If the entries to the current RNLI ‘My Coast’ competition are anything to go by, there’s already plenty of appreciation for the photogenic nature of the UK’s shoreline. You can see the submissions from the ten finalists for yourself and vote for your favourite by visiting the RNLI Facebook page.

Meanwhile, inspired by the competition, we thought we’d run through some of the dos and don’ts of photographing the UK’s glorious coastline.

On the beach

Arriving early in the morning should mean the beach is less busy and will make it easier to find a good spot for you and your tripod. If you are looking to capture some of the sporting action in the water, don’t forget to select a faster shutterspeed.

Well-considered, unusual compositions performed well in the RNLI competition, showing that there’s far more to shoreline photos than facing the ocean and shooting. Instead, look for interesting viewing points. To get a mix of beach and ocean, stand by the sea and look down across the waterline, this will give you lovely lines to help you position the shot.

Watching the water

Whether it’s choppy and full of crashing waves or gently lapping the shore, the ocean is an area of constant movement and surprises. Use longer shutter speeds to capture the flow of the waves and consider capturing the same scene in different weather conditions for an interesting study of the impact of the elements.

Sunsets on water make some for some of the most spectacular shoreline images and if you fancy trying your hand at these you should take a quick peek at our recent post about photographing sunsets.

Subjects on the shoreline

Buildings and objects can inject colour and texture into your images. Look out for beach huts, boats and even lifeboat huts. The nautical look is huge in the world of interiors right now and seaside prints in particular make great points of interest when building rooms around this theme. Take a look at this article from The Telegraph and this from Elle Décor for inspiration.

Once you’ve snapped your perfect shoreline photograph, it’s very simple to upload your photo to our site and select the size of your canvas print. Look out for smaller scale things to focus on too; shells can add interest in the foreground of sweeping shots. To keep your foreground and background in focus, use a small aperture.

Protecting your kit

Good weather can’t always be guaranteed here in the UK. Luckily, stormy times can make for excellent photographic opportunities. As the weather can change quickly it’s always best to come armed with protective kit. As well as a tripod and protective cover, make sure you pack a blower brush to keep your lenses free from grains of sand.

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