How to Take Amazing Beach Pictures with an iPhone

How to Take Amazing Beach Pictures with an iPhone

Untouched tropical beach in Sri Lanka
Beaches are one of the best photography subjects.

Beaches are among the most relaxing places on earth. It is a haven for everyone, most especially during the summer season. And, a trip to the beach wouldn’t be complete without amazing photos. 

Truth be told, the beach is a challenging location for photography due to the amount of light and its vastness. On the other hand, the beach also offers an array of wonderful opportunities in capturing breath-taking shots. But, how will you take advantage of these opportunities and overcome the challenges?

In this article, we will give you ideas on how you could get the most out of your beach photos with just your iPhone and a few handy add-ons. So, go ahead, keep on reading and ace your beach photos next time. 

1. Include a Focal Point

Beachb wave and footprints
Adding a focal point to your beach images will make it more interesting.

With all your beach photos, how many of them really meet your standards? How many times have you ever been disappointed with your beach photos because it seems like they all look the same? The thing is, beaches only have a few prominent features and have a vast amount of empty space. 

An important photography rule is to include a focal point in your image at all times. Doing so will give you a more interesting point of focus and at the same time, provide the viewers with space where they can rest their eyes. This could be challenging during the first few shots but you’ll surely mastery it any time soon. 

For starters, look around you. Does anything capture your attention? A focal point could be anything interesting you see on the beach – a boat, a rock, a person, footprints in the sand, a sand tower – literally anything that makes your photo more meaningful. Focal points are not meant to dominate the entire scene. They are meant to add meaning and power to your photos. 

2. Include Objects in the Foreground

Landscape of paradise tropical island beach, sunrise shot
Foreground objects make the composition of the image more dynamic and more engaging.

Another good way to make your beach images more interesting is to include objects in the foreground. This is because foreground objects make the composition of your image more dynamic and more engaging. 

Aside from these things, foreground objects also provide viewers an insight into what surrounds the beach by adding content into your images. One good technique that you can do to add a foreground object into your images is to crouch down and take the photos from a lower angle. 

3. Use Burst Mode

Hungry gulls circling over the winter beach in search of food on a background of sea and blue sky. Sea birds in flight in search of food.
The Burst Mode options allows you to take several photos within fractions of a second.

Beaches are full of unpredictable actions – people, birds, boats, crashing waves, and so much more. Thus, using the burst mode feature of your iPhone’s camera could be your greatest weapon here in order to capture all the actions at the right time. Using the Burst Mode allows you to take several photos within fractions of a second. 

To activate the Burst Mode of your iPhone, all you have to do is to hold down the shutter button when you take a picture for half a second or longer. With the burst mode feature, capturing the perfect moment in split seconds is possible. Hold the shutter button as long as you want to use the burst mode and release it if you want to stop.

4.Create Silhouettes

Silhouette Of surfer people carrying their surfboard on sunset beach, vintage filter effect with soft style
The beach is certainly a good place to take photos and capture a stunning silhouette.

As vast as it is, the beach is certainly a good place to take photos and capture stunning silhouette, most especially during sunsets. In order to create a silhouette, your subject should be placed in between your camera and the light source. In this case, your light source is the sun. When capturing silhouette images, you have to make sure that your image is exposed for the brightest part of the whole scene.

The next thing that you have to do is to set the exposure based on the lighter parts of the background for the subject to remain dark. To set the exposure, click the area in your camera screen where you want to set the exposure. You could also try taking the image from a lower angle to make sure that your subject stands out against the sky and not against the sand or the sea. 

5. Search for Interesting Details

sunset over the sea beach
Adding details into your photos will enhance the overall outcome.

As mentioned a while ago, all your photos could end up looking like the same old photos when it comes to beach photography. The same old photo means that the image is composed of either the sand, the sky, or the beach. But if you look further into details, there are actually a lot of interesting things on the beach that makes up a good subject. 

Some of these interesting things include pebbles, shells, footprints, driftwoods, ropes, seaweeds, fishing nets, and a lot more. These are tiny details that could make up your images more interesting than ever. The beach is full of intricate details and textures, you just need to have a lot of patience to find them. 

6. Give a Pop of Color

Aerial view of young woman swimming on the pink swim ring in the transparent turquoise sea in Oludeniz. Summer seascape with girl, beach, beautiful waves, blue water at sunset. Top view from drone
Adding a pop of color will make your photos more interesting.

A good explanation of why all beach photos almost look like each other is that the images have monotonous colors – blue sky, blue beach, brown sand. That’s it. If you want to make your beach photos more interesting and to make sure that it will stand out from the rest of the images, try giving it a burst or a pop of color. 

Sure enough, there are a lot of colorful things around the beach that you can include when shooting. Maybe, a yellow beach chair, a colorful beach ball, or a hat is all you ever need to make your images less boring and more alive. 

7. Avoid Crowds

Dj mixing at sunset beach party in summer vacation outdoor - Disc jockey hands playing music for tourist people in chiringuito kiosk bar - Event, music and fun concept
Too much crown in one beach photo is not attractive.

Including a couple of people on your beach photos is good, but including the whole crowd in there is totally not a good idea. To avoid too much crowd when shooting beach photos, find out the hours when most of the people are on the beach, and avoid it. In short, do not go during the busiest hours of the beach. 

More often than not, the beach is the busiest during mid-morning. Thus, you could go either on sunrise or midday, but taking images during the sunrise is more preferred because of the golden light that the sun produces. Taking images during midday is not advised since the light is too strong and there is a high chance that undesirable shadows might appear. 

Another way for you to avoid crowded beaches is to go somewhere that are not often visited by a lot of crowds which means that you might have to go a little further. Do not take images near parking areas, restaurants, bars, and other beach facilities where a lot of people stay. 

8. Include Lines in Your Images

Beautiful beach with palm trees and moody sky. Summer vacation travel holiday background concept. Maldives paradise beach. Luxury travel summer holiday background concept.
Lines make beach images more composed.

One of the most powerful ways to create incredible beach photos with your iPhone is to include lines in your images. Some of the lines that you could include are either curved, converging, straight, diagonal, parallel, or S-shaped. Preferably, these lines should be directed towards your main subject or focus. Furthermore, you could also use these lines as your main subject to come up with an abstract image. 

An excellent line that you can use in your images is the edge of the weather. Generally speaking, if a line is included in an image then the line should start from one of the bottom corners towards your subject. 

9. Keep Your Camera Stable

Smartphone video time lapse sunset from a smartphone set on a tripod.
Securing your camera is very important to avoid camera movements.

An underrated tool in almost all kind of photography is a tripod. Using this will help you capture amazing beach images since the tripod will stabilize your camera. In a typical situation, setting a tripod is very easy but since you are shooting in a beach with sandy ground plus the sea breeze, doing so is not that easy. 

Tripods have small stand tips with a very high center of gravity; thus, they could easily fall once a strong wind hits them. Furthermore, the legs of the tripod, which have a very small surface area, decrease the stability of the tripod since they tend to easily sink into the sand. 

To keep away from any of these things from happening, you need to add some weight to your tripod to make it more stable. You could either fill an empty bag with sand or small stones, then hang it in your tripod. For your tripod not to sink into the sandy ground, place stones under your tripod or place old CDs under its tips.

10. Use Flash

Flash plus beach, does that even make sense? Well, it does. How come? First, the flash lessens the appearance of shadows in the face by filling it with light. Second, the flash will give additional lights when the light on the beach is weak or not enough (sunrise or sunset). During mid-day, the light coming from the sun falls almost vertical; thus, a shadow is produced, most especially when your focus is a person. 

Keep in mind that when you are going to use the flash when taking beach images, do not direct it straight to your model or else you will end up with an image that is too bright and not flattering.

What you can do is to direct the flash somewhere where the light will be redirected to your subject. Using a flash diffuser is a very big help to achieve this. A small diffuser is more preferred when it comes to beach photography since using it during windy days is much easier.

11. Include an Observational Image

View of the Mediterranean Sea. Monastir. Tunisia. Panoramic view of the city and the coast opens from the observation tower Ribat.
An observational image displays what the beach has to offer

An observational image refers to photos that display what the beach has to offer including the beach amenities and water activities. These are images that allow you to feature and give anyone who will see your images an idea of what makes the beach different from other beaches or places. 

Before shooting an observational image, it is very important that you put yourself in the shoes of a viewer and ask yourself what you want to see. Do the beach amenities look most interesting to you? Is it the white, fine sand that makes the beach stand out? Is it the crystal clear water or perhaps, the umbrellas and day beds that look most appealing to you?

Whatever it is, just make sure that your observational image should help people set their expectations about the beach.

12. Use Filters

Using filters when taking images could be advantageous. To be more particular, the UV and polarizing filters are most effective when it comes to beach photography. This is because UV filters filter UV lights and eliminate unwanted bluish tinges at the same time. 

On the other hand, using polarizing filters reduces reflections, improve contract, and helps you achieve bluer, richer, and more alive sky colors. 


Beach photography is an adventure that everyone should try. Beaches are sanctuaries where people escape from the business of life. So, if you are given the chance to go out there, grab it and take as many photos as you want. It is not every day that opportunities like this knock on your door. Go and take a lot of beach photos. Entice people with your photography skills.