“(Together) We will love the beach
(Together) We will learn and teach
(Together) Change our pace of life
(Together) We will work and strive”
Pet Shop Boys ‘Go West’

If you’re thinking of heading down to the beach to make the most of the summer sunshine for your next photoshoot, here’s a few practical tips that might help you.

Knowing the location

You’ve probably heard the old adage that ‘Proper Planning and Preparation Prevents Poor Performance’. As with any photoshoot involving people, it’s wise to plan ahead to mimimise any delays or disruption.

  • Do you know the best route to the beach?
  • The best place to park your car?
  • Do you need to pay to park and have you got enough money with you?
  • How much time do you need to allow for the journey?
  • Are there any roadworks or other likely traffic delays?
  • Is it possible for you to go and scout the location ahead of the shoot?

Check your camera gear

Obviously, make sure to check the essentials, such as charged batteries and formatted memory cards. Beaches can be sandy and windy, so it’s worth taking a lens cleaning cloth and something to weigh down any light stands if you’re using portable lighting. If you’re worried about sand getting inside the camera while changing lenses you could take a large plastic bag or bin-liner with you to hold the camera in while removing the lens. Keep your camera bag as light as possible by just taking the essentials that you’ll need for the shoot. And take a hat and sun cream.

Time of day

The best times for a beach shoot are generally going to be early morning or early evening. There’s fewer people on the beach, and the sunshine isn’t going to be as harsh, so it will be easier to judge your exposures. The temperatures shouldn’t be as hot as well, so a lot more comfortable to work in.

Avoid onlookers

It’s best to find a location that’s away from prying eyes, or the risk of offending members of the public, particularly if shooting glamour or nudes. Maybe head up into the sand dunes away from the main part of the beach.

Model comfort

You’re going to be in a hot and sandy location, possibly quite a distance from where you parked the car, so you should consider how to make the shoot more comfortable for the model and any other people you have with you, including:

  • A large towel, windbreak or beach tent for the model to get undressed
  • Water / drinks to keep yourself and the model hydrated
  • Snacks to keep energy levels up
  • Wet wipes to clean off sand

Exposure and composition

A few things to think about for better photos:

Fill flash – Unless you’re using portable lighting (off-camera flash), fill flash from a speedlight or a pop-up foldable reflector can be useful on a sunny beach, as you’ll often find that people can have harsh shadows on their faces. A subtle touch of fill can help to lift those shadows and give more pleasing photographs.

Horizon lines – More often than not you’ll want to keep any horizon lines where the land meets the sea straight. A wonky horizon can just look ‘wrong’ and can spoil an otherwise great photo. The exception to this is where the photographer is deliberately making a statement with the use of a ‘Dutch Tilt’ or ‘Dutch Angle’ by slanting the camera to one side. This can be effective, but can look ‘overused’ if done too much.

Beach photography tips, by Paul Jones

Make a statement with the use of a ‘Dutch Tilt’ by slanting the camera to one side






Foreground interest – On the beach you can look to add foreground and background interest to your photos, such as grasses, plants, fenceposts, interesting footprints in the sand, etc.

Consider the rules – As with other outdoor photography, consider ‘the rule of thirds’ and elements of composition to help you decide where to place the model in the frame for pleasing photographs.

Post-processing – When you’re back home in front of the computer editing the RAW files, experiment with white balance / colour grading / cross-processing to add interest. You might also decide that a certain photo looks better in black and white.

Thanks for reading and I hope it’s been helpful. Click on the photos to see them bigger and feel free to post a question or comment below.

Beach photography tips, by Paul Jones

Beach photography tips, by Paul Jones

Beach photography tips, by Paul Jones

Beach photography tips, by Paul Jones

Beach photography tips, by Paul Jones

Beach photography tips, by Paul Jones

Beach photography tips, by Paul Jones

Beach photography tips, by Paul Jones

Beach photography tips, by Paul Jones

Beach photography tips, by Paul Jones

Beach photography tips, by Paul Jones


2 Responses so far.

  1. Phil Jones says:

    Hi Paul.
    Brilliant blog! It’s a real education & inspiration!


Leave a Reply

Twitter updates

No public Twitter messages.


  • Shop for Cameras and Lenses at Amazon
  • Shop for Camera Bags at Amazon
  • Find Great Photographers on Amazon
  • Compare Tablets at Amazon