5 Camera Settings for Fabulous Beach Shots

 
Always take care of your camera when by the sea. Dramatic sea splashes can look fantastic, but ensure that your camera is well covered and away from the saline water. Photograph/Raj Lalwani

Always take care of your camera when by the sea. Dramatic sea splashes can look fantastic, but ensure that your camera is well covered and away from the saline water. Photograph/Raj Lalwani

The seaside always presents a bunch of photographic opportunities, whatever be the time of day, or season. Raj Lalwani tells you how you can get your camera ready to make some lovely photos the next time you go.1. Choice of Focal Length
Camera settings are not just about the various parameters found in the menu user interface of the camera. A simple decision of what focal length to use, how much to zoom in, and how much to zoom out, can dramatically transform your beach photos.

Want to make an endless beach seem even longer? Zoom out completely and use the widest focal length possible. To do this effectively, you can try keeping an interesting subject in the foreground, so that depth and distance can be established. Wide-angle shots are also very dramatic of you keep the camera really close to the sea waves. Do this only if you have a waterproof camera or a weather-resistant cameraphone like the Sony Xperia Z2! Seawater can be the biggest enemy of electronics.

With a telephoto focal length, you can blur out the sea and also make it seem closer to your friend who’s posing in front of it. A zoomed in view can also help you shoot lovely abstracts of the sunlight hitting the sea. If you are shooting with a phone, don’t zoom. Cameraphones only have digital zoom, and the picture quality looks terrible when you zoom in. Exceptions being the Nokia 808 PureView, the Lumia 1020, the Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom and the recently announced Galaxy K Zoom.

It's not just people you can photograph at the beach. While this may look like someone paragliding, it's actually a toy! Photograph/Raj Lalwani

It’s not just people you can photograph at the beach. While this may look like someone paragliding, it’s actually a toy! Photograph/Raj Lalwani

2. What Metering Mode to Use
The Evaluative or Matrix metering mode is a safe bet, but if your friend is standing in front of the sun and you don’t want a silhouette, you have only two options. Either use Matrix metering but pop up the flash, or use Spot metering, meter from the subject’s face and let the sky flare up into a bright halo.3. Judicious Use of Exposure Compensation
Sometimes when the sun is overhead and light reflects off the sea and sand, you may need to dial in a +ve Exposure Compensation. If you wish to make a seascape at dusk more vibrant, use a – 0.7Ev value to make the colours deeper. Don’t know how to do this? Look for the +/- button in your camera and then input the appropriate value. Every camera, even the most basic of compacts, allows you to adjust this value.

When the sun is low on the horizon, it kisses the sand and sea and makes the most mundane of subjects look magical. Photograph/Raj Lalwani

When the sun is low on the horizon, it kisses the sand and sea and makes the most mundane of subjects look magical. Photograph/Raj Lalwani

4. The Beach Mode, Duh
Are you using a compact camera that does not allow you to control all these settings individually? Use the Beach Scene mode. If you want to make the overall picture brighter, try the Snow mode (though there may be no signs of snowfall!). To shoot a dreamy blur f the sea at dawn, try the Night Landscape mode (with the camera on a tripod). For portraits in front of a sunrise or sunset, use Night Portrait.
Do you associate the beach only with colour? Sand can help you make lovely black and white images with soft grey tones, especially early in the morning. Photograph/Raj Lalwani

Do you associate the beach only with colour? Sand can help you make lovely black and white images with soft grey tones, especially early in the morning. Photograph/Raj Lalwani

5. Colour Modes and Cellphone Filters
If you don’t want to spend time processing your images on the computer, shoot in JPEG and choose the Contrast and Saturation settings wisely. Cellphone apps and filters can really produce some crazily vibrant results with the blues and browns at every beach.

Oh wait, do you know? We currently have an exciting contest on photos by the beach. Show us your best pictures by clicking here.

Tags: Better Pictures, metering, Beach Photography, summer, cellphone photography, sunsets, photography tips, Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom, Nokia Lumia 1020, Samsung Galaxy, nokia 808 pureview, samsung galaxy k zoom