10 Tips for Creating Artistic Canvas Photos From Your Beach Vacation

by Eric Von Lehmden | June 24, 2013

Summer is less than 10 days away (insert a "woohoo" here). With the summer comes trips to the beach and I wanted to share some tips with you on how to get some amazing photos that you can turn into canvas photos for you house, to sell or give as a gift. I am going to stay away from the normal rules of photography tips because those are pretty universal. Instead I want to try to pass on some ideas that might inspire you on your next trip to the beach. This is actually good practice for me as well since my family reunion is less than a week away and it just so happens to be...at a beach.

Now I know some beaches are different...some are rocky, some white, some are not easily accessible. For the most part I am talking about your normal everyday beach with sand and a few breaking waves. Hopefully with some of these ideas it will spark something in your mind the next time you are at the beach that you can then turn into some canvas photos with us here at Canvas Press.

1. Crack of Dawn

Getting up before sunrise can expose a whole different side of the beach for you. You will be free of the crowds so you have the freedom to get unobstructed photos. Needless to say that the morning light is fantastic for photos. On the east coast you will get amazing sunrise photos. Set your alarm for a few minutes before sunrise and head out. It's good to do this once you have been to the beach for a few days. That way you can scout out some locations you would like to shoot.

2. Pops of Color

The beach itself is a great neutral backdrop for fun pops of color. You have to be on the lookout. These can come in many fun and strange shapes and sizes. It could be a bright sun umbrella or a red life guard stand. It could even be a row of towels or flip flops on the beach. Just keep your eyes open for those bursts of color and compose them in a way that they stand out in the scene.

3. Motion of the Ocean

The ocean water itself can produce amazing artwork worthy of a few canvas prints. If you by chance brought a tripod or something sturdy to set your camera on you can capture the steady ebb and flow of the waves. Play with long exposures. This will create a dreamy look to the water as it moves up and down the shore line. This will work better in the early morning or at sunset since it can be nearly impossible to get a long exposure in the bright mid day sun.

4. Beach Walk for Characters

If you are heading to a crowded beach then there are still plenty of art opportunities to be had. One idea is just to take a walk up and down the beach. There are always a handful of characters that you will notice. Look for people with character. Be sure to ask them if you can take their photo. If you don't want to mess around with carrying a model release with you then just avoid getting their full face in the photo. Also look for rows of surfboards or those other pops of color I mentioned earlier.

5. Still Lifes of Found Treasures

If you love hunting for sea shells and other beach treasures then try your hand at a beach still life...which is basically a set up photo of the shells or driftwood or whatever you collected. You can do your still life anywhere. Choose a spot that has nice soft light (near a window comes to mind) and a clean background (prop up a bed sheet or pillowcase for small items). Then set up your single shell or whole collection in a unique way. Shells, rocks and driftwood found on the beach have a ton of character because of the wear that and tear of the sea and sand.

6. Find a Vantage Point

Photographing from above the beach (if possible) can have the potential of creating some beautiful photos. A lone single surfer heading out for a morning session or gobs of people sunbathing and playing in the waves. Think wide angle for some of these photos. You could even turn some into panoramic canvas photos.

7. Bring your close up lens

If you have a macro or close up lens then the beach can be a fun place to play with it. Between the surf, sand, and beach vegetation there are a ton of fun things to get close up on.

8. Get in the water - Be careful

This one is only for the brave. And remember, this is only an idea. Beach portraits of family are great on the sand, but think about taking portraits of them out in the water. Be very careful and if you haven't been out in the water yet I would suggest doing so. Make sure you know where the water drops off at. If there are any types of waves at all I don't know if I would risk it, but it is a fun idea. There is a story of famous photographer Annie Leibovitz and one of her first photo assignments for Rolling Stone. She had to follow a very uncooperative Robert Plant out into the water and ended up with a photo that helped land her the photo editor position at Rolling Stone.

9. For the birds

Again, this one is risky. But like they say...no risk, no reward. Bring some bread down to the beach with you and pick a place (preferably without too many other people) and start feeding the birds. Once you have attracted several of them, start snapping away.

10. Fenced in

Photographing things that aren't so close to the water can also look great as canvas photos. For example the fences of some beaches are extremely photogenic. Full of character and charm. Also keep an eye out for boardwalks, foot bridges and beach entrances. All of these items have a lot of potential for fun beach art.

I hope you got some ideas for your next beach trip. I will have to share with you what I found or saw during my trip to the beach coming up. If you want some more help with turning your art into canvas photos then email us at support@canvaspress.com or give us a call at 888.784.5553.

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