There is a romantic quality to the ocean. It’s vast, beautiful, and awe-inspiring. It’s no surprise that many couples are drawn to it and choose the beach for their engagement sessions and weddings. Shooting on the sand and in front of the ocean offers a lot of potential for striking and stunning images. However, shooting beach wedding photography can also be a challenge.
Beach Wedding Photography
Inclement weather, sand in your camera, and the constant shifting of light can all be roadblocks you encounter when trying to take your photos. To help with this, here are 8 beach wedding photography tips to help make your images stand out.
1. Determine the Schedule
When it comes to shooting on the beach, you need to make the most of the time and light that you have. While you can’t always plan the wedding day schedule, you can discuss with the couple what would be the best time of day for them to have their portraits or engagement session done. If you spend time explaining the best times to shoot on the beach, such as golden hour, the couple may adjust their schedule to follow this.
2. Bring Off Camera Lighting
At the beach, there is no shortage of natural light. Most of the time, you will be shooting in direct sunlight, without any shade to place your couple under to shield them from the harsh lighting. Because of this, it is a good idea to bring off camera lighting. This will allow you to balance out the exposure between the background and the couple.
You can use off camera lighting as fill light to even out the exposure between the background and your couple, especially when the sunlight is very harsh. If you want to add more drama to your images, increase the power on your flashes to make your couple stand out from the background.
Editing services for photographers, like ShootDotEdit, can help you take care of harsh lighting scenarios that occur in your images during your beach wedding shoots.
3. Carry Multiple Lenses
Along with remembering to bring flashes, pack 2 or 3 lenses. A wide angle lens is great for capturing the beautiful beach scenery that surrounds your couple. If the ceremony takes place on the beach, a wide angle lens will allow you to showcase the entire ceremony site.
In addition to this lens, a telephoto lens can help you capture the intimate moments between the couple without needing to be right in front of them. With this lens, you can also achieve a beautiful depth of field in your images, leaving the background as a soft blue from the ocean. For any lens you use, make sure to know what beach photography settings to use to capture stunning images.
Tip: Sand is one of the most difficult things to combat against. The smallest grain of sand can mess up the internal mechanics of your camera, so be careful when switching lenses. After the shoot, be sure to clean your camera with a soft brush.
4. Find Interesting Backgrounds
Not every shot has to be with the couple positioned in front of the ocean. Beaches tend to have several interesting features that make for excellent photographs. For example, some beaches are close to large, towering cliffs or impressive architecture. A well-placed pier can help your beach photography stand out. Even though the couple chose the beach as their location, take advantage of the additional scenery surrounding the beach.
5. Shoot During Golden Hour
The golden hour refers to an hour after sunrise and an hour before sunset. During this time, the sun can cast a soft glow on your subjects and leave your images with a magical quality. The sun won’t be as harsh as it would be around noon, and it allows you to capture the rich colors that reflect off the ocean. One of the advantages of shooting during golden hour is that you can position your couple both facing towards and away from the sun.
6. Change your Angles
When you are shooting a beach wedding there is a lot of potential for creative photographs. Take advantage of your surroundings and the different angles you can use! Rather than only having your couple stand and pose, ask them to sit down in the sand as well. Depending on the weather, ask if they are willing to go into the ocean and get their feet wet for a few photos.
If you are shooting at a beach where there are cliffs available, have your couple pose on top of them. With all of these poses, be sure to continuously look for different angles to shoot from to keep the images unique.
7. Create Silhouettes
Silhouettes are a great way to create striking images that stand out. Focus on exposing for the brightest part of the background, since this will allow your couple to become silhouetted. A great time to achieve a desirable silhouette is during sunset. By exposing for the sun, you will bring out all of the colors of the sky and ocean, creating a vibrant background for your couple to pose in front of.
Tip: As you pose your couple, make sure that you create definition and space between the two of them. If you use beach wedding photography poses that position them too close together, their outlines will merge into one and it may be difficult to see what they are doing.
8. Look for Reflections
After you are confident that you captured standard photos of the couple (the safe shots), have fun with your images! While at the beach, look for the opportunity to create photos that include reflections in them. Guide your couple near the water to where you can see them reflected in the shallow water. If there are clouds in the sky or you take this during sunset, these elements will also be reflected in the water, giving you a dynamic image.
9. BONUS: Bring a Second Shooter
Additional pairs of eyes are always great to have, whether it’s during the getting ready, ceremony, and especially with the potential for harsh lighting conditions. You may have the photography under control, but your second shooter can assist with lighting, suggest posing techniques, and even capture moments that you may have missed while you were shooting something else.
While it can be challenging to shoot beach wedding photography, once you understand how to master the elements you are up against, you can produce stunning images your couple will love. The keys are knowing beach photography tips that help you use the location to your advantage, what poses work best, and how to work with and without natural light, all of which you can master with time and practice. For more tips posing, click the banner below to download our guide, Posing for the Wedding Photographer!