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The pristine blue water, the sound of waves crashing against the shore, bright sunshine and colorful sunsets, and picture-perfect tropical settings are what attract couples to celebrate their wedding day at the beach. And all these elements (and more) make beach wedding photography so attractive too. You may not always prefer the sand in your shoes, but those flawless beach wedding photos with the ocean and the bright sky in the backdrop are totally worth it. So if you are due to be a beach wedding photographer any time soon and need a quick recap on how to shoot a beach wedding successfully, the following beach wedding photography tips could help with that. 


Image Credit: ShootDotEdit Customer @infiniteloopphoto

1. Finalize Your Schedule

If you want to take the best beach wedding photos, you need to make the most of the time during the day, as natural lights play an important part in shooting weddings on the beach. While you can’t always be involved in planning the wedding day schedule, you could have a discussion with your couple about what would be the best time of day for them to have their beach wedding ceremony photos. If you show them a few beach wedding photo ideas to recreate, your couple may adjust their schedule to follow this and other beach wedding photography poses

2. Use Off-Camera Lighting

Image Credit: ShootDotEdit Customer @sarafrance

Since there is no shortage of natural lighting at the beach, most of the time, you might find yourself photographing your couples in direct sunlight, without any shade to place your couple under to shield them from the harsh lighting. Using off-camera lighting in such cases will allow you to balance out the exposure between the background and your couple.

You can use off-camera lighting as a fill light to balance 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 beach wedding photos, increase the power on your flashes to make your couple stand out from the background.

3. Carry Multiple Lenses

infographic stating use a wide-angle lens to capture more expansive vistas

Along with remembering to carry off-camera lighting, don’t forget to pack two-three extra lenses. A
wide-angle lens is great for capturing beautiful sunset beach wedding photos. It will also allow you to showcase the entire ceremony site and will enable you to take stunning beach wedding family photos as well!

In addition to this lens, a telephoto lens can help you capture the intimate moments between your 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 which beach wedding photography settings to use to capture stunning images.

Suggested Read: What’s In Your Gear Bag? Amy and Jordan’s Pro Photography Equipment

Our tip: Sand is one of the most grueling 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, don’t forget to clean your camera with a soft brush.

4. Find Complementary Backdrops

Not all wedding beach photos have to be with the couple positioned in front of the ocean. Beaches tend to have several interesting features that make for excellent beach wedding photography ideas. For example, some beaches are close to large, towering cliffs or lush green fields. If there’s a lighthouse near the beach, pose your couple with it in the backdrop to make your couple portraits stand out. We’d highly recommend that once you are done with all the beach wedding photos, take advantage of the scenery surrounding the beach.

5. Take Sunset Beach Wedding Photos

Image Credit: ShootDotEdit Customer @jorgesantiagophoto

We’ve said it multiple times, and we will continue to keep saying it, the golden hour is a wedding photographer’s happy hour. With the sky painted in gorgeous hues, the soft lighting during this time can help you create some masterpieces for your couples. One of the many advantages of shooting during golden hour is that you can position your couple both facing towards and away from the sun. Beach wedding photography settings during the golden hour create a dreamy atmosphere, giving off golden tones. This is also a great time to get some candids as your couple enjoys their first sunset together as a married couple.

6. Bring Out The Drone

Other beach wedding ideas include taking maximum advantage of your surroundings and the different angles you can use! To take phenomenal beach wedding photos, you could also use your drone (if the location allows it). Using a drone to photograph your couple laying on the beach or even taking a sunset walk together could get you some unique and breathtaking shots to add to your couple’s wedding day photos. Consider taking expansive shots of the shore and the water to get photos that truly stand out, or take photos of the ceremony site using a drone to get that perfect bird’s-eye view. What we are trying to say is: Experiment! However, be careful while using the drone and have a discussion about drone wedding photography with your couples beforehand.

Related Read: Photography Angles & Techniques: Understanding Pov, Framing, & Composition

Image Credit: ShootDotEdit Customer @sarafrance

While the direct light, the sand, and perhaps even the heat and humidity make it challenging to shoot wedding beach photos, once you understand how to master the elements you are up against, you can produce amazing portraits that your couple will love. The key to taking these amazing portraits is to use beach wedding photography tips like the ones we’ve listed above. On the wedding day, if you find time, do try to move away from the beach and use the surrounding location to your advantage, always keep a shot list of your couple’s preferred poses, use the right techniques to combat harsh lighting situations, and lastly, if your couples desire it, use your drone to take spectacular shots of your couple and the place that they chose to say “I do” in. 

Further Read: Wedding Photos By The Water: Inspiration By ShootDotEdit Customers

At ShootDotEdit, we want you to be who you want to be! And we help you do that by lessening your post-production workload and doing the editing for you. To learn more about how we can help your wedding photography business, check out our price plans.


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