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Want to take better beach photos? Well, we’ve got 12 tips to help you do just that so next time you’re at the coast, your beach photos will stand out from the crowd.
1. What Gear Do I Need?
- Camera – Compact or DSLR
- Camera bag – Keep your gear safe from sand and sea salt when you’re not using it.
- Tripod – Something lightweight and portable will be perfect as it won’t take up too much room in the car and your arms won’t ache after carrying it around all day.
- Polarising filter – Help reduce reflections and boost contrast.
- UV filter – Protect your lens from scratches.
- Hurricane blower and lens cloth – Make sure your lens is free of sea spray and keep grains of sand out.
2. How To Protect Your Gear
You might enjoy a day out at the beach but your photography gear won’t. Make sure you wipe all of your gear down when you get home and leave it to dry out completely. Spiked feet will stop your tripod slipping into the sand as you’re trying to frame up while a UV filter will help stop sand scratching your lens. When you’re not using your camera, remember to put it back in your bag and if you’re using a DSLR and want to change lenses, try and do it off the beach and out of the wind so sand doesn’t get blown where it shouldn’t be.
3. What About Time Of Day?
The warm light of an evening will give you better results than midday sun or if you’re a morning person, get up early when the sun’s at a lower angle so your shots will be more evenly lit without large, deep shadows running through them. There will be less people around at this time too as most of the day-trippers will have left if it’s later in the evening or not arrived if you’re up at the crack of dawn. Don’t dismiss shooting a few shots of a busy beach though, particularly if it’s a hot weekend and the sand can’t be seen for towels and seats.
4. Don’t Just Look Out To Sea
Sweeping vistas of the ocean and cliffs do look great but do try turning around with your camera and photograph the scene that’s unfolding behind you. Just be careful who you point your lens at as there is a chance it will upset some parents who’ll want to know why you’re photographing their children. Try capturing shots that help tell the story of what happened at the beach – close-ups of sun cream bottles, buckets, spades and dropped ice cream cones make great ‘fill-in’ shots for photo albums and photo books.
5. Look For A Focal Point
When you do shoot out to sea try giving the shot a focal point in the foreground otherwise it can look a little empty. Driftwood, rocks and footprints are just three things you could use to add an extra element of interest to your shot. Just check you’re using a small aperture before you take your shot to ensure front-to-back sharpness.
6. Focus On The Water
To turn the waves into a smooth, dry ice-like motion you need to set your camera on a tripod and dial down to a slow shutter speed. How slow you need to go will depend on the movement of the waves and how bright it is so some experimentation will probably be needed. If you’re struggling to get the speeds you need use a polarising or ND filter to reduce the amount of light entering the lens.
7. Change Your View
If there’s a pier get on top of it to give yourself some height. You’ll then be able to get more of the beach scene in shot. If you’re using a compact camera that has a tilt-shift mode, getting up on the pier will give you the chance to turn the people sat on the beach into model-like characters. If there isn’t a pier try extending the centre column on your tripod to give you more height. You may want to pack a remote release in case you can’t reach the camera’s shutter button when your tripod’s extended. It’ll also help reduce the chances of shake spoiling your shot.
8. Check Your Horizons
You need to make sure your horizon’s straight and try moving its position to draw the viewer’s attention to a particular part of the shot.
9. Shoot A Sunset / Sunrise
You can’t go to the coast without photographing a sunrise/sunset (depending on which coast you’re on). Just remember to have yourself at your chosen location an hour or so before sunset/rise and make sure you pack your tripod as working hand-held in these low light situations will only cause shake.
10. Capture Some Close-Ups
Shells and pebbles are just two subjects you can use for a spot of close up photography on the beach.
11. How To Deal With Exposure Problems
The problem with sand sat against a light sky is that it can confuse your camera into underexposing the shot so try using exposure compensation to deliberately overexpose the scene. It can be tricky getting the whole scene exposed correctly and bracketing can help, however, if you have subjects that can’t stay still, your shots won’t line up when you’re back in front of your computer.
If you’re working with a compact camera switch it to Beach scene mode from the camera’s scene mode or picture mode menu. The Beach scene mode will increase the exposure slightly to compensate but also adjusts the white balance to make the sand look more natural.
12. Photograph People
To capture your kids running around switch to fast shutter speeds and continuous shooting mode. If you want to slow things down try getting them to do something that’ll keep them in one place such as building a sandcastle you’ll be able to get some great frame-filling shots of their faces to show their expressions but do zoom out a little too as this will give the shot context. If you find the sun’s casting shadows on their face try adding a little fill-in flash and avoid positioning the sun behind you as this will only make them squint.
Has London been calling you?
Whether it’s because of the many historical sights, the severely underrated food, the top-notch shopping opportunities or simply that you’re a big fan of The Crown or any other of the many shows and films that take place there, there’s no shortage of reasons why London should be at the top of your travel bucket list—especially since it’s a perfect spot for both first time international travelers and jet-setting pros alike.
If you’re headed across the pond for the first time, though, there are some things you can do to set yourself up for the best time possible. From how to avoid looking like a total tourist to how to not end up going in circles on the Circle Line (if you know, you know), here are some top tips for visiting London your first time.
1. Don’t Bother Buying Tickets for the Train/Tube Within the City
London’s public transportation system is arguably the best in the world, and it’s only gotten better with time. One of the best innovations that’s occurred in recent years is the ability to pay contactless every time you set foot on a bus, train or tube (the London version of the subway system, officially named the London Underground). This involves you simply tapping your Oyster card if you get one or simply your bank card if it’s enabled with contactless payments. It saves you time, money and helps you look like a total pro at getting around the city without delaying busy Londoners who need to get from point A to point B.
Oh, and yes, you do need to stand on the right of the escalators if you’re going to stand—the left is for walking, unless you want to bear the wrath of sighing Londoners who are too polite to actually tell you to move.
2. Download the Citymapper App
Speaking of TFL (Transport For London), you can navigate easily with the little help of an app called Citymapper. This green logo app will help you figure out the best way to get where you want to go no matter which form of transport you want to take, and it’ll give you times and prices that are as accurate as possible. Like any big city, you can expect some delays, but this app will help you to not be so clueless when you realize you can’t necessarily get to the place you want to go directly from just any bus stop or station.
3. Don’t Limit Your Food Options
British food gets a bad reputation, but we’d argue that this is all misrepresentation. From traditional English delights like a Sunday roast (they have vegan versions as well nowadays) and sticky toffee pudding to a literal world of cuisines available on every corner, you can find options for whatever you’re craving. With so many options to choose from, one of our top tips for visiting is to avoid limiting yourself to quick fixes and American staples. Although the McDonald’s menu may technically be different abroad, you should still try to go for something a little more unique during your travels. Looking for a pro tip? Head to the markets. From Brick Lane to Borough and even Camden (if you can bear the barrage of tourists), these markets are packed full of delicious delicacies of every kind, and each person in your group can get something different if they so choose.
4. Consider Getting a London Pass
Since it‘s your first time in London, you‘ll want to see as many of the main sights as possible. Some are free if all you want to do is look from below—like “Big Ben“ (Elizabeth Tower) or Tower Bridge—but most will cost you a pretty penny to actually enter. If attractions like the Tower of London , Kensington Palace, Hampton Court, Windsor Castle, a river boat tour and even the Shard are on your list for your trip, you might want to consider investing in something called the London Pass. This is basically a card that you can purchase for specific dates (you can buy it online before your trip) that gets you:
- Access to some of the main attractions
- Discounts at plenty of shops and gift stores throughout the city
- Easier transportation
- Express/skip the line access at some spots
While the London Pass isn‘t exactly cheap, it is a more cost-effective option that can save you money if you want to do a lot of the main “touristy“ (but still worth seeing) things in the city. It even gets you free access to a lot of activities you might not have known existed, like walking over Tower Bridge and entering a haunted house at The London Bridge Experience.
5. Take Advantage of the Free Museums
Whether you‘re willing to drop some cash (well, technically pounds) on tickets to the main city attractions or not, there‘s one thing you should do that won‘t cost you a dime: go to the museums! London is home to some of the world‘s most famous works of art, not to mention an array of historical artifacts ranging from mummies to dinosaurs and even pieces of the Parthenon, and they‘re all absolutely free to see. While most museums will ask you to make a donation when you enter, it isn‘t required and you can walk on in without paying a thing (unless you want to see a special exhibition, which is likely to be ticketed). Keep the following ones on your list to check out while you‘re there:
- The National Gallery
- Tate Modern
- The British Museum
- The Natural History Museum
- Tate Britain
- The Saatchi Gallery
- The Victoria and Albert Museum
6. Get a Gorgeous View of the City for Free
London’s skyline is absolutely breathtaking, no matter what the weather may be like during your visit. And while there are plenty of ways to see that skyline in full view, some of them will charge you to go up to a viewing area. However, there are a number of places where you can go to soak up the beauty of the city for free, and they’re worth a visit even if you do decide to pay for one of the other viewing opportunities. One that will take some planning is the Sky Garden, which is at the top of the famous “Walkie Talkie” building at 20 Fenchurch Street. This one is an indoor garden at the top of the skyscraper, and it comes accompanied by expansive views of the entire city. You’ll have to book a ticket (slots open two weeks in advance), but it’s worth the extra admin for the experience alone.
Another one that might be closed during your visit (but that’s worth a try anyway) is the 10th floor viewing platform at the top of the Tate Modern museum, where you’ll also find a nice café to rest your feet and re-caffeinate while you take in the view of St. Paul’s Cathedral across from you.
7. Know Your History
To best appreciate any city that you go to, you’ll want to know what exactly it is you’re looking at. While just about everything in London is marked by history in some way or another (pro tip: look out for the blue circular plaques that mark historical people who lived in the area or building while you’re out and about), you’ll want to be able to appreciate knowing the difference between Westminster Abbey and St. Paul’s Cathedral, not to mention the difference between London Bridge and Tower Bridge. Pick up a book or look up an online crash course on the city before you go to soak everything up properly and feel like a real history buff by the time you get back. There’s also likely some sort of walking tour that you can do depending on your unique interests, whether you want to go on a full-on Harry Potter experience or would prefer a slightly scarier tour along the lines of a Jack the Ripper tour through East London.
While there’s plenty to know before you go to London, we’re absolutely positive that you’ll fall in love with the city no matter what. And of course, we couldn’t forget to mention all the photo ops that you’ll come across while you’re there.
Travel photography is an incredibly rewarding and engaging hobby, but it can also be challenging. Capturing stunning images of the places you visit requires skill and knowledge about composition, lighting, angles, and more.
Fortunately, with a few helpful tips, anyone can take their travel photography to the next level. From understanding how light works to mastering manual mode on your camera and even learning post-processing techniques for editing your photos afterward – there are many ways to improve your travel photography skills.
So, let’s look at the six tips you should consider for perfecting your travel photos.
The fundamentals of photography
Start by understanding how different camera features work together to create a photograph and learn how light affects composition. Knowing how to control shutter speed, aperture, and ISO will help you take better images in any setting.
Also, pay close attention to how shadows and highlights impact your photo. If you want to maximize detail and clarity, you should always look for ways to avoid overexposing your photos.
Additionally, make sure that you know the fundamentals of composition – learn what works and what doesn’t when it comes to creating a visually appealing image. For instance, the rule of thirds tells you how to divide your image into nine equal sections, and where key elements should be placed to create a balanced composition.
Choosing the scenery
When it comes to travel photography, the scenery you select is of utmost importance. Make sure that you choose a location that has interesting elements and colors – this will help ensure that your photos look visually appealing.
If you’re traveling to San Diego, for instance, why not get up close and personal with the colorful murals in Little Italy or the iconic Balboa Park? Or research the five best places to stay in San Diego to get an idea of what the city has to offer. Whether you’re doing street photography or capturing nature scenes, always make sure to pick a setting that can be easily captured in the frame.
Lighting and angles
Lighting plays an important role in photography, so make sure that you understand how to use it to your advantage. Depending on the type of image you’re trying to capture, different lighting techniques will work better than others. For instance, if you want to take a portrait of someone in a cityscape, you should use the golden hour – when the light is softer and warmer – to create a truly unique image.
Also, don’t forget about the importance of angles – some shots look best from a low angle, while others work better when taken from a high vantage point.
Utilizing manual mode
When you’re traveling, it’s always best to use your camera in manual mode since it lets you control how the camera works, which can drastically improve your photos. You can adjust the shutter speed, aperture, and ISO — all of which affect exposure — as well as the white balance, which helps you capture accurate colors in different lighting conditions.
On the other hand, if you’re not comfortable shooting in manual mode yet, you can use semi-automatic modes such as aperture priority and shutter priority. This will allow you to control one aspect of the exposure while the camera takes care of the other.
Editing your photos
Post-processing is a crucial step when it comes to travel photography – it helps to enhance your images and make them look more professional. There are many software programs available that let you adjust brightness, contrast, and other elements of an image.
You can use different filters to add a distinct look and feel to your photos. For instance, you can add a vignette effect to darken the edges of your image or apply a softening filter to soften the details and give your photo a dreamy look.
Experimenting with techniques
Finally, the best way to improve your travel photography skills is to keep experimenting with different techniques. Try out new angles and lighting scenarios, or experiment with long exposure shots – the possibilities are endless!
You can also challenge yourself by picking up a new accessory, such as a telephoto lens or an ND filter, and practice taking shots with it.
Finally, don’t forget to enjoy the experience – take a break and soak up the scenery around you.
Travel photography is a great way to capture the beauty of the world and inspire your audience. With these six tips in mind – composition fundamentals, choosing scenery wisely, understanding lighting and angles, utilizing manual mode on your camera, post-processing images for better results, and experimenting with different techniques – you can now start creating stunning travel photos that make people feel like they’re there experiencing it all themselves!
South Africa boasts an awe-inspiring and diverse coastal landscape that is truly breathtaking. With its vast array of beaches, ranging from sandy stretches to rocky coves and hidden bays, the country offers a beach experience like no other. Spanning over 3000 kilometres, South Africa’s coastline is a paradise for beach enthusiasts, making it a top-notch destination for sun, sand, and surf.
From the dramatic cliffs of the Western Cape to the pristine white sands of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa’s coastal regions offer an irresistible allure. Each beach has its own unique charm, inviting visitors to explore and discover their own personal slice of paradise. Whether you’re seeking the thrill of catching waves while surfing, taking a refreshing swim in the crystal-clear waters, observing the fascinating marine life in their natural habitat, or simply basking in the sun with a delightful sundowner in hand, South Africa’s beaches cater to every desire.
What makes South Africa’s coastline truly special is the diverse range of experiences it offers. For those in search of tranquillity and serenity, there are secluded beaches that provide a peaceful retreat away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Picture yourself lying on the soft sand, listening to the soothing sound of waves crashing gently against the shore, and feeling the warm sun caressing your skin – pure bliss.
Here is a list of some of the most breathtaking beaches in South Africa where you can seek that dose of Vitamin Sea:
1. Camps Bay, Cape Town
A trip to the famous Mother City isn’t complete without visiting Camps Bay – one of the most popular beach spots in the city. It is known for its bustling promenade, trendy bars, and restaurants with a beautiful, long stretch of white sand. Travellers can witness amazing sunset views at this beach as the famous Twelve Apostles Mountain range makes for an amazing backdrop. Over the years, Camps Bay has remained a celebrity favourite with famous Bollywood stars like Akshay Kumar, Hrithik Roshan, and Kareena Kapoor visiting the beach while they are in the country.
2. Kraalbaai, West Coast
Kraalbaai Beach is a stunning destination situated on the western shore of the Langebaan Lagoon in South Africa. The beach is famous for its crystal-clear turquoise waters and white sandy shores, making it a popular spot for swimming, sunbathing, and water activities such as kayaking and kite surfing. The beach is also surrounded by natural beauty, including a protected nature reserve that is home to a variety of birdlife and wildlife. Visitors to Kraalbaai Beach can enjoy the tranquil and serene atmosphere and take in the splendid scenery.
3. Hole in the Wall, Coffee Bay, Eastern Cape
Hole in the Wall is a popular beach located near Coffee Bay on the Wild Coast of South Africa. The beach is famous for its unique geological feature, a natural arch carved out of a cliff by the powerful waves of the Indian Ocean. The beach offers a stunning setting for visitors to enjoy swimming, sunbathing, and exploring the rock pools. It is also a great spot for surfing, with consistent waves and ideal conditions for both beginners and experienced surfers. The beach offers a one-of-a-kind experience for those seeking adventure, natural beauty, and cultural immersion.
4. Boulders Beach, Cape Town
One of Cape Town’s most visited beaches, the Boulders Beach in False Bay is home to a colony of South African penguins! It is among one of the few places in the world where you can witness African penguins so closely. Given the fact that it has clear waters, a white sandy beach, and granite boulder formations, it provides a rather fun, unique and beautiful setting for visitors to observe and watch the penguins in their natural habitat. Besides being a great place for spotting penguins, this is an ideal family-friendly swimming beach spot. Kids can always climb over the boulders, go through the rock pools, or even swim in the cool, clear False Bay water and all of it sounds extremely fun. The entire picturesque area is protected as part of the Table Mountain National Park Marine Protected Area, making it a super well-preserved and important ecological site that needs to be visited.
5. Uhmalanga Rocks Beach, KwaZulu-Natal
Umhlanga Rocks Beach is a beautiful and popular beach located in the town of Umhlanga Rocks, just north of Durban in South Africa. The beach is recognized for its beautiful natural rock formations, clear blue waters, and views of the iconic red and white Umhlanga Lighthouse. The beach also has several natural rock pools, which are perfect for children to play in and explore. Visitors to Umhlanga Rocks Beach can also take a walk to the nearby Hawaan Forest Nature Reserve, which offers a peaceful retreat from the hustle and bustle of the beach.