Coastal landscape photography is a specialized part of beach photography that can add an interesting aspect to your album. There are many objects to capture – huge expanse of land, water, people, waves, weather… the list is endless. Here are some basic tips and techniques you should understand while capturing and visualizing the coastline landscape.
1. Focal point
No image is perfect without a good focal point for the viewer to hone in on. The biggest problem with photographing the coastline is that it is a wide open with plenty of empty sky, which can make for dull images.
The best way to conquer this common dilemma is to find a point of interest in the sky and focus on it to bring the picture alive. If you are just shooting the coastline, make waves, or someone in the sea, the focal point; whether they are crashing against the coastline or helping a surfer reach his peak, the message will be clearer.
2. Background and foregrounds
Usually the best, and most natural, foreground for the coastline images is the sky, but it can look mundane if you don’t focus on some aspect of a cloud or enhance the beauty of the coast by creating contrast. Choose a smaller aperture for enhancing the foreground and keeping the background in focus.
A common, and endlessly creative, background for coastline images is the sky meeting the sea. Use tides to vary your view, and, as a rule of thumb, make the horizon a third of the way from the bottom or top of the frame to center your focus.
A common phenomenon when water bodies are around. Reflections of various objects can add a new dimension to a bland seascape. Try to make different reflections of objects on and around the coastlines the subject matter of your images.
Use sunrise and sunsets to emphasize changes in light or create highlights and shadows. If you don’t want reflections in your images, change your angle or the position in which you are standing.
While it may seem like a vast, open expanse to the viewer, the coastline consists of tiny details. Get down to the shoreline and zoom in on boulders, pebbles and shells. Or pick up on living elements like sea anemones, palm trees and rock fish to set off flowing patterns and eliminate blandness.
5. Capture movement
In addition to details and reflection, movement of both sea and sky is a major aspect of creating mood when photographing seascapes. From turbulent storms to surreal calm, the difference between a boring shot and an interesting one lies in the timing.
While a fast shutter speed can enhance surf and foam, a slower one can create a blur which conveys the feeling of motion.