all the difference, and are only possible because I got onto my belly for the shot.
Capture the whole vacation.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not talking about 24/7 recordings. But so many people just take photos of the main event.
Your beach vacation isn’t just the kids swimming or playing on the beach. A hundred photos of kids swimming is a repetitive and narrow view of the vacation. Try to photograph a variety of other moments and activities to capture the whole experience.
Mornings, cooking, eating, night time, sleeping arrangements, etc., these are the moments that most people don’t think to take pictures of. But they’re just as much a part of the vacation experience so make sure you capture them.
I grabbed photos of my kids painting rocks, searching the beach for treasures, watching a movie in the cabin, playing with toys, building towel forts, and many other memories.
Get the details.
Look for small details that tell the story. Toes in the sand. Well worn flip flops. Beach towels hung to dry. Picnic snacks or vacation food.
Take a moment to think about the lighting and composition of these photos to really make them special.
Put the camera down!
Okay I know this is counter-productive for a post about photographing a vacation, BUT you can’t live the experience through your lens, at least I don’t recommend it!
So, try to photograph a variety of moments, a variety of angles, and a variety of details to reflect on your vacation. But don’t try to photograph every moment or every detail. Put the camera down and enjoy living the memories. Besides, you don’t want to sort through a thousand vacation photos when you get home do you?
Give your photos to your kids.
Don’t hoard all of your great vacation photos on your memory card or hard drive — share them, and not just with your friends on Facebook.
Your kids will love seeing all their vacation memories over and over, so get those babies printed! 4×6 prints at a drugstore lab and a simple photo album is all it takes.
Or if you have a bit of time you can make a photo book for all of your vacation memories.
Another great way to share the memories is to make a photo montage video on DVD for your kids to watch. If you took any videos during the vacation, this is the best way to bring the whole story together. (I plan to do this with my vacation photos and videos, so stay tuned for tips on that!)
So to recap, make sure your camera is beach safe, change your perspective, capture the whole vacation, get the details, put the camera down, and share your photos with your kids. Now you’re ready to get out there and capture those beach vacation memories! Oh and have fun!
Do you have any beach photography and/or vacation photography tips of your own to share? Comments and questions are welcome!
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