Tips

How To Edit The Perfect Summer Beach Photo

August 01, 2018
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Beach photography, though alluring and joyful by nature, certainly has its quarrels in the editing room with its often harsh, backlit conditions. But with the perfect blend of colorful textures, detail, and properly balanced highlights — you, too, can look back on your beach photos and smile foolishly with our five essential tricks.

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1. Straighten The Horizon

First, before you do anything else, double check the horizon line in your photograph. Emphasize vastness of the ocean by straightening every line either horizontally or diagonally, depending upon how you shot your photograph. This first step is crucial, as it defines the rest of your image’s composition.


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2. White Balance

Adjust the temperature of your photograph to match your scene’s environment; this will better craft a story. Was your day on the beach sunny? Gloomy? Colorful and whimsical? Modify accordingly by warming the temperature for a sunny afternoon or cool the image if it was a cloudy, coastal wonderland. Aim to neutralize your image’s tone.


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3. Dilute The Highlights

No matter the weather condition, the ocean and sky look seamlessly familiar in color. Decreasing the highlights will help illuminate a distinguishing variance between your open sky and body of water. Simply dilute the “Highlights” until you see detail in the sky, then up either the exposure value or “Whites” in your editing app of choice to still bring in the brightness of your subject.


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4. Bump Up The Contrast

The minimalistic vibe to a coastal shore needs bright, contrasted clarity in order to visually thrive. Because there aren’t a lot of shadows or darkness to work with in a beach scene, it’s best to bump up the contrast for a brighter coherence on its lines, tones, and overall taste.


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5. Pop It With Color

Poppin’ summer images should be blessed with color and shine, yes?! Add extra color to an images by either upping the saturation levels or adjust the image with one of your favorite presets.

For those VSCO lovers out (I mean, aren’t we all?), the “C” series proves wonders for saturated pinks, vibrant greens, and majestic ocean blues. These aesthetically gorgeous presets do most of the work for you by naturally adjusting contrast and perfectly toned highlights; adding the perfect touch of nostalgic quizzicals.

If you haven’t already, download the VSCO app and let your creative excitement wander.



Drinking iced lemonade (or margaritas, we don’t judge) by the seashore is one of summer’s best pastimes. Have a blast shooting out there under the sunshine, ‘till next time!