Male Model Photography Blog

Rants, Raves & Riffs of a Male Model Photo Studio

Male Model Beach Photography – Tips For Taking Your Beach Photos To The Next Level!

Summer’s just around the corner, so we here at ACEBOY MODELS want to provide aspiring model photographers with some tips for taking killer photos in one of the most popular places to find hot male models this time of year – The Beach!

Beach Photography poses many challenges, but when you get that killer beach shot, it’s often showcased in both model and photographer portfolios.  The harsh sun, blowing sand, squinting models and chubby, sun burnt tourists all contribute to the complexity of a beach photo shoot.  But there are some simple tips and tricks we use when shooting our male models on the beach – give them a read and them give them a try. . .

Beach Photo Tip #1: Schedule The Photo Shoot Early Or Late In The Day:

Experienced photographers will agree that the best time to shoot is when you’d rather be sleeping (sun rise) or dining with friends and family (sun set). We know it sucks, but getting up early can provide you and your male model with some of the most stunning photos imaginable. The soft, golden light of sunrise is nearly impossible to replicate post production (ie: in photoshop).  So beach photography tip number one is to check the weather and schedule at least one sunrise photo shoot this summer. You’ll also benefit from fewer nosey tourists drooling over your male model that early in the day.

Beach Photo Tip #2: Work With The Sun Not Against It:

Obviously you can’t control the sun like you can your studio light, but don’t settle for the typical, over exposed and front-lit beach shots that you see all over the place. Instead of moving the light around your models like you would in the studio to get lighting diversity, proactively position your model around the sun. Get several shots in each of the following lighting conditions:



Front Light: Basically, in this lighting condition the sun is coming from behind the photographer and is shining directly on the male models face and chest. Most of the beach photos you see are done using natural front light which is unfortunate – whith just a little awareness about where the light is coming from and creativity in terms of model and camera placement, a photographer can create an intirely different look and feel, avoid ‘squinty’, over exposed models and take the photo to the next level (see side and back lighting ideas below). Of course there will be situtaions where front lighting conditions on the beach are unavoidable, if so consider using your camera’s electronic flash to get rid of strong shadows under the models eyes, nose and mouth that happen when the sun is high in the sky and bright. Also, here’s another little trick we use in bright sun, frontal lighting conditions … have your male model close his eyes while you frame up the shot and then open them slowly on a count of three – sounds silly, but it will relax the mdoels eyes, dialate his pupils (to the extent possible) giving you a more relaxed, natural and professional shot when you go to print. This is just an ACEBOY models policy, but if your serious about getting stunning beach shots, Please Please Please … (Unless your’re doing a shoot for a Oakley) avoid allowing your model to wear sunglasses in the photos- eyes are too beautiful to cover up and your photo will loose appeal because of it.

ACEBOY MODEL Christian facing north with natural side-light.

Side Light: Mastering side lighting is the key to getting some great commercial / catalog type shots on the beach that your models and clients are sure to publish.  Natural side-light from the sun when it’s low in the sky (dawn / dusk) produce natural highlights and shadows on your model’s face and body that add depth and a sense of dimension you won’t get from front or back lighting.  Natural light from the side can create a sense of 3 dimensionality that seems to pop off the page once published. So to get some great, almost 3 dimensional looking cover shots, face your model to the north (or south) when the sun is low in the sky and fire away!  Be sure to play with angles as even the slight change in your models body position can have a dramatic effect. To really add to the 3-D effect you get from natural side light, have your male model learn forward a bit (or a lot depending on the landscape). If you take just a moment or two to capalize on a low sun, side lighting condition, you’ll be amazed at how mother nature does what photoshop can do, only 100 times better. Try it!

aceboy model hayden

ACEBOY MODEL HAYDEN – Shot with natural back light at dusk. Flash used to prevent underexposing model face and body.

Back Light: Many think back-light comes from behind the photographer, but the opposite is true, when professional’s reference back light, they are referring to a condition in which the light is coming from behind the model!!  Like front lighting, back light can pose a challenge because if you’re not careful you’ll end up with a silhouette of your male model instead of a crisp clean photo. To avoid underexposing your model in a back-light condition, the easiest solution is to use your electronic flash (which is what we do 99% of the time) or if your comfortable with your SLR settings you can meter for the light behind the model and get the same result. When shot properly, your back lit model will almost seem to glow and be in sync with his surroundings, producing a calm, warm image. Some of our most popular (and profitable) photographs have been shot using natural back light at sun set or sun rise (mostly sun set since we are usually pretty hung over in the morning). In the photo to the left, ACEBOY Model Hayden is shot with the warn natural light of sun set coming from behind him, we used a speed like to prevent his face and body from being underexposed and viola! nature and technology coming together to get a hot shot of a beautiful male model on the beach 🙂

Beach Photo Tip #3: Step To The Side Amigo – Apply The Rule of Thirds At The Beach:thirds

How you position your male model within the frame can make the difference between an amazing cover shot and a pic your cousin Gary plasters all over Facebook after a few miller lite’s (gross).  Enter the rule of thirds, a photography 101 concept that surprisingly few photographers practice. Here’s how it applies to a great beach photo. As you’re looking through your view finder, imagine the image in quadrants.  Be sure to make sure the horizon is in the lower quadrant and step to one side or the other so that your model is not dead center in the frame.  Position him so he is off to the left or right of the frame. Just because your model is not in the center of the image does not mean he’s not the center of attention.

So there you have three simple tips to help you get more engaging photos on the beach this summer. Get your lazy ass and your lazy ass models up early at least one day this summer for a sun-rise shoot. You’ll hate us on the way to the beach and thanks us for years to come once you see the results. Once there, don’t stand in once place. Work your models and your camera around the sun to get several front, back and most important side lit shots. Finally, apply the rule of thirds and you’re well on your way to being a bonafide ACEBOY MODEL Photographer – kinda. If you get some great shots,  please share them with us along with your techniques. You can  upload them to our male model community site and get friendly, honest feedback from our models and photographers.

If you’re an amateur photographer wanting to take your skills to the  next level on the beach or in the studio, please consider attending one of our Male Model Glamour And Nude Photography Workshops where you’ll work side by side with our photographers and male models, learn some great new male model photography techniques and build up your photography portfolio.

If you’re  a male model (amateur or professional) looking to get some great beach shots for your portfolio this summer, please consider attending a Male Model Portfolio Building Work Shop. You’ll learn some great skills, get some great shots and have a lot of fun with our talented, professional team.

All of our male model and photographer workshop participants receive great discount rates at Ft. Lauderdale’s most popular gay guest house Coconut Cove.

Check back for more great beach photography tips – we’ll post them as we think of them 🙂

Happy Summer Shooting!  Chris Berns / Male Model Photographer / ACEBOY MODELS / Ft. Lauderdale, FL. /

May 15, 2009 - Posted by | How To Shoot Male Models


  1. Basics of Male Modelling

    Comment by Leanne | April 14, 2011 | Reply

  2. Thank you so much for the tips

    Comment by Andrey | April 29, 2011 | Reply

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