Summer has finally landed here in the UK (we hope we've not spoken too soon) and that means many will be heading for the beach. If your camera will be packed along with the buckets, spades and sun block, take a look at these few tips so your shots of the beach look as good as the real thing.
Switch From Auto (P) Mode
When shooting with Auto you may find your beach scenes look a little darker than you expected and that's because your camera is seeing the light coloured sand and is confusing it for a scene that's bright. As a result, it's adjusting the exposure accordingly and the sand appears dark when you preview the image.
Do make sure other areas of the shot aren't overexposed when you make your adjustment. Some Olympus models allow you to check for under- / over-exposed parts of the image on the display (these generally appear as coloured blinking areas). You can also use the built-in histogram to see if any peaks are to the far ends of the graph.
If you can manually control the exposure use exposure compensation and set a + figure as this should give you an image that's more true to life. For compact users use the Beach and Snow setting and the camera will automatically adjust.
Many Olympus cameras, including the PEN E-P5
, have a Photo Story feature built in which combines several shots in a single frame to give a collage-like composition. The look is also reminiscent of some postcard styles and as some Olympus cameras also have built-in WI-FI capabilities, users can send photos straight to their smart phones which can then be shared with family and friends. You can probably guarantee they will arrive quicker than a postcard too!
Beach & Sea Ready Cameras
Many cameras are now designed with coastal locations in-mind. Some compacts, such as those found in the Olympus Tough
range, are waterproof, shockproof, crushproof and freeze-proof while a few DSLRs and Micro Four Thirds system cameras, such as the OM-D
, are splash- and dustproof. Having said that, it's still worth giving your equipment a wipe down after a day of photography on the beach to remove any salt residue present.
To protect your gear further always put it in your camera bag when not in use and change lenses out of the wind when possible to stop grains of sand getting inside your camera.
Boost Colours Of Sunsets & Sunrises
Depending on your location you may have the chance to capture a sunrise or sunset. These subjects are techniques all of their own but we will say that a quick way to give your shots more impact is by adjusting the white balance setting on your camera. Try the cloudy setting if you want colours to be more vibrant while compact users can put the sunset mode to the test. If you're an OM-D owner you'll be able to apply colour temperature changes and check them in real-time.
Go For A Different Angle
Busy shots of sand-castle building action and donkey rides are great for the family album but for something a little different, why not have a go at macro photography or shoot some abstracts? If you don't have a small tripod or bean bag, use your camera bag or even a rolled up towel for support and get down in the sand to capture the best angles. Zoom in close and use a wide aperture to throw backgrounds out of focus.
Back on your feet, walk to the water's edge and instead of shooting out to sea, turn around and shoot what's behind you. People can often forget to do this when they get sucked in by the view that's out to sea and in front of them.