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Photographer's Guide To The Beach

Photographer's Guide To The Beach - Here are some top tips, equipment and examples of top photos, to get you ready for shooting at the beach.

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Landscape and Travel

Beach photography provides many varying opportunities for photography, whether you're after the traditional landscape shot, a bit of macro shell and rock pool shooting or even portraits of people and animals having fun. No matter if you choose to shoot abstract, panorama or black and white, the beach is a great opportunity for unique shots.

Here in the UK, we are a relatively small island but we do have a lot of stunning coastlines which is accessible to photographers. You can always simply visit your nearest beach, no matter where you are in the UK but there are some beaches in the UK which offer specific opportunities for certain photos. We'll take a look at these below, along with some techniques to guide you along the way. 

We've also put together a list of kit that will be handy for photographing at the beach as well as some top examples of photos from members, to help inspire you. 


Places to go

Wells huts'Wells Huts' by pink


Dubbed as one of the best beaches in Norfolk, this destination has lots of colourful beach houses which make interesting subjects. There are also ships moored up nearby as well as easy access to shops and cafes. There's even a mini railway from the town to the beach if you'd rather not walk. There are big skies and sand dunes galore to pique your interest. More information can be found on the Wells information website


Newquay Fistral North'Newquay Fistral North' by Johno450

Newquay Beaches

There are 12 beaches within the immediate area of Newquay, all of which offer something different. All of these beaches are golden sand and offer fantastic views. If you're a surfer dude, head for Fistral beach or Perranporth. If enclosed and rocky is more your thing, then Towan beach has lots of rugged cliffs. Whipsiderry beach has interesting rock formations, although access is by steep stairs. More information can be found on the visit Newquay website


Three cliffs bay

'Three Cliffs Bay' by franken

Gower Peninsula, Swansea

This picturesque beach was designated the UK's first Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in 1956 and it's still just as pretty today. Literature buffs will love visiting too, as the area was the inspiration for some of Dylan Thomas' works. Wild moors and limestone cliffs lead you onto the beach, which stretches for miles. Some of the best surfing waves in Wales can be found here. Swansea Bay is a great location for a beach break. More can be found on the Swansea Bay website



'Bamburgh Castle, Sunset' by ejways

Bamburgh Beach, Northumberland

Bamburgh draws photographers from across the country as one of the best opportunities for castle themed beach photos. The imposing castle stands on a grassy knoll which leads onto a wide and expansive sandy beach. It's also a surf haven. You'll be able to spot kite surfers too. There is also a photogenic lighthouse on site as well as plenty of rock pool opportunities for those interested in macro shooting. More information can be found on the visit Northumberland website. 


crosby beach'A Winters Sunset Over Crosby Beach' by johncob

Crosby beach, Southport

Crosby is now the permanent home for the 'Another Place' sculptures by Anthony Gromley. These haunting metal figurines are dotted all over the beach, adding alternative interest to any shots. With easy access to the coastal path, Crosby is located to the north of Liverpool and is easily reached by train or car. A visit here could easily be built into a weekend city break. Find out more on the visit Southport website. 


Wreck Hunstanton'Wreck : Hunstanton' by rickhanson

Hunstanton beach

Hunstanton is famous for its striped cliff faces and interesting rock formations. Magnificent sunsets can be captured here thanks to its west facing position on the east coast. There are an array of formal gardens along the front that can brighten up even the dullest days here. There's fun for the family as the town of Hunstanton is within easy walking distance. More information can be found on the West Norfolk website



'Charmouth' by RockArea

Charmouth beach

Charmouth is a jewel of a beach on the Jurassic coast. Great for all the family, it's an ideal spot for fossil hunting and has impressive cliffs. Attenborough's sea dragon is currently in residence here along with lots of recent significant fossil finds in the Charmouth Heritage Centre. The village of Charmouth is close to Lyme Regis, another picturesque location. Find out more on the Charmouth website.


chesil beach

'chesil beach' by southpole

Chesil beach

At 18 miles long, Chesil beach is the largest tombolo in the UK. It's a really unique location where the pebbles have naturally been graded in order of size. The area is surrounded by lush green fields and isn't far from Weymouth. It's a secluded but pretty location. More information can be found on the Visit Dorset website


cromer pier

'Cromer Pier' by TimMunsey


Cromer features a vast expanse of smooth, reflective send when the tide is out - perfect for some abstract reflection imagery. There's also the magnificent old pier, which is another ideal spot for photography - either of the pier itself or on the pier looking out over the beach and town. Cromer is a Victorian seaside resort, full of charm. Find out more on the Explore Norfolk website


Brighton pier at dusk

'Brighton Pier at Dusk' by judidicks


For lovers of cosmopolitan culture and street photography, Brighton beachfront is an ideal location. With loads of seaside fun attractions and a trendy vibe, Brighton's pebble beach and pier attract holidaymakers from across the country. The city is also home to the UK's oldest electric railway. Find out more on the visit Brighton website


durdle door

'Durdle Door Panoramic' by jamesgrant 

Durdle Door beach

This iconic rock 'doorway' is a hotspot for photographers and not without good reason. Surrounded by turquoise waters and of course not forgetting the wonderful cove beach which Durdle Door resides next to, this is a very photogenic area. It's England's first world heritage site and is part of the family of natural wonders including the Grand Canyon and Great Barrier Reef. Find out more on the Lulworth Estate website.




There's certain kit that as a photographer at the beach shouldn't be without. Depending on your intended subject, here are some top accessories you should consider:


Tripod that you can take apart to clean

When shooting long exposures by the sea and on the beach, all that salty sea air and water can get into the mechanism of a tripod and cause it to seize up or worse, make the metal oxidise quicker. To get around this you'll need to rinse and dry the tripod after use. This can be made easier if the tripod you choose can be taken apart section by section to clean. 

Find tripods on Amazon UK  Find tripods on Amazon USA


lens cleaning kit

Lens cloth & blower

All that spray and sand flying around and no doubt there'll be some that manages to find your lens. Make sure you take a camera cleaning kit with you. Blow off the sand and wipe the spray to keep your images crystal clear. 

Buy on Amazon UK  Buy on Amazon USA



Protective filter

Lenses can be more prone to scratching with all that sand around so a protective filter is a good shout - make sure it's on your lens of choice before you get to the beach. UV protective filters won't affect the image quality and give you that extra peace of mind - if the filter gets scratched it can easily be replaced. Make sure you purchase the correct mount size for your lens. 

Buy on Amazon UK  Buy on Amazon USA


ND grad filter

ND grad filter

An ND grad filter will be ideal for balancing the brightness of the landscape and the sky, especially at sunrise or sunset. A fantastic accessory for beach landscape photographers. 

Buy on Amazon UK  Buy on Amazon USA 


Hoya polarising filter


Polarising filters are handy for when you want to look beneath the waves - they help to cut reflections and can allow you a clear shot of rockpools and their inhabitants, for example. 

Buy on Amazon UK  Buy on Amazon USA


Hoya ND filter

ND filter for long exposures

Ising an ND filter and a tripod will allow you to create those lovely silky smooth sea images without overexposing the image. For super long exposures, they can also be used to remove people that walk through the image. 

Buy on Amazon UK  Buy on Amazon USA


knee pads

Kneeling pads

If you like shooting abstract rock patterns and the intricacies of the shells on the beach, the chances are that you'll be kneeling down a lot to secure your shots. Invest in a kneeling pad, or even knee pads if you're changing shooting location a lot. Your knees will thank you for it later! 

Buy on Amazon UK  Buy on Amazon USA



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  5. Perfecting Your Out Of Season Coastal Shots

  6. 5 Winter Coast Photography Ideas


Photos from members

talacre lighthouse III

Talacre Lighthouse III - jasonrwl

the weight of the world

The Weight Of The World - NorthGatePhotography



combing - JohnT1974


The scallop The Scallop - jpappleton

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13 Mar 2018 9:49PM
I’d agree, obviously, with the preference for tripod usage, and dare I suggest (wot I use in such “unfriendly” environments...) a Benbo type product, okay, can be “challenging” (like bagpipes..) to work with - but eventually rock solid, and the lower leg section(s) can be dunked in water etc. with no moving parts to be affected by salt-water attack...

Even worth getting a used one from Fleabay, for just such applications possibly...I did....and having learned its handling/adjustment peculiarities, use it a lot more because it’s so adjustable and solid as it ‘appens...! Smile

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