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5 Poses for the Best Beach Photos

There’s nothing quite like that endless water lapping over itself on eternal loop. No matter who you are, you can’t deny the ocean’s mesmerizing nature. One of my favorite things to do at the beach is to lay beachside like a giant ol lump of clay, and read to the soundtrack of peace.

Another, is to soak in the savory atmosphere with some portraits!

Now, we all have seen the typical vacation snaps—hot dogs or legs, anyone?—but between you and me, a few extra special snaps make for a wonderful keepsake after a trip oceanside. Whether you’re working with a client or want a few photos for your own camera roll, here are 5 pose prompts to uplevel your beach photos!

1. Establishing shot

  • I’m talking landscape-orientation, wide enough to see what’s what, and medium to deep depth of field. The subject can be centered, or on a third, and the horizon line can vary as well. Try a few different angles at this distance, get funky with cropping, and see what magic happens.

2. Over the shoulder, sunset behind

  • It’s a simple, timeless look that helps create a carefree nature about the subject. Did they just get caught off guard looking fly ask heck? Are they a celeb who live a few mansions down? No one knows. The windswept hair and soft golden hour glow leave onlookers in mystery.

3. Running (slow shutter)

  • Replicate the motion of the ocean (Hairspray, anyone?!) with a slow shutter on your moving subject. This style has come into trend over the last few years, but when edited with a little grain and black and white treatment, holds its own as a piece of art.

3. Sky’s the limit

  • Take full advantage of that gorgeous clear sky! Shoot low to high and try a few different angles. Often you’ll create an empowering image of your subject and highlight some soft colors in the meantime.

4. Take a sandy seat

  • Face the water with legs folded. Have your subject cozy up in their long sleeves, or wrap themselves up in a big ol hug. Another variation would be to have the legs facing the camera with one bent and brought up towards the subject’s face. Hand brought up to chin. (Note! Save any lying or seated poses for last in the shoot! Trust me, learned this the hard way during this destination session in Laguna Beach, CA!)

5. Detail shots

  • Footprints in the sand, the sea over the shoulder, and all the gritty details in between. Don’t hesitate to get close to your subject! Often these details are the ones overlooked and their presence in a collection of images reminds us of the humanity of the moment. Get creative!

And there you have it! These obviously aren’t limited to the beach, and there are dozens more to experiment with seaside or otherwise! But I hope these give you a little inspo for your next beach day.

Which prompts are you trying?

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