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Photography Tips for the Beach and Tropical Islands

May 25, 2009

We all dream!  Take me away to a tropical island with sweeping
sandy white beaches and crystal clear waters teeming with colourful fish!
Its picture-perfect postcard material and will surely have our shutter fingers happily pressing away.

I’ve just returned from working in the Mackay region (www.mackayregion.com) and during this time I was fortunate to venture onto a few of the magnificent islands that make up the Whitsundays, Australia’s premier tourist destination.

Each day, I met people with their cameras trying to capture the beauty of the scene in front of them – unfortunately many were disgruntled with their efforts. Why? Because they weren’t following a few basic photographic techniques.

Here’s a few tips to make your next tropical getaway or beach photography session a success:

1. Composition shouldn’t be hard, you may think at first, I mean look at your surroundings!

Don’t forget the rule of thirds, moving up and down; look for lines that can lead the viewers eye such as the curving edge of the sea, a row of palm trees, or footprints in the sand; look for focal points that you can place close to your lens to give the image more depth and framing opportunities.

Using the ‘S’ Line

Using framing and a polariser filter

2. Use a polariser!!

3. Pack your tripod! Yes I know its heavy but if you
really, really want to capture a sunrise or sunset
you’ll need it.

4. Be careful with your cameras meter reading.It reads that bright sand and
shimmering water as very bright and you don’t want the sand grey!

5. Don’t forget the little things. That plate of prawns, cocktail with the sea behind, flowers, etc and macro
on the beach is fantastic fun!

6. Make sure your horizon is straight – it happens to the best of us :)

7. Don’t let an overcast day put you off. The sun is not as harsh and therefore shadows not as hard.

8. What about reflections? They can make very interesting subject matters in themselves..

9. Clean your gear well when you finish – see our Top Tip below

10. Have fun and a cocktail for me!!

Our Top Tip
If you put your tripod in the salt water (and we do) place it in the shower at the end of the day and put the plug in the bath as well so the leg extenders get a good soaking. Before removing the tripod form the shower, turn it upside down to drain the water that has filled up in the legs.

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