As a photographer, I find that beach photoshoots are some of the most challenging and rewarding experiences. The stunning scenery, beautiful lighting, and natural beauty of the models make for a perfect combination that can result in some truly breathtaking images. However, as with any photoshoot, preparation is key, and in this post, I will take you through my process of preparing for a beach photoshoot.
The first step in any photoshoot is to choose the location. When it comes to beach photoshoots, there are countless options to choose from. I personally prefer to shoot at lesser-known beaches that are not too crowded, as this gives me more freedom to explore and experiment with different shots. This is also really useful if the levels the model are shooting to are higher like topless or art nude, so as not to cause offence. Once I have selected a location, I like to scout the area a few days before the shoot to get a feel for the lighting and overall vibe of the place. Or, if it’s somewhere I’m travelling to then Google Maps can be really helpful to explore the beach and surrounding area!
The next step is to select the outfits. For beach photoshoots, I find that simple clothing works best. Beachwear, summer outfits and swimwear are all great options that can create stunning visual effects when combined with the natural elements of the beach, at least during the summer. A lot of fun can be had with photoshoots on the beach in winter, with warmer clothing, perhaps moody skies, the possibilities are endless. When working with models, I encourage them to bring a variety of outfits to choose from, as this gives us more flexibility during the shoot and it’s great to be able to adapt depending on the shoot!
One of the most important aspects of a beach photoshoot is the equipment. As with any outdoor shoot, I always make sure to bring backup equipment in case of any technical difficulties. When shooting at the beach, I prefer to use natural lighting as much as possible, but I occasionally bring a reflector or a flash just in case, especially if around sunrise or sunset and I want to shoot towards the sun. Additionally, I always pack plenty of batteries and memory cards, as these can easily be drained during a long shoot. Also, think sand! How do I keep sand out of the Camera and lens, especially if you are swapping lenses! Planning for this ahead of time can be really helpful on the photoshoot itself, and I try and be really disciplined during the shoot to keep sand away as much as possible.
Another crucial factor to consider when preparing for a beach photoshoot is the weather. Beaches can be unpredictable, and weather conditions can change quickly. I always check the weather forecast in advance and make sure to have backup plans in case of rain or other adverse weather conditions. When shooting in direct sunlight, I also make sure to bring plenty of sunscreen and hats to protect both myself and the models from sunburn.
Additionally, making use of tools I use more for landscape photography are really useful for beach photoshoots. They can help indicate where the sun will be at a certain time of day, especially where it will be around sunrise and sunset and what time sunrise and sunset will be. Google Maps also comes in handy again here as you can plan for shaded areas of the beach, or pick a beach facing a particular direction with all that information.
Finally, it’s worth considering where the model will be able to change! Especially if on a quieter beach that may not have any facilities. Talking to the model about this before the shoot ensures that they will be comfortable with all aspects of the location!
At Roker Photography, I offer TFP (Time for Prints) photoshoots to both new and experienced models. TFP shoots are a great way for models to build their portfolio and gain experience working with different photographers. And I find it a great way to shoot new models and help then begin their journey into modelling, After the TFP shoot, I provide the model with five edited images ,of their choice, ensuring that they have a selection of high-quality images to use for their own portfolio. I also make sure to work closely with the model before and during the photoshoot to create an environment that is comfortable and relaxed, as this is key to capturing stunning and authentic images.
When working with models, I like to provide them with plenty of guidance and feedback throughout the shoot where needed. Communication is key, and I make sure to explain my vision for the shoot and what I hope to achieve with each shot. Additionally, I encourage models to be themselves and have fun during the shoot, as this often leads to the most stunning and authentic images.
These are just some ways to prepare for a photoshoot at the beach! In another post I’ll talk about during the shoot, keeping the model happy and working with the changing environment and possibly harsh sunlight!
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