Swimsuit Photography: Ultimate Guide 2021

During the bathing season, many girls tend to show their fit bodies in a swimsuit and, of course, take some beautiful photos. However, not all images look great though the pose they took seemed ideal.

It is all about details! As it turned out swimsuit photography may become a real challenge and professional photographers have worked out special concepts and approaches to end up with perfect shots.

Top 15 Swimsuit Photography Tips to Follow

Doing bikini photography, you have to keep tabs on many factors and quickly adapt to them. Actually, you have to come to terms with nature, which may be very capricious. First of all, it is obligatory to learn how to work with the wind and use it to your advantage.

Besides, it is crucial to avoid harsh shadows caused by trees and other objects. No less important task is to manipulate hues of the ocean and shy occupying most of the frame. If you feel scared because of these difficulties, keep reading this guide and find out how to become a real swimsuit photography pro.

1. Keep the Model Looking as Authentic

swimsuit model photography

Everything in a photo should be harmoniously related. This means that bright makeup and lots of jewelry will look out of place in a swimsuit image. Your model should look natural, which in this case implies wet hair, glossy skin, and lots of sand around. This is a kind of aesthetic photography, where a good sense of composition and a special subject combined.

swim wear photo

It is also a wonderful idea to use an olive oil nourishing spray for hair so that it acquires a nice shine. Keep in mind that a traditional oil can’t provide the same effect and will simply make hair greasy.

2. Choose the Right Shooting Time

swimsuit photography choosing right shooting time

Many beginner portrait photographers barely understand what time of the day is the most suitable for a photo session. It is a very bad idea to take images when the sun is at the zenith. You will get a flat image without screwed shadows, contrast, and brightness.

It is better to follow the golden hour photography rules. If you decide to shoot in the morning, do it before 9 am; if you want to organize swimwear photoshoots in the evening, opt for the time interval between 5 and 6 pm (much depends on the season and the location).

At this time, sun rays illuminate objects at a gentle angle, so all items in the picture will be voluminous and with accurate colors. Also, don’t use a built-in flash because it produces the same effect as the sun at noon.

3. Select a Proper Location

swimwear photoshoots

While choosing a suitable photography location, opt for places with a varied landscape because monotony looks boring in this case. Though a model should be the main object in a picture, it is always nice to have a picturesque background.

Remember about contrast. If you want to have lots of greenery in a photo, you may get a boring result. It is better to use contrasting colors in the scene.

bikini photography

If you take a photo of a lady in a swimsuit against the jungle, suggest her to take a red hat, but don’t hold it too close to the body. Another nice idea is to throw a colorful ball up and catch it, which will add dynamics to the frame.

If you want to take an image with a model posing against the sea, choose a moment when there is a boat or a yacht sailing across.

4. Check Your Background

swimsuit photo

Swimsuit photography is usually carried out near the sea and working with such a vast space isn’t that simple. The main problem is a plethora of distractions that make the frame clutters and unattractive. Your mission as a photographer is to scan the scene and choose the place where a model won’t get lost in the abundance of other elements (cars, people, etc.)

If you have taken a photo and then noticed that the background is too hectic, find out how to remove background in Photoshop and fix this defect during image post-processing.

5. Edit Your Photos

fixthephoto portrait swimsuit photography retouching fixthephoto portrait swimsuit photography retouching

It is almost impossible to take a flawless swim wear photo, because there are many nuances you can’t control. That’s when image editing tools come to the rescue. A model expects to see the best version of herself in pictures, so you need to do all possible to satisfy your demands.

Since editing bikini photos is a time-consuming and demanding process, you may want to delegate the tasks to professionals. Our company has been in the industry for many years and knows how to make every photo awe-inspiring.

Starting with color correction and skin retouching we polish every inch of a shot to make it look amazing. We adhere to current standards and always deliver realistic results.

6. Focus on the Eyes

swimsuit model picture

Many people believe that the aim of swimsuit model photography is to accentuate the body curves. However, you shouldn’t underestimate the importance of the eyes. Similar to boudoir photography, it is recommended to choose a spot focus in the settings (or auto eye focus if it is available) to concentrate on the eyes.

swimsuit model image

In such a way, you can keep the aperture as low as F4 without blurring a model and her clothes. In fact, some beauty photographers even use cropping tricks to bring eyes in focus by cutting off a part of an image. You can do the same with your swimwear pictures.

7. Watch the Horizon

swimsuit picture

Those engaged in swim suit photography claim that one of the biggest problems they have to deal with is tilted horizon. Usually, this phenomenon appears because of a large open space you have to fit into the frame.

A good rule of thumb is to place the horizon to the side because centered horizons can make an image look chopped in half. Remember about the rule of thirds in photography not to spend many hours in a row fixing a sloping horizon in Photoshop. Simply put, you need to visually divide your composition into 9 equal squares and locate the horizon along one horizontal axis.

8. Use Sun to Back Light Your Model

swimsuit photo with friend

Fortunately, there are many ways of how you can use sunlight in your photos. I recommend locating a model against the sun, so that it will illuminate her from the back.

In this case, the sand around the model will serve as a natural reflector, especially if she takes a sitting pose. This is also a beneficial idea if your model’s eyes are very sensitive to sunlight.

9. Use the Water as a Reflector

swimwear photoshoot in water

If you think that shadows can ruin your swimwear photoshoot, you can take images near or in the water and it will work as a reflector filling shadows with light. When there are waves behind a person, you can capture really mesmerizing images.

However, remember that reflection photography is a very challenging genre and you need to choose angles very mindfully to present your model in the most flattering way.

10. Always Shoot In RAW

swimwear photography raw shooting

Photographers take pictures either in JPEG or RAW. The latter is an uncompressed photo file, and every camera manufacturer has a unique RAW format. Shooting in RAW, you get more data about your shot. Of course, this allows for more detailed work during photo editing.

While shooting water and sunshine, you have many challenges to overcome. Some defects require meticulous image editing and that is possible only if you have photos saved in RAW.

11. Choose Correct Camera and Lens

swimsuit image

If you have googled “the best camera for swimsuit photography”, you have probably got no definite answer simply because such gear doesn’t exist. In fact, you can use your regular camera for portraits for this activity. I use Sony A7RIII, which has a high-res 42.4MP sensor, accurate auto eye focus, and delivers lifelike colors.

Moreover, you should invest in a lens with a wide focal length. Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 is a nice option. Using it, you can get wider environmental beach and ocean images at 24 or zoom into 70 for a nice portrait shot.

12. Use a Tripod Against Blurry Photos

swimsuit photo using tripod

A high-quality tripod can become your reliable assistant in a variety of scenarios. For example, it helps take images at a long exposure with a slower shutter speed.

A tripod also makes shooting in poor lighting a breeze, especially if you want to get blur-free images. If you are serious about bikini photography at sunset, make sure to grab a tripod. Thus, you can capture the high- and low-tide and cloud drifting.

I use Amazon Basics, because it is a lightweight aluminum tripod with adjustable height.

13. Take Black and White Photos

swim suit image idea

Sometimes colors are needless especially if you want to accentuate a particular mood. That’s when black and white photography comes to the stage. Use this approach in swim suit photography and make your pictures atmospheric. Besides, turning images into B&W can help save your shots taken on gloomy and rainy days.

14. Use Accessories

swimwear photoshoot with accessories

Don’t neglect accessories. They can not only embellish the composition but also help reveal some beach photo ideas.

If a model wears a light shirt over her swimsuit, you will get a dynamic photo. A beach wrap can help hide body parts. An umbrella, a beach bag, or a sun lounger – you can use anything during swimwear photoshoots.

15. Prepare Models Poses Beforehand

Swimsuit photography differs from other genres and even professional models need some time to get used to the surroundings and come up with good poses. Chances are high you will work with ordinary people, who will have even more problems with taking proper poses.

My recommendation is to think about different model poses, practice them yourself, and then show them to models so that they immediately grasp what to do.

Cross Legs while Standing

swimwear photography cross legs

Much depends on how a person places legs while facing the camera. A winning pose is to cross your legs, which makes them look longer. Besides, this pose positively affects the posture, giving a body the feline grace.

One Leg in Front of the Other

swimwear photography in jungle

Such pose always looks great regardless of the clothes a model has on. It visually lengthens the legs and emphasizes the hips.

Hands on Hips

swimsuit photography sample

This portrait photo pose perfectly accentuates body curves. The model will look like one of the “Baywatch” girls.

Bend Slightly

swimsuit photo sample

This is the easiest way to get an ideal swim wear photo. Ask a model to sit or lie down half-turned to a photographer and bend a little. Thus, she will become slimmer, but don’t go overboard.

On the Knees

swimsuit image sample

Many famous swimsuit brands use this classic pose for their advertising campaigns. It makes legs look longer, while drawing attention to the swimsuit.

Lying on the Side

bikini photo sample

If you want to take a photo of a model lying at the seashore, while emphasizing all the advantages of her body, you need to help her distribute weigh in a proper way and show her flattering curves. It is better to shift weight to the thigh, not the buttocks, to visually slim the waist and lengthen the legs.

On a Sun Lounger

swimsuit photo on sun lounger

If you want to take a photo while lying on a sun lounger, then it is better to shoot from above. From this angle, you can incorporate more space into the frame, and the photo will acquire a three-dimensional look.

Shooting from the Back

swimsuit picture

This is a very popular female photo pose, especially among fit women. Suggest your model bend a little in the lower back. The leg that is closer to the camera should also be slightly bent. Thanks to these tricks, the butt will look fit.

Bonus Tools

fixthephoto summer lightroom presets collection

Editing beach photos, you need to tackle various settings. To make the process faster, download and use these Lightroom presets. They will give you lush and saturated colors, pleasant skin tones, and perfect lighting.

These tools were designed with peculiarities of swimsuit photography in mind. Each preset was tested on different photos, including those taken on the beach.

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