Taking photos at the beach

November 03, 2011  •  Leave a Comment
I have just returned from a wonderful trip to Oregon and thought it would be a good opportunity to write about taking pictures of your dog at the beach. There are some challenges in doing so:
Firstly, you are likely going to be at the beach on a sunny day, resulting in high contrast and strong shadows. This is even more obvious when you are photographing close to the water's edge and if the water is very shallow, resulting in strong glare.
Secondly, your dog (if he or she is anything like mine) is going to be excited, running around and splashing in the shallow waters - which of course makes you fear for your gear. Protect your gear at all times. Salt water is your enemy when it comes to your electronics. Make sure you wipe your camera clean of sand and salt water mist.

Rather than "fight" these conditions - make them work for you. Silhouette shots can have their very special appeal or try and capture the special beach environment by taking photos from further away or a high point. If your dog does not feel like the centre of your attention and just minds his or her own business, you may get some lovely shots of a "dog in heaven".

One of the rare moments for Sidney to sit still at the beach - I grabbed it!

I also try and have my dog sit while I walk away and then call him to me, taking a series of action shots of my dog running towards me. While only a few of these usually turn out, you may end up with a photo of your dog having the biggest grin on his or her face. Try and set your camera to 1/1000th of a second for these shots to get good focus.


I love this photo of Sidney running between me and my sister in the background. We all had fun!


My dog is quite dark, so I either go for silhouettes or position him so the sun is lightening his face. I also try and direct him to run through shallow water, creating a lovely reflection.

Sidney running towards me creating almost a silhouette and reflection in shallow water

The most important is - have fun and make sure your dog has it too. So you come back from your trip to the beach happy and refreshed - no matter if you managed to take the star photograph. There is always next time too.

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