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Guide to Shooting Gorgeous Beach Photos

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Have you ever bought a tacky souvenir?  When you look at your snowglobe, your “I HEART NY” shirt or your shot glass, you probably think back on all the fun you had where you got it.  Or maybe you don’t.  Maybe it’s just another thing adding clutter to your house and maybe it’s hard to think back and remember what you actually did on that vacation and who you spent it with.

Souvenirs can be great, but the real memories and stories of your vacation will best be told through pictures.  You’ve probably got a ton of big plans if your beach vacation is taking place somewhere beautiful like Honolulu, but for those sweet simple moments by the water, you’ll want to be prepared.

Pack Smart


If you’re trying to capture a photo of your entire vacation crew, and don’t want to rely on a stranger to capture the moment, you’ll want to pack a tripod or selfie stick.  A tripod will also allow you to get fun photos on your own.

Phone Lens

For added effects, consider purchasing a phone lens.  If you purchase a lens from Olloclip, you’ll be able to switch between a wide-angle and a fisheye using one simple attachment.  There’s also an option for a zoom or telephoto lens to help you capture moments from far away.

Guide to Shooting Gorgeous Beach Photos

Phone Case

Keep your smartphone safe and secure by investing in a high-quality phone case.  There’s nothing more stressful than dropping your phone in the sand or water and having to correct damages that could have been prevented with some foresight.  Consider investing in a trusted Otterbox case for peace of mind.

Dress Thoughtfully

For the best results, you’ll want to first plan on wearing solid colors.  Colors that differ from the usual tans and grays you see on a beach landscape will work best.  This will allow the focus of the picture to be on faces instead of a stripe or floral print that looks great in person.

Guide to Shooting Gorgeous Beach Photos

Partners Sol Silhouette Friendship Friends Beach

If you’re taking a group picture, try color coordinating.  When packing, ask your travel buddies to decide on 1-3 colors that are similar tones to wear as a group.  If three people in your group are wearing black, two people are wearing orange and one is wearing hot pink, you probably won’t be very happy with the outcome.

Start Early or End Late

The worst thing you can do for your photos is take them in the middle of the day.  If you’re relying on your phone or a disposable camera, you’re relying on natural light.  Natural light can make for the most beautiful photos, but if you neglect proper timing, your pictures will come out looking completely overexposed and drained of color.

To achieve that warm, golden glow with natural light, the sun has to pass through as much of the atmosphere as possible before shining on the subject of your photo.

Besides, taking pictures on a white sandy beach in the middle of a hot day will not capture your true glamor.  Bright midday sunlight makes for sweaty and reflective skin, squinty eyes and harsh shadows.

Think Like a Pro

Tons of photographers these days are operating on smartphones only.  You don’t have to invest in a Canon or Nikon to preserve your memories in a beautiful way.

Try New Angles

Get down low, hold your phone up high, climb on a bridge and have someone stand below it…the list goes on and on.  One of the first things a photography pro will think of is the angle of the potential shot.  Don’t be afraid to try something new!

Guide to Shooting Gorgeous Beach Photos

Follow Composition Rules

The next most important thing a photographer will think of is composition or the layout of your photo.  Most rookie photographers understand Rule of Thirds, but getting creative and channeling your inner pro will show you how much more compelling a photo can be with the right composition in mind.

Find an Editing App

For the final touch, you’ll want to download a photo editing app that works for you.  Sure, Instagram has preset filters and settings you can use on your pictures, but there are a ton of other apps that can add flair to your pictures without a ton of effort.

Have Fun!

Guide to Shooting Gorgeous Beach Photos

The most important tip is to have fun with your pictures.  Beach photos can be a great opportunity to recreate the same thing you’ve seen friends and family post on social media over and over again, or it can be an opportunity to capture the spirit and nature of your vacation.  Whether it’s meant to be a romantic beach getaway or an annual family vacation, there’s a story to be told.  A year later, you won’t regret having taken the time to capture the best moments.  Pictures help you preserve your memory for a lifetime and then some.


About the author:

Jayson is a recent graduate from Arizona State University who lives in Phoenix.  Being a lover of photography and travel, he’s always ready to bust out a camera and visit new places.  He started writing in hope of sharing his experiences with fellow photogs and travel bugs.




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