Image by David Clapp
Beach huts can be found up and down the coast of Great Britain and can make an excellent photographic subject. Here are some top tips for photographing beach huts creatively:
Include the Sky
A popular shot to capture when you're photographing beach huts is to use a wide-angle lens to get a full line of these colourful structures in frame. If you plan on doing this, try to get a large expanse of sky in the shot too. Be careful if you're using a particularly wide lens as you can end up with objects creeping into frame that you didn't want to capture and keep an eye on your exposure.
Most of the time you'll find the sky will come out lighter than the foreground and you may need to use a graduated ND filter to balance the light levels in the shot. In some cases, you might even find the foreground to be brighter than the sky, such as when there's a storm brewing behind the huts. The highlight detail is our main focus so make sure you meter from this (usually the sky) and leave the shadow areas to their own devices. If you find your foreground looks a little dull after doing this try using +1EV and reshoot. For shots where the sky's really interesting try lining the roofs up along the bottom of the frame.
Get in close
An alternative option is to move in close for a more abstract viewpoint. You won't have to move your feet very far to find ropes, padlocks, panels, signs, ornaments, cobwebs etc. You could even shoot a few photos of peeling paint and rust which can be used as textures in other shots. If you want to be more focused pick a theme, colours work well, and shoot it. This isn't something that just has to be restricted to one day either as you can build your collection up over a few weeks then combine them to make an interesting piece of wall art.
Make sure you move in close and concentrate on balancing the shot so the composition works. You can shoot close up shots on any days but overcast ones are easier to work in, giving you a more balanced look to the tonal range.
Include people in the photo
If the owners of the beach huts are home, ask if you can shoot a few portraits of them in front of their homes. For more candid shots try working further away with a wider lens so you can look like you're photographing something else but still capture the person you want in frame. If the huts are open you could also ask if you could shoot a few shots inside them as you'll find some that are well decorated and full of trinkets or other items worth a quick shot for the album.
Shoot out of season
When summer ends head back to the coast when everything is boarded up as the tired exteriors and the peeling paintwork on the lonely beach huts will still make interesting photographic subjects even if there's not much going on in the rest of the seaside town.
Winter light is low and will give colourful beach huts more punch. If you're lucky to visit on a sunny day, a blue sky will lift a shot taken at the coast during winter while a sky full of rain will help emphasis the sense of loneliness and abandonment.