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20 Beach Photography Ideas to Get You Inspired

Last Updated on

beach photography

There are a ton of outstanding photo opportunities out at the beach. But sometimes, your creative side is a little sandy.

If that’s the case, you’ve come to the right place. With all these great beach photography ideas, you’re sure to be inspired! You’ll soon be ready to head out and start taking picture after picture!

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The 20 Beach Photography Ideas to Get You Inspired

1. Use a Wide Field of View

Ease of Completion Easy
Cost Low

One of the most impressive parts of the beach and the ocean is how vast it is. If you go to the right beach, it’ll go on for as far as you can see, and if you can capture that in your photo, it’s going to be an impressive shot.

Focus on the scenery around the subject, or make the scenery the subject. Get a wide field of view, capture as much as possible, and take impressive pictures.


2. Go Underwater

Ease of Completion Challenging
Cost Moderate

When you’re thinking about the beach, you may only think about what’s going on above the surface. But move out of the tide and see if the water clears up. If it does, you can take outstanding beach photographs underneath the water.

You’ll need a waterproof setup, a bit patience, and either floaties or strong swimming skills, but when you do it right, the results are phenomenal. So, find an area of clear water and photograph what’s going on beneath the surface!


3. Play in the Sand

Ease of Completion Easy
Cost Low

Whether it’s you actively playing in the sand, an impressive sandcastle, or fun designs that you draw in the sand, sand is a great way to bring a childlike charm to your pictures.

The cool thing about using sand is that there are so many ways that you can use it in your photos. Get creative, and put your own twist on things to elevate your beach photography.


4. Use Sunlight

Ease of Completion Easy
Cost Low

Beaches and sunlight go hand in hand. So, if you’re really trying to capture the essence of a beach, find a way to get sunlight in the picture. You can also get creative and use the sun’s light in your pictures.

Paired with the beach, it will elevate your photography.


5. Capture the Waves

Ease of Completion Easy
Cost Low

Some people try to avoid waves in their beach photography, while others try to use them as a background element. But why not make the waves more of a focal point?

People love beach waves, and if you capture them the right way, it makes for great photographs. But you don’t need to focus solely on the waves. While making the waves a focal point of the photograph, try to add in other elements too.


6. Pair With Silhouettes

Ease of Completion Easy
Cost Low

Silhouette photography is stunning all on its own, but few locations lend themselves to better silhouette photography than the beach. For fantastic silhouette photography, head out in the evening or the morning and take pictures toward the sun. If you can get the water in the background, that’s even better!


7. Go Surfing

Ease of Completion Easy
Cost Moderate

You don’t have to take pictures of people surfing, though if you can, it’s not a bad idea. But you can also take photos with surfboards as props. Lay them out on the beach, take pictures of them in stands, or find other unique ways to incorporate them.

Many surfboards have unique designs and can add splashes of color and design to your beach photographs without making anything look out of place.


8. Find Rocks

Ease of Completion Easy
Cost Low

Not every beach has rocks that you can capture in your photographs, but if you see any, try to find a way to use them. They can be the focus of your photograph or a background element, but regardless, rocks are a great way to mix things up from the sandy beaches that are in so many other beach photographs.


9. Take a Stroll

Ease of Completion Easy
Cost Low

It’s a classic beach photograph but that’s for a good reason. Simply capture a few people taking a stroll along the beach, and it will be a great picture. You can have a couple, a family, or a crowd, and they can be walking either toward or away from you.

Take a few other tips from this list, and pair them with this one to put your own unique spin on this classic beach photograph.


10. Drone Photography

Ease of Completion Challenging
Cost Costly

Using a drone for your beach photography is a great way to introduce new perspectives and capture landscapes. Double-check that you’re allowed to fly them at your local beach before putting them in the air, but if you can, try to take images that others can only dream of.


11. Edit the Photos

Ease of Completion Easy to Challenging
Cost Low

Modern photography is all about editing. You can put filters on your photos for an easy adjustment, or go into a program like Photoshop and get creative. If you master the harder programs, you can let your creativity run wild and create just about anything that your mind can think of!


12. Get Close

Ease of Completion Easy
Cost Low

When you’re at the beach, it’s tempting to try to capture everything around you. But some of the best beach photographs work so well simply because they’re not trying to force the beach aspect onto everything. They get close to the subject and let the beach fill in the background. It will shine through enough for top-notch pictures.


13. Capture the Birds

Ease of Completion Moderate
Cost Low

There are all kinds of unique birds flying around beaches. Whether seagulls or something different, find a way to incorporate them into your pictures. You might be able to capture the birds themselves as the subject too!


14. Leave Footprints

Ease of Completion Easy
Cost Low

Footprints in the sand” is a classic line, and creating visuals for this saying makes for great photography. You can leave a trail of footprints and use photo editing to have it stop abruptly or have a person or two standing at the end of it.


15. Capture Reflections

Ease of Completion Easy
Cost Low

Using reflections is a great way to capture unique photos at the beach, and there are tons of different ways that you can do it. Besides the water, you can also use sunglasses, a mirror, or just about any other reflective surface.


16. Go Exotic

Ease of Completion Easy
Cost Costly

This isn’t an option for everyone, but if you travel to an exotic beach destination, it’s much easier to capture amazing pictures. So, pack up your gear and plan a vacation! Head to an exotic beach, then sit back and take stunning photos.


17. Use Shadows

Ease of Completion Easy
Cost Low

Sunlight is all over the beach, and where there’s sunlight, there are shadows. Some people try to eliminate as many shadows as possible from their pictures, while others find a way to use them.

If you can use shadows as an element in your pictures, you’re setting yourself up for eye-popping photographs.


18. Get Candid Shots

Ease of Completion Easy
Cost Low

Sometimes, photographers want to get everything perfect in their pictures. But the beach is a carefree environment, and you may want to capture that atmosphere with candid shots.

Keep in mind that just because it’s candid photography, that doesn’t mean you can’t make the photo perfect. Control the camera side of things, and let the subjects do their thing without worrying too much.


19. Change the Perspective

Ease of Completion Easy
Cost Low

Some of the best photographs out there present ordinary objects in a new way. Whether it’s a bird’s-eye view or from the perspective of a fish, changing the way that we see everyday objects at the beach is an outstanding way to mix things up and take great pictures.


20. Capture Nature

Ease of Completion Easy
Cost Low

Nature is all around us at the beach, so try taking a step back for landscape photographs. You can still have people or human-made elements in the picture, just don’t make them the focus.

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Conclusion

Whether you’re taking a beach vacation or live by the beach, it’s an excellent opportunity to use the landscape to your advantage and take great pictures. There’s so much you can work with, and it’s an outstanding canvas for photographs.

So, the next time you head out, take your camera and get creative — before long, you’ll be snapping pictures that you love!


Featured Image Credit: Song_about_summer,Shutterstock

About the Author Robert Sparks

Robert’s obsession with all things optical started early in life, when his optician father would bring home prototypes for Robert to play with. Nowadays, Robert is dedicated to helping others find the right optics for their needs. His hobbies include astronomy, astrophysics, and model building. Originally from Newark, NJ, he resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where the nighttime skies are filled with glittering stars.

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