My Top 3 Beach Photography Tips That Will Instantly Improve Your Images

I recently hosted a number of Mommy & Me Photography classes and had so much fun teaching tips and tricks to a group of moms who wanted to learn how to take quality photos of their kids. When setting up these classes, I stressed that no fancy equipment was necessary. The only prerequisite was an interest to learn and eagerness to apply the new skills instantly with hands-on guidance by me. Throughout the class I reinforced the process composing a great image by thinking of background, position and light. At the end of one particular class I was asked “What do I do when there is nothing around and the sun is really bright?” My first thought was the beach.  With summer quickly approaching I wanted to provide my top 3 beach photography tips that will improve your images instantly.

A beach provides a variety of frame worthy photo opportunities, however it is not short in photography challenges. Depending on the time and location a beach can be crowded, which causes cluttered backgrounds and not so flattering beach goers. As you see in the images below my background is clutter free and celebrates the sand, surf and sky.

Tip #1: Get Low
When working with clients or even my own child you will find me constantly moving into various positions to capture the right angle. Being in a squat or even laying down provides a unique perspective. On a crowded beach you could also use this “low” position to your advantage by minimizing the amount of “clutter” in the background. In the image of the child throwing the rocks I actually used a waterproof go-pro camera, which is a fun creative tool to use at the beach. You can even allow your kids to participate in taking images and capture memories from their perspective.

Tip #2: Details
Detail images really enhance the story of a beach vacation or day trip. Those little things that might only happen at the certain time in life, for example, baby toes in the water, sand on a toddler’s face, a special toy car that is brought everywhere they go. A detail that when you look back marks a certain time and fond memory.

Tip #3: Light (morning, mid-day and evening)
Light is one of the most important elements of photography. As a professional photographer I am constantly looking for the best light when working on-location with a client. Capturing the light correctly will transform a good image to great. You might not have the opportunity to be on the beach at the ideal morning or evening light, but you can still take great images during the mid-day sun.

  • Utilize a sun umbrella, sun tent or even a hat to soften the light on a child’s face and prevent them from squinting and/or having a harsh shadow on their face.
  • Move around your subject to test where the best light is falling, start with the sun at your back.
  • Always take more than one image, as soon as you stop that is when a child will crack a smile or make a cute face.

If you are in the Connecticut area and are interested in learning about future classes, sign up for the Nicole Bedard Workshops list

top 3 beach photo tips
Beach Photography 101
Beach Photography 101
Beach Photography 101
Beach Photography 101

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3 Tips For Your Young Photographer

When my 4.5 year old took an interest in photography I was excited to show him everything I knew, but also realized that he is only 4.5 so a few tips and freedom to be creative is the best approach to foster his latest interest. If you have a budding photographer in your household here are a few tips to get them started. I should also add that these tips apply to any camera they are using whether it’s an old cell phone, point and shoot camera or even a kid specific camera like Vtech.

What type of subjects does your young photographer like to take pictures of?  Leave a comment below

3 tips for your young photographer

Children’s Action Photography: Tips and Inspiration

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Action photography is my speciality, considering my sports photography background, and the honest expressions of children are the most fun to see during an outdoor shoot at the park and/or private yard.  Their personalities really shine through and is why today’s post is all about capturing those moments and providing you with a little inspiration.  Here are some tips to think about when you are trying to capture movement.

First:  Get Low!

When you are eye level with your subject the image will instantly improve.  You will noticed in all the images below, I am at least eye level, or below, with all the children.

Second: If they are having fun, it shows!

When children are naturally running, going down a slide, digging in a sandbox, their personalities comes out.

Natural light will help in “stopping the action” in a image, but having gear that can handle fast shutter speeds helps tremendously.  These images were taken with Canon 5D Mark III and shutter speeds are over 1000.

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BoysRunningBridge_nbphotog RunningWballoons_Nbphotog

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It’s all in the details: Children Photography

While we spend our days capturing images of our children taking their first steps, crawling, and exploring the world, don’t forget about the details.  The detail images are also part of our children’s story and can be equally as powerful when you look back at all your memories.  So the next time you take your iPhone or SLR camera out to capture a cute kid moment take a second and capture a detail of what they are holding, eating, standing on etc.  Here are some inspirational images for you to begin thinking about your next great image.

Details Part 2-3
Details Part 2
Details part 3

 

On-location Scouting Tips for Photography

Scouting a location for a photo shoot can improve your images as well as your client’s experience.  This step allows you to identify certain areas to focus on and arrive with a general idea of the images that you want to create.  Physically visiting a location is ideal, but not always possible.  When this happens online research is the next best thing.  The tips below also apply to anyone looking to photograph their own family or event.  Here are some quick tips on what information I gather during a scouting session.


  • Travel to the location and parking.  How easy is it and are there key details needed to find the location.  Most of the time I will plug the location into Google Maps app on my phone.  I will also cross reference the directions provided on the designated locations website.  You want your client to arrive to the location without any problems/frustration so providing information on any current road work, landmarks and where to park are appreciated.
  • Size of location.  If the location has many gathering points, like at a public garden, finding a meeting spot is helpful.  Once you and your client are at the designated meeting spot, you can travel to your first backdrop for photos.
  • Favorite Backdrops.  I look for and take photos of different areas for potential shoots.  I take a portrait and landscape image and if I really like a spot I will capture different angles.  In the example below I used my iPhone 6 to capture these shots.  I rarely find the need to take out professional gear for the purposes of the scouting session.  During the photo shoot I concentrate on a few, not all, vignettes I find.  I tailor the session and location to fit my client’s needs.
  • Same location, different season. Living in New England, each season can drastically transform a location.  If possible, visiting a favorite location throughout the year can offer different perspectives on the same location.
  • Reference list. There are many ways to store all the information you gather
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    Example of Evernote App

    from a scouting trip and I have recently started using the Evernote App.
    You can create “notebooks” for example “Photography Scouting” and attached photos and notes to each item.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments section, I would love to hear from you.

 

In the meantime here are some images from my latest scouting trip to the Wadsworth Mansion Middletown, CT.

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Back of Mansion

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