9 beach photo ideas for summer – 42West

Whether you’re having a girls’ day in the sand, a family shore excursion, or a quiet couple’s retreat in the sun, here are some ideas to help you capture your adventures through creative beach photography.

1. Action plans

Photo by Andy Powell on Unsplash

Nothing says summer like action shots on the beach. Take one GoPro and continue surfing with your friends and family. It doesn’t matter if you’re splashing around in shallow waters or surfing, your beach photos can capture all the fun and action.

If you’re using a waterproof camera, don’t be afraid to get closer to the action or even dip the camera underwater for unique perspectives. Set a fast shutter speed during your beach shoot to freeze motion and you’re good to go.

2. Silhouettes

Silhouetted bathers are a classic and creative beach photography idea. Sunset is the easiest time of day to capture silhouettes. Simply pose your subject in front of a beautiful beach scene, underexpose the shot a stop or two to create a distinct silhouette, and you have all the elements of a magical beach portrait.

Try upgrading your photos with silhouettes of palm trees or a bit of peripheral light around your subject.

3. Sand castles

Sand castle
Photo by Hello I’m Nik on Unsplash

No family day at the beach is complete without sand castles. Capturing the building process from start to finish is a fun way to create lasting memories. Shoot from a low angle to get into the action and fill the frame with interest. All you need to get started is a bucket of sand, a shovel, and a bit of creativity.

Why take posed family photos at the beach when you can capture your kids having fun and creating special memories?

4. Instagrammable environmental portraits

Every adventure these days needs some great Instagram photos. Take turns posing and photographing with your friends to ensure everyone goes home with a great photo to remember the day.

Play in the waves, sip cocktails in the sun or just sit back and watch the waves. Remember that the best environmental portraits have as much to do with the location as the subject. Look for scenic spots that showcase the beauty of the place and play with different angles and perspectives for the perfect summer shot.

5. Golden Hour Family Beach Photos

Golden hour family photo
Photo by Mike Scheid on Unsplash

For many families, a family portrait session on the beach is an annual tradition. golden hour (one hour before sunset or one hour after sunrise) provides beautiful soft golden light. If you are hiring a professional photographer for your shoot, this is the best time of day to meet.

6. Seascapes

Be sure to take landscape photos while you’re at the beach. Whether you’re in a remote location like Hawaii or somewhere less exotic, make the most of your day at the beach by capturing the beautiful views before you.

Don’t let your gear seem like a limitation either! You can capture fabulous seascapes with a wide-angle or telephoto lens, DSLR or iPhone. Just pay attention to these three things: your composition, the lighting, and finding the perfect moment to click the shutter.

7. Beach wedding photography

beach wedding
Photo by Sergey Mikheev on Unsplash

Getting married at the beach this summer? You have the perfect backdrop for your wedding photos. Play in the waves with your new partner or walk hand in hand along the shore. Pose for silhouettes in front of the sunset or share a quiet kiss in the distance. Your wedding photos will make you smile for years to come.

8. Beautiful couple portraits

Great couple photos at the beach don’t have to happen on your big day. Recruit a friend to act as a photographer or set up with a tripod and remote shutter. It may seem tempting to pose and smile in all your shots, but also try to have variety and action. Jump into the waves. Bury yourself in the sand. Find ways to keep him playful while you enjoy your time in the sun.

9. Details of the day at the beach

For our final creative photo tip, try telling the story of your day at the beach with a little more attention to detail. Are you modeling a brand new swimsuit? Take an abstract photo of the pattern. Did you bring a cooler full of refreshing surf cocktails? Take some shots of your drinks with the sea in the background. Maybe it’s a little hermit crab that catches your eye, or a pair of sunglasses on the corner of your briefcase. Either way, the details of the day at the beach are an important part of the story.

Featured image by Maarten van den Heuvel on Unsplash.


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Tracey L. Sweeney