Seascapes have always been one of my favorite subjects to photograph. For most of my trips, I visit and photograph at least one spectacular coastline, and in this article, I share the five most photogenic beaches I’ve photographed so far.
I realize that the title of this article may be a bit of a stretch. After all, I haven’t visited all the beaches in the world. It is not possible. The list I share below is personal, and it might even change in the future as I explore more coasts on my travels. But I’m sure you will take inspiration from it.
The most photogenic beaches
Let me first make a distinction between photogenic and spectacular. The beaches I share below are not the most spectacular beaches I have visited so far. There are certainly more spectacular coastlines in the world.
But not all spectacular beaches or coastlines are equally photogenic. I often find myself in places that look awesome. But for many, composing a photo that captures their raw beauty is difficult. There may not be a good foreground or the shape of the coastline does not allow for a balanced composition, for example.
With the beaches below, there is no shortage of photographic opportunities. If you decide to visit, you should always plan the spotting in time and find the best viewpoints. But it won’t be too hard to find them.
Praia da Adraga in Europe
I have visited Praia da Adraga several times during three visits to Portugal over the past 11 years. I can’t get enough. The reason for this is not only the dramatic cliffs and dramatic sea stacks that line the length of this beach. What attracts me is its changing nature.
If you visit this beach during the winter months, it can be different every day. In 2011, during my first visit, the beach lost more than a meter in height during the week I spent in the area. At first it was a sandy beach with only the biggest sea stacks sticking out of the sand. By the end of the week, wind and water had uncovered rocks everywhere.
For this reason, it is possible to offer slightly different compositions on almost every visit.
The best time to visit is, in my opinion, between late fall and early spring. With the dynamic weather along the Portuguese coast, there is a good chance for spectacular light at sunset. On top of that, you will also have lots of waves, which makes photographing this beach exciting.
As for the tides, I prefer to photograph Praia da Adraga at low tide, starting the shoot when the tide is halfway up.
Whiskey Bay in Australia
In 2016 I traveled along the east coast of Australia in a motorhome for six weeks. I visited many spectacular coastlines along the way, including the Twelve Apostles along the Great Ocean Road. But the beach I found most photogenic was Whiskey Bay in Wilson’s Promontory Park.
I have a video available, in which I explain my planning for a sunset shoot in Whiskey Bay. You see the richness of the images that I created in just one hour of photography during a spectacular sunset.
The fact that I was able to find so many compositions in such a short time speaks to the photogenic nature of this beach.
If you ever want to photograph it, I recommend staying at the nearby Tidal River campground. From there it is only a short drive to Whiskey Bay. You’ll also want to make sure your visit coincides with low tide. Otherwise you cannot explore the rocks on the right side of the beach.
Uvita beach in Costa Rica
If your goal is to photograph a tropical beach lined with hundreds or even thousands of palm trees, then Uvita Beach is the right place to go. When we planned our trips through Costa Rica, I was skeptical of its photographic potential. Unlike Praia da Adraga or Whiskey Bay, there are no rocks or sea stacks.
But the beauty of Uvita Beach is its shimmering sand. At low tide you can create amazing reflection pictures along this beach. If you look closely, you’ll find tiny details to use as foreground interest.
I was also able to create a photo there, which I had previewed for many years already. One evening, I took a massive panorama of the beach, in which the beach appears like an island. In this photo you can see how huge the beach of Uvita is.
As it is part of Marino Ballena National Park, you have to pay a $6 fee to enter the beach and there are hours of operation. If you buy your ticket the day before, you can enter as early as 6:00 the next morning. This gives you just enough time to get to sunrise. But the best time to photograph it is at sunset.
I have a detailed article on Uvita available on my homepage. There I explain how to get there, where to stay and what else to photograph in the area.
Bandon Beach in the United States
Unfortunately, I was only able to spend one evening at this beautiful Oregon beach while visiting the United States in 2013. One evening was way too short to do this beach justice. It is full of sea stacks of different sizes and shapes. It’s an endless amount of topics.
One of the most scenic sea stacks is the formation that looks like a wizard’s hat. To photograph it properly, you need to time your photo shoot well. I was there at low tide which allowed me to explore many rocks that litter the beach. But for more drama, I think a rising tide would have been better.
The best time to photograph this west-facing beach is, like the other beaches in this article, at sunset. As far as the weather is concerned, you must avoid the foggy sea layer that you will often have in summer. It can kill any chance of a colorful sunset. As with Praia da Adraga, the period between late fall and early spring should bring the busiest weather.
Anse Source D’Argent in the Seychelles
To end this article, I have a paradise beach for you. It’s not without reason that Anse Source D’Argent was the setting for the popular 1991 Bacardi advert. a dream not only for photographers.
Storms wreak havoc on this beach and other beaches in the Seychelles. I’ve been there twice within a few years of each other, and many of the palm trees you see in older pictures are long gone. Therefore, the best subjects are granite boulders, of which there is plenty.
To make the most of this beach photographically, go there between low and mid tide. At high tide it will be difficult to find a foreground, while at low tide you can explore around the rocks to find exciting vistas.
Because the beach faces west, sunset is the best time to photograph it. By then most day visitors should also be gone, and if you catch an outgoing tide there shouldn’t be too many footprints either.
Similar to Uvita Beach, there is an entrance fee, which is currently around $8.
Now that I’ve shared my favorite beaches, let’s talk about yours in the comments.