6 ways to master beach photography


each cocktail

It's been a while since I graduated from Uni, having studied photography it's something that has certainly helped with the work I do now. I was fortunate enough to still learn traditional methods such as processing my own film, black and white hand printing and shooting on medium and large format, something not so relevant to todays digital world but still really fun to do. I hard ever write about my experience but thought I would put together a little easy to use guide to great beach photography.

Mediterranean, far flung and exotic beach holidays are always popular but if your photos from this year’s vacation haven’t turned out quite as impressive as you had hoped, perhaps it’s time to review your skills to make sure you get the best out of your trip next time.

Luckily, the beach can be the most stunning backdrop to get creative with a camera, so getting great images shouldn’t be all that hard. After having spent my 30th on the French Riviera I have been craving going back there, as you know we are passionate about travel and I've being eyeing out all the beautiful collection of handpicked villas in the South of France with SFHV, if you know of any other self catering villa companies do let me know, I'm on the lookout. The light in the South of France is beautiful and makes the perfect location to put some of my photography skills to the test. So if your planning a beach break try these 6 tips to hone your beach photography techniques ready for your next seaside break. 
Get familiar with the local surroundings

As with any holiday if your going to be staying at the same place for a few days first get familiar with your surroundings, work what time of the day has the best light and look for unique and unusual sights that would make for an eye catching image. If your apartment or villa’s has a view looking out to sea, take a good look around to get to know the physical surroundings on and around the beach and beyond. Sweep the panorama to see if anything catches your eye. Are there any traditional fishing boats near the water’s edge nearby? What about fishing nets and other paraphernalia, or a lighthouse in the distance? Interesting cloud formations? Quirky objects on the beach such as driftwood, seashells, seaweed or anything unusual that might make a compelling picture?

Isles of Scilly

Choose the best time of day

The best time of day to take photos on the beach are mornings and evenings. Not only will there be fewer people around to get in the way of a potentially great shot, the sun won’t be high in the sky causing strong contrasts in your image. In terms of the light, if the sun comes in at an angle this creates more interesting effects with shadows and colours that you can play with. Evenings are the perfect time if you want that golden glow.

By contrast, you may as well put your camera down during the middle part of the day. The sun will be at its highest point roughly between the hours of 10am and 4pm. Not only does this mean wearing high factor sun protection or covering up, it will also give a light that’s far too harsh to produce good photographic images unless you are in a shaded area.  

Keep moving around

If something doesn't work the first time try something new, vary your position and move around as you keep snapping away to increase your chances of getting the perfect image. Don't just shoot from straight on but try from above, below, off to the side, you may just surprise yourself and don't be afford to break the rules a bit.

There’s no such thing as taking too many pictures these days as memory cards nowadays have so much space. When it comes to editing, it’s always better to have too many to choose from and delete the duff ones, than wishing you’d taken a few more after the event. 

Watch your composition

Wide open spaces, or long unbroken horizons can be tricky to get right on camera if you don't know much about F stops and depth of field as well as in terms of composition if you move even slightly off centre and suddenly your horizon starts to slope! The rule of thirds is probably the best known rule of photographic composition to achieve well balanced and interesting looking shots.

Look through the lens and imagine breaking the view down into thirds (both horizontally and vertically) so you end up with 9 parts. Now try to position the horizon along one of the horizontal lines – problem solved. 

Isles of Scilly

Look after your equipment

Camera and photography equipment can be expensive and taking it on holiday, especially to the beach can be risky unless you take precautions from damage caused by sand or water, and from theft. It’s worth investing in a waterproof zip bag to keep your camera safe from the elements if you plan to  get on the water and do a harbour tour or speed boating ride, you could also opt for a GoPro in a waterproof casing for this kind of thing. It also goes without saying to not leave any equipment unattended while away and whatever you do don't put your camera down on the sand, sand can get into the lens and can be a real pain to get out. 

Photography tips


  1. Some great tips here. I go to the beach quite often so always good to know how to take good photos

    1. Thanks Hannah, so glad you found these helpful

      Laura x

  2. Your tips are really helpful, especially the one to try in the mornings, as the breach is not as crowded.

  3. Great tips, I love taking pictures at the beach. A beautiful background seems to make for great pics!

  4. My husband keep telling me that I should take a photography course so I could stop taking 100 pictures of the same object from 100 different ankles. I told him that great photographer takes a lot of photos to! Becoming a photographer doesnt mean you take one shot and that turn out perfect!😂

  5. Definitely agree with the last tip. I've ruined my first dSLR several years ago due to wind and sand!

  6. Some great tips. I wish I lived by the coast!


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