Taking photos of your kids at the beach can be both overwhelming and difficult with all the different variations of shots, light conditions and hazards to your camera (water and sand!). Today we’ve got professional photographer and self-proclaimed beach addict Laura Parker of Laura Parker Photography here to help you capture five incredible photos of your kids on your next beach adventure. She’ll walk you through camera settings, sunlight conditions and show you how to frame the perfect shot.
With summer upon us many of us find ourselves filling our cars to the brim and headed straight to our favorite beaches. As a native Californian my family finds itself escaping for the coast more times than I can count. Even though most of our beaches here in Northern California are not all that warm in the water – they sure are beautiful! And while the thought of bringing a camera down to the beach seems a little nerve wracking (i.e. water!! sand!!), you won’t regret packing it along for the ride when you come home with gorgeous images of your kids. Here is a list of five must take photos to capture on your next beach adventure.
Depending on what time you arrive at the beach or leave, you can’t beat the scene at these two times of day. In the morning, the sky is pastel and the light is soft and gorgeous. In the evening as the sun is setting, the sky really puts on a show. It’s also a great time to capture reflections in the water. This image was captured right as the sun was setting below the horizon. No wonder these times of day are called “golden hours.”
When the sun is getting ready to make a dip below the horizon is a great time for silhouette photos. Beaches at sunset are the perfect place to get that classic simple silhouette framed against a bright background. To achieve this look place your objects in front of or near the setting sun. Force your camera to set its exposure based upon the brightest part of your picture (the background) and not the subject of your image – that way your subject will be under-exposed and very dark (if not black). Our beaches often get socked in with fog so getting a bright silhouette shot is always an added delight on gorgeous clear days!
Did you know that ocean covers more than 70% of the earth? No wonder we feel so small when we stand next to it! Using a wide-angle lens is a great way to show the expanse of the sea and the smallness of people in comparison. This is an especially great photo to take if you’ve got a large chunk of the beach all to yourself. For the below image, I used a 35mm lens to really showcase the size of the ocean compared to my husband fishing. Include a bit of foreground and the sky above to maximize your negative space.
Bonus tip: When taking photos with a clear horizon, make sure they are always straight!
Don’t focus exclusively on the big picture to the detriment of capturing all those little details. Think about what things catch your eye? Is it the way your children have sand clung to their tiny hands and toes? The sandcastle they have been building? The beachy curls in their hair from the salt water? Make sure you capture some images with just their hands working or their feet crawling. Get up close and focus on the small details. Shoot from up high (your perspective) and down low (theirs). When you make the composition interesting, it tells a story for you. I loved this shot below of my daughters tiny shoes next to my dog’s paw prints in the sand.
If you do nothing else, make sure you capture the joy of the beach and the thrill of going to the ocean. There’s something magical about the beach and children can always feel it. The beach can be and is messy, but it’s an incredible full-body sensory experience. A visit to the ocean can make you feel small, yet very connected to nature and your surrounding. Enjoy it, capture it…but most of all, have fun and run wild!