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How I Transform a Crowded Beach Into Your Beautiful Portrait

Create iconic beach photography scenes on overcrowded beaches with a little planning and professional portrait retouching.

Transforming Crowded Beach Photography into an Epic Shot

Portrait photography is great when you’re in a studio and every aspect of the environment can be controlled and planned. However, travel photography is by definition shot on-location. And, when you’re shooting on location; you have to make adjustments. I love creating portraits in public places. Often, crowds can add another layer of depth and dimension to your image making. However, there are times when you just want to snap your fingers like Thanos and make everyone disappear. For this beach photography shoot, that’s exactly what needed to happen to get our final beach portrait shot.

Paying Attention to the Details in Travel Photography

The beach was littered with seaweed that had washed ashore with the tide.  It was actually pretty gross to look at and very unsightly in the portrait.
This shoot took place late evening during golden hour. The sunlight was perfect. With great weather comes great crowds of people.
The crowds presented me two challenges:

  1.  I didn’t want to carry a lot of gear for this shoot. So no additional lighting. No extra lenses. It’s difficult to keep one eye on your gear when you’re looking through an eyepiece to frame your shot. Also, it’s not wise to change your lenses in a human, windy, and sandy environment or risk damage to both your camera sensor and your lenses. So, I opted for a run-and-gun configuration.
  2.  The final challenge I wouldn’t be able to fix until post-processing—clearing the beach of people.

There’s lots of great reasons why you don’t want extra folk in your shot. Firstly, it’s not a movie. Secondly, you don’t have model releases for all of these strangers. Thirdly, they really ruin the shot. I guess that should have been the number one reason.

Creating Beach Photography Alchemy

In the before and after images (above) you can see the extent of transformation that the image underwent to achieve this look.
Here’s all of the major pieces of retouching that went into this shoot:

  • Eliminating the debris and seaweed
  • Removing the people from the shot and their reflections in the water
  • Erasing all of the footprints in the sand
  • Clearing the horizon of buildings.
  • Taking the wrinkles out of the dress.
  • Retouching minor skin blemishes on the face, chest, and legs

The key to a successful portrait is to make the final image look as if that’s what was the image straight out of the camera (SOOC). That’s rarely the case with location shooting.

Finding a Professional Photographer in Dallas-Fort Worth

My goal for you is to know that post-processing of your portraits is just as important as the pre-planning, production, and post-sales experience. Moreover, there’s no filter, plugin, or app that can produce this level of imagery. It’s takes craftsmanship during the shoot and after to make beautiful portraits.
Professional photographers have an obligation to bring quality to every aspect of your portraiture so that you’re delighted for years to come. When you’re selecting your portrait photographer for your next photography session for seniors pictures, headshots, family portraits, boudoir, or fine art, look for photographers that bring excellence to every stage of your portrait-making experience.  If you want a private beach for your next portrait, just ask for it.

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Cam Evans, MBA. Photographer
Cam Evans, MBA. Photographer

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