Taking photos at the beach

Most of us love going to the beach. To take a walk, to enjoy the sun, to swim or just to watch the scenery.
To me beaches have a strong attraction. I can’t really explain why. It must be the air and the sense of space. Or the sound of the waves that’s often louder than everything else, even my thoughts. The beach empties my mind and recharges me. I usually look for the quiet beaches though, with not too many people.
The beach also provides many great photo opportunities. Especially when the light is low, you can make beautiful photos on the beach. Let’s see some beach photos and get inspired.

Waves in the sand

At the end of the day the last sun light creates shadows on the ripples in the sand. The beach in the photo below is a beach on the beautiful island of Sardinia, Italy. This beach is called Porto Pino and in spring you can have it all to yourself. On Sardinia the wind is often strong, so these sand waves can be easily found. Think about your composition before walking through the sand, so you won’t see your foot steps in the photo.
I have used a wide angle lens and I used a very low view point, so the foreground covers most of the photo and the sand ripple became to main subject of this photo.
The low light accentuates the texture in the sand and shows the ripples created by the wind.

Pebbles on the beach

This beach in the Esterel in France is covered with red pebbles. It was a fresh day with many rain showers, so I was not surprised to find this beach empty. The pebbles create a beautiful effect though when the waves crush between the pebbles. You will need a slightly long exposure and therefore a tripod and a filter. It was cloudy, so I could use a polarizing filter which gave me just the shutter time I needed. The dark red stones creates a beautiful contrast with the white foam of the waves.
You need to play around a bit with the shutter time to see which effect you’re getting and what you like. Also make more than one photo, as the waves never crush in the same way twice. You can select the best at home.
The long exposure shows the water running back between the pebbles on the beach

Reflection of the sky

This beach in Houtbay, South Africa had some kelp washed ashore after a storm. With the receding tide larger stretches of sand would remain wet for a few seconds and would reflect the colours of the sky.  I loved the shiny texture of the wet kelp and its tentacle-like shape. Also here I used a wide angle lens so that the kelp would look much bigger, while still including the mountain in the background.
The colours of the sky are reflected in the wet sand on the beach

Wave form

This is another beach in Sardinia of which I forgot the name. What attracted me here was the warm sunlight on the sand. Standing close to the waterline looking along the beach I could see this S-curve that formed when the water would roll onto the beach. I set my camera drive to Servo, so it takes photos in a rapid succession, and waited for the waves to come in. The white water and the yellow sand make it look beautiful and warm. The S-curve gives a fluid sensation, like water.
The water creates a beautiful S-shape, like a wave which looks amazing in the low sunlight


This beach on False Bay close to Cape Town is famous among surfers because of constant waves and warmer water than on the Atlantic coast. The beach cabins are also famous and can be seen on several postcards. These cabins have been painted in primary colours and look stunning. For this photo I got up before sunrise, drove to Muizenberg and waited for the cabins to be lit by the first sunlight. Apart from a few other people just watching the sunrise, I was all alone. It was peaceful and quiet, just the waves and a few sea gulls.
These beach cabins look stunning in the first morning light
This is just a small collection of photos I took at the beach. I hope to have inspired you to bring your camera next time you go to the beach. There’s always something to take a photo of. Just take your time and look around you. Something will jump to your eye that you want to photograph.

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