5 Tips for Fabulous Beach Pictures

I think you guys must be ready for summer, because lately, you’ve ALL been reading my post about bringing babies to the beach! Ever ask yourself “how to take pictures of kids at the beach” or look for “beach pictures with kids” or “kids beach photo ideas?”
I don’t mind…  I’m right there with you!  While we might not be making it to the beach this summer (we’re planning our first Disney Trip I believe), I am always glad to pass on some “lessons learned.”  This past trip, I braved the sand a little more with my DSLR Camera, and the results were fantastic.  While I’m only an amateur photographer, I wanted to share some ideas with you for taking great pictures this summer as you take your own trips to the beach!

Tips for Taking Pictures of Kids at the Beach

1 – Get the right light!  The best time to to take pictures of kids at the beach is when the sun is low in the sky.  While it might seem like the bright mid-day sun is your best bet, it can make your shot look tremendously over-exposed (too white) and can make your poor subject squint.  If you absolutely must take pictures mid-day, try to take your shots with the subject’s back to the sun, and get close enough to the subject that your camera doesn’t include the “backlit” bright sun behind them when determining it’s exposure.

To get great light try to:
- Shoot in the early morning, or when the sun is closest to the horizon.
- Avoid having subjects face the bright sun
- Use “fill flash” (your standard camera flash – turned down a little lower) to help illuminate any shadows

Tips for Taking Pictures of Kids at the Beach
Tips for Taking Pictures of Kids at the Beach
2 – Get Low!  I’ve never had so much sand in my suit as when taking pictures of my kids.  If you want to see more than the tops of their heads, you have to get down on eye level.  This means that your knees will be in the sand – and sometimes – in the surf.  Consider taking your camera into the water with you (scary I know, just hold on tight) so that you can capture the beautiful images of your child experiencing the water in the shallow surf.
Tips for Taking Pictures of Kids at the BeachTips for Taking Pictures of Kids at the Beach
3. Tell a story by capturing the details of your trip!  Make sure to include all the people who are with you on your trip.  We always do a group shot, but also include pictures of the kids with each parent and grandparent.  Make sure you catch any special things the kids enjoyed – like digging a moat, and even eating sand.  Her adorable swim suit, his favorite beach toy are all important memories.  Get candid shots of your family members as they too will enjoy special pictures with the kids.  And for goodness sake – hand off the camera so someone includes you too!
Tips for Taking Pictures of Kids at the Beach
Tips for Taking Pictures of Kids at the BeachTips for Taking Pictures of Kids at the Beach

4. Use quick shutter speeds!  One of the biggest mistakes people make when taking pictures of kids is using shutter speeds too low to capture the action.  At the beach in bright light, this also works in your favor to limit the super bright light.  If you have a “point and shoot” camera, use a scene mode like “sports” to make sure you can catch the action in motion.  For more advanced DSLR Cameras (those with removable lenses) try shooting on manual, with a low ISO (to get best quality), a lower aperture (low=smaller hole=higher number), and a high shutter speed.  For example, the picture below is f/8, 1/250 seconds, at ISO 125.  Even with this low aperture, you get a nice blur in the background because you’re so close to your subject.

Tips for Taking Pictures of Kids at the Beach
5. Use “post processing” at home to bring out the most in your pictures!  If you have a DSLR (and even some point-and-shoots) you most likely have the option to shoot in RAW.  If you don’t know about this yet, let me tell you – it’s fantastic for kids photography.  With children, you don’t always have the opportunity to get the perfect exposure in the moment, but you can often fix it with software later if you shoot in RAW.
Tips for Taking Pictures of Kids at the Beach

You can also do amazing things with software like photoshop, and even free web applications like PicMonkey.  Don’t underestimate the potential in a picture.  Below is one of our favorites that we got a gorgeous silhouette from by doing a little post processing.

Tips for Taking Pictures of toddlers at the Beach

Hope you enjoyed our tips for photographing kids at the beach, and we wish you the BEST where ever your seaside travels might take you!

Looking for more great ideas for the beach?  Check out our other beach baby posts!
10 Tips for Bringing Baby to the Beach
Beach Baby Checklist

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