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03 - The Beauty of Photographing Coastal Towns

Updated: Nov 21, 2022

A beach with a cliffside on the left with and a man in a towel on the bottom right

There's no coincidence that the most photogenic places happen to be situated on the coast. Coastal suburbs are surrounded by beautiful scenery and have a laid-back vibe that washes over you regardless of the time of day. I've had the privilege of living in the eastern suburbs of Sydney for around 6 years now and am always so grateful when I capture these truly incredible moments!

A bright blue storage container with the word 'Lifeguard' painted in bold capital letters.

There's just something about the light in coastal towns that's just so magical. The sun seems to shine brighter and the colours just pop more. I also love how the sea breeze makes the flags flutter in the wind, the beach is delicately sprinkled by all the vibrant swimwear and golden hour stains the sky is such a special way.

When I'm photographing a coastal suburb, I always make sure to capture the unique characteristics. I love photographing the quaint architecture and signage, colourful objects and unusual landmarks, and if possible get some shots of the locals.

Here are some tips and tricks for capturing great coastal shots of your own:

A surfer standing on the beach rocks staring out into the ocean with a golden sunrise peaking through the pink and purple clouds
  • Look for interesting light. Coastal areas often have great light, whether it's the early morning sun or the late afternoon glow. Keep an eye out for special light effects like the reflection in the water or the cliffs shadows spilling over the beach

  • Use a wide-angle lens. A wide-angle lens will help you capture the feeling of space that is often so evident in coastal areas.

  • Use leading lines. Look for natural leading lines in the landscape, such as a path or a line of trees, and use them to guide the eye through the photograph. This can be as simple as a line of waves crashing or a row of beach chairs directing the eye to a beach goer.

An ocean pool with colourful construction barriers and a bright red sign that reads 'Pool Closed'. In the distance people are swimming in the ocean pool.
  • Play with perspective. Get down low or climb up high to change the perspective and add interest. Setting up at a vantage point and pairing this technique with a tilt shift lens can create a dramatic miniature feeling that will seperate your shots from the rest

  • Look for colour. Coastal areas often have beautiful, vibrant colours. Look for colourful buildings, flowers or even the sky to add some extra interest to your shots. A simple pop of colour can change the entire mood of your photograph.

Keep these tips in mind next time you're in a coastal suburb town and take some beautiful photos! In the meantime please check out my shop for examples of coastal photography.

A man standing in front of a beach with sunglasses looking at a yellow and orange bird on his shoulder
Best Friends 🦜

Until we meet again Sean

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