A month or so ago we decided to brave the overcast weather and the insane Houston traffic and head to the beach. Living within driving distance to a beach is one of THE BIGGEST perks to living here. Its not the best beach in the world by any means, but it is the one place I’ve found where my boys will both play together nicely with very few complaints. Its seriously an anomaly that these two boys with sensory issues love the beach as much as they do. At home if Sawyer detects one blade of wet grass on his leg after being outside its as if an alien creature has leached itself to him and he screams like death until someone wipes it off. But at the beach, they become so joyful, so content, and so fearlessly adventurous its as if those issues don’t exist. It is our happy place. And I wish I could take them there every day.
All this being said, we were somewhat apprehensive about how our newest addition would like the beach. Not that she has given us any reason to think she would feel any differently about it than the boys, but you never know with toddlers. To our relief and joy Finley absolutely seems to love the beach every bit as much as the boys. Yay! All is well with the world in our happy ugly beach. Finley splashed and played, ate sand and seaweed, rolled in the waves, and conked out as soon as she was back in her car-seat. Not too bad for Finley’s first beach day. It was a perfect, slightly windy and breezy, overcast beach day with the little crew. You can see it in their faces in the pics posted here.
Speaking of which, here is a quick list of a few tips if you’d like to venture out with the kids to the beach this summer with camera in tow. And just to answer some questions these were taken with my Nikon D610 and 50 mm 1.4 lens.
5 Beach Photo Tips to Try This Summer
1. Try to plan your beach time at dawn or dusk. OR head out on a less than sunny day. I know it seems counter-intuitive to hit the beach on a cloudy day, but not only will it likely be less crowded, but it will make shooting in mid-day a breeze. If you shoot in mid-day on a sunny day, it will be harder to get shots without squinty eyes or hard shadows. In this case I’d suggest shooting under a beach umbrella to provide some open-shade or practice using your flash for fill-light to prevent hard shadows. But, seriously, cloud coverage makes things much easier.
2. Shoot wide(ish) open. This is kind of a general rule I follow in all shooting environments that involve my kids (or clients), but it is especially important at the beach to really put the focus on the subjects (the kiddos having fun) and less on the background noise (the guy in the speedo down the beach). When shooting these images, I stayed within a 1.8-3.2 f range. Unless you want to get a shot with more in focus (like a pretty beach scenery shot if you happen to be on a pretty beach) I’d stick to that range when shooting a couple kids rolling around in the waves. This will also allow you to keep your ISO lower which is nice especially on overcast days when less natural light is available.
3. Go knee deep. But be careful. I don’t have a waterproof housing for my camera (although I’m dying to get one…anyone wanna give me about a thousand buckeroos?) but that doesn’t stop me from getting wet while I shoot. I like to go knee deep or so so I can face the kids and catch their reactions while the waves are coming in. I plant my feet in the sand and stabilize as best I can and don’t try to move much when I’m in the water with my gear in my hands. On that note, definitely wear your camera strap to avoid damp hands dropping your expensive setup in the deep blue. My camera may get a few drops on it, but it doesn’t hurt and its worth it to get those great shots.
4. Shoot the details. Wrinkly hands, sandy toes, sunburns, freckles, seashells, sandcastles, reflections, splashing waves, all of it will add to the story of the day.
5. Maybe a no-brainer but I am a mom and know how stressful outings can be with the kids, so; Have fun. Enjoy your kids. Play with them. Get a few shots here, and then put the camera away and play. And then take a few shots. And then put it away and play. And so on. This one is actually hard for me to do. I tend to get caught up in wanting to GET ALL THE SHOTS! and forget that I don’t want all my kid’s memories of me to be my face burried in a camera, simply following them around.
So there you go! I know I haven’t been posting much but I intend to soon and have many many many ideas to bring to life. Thanks for hanging out and happy beach day to you!
Also, I feel the need to plug my new favorite thing: Blogstomp. OMG seriously why have I never used this before. If you’re a blogger or photographer, check it out. It will blow your mind.