Beach Photography Tips from the Pros

Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts photographers share advice for shooting on the sand.

Jun 22, 2010
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Peter Vitale photographs a couple at Landaa Giraavaru in the Maldives.
Peter Vitale photographs a couple at Landaa Giraavaru in the Maldives.
Photography Peter Vitale
Barbara Kraft photographs a woman at a beach on Bora Bora.
Barbara Kraft photographs a woman at a beach on Bora Bora.
Photography Barbara Kraft
Paul Thuysbaert photographs big boulders that dot a Seychelles beach.
Paul Thuysbaert photographs big boulders that dot a Seychelles beach.
Photography Paul Thuysbaert

Summertime is beach time, and that means great opportunities for photography. We asked three top Four Seasons photographers for their tips and tricks.

Dubai-based Paul Thuysbaert says that the biggest challenge for most photographers is a fear and inhibition of getting water or sand in their camera.

“The best thing to do is buy one of those plastic camera cases that come with a string, so you can hang your camera around your neck or off your shoulder,” says Thuysbaert, who has shot at Four Seasons hotels in Mauritius, Seychelles, Beirut and others.

“It’s a water-tight bag with a lens area that will suit most compact cameras, and it’s great for all types of wet places like rainy treks, rafting and, of course, beaches. It will take away any inhibition of getting low on the beach or shooting in the waves.”

Los Angeles-based Barbara Kraft suggests taking a low angle when you’re on the beach.

“Find interesting foreground, like a colourful child’s bucket and shovel or two beach chairs positioned near the water,” she says. “Palm trees can also make for great framing.”

She also recommends getting your travel companions to do something more than standing and looking at the camera.

“Have them running and splashing in the water. And if the sun is setting over the water, it might make for a wonderful silhouette or beautiful backlit water image,” says Kraft, who has photographed Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora.

Peter Vitale of Santa Fe and Los Angeles says that it is almost always more flattering to shoot a beach in early morning or late afternoon light.

“The colours are more saturated and the shadows give definition to the sand, which can get flat and washed-out looking in the glare of mid-day,” says Vitale, who has shot resorts in Maui, Lana’i, Sharm el Sheikh and Maldives, among others.

“And, remember that the sea only looks as good as the sky it is reflecting.”


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