On Thailand’s islands, the most photogenic season of the year is just beginning and with a little planning and technique you can easily capture professional looking shots of the Kingdom's idyllic beaches.
Even for travellers that have criss-crossed the globe several times, Thailand’s breathtaking beaches are still a marvel to behold.
Whether you want to make your friends back home jealous or simply capture a few stunning images to remember the moments you enjoyed on the islands, it's worth learning a few photography tricks to improve your holiday album.
Below are a few inspirational ideas on how you can transform bland sea horizons and glaring sandy beaches into a colourful kaleidoscope of carefully composed images.
More than Sunset
Light is undoubtedly one of the main factors that affects the quality of any photograph, and the soft pink rays of Thailand’s sunsets offer budding photographers the chance to get truly creative. To capture the very best sunset shots, check out a few vantage points in advance where you know the view will be good. For example, locations where you can see the sun track all the way down over the ocean are a good place to start. Most of the magic happens within that golden half an hour, so make sure you arrive within plenty of time to set up your camera and absorb the moment.
If you want to take home some beach photography with a difference, why not try stripping out the colour entirely for a more low-key, atmospheric effect? A black and white photograph completely transforms the overall mood of the shot, and it is simple to achieve with a little post-production tweaking. Surprisingly, black and white can bring an otherwise dull image to life, so this technique works particularly well if you believe the colours in your original photograph are a little too dull to show off to friends and family.
In the tropical sunshine, one of the greatest photography challenges in Thailand is over-exposure. To get the best results, check what level the camera wants to expose the shot at, and then over expose it by one or two settings. Of course, the overall result depends on the variables of your setting, and brightly lit locations can present photography enthusiasts with the biggest challenge of all. In trickier settings, focus on which area you want to be well exposed and other areas should hopefully fall into place.
If you don’t want to bore your friends and family back home with endless panoramic shots of the seascape stretching into the distance, then experiment with composition to capture an alluring shot with a little more personality. Adding some interest in the foreground will grab a lot more attention than snapping an endless expanse of blue. Seek out patterns and structures to lead the viewer into your photograph, and play around with different angles to see what works best with the lighting you are working with. The relationship between the light, the water and the rocks can really affect the ambience of the entire photograph.
Another way to avoid flat and boring landscape shots of the beach or ocean is to find a focal point. Whatever your focal point may be, honing in on one can be the easiest way to spice your shot up without the help of dramatic lighting or colour. Search for objects and scenes that will give your image a little texture, for example, a pattern in the sand or a wave crashing into shore will often do the trick. If you are including the sea in your horizontal horizon shot, ensure that it is level in the frame. Keeping the horizon off centre is another way that you can avoid simply chopping the frame in half.