There are reasons people gravitate toward water. Not only do we need it to live, but the simple act of being near a large body of water can invoke a sense of peace and calm—plus, it can make for great photos.

Shooting by water is fun and can inspire excellent work, but it takes a little extra effort to keep your work looking fresh and unique. Here are some dos and don’ts:

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DO pay attention to the time of day you are shooting.

The quality of light around open water, such as the ocean, changes drastically throughout the day, because there’s less disruption from trees and buildings to cast shadows. Shoot at dawn or the “golden hour”. The same setting can look completely different in the late afternoon versus the early morning.

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DON’T shoot straight shots of water meeting the horizon.

Of course, it’s beautiful, but it’s been done many times over. Find a fresh perspective! Set up a new shot and experiment with angles.

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DO keep your camera safe.

Always use a strap and invest in protective, water resistant gear.

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DON’T miss out on the little things.

Take a look around for tide pools, driftwood and other interesting surroundings that you might miss through wide-angle scenic shots alone.

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DO experiment with portraiture.

Water can be a picturesque backdrop for creating portraits—that is if you have a willing subject.

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DON’T unintentionally use lens flare in your photos.

There is a time and a place for it, and it can be quite beautiful. But for the times you’d rather avoid lens flare, consider using a lens hood or a UV filtering lens.

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DO take a lot of pictures.

Gone are the days of film, when we had to be stingy with our shots. In the era of digital photography and spacious memory cards, we can shoot to our hearts’ delight! The more shots you take, the more likely you are to get a really great one.

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DON’T miss out on a free print!

Take advantage of the opportunity to grab a FREE 16×20” print when you upload 25 new photos to your YAG portfolio before March 30th, 2018.