Costa Rica’s natural beauty has long been a muse for the creative set. Photographers are drawn here by the laid-back vibe and varying natural landscapes, from jungle waterfalls to stunning sands. And with nearly 300 different beaches, there’s plenty of coastline to capture.
Visitors looking to expand their horizons have the option to take photography classes in Costa Rica to elevate their skills. Here are some simple tips to help you snap frame-worthy beach photos.
Time it right.
Plan to take photographs during the golden hours—either just after sunrise or right before sunset. Not only will you be more likely to avoid the crowds of beach-goers, but you’ll also benefit from the quality of light. Images that would appear flat, or be blown out by a mid-day sun now appear warm and have shadows that create interest, depth and texture.
Pick a focus.
One of the biggest challenges when trying to photograph a beach is going beyond the typical landscape shot and finding a way to make a wide open space look interesting. Instead, find a focus, whether it’s a pattern in the sand, footprints, unusual seashells or a surfer.
Tell a story.
Shoes left at the water’s edge, an empty beach chair, the patchwork of beach blankets, a fisherman working for tonight’s dinner. Look beyond the typical beach shots and find the details and moments that tell a story.
Change your perspective.
Instead of taking a photograph of the ocean with the horizon stretching out in front, try standing at the water’s edge and turning. Frame your shot by pivoting left or right and shooting down the beach, or turn completely around and photograph the sand itself. Alternatively, try a different advantage, either by getting down low, or positioning yourself higher to get a unique shot.
Use a polarizing filter.
Polarizing filters can transform your beach photography. By filtering out some polarized light, these inexpensive filters reduce reflections and boost contrasts. They also help to saturate colors, and can make blue skies and waters even bluer. Don’t have a polarizing filter? Try shooting through polarized sunglasses for a similar effect.
Using the automatic settings on your camera during a bright sunny beach day can result in flat, blown out images. Instead, switch your camera to manual and adjust your exposure settings. In general, on a bright day you’ll want to keep a low ISO setting paired with a narrow aperture and a fast shutter speed. Of course, this can change depending upon the types of photos you’re looking to capture and the lighting conditions.
Use a fill flash.
A high sun can create flat images, and it can also create unflattering shadows. When taking beach portraits, eliminate shadows from hats and sunglasses by using a fill flash. Also force the flash when shooting into the sun to avoid the subject becoming a silhouette.
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